Doctor Who: Some Interesting Takeaways from Series 13 Discussion

Another SDCC, another Doctor Who panel to drum up excitement for the upcoming new series. Moderator Melanie McFarland spoke to Chris Chibnall, Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, and new companion John Bishop in a pre-recorded panel. Series 13 is one season-long serial, shot under COVID safety protocols where everyone had to wear masks except for the actors when they're on camera. As ever with these panels, the cast and producers heap praise on each other and talk about how much they liked working on the show.

Doctor Who: the Fun Things Said at the SDCC@Home Panel
Still from the "Doctor Who" panel, SDCC@Home

Bishop talked about how he originally turned down the role of Dan because he was about to go on a stand-up tour since he's one of the most on-demand standup comedians in the UK. Then the Pandemic and Lockdown occurred. He called up the producers and asked if the role was still available. He was then invited to still audition a few times. Auditions for Doctor Who are a long, multipart process where he first met with Chibnall, then invited on the set in Cardiff to meet Whittaker, before they offered him the role. He talked about how he has never seen the full faces of the crew, only their eyes, so he could pass them unmasked in the streets without recognising them.

doctor who
The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER) Yasmin Khan (MANDIP GILL), Dan (JOHN BISHOP) – Doctor Who _ Season 13 – Photo Credit: James Pardon/BBC Studios/BBC America

Bishop talks about how Whittaker and Mandip Gill look epic while he looks like the bloke your uncle plays darts with down the pub. As ever, Chibnall won't reveal any new characters for the new season, but several of them will recur throughout the season-long serial. He did reveal that Jacob Anderson, who played Grey Worm on Game of Thrones, would be playing a character named Vinder in Series 13.

Chibnall has worked with Anderson before on Broadchurch, continuing his habit of casting people he already had a working relationship with because he knows how they work and can write specifically for them. Anderson had an endearingly geek-out moment on his first day where he just had to stand on the TARDIS set and touch all the buttons on the console for real. His character also gets to have his own ship with switches and levers to flip, every boy's dream come true. Anderson might have subtly hinted that his character Vinder is a Timelord when he said "my hearts". Either that or it was a massive, deliberate tease to set the fans and the internet ablaze with speculation.

Filming is often a surreal experience with moments of off-screen comedy. Bishop recalled the moment when he and Anderson were filming against a green screen scene where they were supposed to face something huge and epic – and he broke wind. And Anderson was the only one who heard it. Of course, Bishop would break wind during an epic Sci-Fi scene on Doctor Who. Gill talked about shooting in the middle of the night and just coming face-to-face with an Old School Doctor Who monster. Bishop said to Whittaker, "Just remember you are a grown woman and this is a professional job!!" Of course, the panel climaxed with the release of the first teaser trailer for Series 13. It was such a teaser that it revealed as little as possible other than the main cast, Jacob Anderson popping up as Vinder, and a few quick FX shots, no villains, no monsters. A fuller trailer will be released closer to the premiere in the Autumn.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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