The first teaser for Doctor Who season 11 has made its debut during the World Cup Final between France and Croatia. The 50 second clip not only features the 13th Doctor and her new outfit, but also gives us a first look at the new companions who will be joining Jodie Whittaker's Doctor in the TARDIS this Fall: Tosin Cole as Ryan, Mandip Gill as Yasmin, and Bradley Walsh as Graham. The show is set to return in October 2018.
In a change to the usual solo companion (and occasional couple), Whittaker's Doctor will be taking three very different companions along for the ride, and this teaser shows their lives being disrupted (mostly for the better - free pizza!) as the Doctor crosses their paths. Let's break down the teaser, and take a look at what it could mean for Doctor Who season 11.
Season vs. Series
Let's start with a minor point, but one which can be confusing if you're not in the know. The Doctor Who teaser is billed as "series 11" rather than "season 11." The reason for this is very simple: in the UK, TV shows are discussed in terms of series, and season is the US equivalent. So, no difference at all - just a local quirk.
Football Is The Focus
The Doctor Who season 11 teaser aired during the World Cup final on BBC 1 in the UK. It made sense, then, to have the three companions all listening or watching the coverage. In fact, England have had their most successful World Cup run since 1990, and football (soccer) fever has gripped the nation. The sporting focus was a wise move since the U.K. audience can easily identify with it (and we were all hoping England would be in the final, of course).
No Footage From the Upcoming Season
The teaser features a weird time-bending effect (more on that in a moment); kind of a golden glow that slows time briefly and then disappears, leaving things altered. We all know the Doctor and their "wibbley-wobbly timey-wimey" effect, but it does seem as though this visual is only for the teaser. All of the footage in the clip has been shot specially for the teaser, and is not footage from the season. So, like it or loathe it, we're probably not going to see that effect in the show (unless the Doctor acquires a new superpower).
The first of the new Doctor Who companions we meet is Ryan (Tosin Cole). He is sitting in a typical British cafe, eating a fry-up and watching the soccer on his phone. A rattling of furniture alerts him to something, before a gold flash slows his world momentarily. A hand (belonging to the Doctor, of course), reaches out, dips his toast into his egg, and moves on. When Ryan comes back to reality, he's left a little shocked and surprised.
Next, we meet Yasmin (Mandip Gill), who is watching the game in an apartment with friends. She opens a pizza box to find it all gone, but the rattling of books on a shelf causes her to close the box again and turn her head. That familiar gold flash appears, we see the brief flash of a trenchcoat, and when Yasmin looks back, her pizza box is full. We're liking the new Doctor's abilities!
Finally, Graham (Bradley Walsh) is waiting for that British staple: fish and chips. The TV is on in the background of the shop, and he's reading the newspaper. When the gold flash comes, this time we see a pair of boots leaving the shop, and Graham looks down to discover he's holding a copy of The Beano Summer Special from 1981. Now, where have we seen that before? Matt Smith's Doctor was also a fan of the same comic, seen in season 7. What's the significance of that particular issue, and why has the Doctor given it to Graham now? We'll find out in due course, maybe...or maybe it's just a little Easter Egg to amuse eagle-eyed viewers.
The Doctor Calls
After a black screen which declares "The universe is calling," the gold time-bending swirls unite to form our brand new Doctor, and she looks magnificent. There's a brief smile, and then the teaser is done. It's hard to tell from the blurred background, but it could be that she's appearing to Graham for the first time. For those eager for more (that's all of us), Doctor Who will have a panel at San Diego Comic-Con this coming week, and Whittaker will be in attendance. It's strongly expected that we'll get our first look at footage from the new season, as well as more details on what's to come.