As much as we've been trying to keep a positive attitude and "stiff upper lip" when it comes to how long we have to wait until Doctor Who Series 12 graces our screens, let's face it, folks: 2020 is still 2020. Looking at our handy online calendar, what this means is that at a minimum we're at least 2 months away from Jodie Whittaker's return as the 13th Doctor… or are we?
More on that in a moment… but first? The long-running series once again did its part for the annual BBC Children in Need fundraising event, with Whittaker, Mandip Gill, and Tosin Cole appearing to a special young lady via satellite.
Satellite? But they have a TARDIS? Well, you can guess what happens next – and big thanks to Rich Johnston for the images (and also the person you can blame when "The Feels" kick in, though all images are BBC One property).
And for the record? We would have the same reaction if Whittaker let us hold her sonic screwdriver…
— BBC One (@BBCOne) November 15, 2019
BBC Children in Need provides grants to projects in the UK that focus on children and young people who are disadvantaged. The organization covers all of the UK, and supports over 3,000 small and large organisational efforts across the UK – helping children facing a range of disadvantages: for example, poverty and deprivation; children who have been the victims of abuse or neglect; or disabled young people.
BBC Children in Need currently awards grants at six points during the year and funds two types of grants. The Main Grants Programme is for grants over £10,000 per year to support projects for up to three years. Meanwhile, the Small Grants Programme supports projects for up to three years, and includes grants up to and including £10,000 per year.
Following up on a post from this past weekend that teased some kind of reveal later this month (more on that below), BBC One's Doctor Who blog revealed the names of three new writers joining the series with Series 12: Nina Metivier, Maxine Alderton, and Charlene James. In addition, the upcoming series will see four new directors join the team: Nida Manzoor, Emma Sullivan, Jamie Magnus Stone, and Lee Haven Jones.
Those seven will be joined by three writers returning from Series 11: Vinay Patel (Demons of The Punjab), Ed Hime (It Takes You Away), and Pete McTighe (Kerblam!).
"We're thrilled that Doctor Who continues to attract some of the most the most exciting and dynamic talent working in television. Along with our returning faces, we're excited to welcome new members to the Doctor Who family. The Doctor Who team is crammed with British television's brightest writers and directors: we've adored working with them, and can't wait to show you the explosive stuff they've created!"
– Chris Chibnall
The long-running international sensation posted a video Sunday morning with a specific tease: Doctor Who Series 12 is "coming soon" – and something is coming on November 23, 2019… but what?
Considering the importance of the date to the series, will it be a teaser, a trailer, a behind-the-scenes video… or something else? Maybe the announcement of a return date that will be early 2020 (like January/February)?
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) November 10, 2019
The BBC series took to social media on Halloween to post a promising "Watch This Space" teaser, which showed the doors to the TARDIS open and the shadow of Whittaker's Doctor extending forward (with sonic screwdriver) – as if she's about to save the day one more time.
Let the mindless specualtion begin!
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) October 31, 2019
According to the Radio Times from July 2019, there were reportedly plans underway to broadcast a stand-alone Doctor Who special before Series 12 premieres, possibly on New Year's Day (like earlier this year) or during the Christmas season (which would mark a return to the show's holiday traditions). There was also talk that the BBC and other places who get paid to make these heady decisions were contemplating a non-holiday season release during the winter so there would be less direct competition with holiday programming, and it would also open up storyline possibilities beyond holiday-themed outings.
Towards the end of January 2019, the BBC offered up the first bit of good news for Doctor Who fans: production on Series 12 was underway. In a post on the show's official Instagram account, the message, "#DoctorWho is back in production" was accompanied by a photo of Whittaker with TARDIS companions Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill, and Tosin Cole – clearly on set and on location:
"We're off again! Well we never actually stopped – as Jodie Whittaker's Doctor and friends have been winning the hearts of families across the nation this autumn, we've been busy with a whole new set of action packed adventures for the Thirteenth Doctor. We adore making this show and have been blown away by the response from audiences, so we can't wait to bring more scares, more monsters and more Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole to BBC One. Brilliant!"
– Chris Chibnall, Showrunner
Even with a year still to go before any "New Who," Chibnall offered some insight into what fans can expect earlier this year:
● On the possibility of more "Classic Who" villains: "Well, maybe we'll do some [classic monsters], then. I'll have a think."
Apparently he had a thought – at least about the Judoon, who are set to make a return appearance to Doctor Who during the next season (as confirmed by the show's official Twitter account in May 2019):
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) May 21, 2019
● If there will be a larger focus on Yaz's (Gill) backstory:
"That's a really good question. I think that some of these questions may be answered in the forthcoming season. I think that's the first teaser of the series! Really good question!"
● On how Doctor Who has always addressed "real world" issues – and will continue doing so:
"I think you want to be writing about the world that we live in – the show is not a standalone thing, it's a response to the times that we're living in, the world that we're in, and things that affect people's lives, particularly things that children and young adults are going through."