Rumours about both the immediate and longer term future of Doctor Who have been flying around the Internet this week. In a bid to either discover the truth or put those rumours to bed, STARBURST has been in touch with the series’ production office for confirmation one way or the other.
The BBC was happy to go on the record about the programme’s short-term future. There had been a lot of chatter about Jodie Whittaker’s second run in Series 12 being planned for a broadcast in the spring of 2020, rather than in the autumn of 2019 as everyone had originally assumed. This is not true.
We were told that Series 12 went into production this week, and that it will definitely be broadcast next year, as part of the autumn 2019 TV schedule.
That’s one rumour that has now been scotched.
The second rumour that’s currently doing the rounds is that new showrunner Chris Chibnall hasn’t been happy behind the scenes, and is set to quit after Series 12.
We can only speculate as to his possible reasons – if indeed the story is true – but Chibnall told us quite firmly in January 2013 that he didn’t want the showrunner job, and it’s possible after the success of Broadchurch that the BBC pursued him for it against his better wishes. Or simply that he changed his mind.
Either way, if there is any truth to this rumour then it’s also been said that Jodie Whittaker would not want to continue on as the Doctor without Chibnall at the helm, and would leave at the same time as he did.
Both Chibnall and Whittaker have certainly looked happy enough during the pre-publicity for Series 11, and with the ratings success they’ve had it would be a loss for them both to go after one more series. But the BBC is an odd, double-headed beast (the programme is essentially now a co-production between the BBC and its autonomous subsidiary BBC Studios), and Chibnall would seem to be happier working with his own production company on series like Broadchurch. We have been somewhere very like this before, with Christopher Eccleston’s departure after just a single series in 2005.
In other news, the BBC has also this week confirmed that this year’s seasonal special will be broadcast on New Year’s Day rather than in the traditional Christmas Day spot – as we revealed back in September.
Could the 2019 run of episodes be set to finish with another regeneration for the Doctor? It’s unlikely we’ll know for sure one way or the other for some while yet. But one thing’s for sure, if Whittaker should leave the series after only two series, and with 2018 having seen some of Doctor Who’s highest ratings yet, it won’t be because the ‘experiment’ in changing the Doctor’s gender was a failure.
More news on this when we get it.