It feels like an age since anything Doctor Who related was on our screens, but that’s all set to change soon with the annual Christmas special arriving this holiday. Peter Capaldi will return to the TARDIS once more, this time to join forces with a superhero called Doctor Mysterio (played by Justin Chatwin), ahead of season 10 – which will arrive on our screens in spring, 2017.
The tenth season will also be Steven Moffat’s last as showrunner, with his final ever episode set to be the 2017 Christmas special. After that, Doctor Who writer, Chris Chibnall will take the reins for season 11 onwards. There has been much discussion and many rumors about what might happen with Doctor Who going forward under a new showrunner. Many assumed that Capaldi will depart when Moffat does, but Capaldi himself tried to put those rumors to rest by saying that the BBC has asked him to stay on. However, new rumors have surfaced that suggest the BBC is hoping to start Chibnall’s run with an entirely clean slate.
Reports in The Mirror state that the BBC want to try and revive Doctor Who – which, as a show, has been suffering from dwindling ratings in recent years – by bringing in an entirely new lineup for season 11; including a brand new Doctor and companion. For Capaldi, that will mean he would depart the show after three seasons, but for Pearl Mackie, it’s a whole other story. The actress won’t make her debut as the current Doctor’s companion until the start of season 10 in 2017, so if a clean slate is set for season 11, her time on the show will be rather short lived. Mackie has, however, only signed a one year contract, so it is entirely feasible that this will happen.
Since being relaunched in 2005, Doctor Who has enjoyed massive success with a family audience, reaching its peak when David Tennant was helming the TARDIS with Billie Piper alongside as Rose. After Tennant’s departure, Matt Smith kept the ball rolling by bringing a quirky, fresh, and fun outlook to the show. It was a new dynamic, but one that worked, and ensured the show’s continued popularity. However, though Capaldi is undoubtedly a talented actor, his version of the Doctor has failed to ignite audiences in quite the same way. This could, in part, be due to his age, which it shouldn’t be, of course, but audiences are fickle, and it seems as though the majority of Doctor Who viewers (and perhaps its the more casual viewers rather than hard core followers of the franchise) want a more enticing lead. As a source at the BBC says:
“BBC management wants a return to the format from the David Tennant era, when you had a dashing male lead and young female companion. Merchandising has dropped off sharply in recent years and there is a strong desire to boost the show’s popularity among kids.”
Indeed, here Capaldi’s age does count against him. Younger viewers find it harder to identify with someone older dashing about through time and space; it’s more like their dad running the TARDIS rather than someone they can look up to and aspire to be like. Another issue is perhaps, the writing of the show. Season 10 gave Capaldi some great moments, and when the writing is strong he really comes alive and shows what a talent he has, like his speech on war, for example. However, a lot of the time, the double bill episodes in season ten felt long and dragged out, with not enough action happening. Writing was weak and directionless at times, and the flashes of brilliance were not enough to compensate.
Another issue with viewing figures in the U.K. at least, has been scheduling times, with Doctor Who being pushed to a later slot in the Saturday night schedule, meaning it often doesn’t air until 8pm or later – missing the family audience. It is hoped that by moving Doctor Who to the spring, it can gain a better spot on the schedule, though whether the show will remain there or revert back to airing in fall is not yet known. Whatever happens, it does, at this point, seem as though a change in lineup would be in the best interests of Doctor Who. With fresh ideas and fresh leads, interest will be piqued, and if people tune in just to see what the show is like in season 11, they might just stick around.
Doctor Who returns to BBC 1 and BBC America with the 2016 Christmas special. Season 10 will air in 2017.
Source: The Mirror