With Doctor Who's ninth season already over halfway done, attention is turning to the tenth season. We know that Jenna Coleman will not be returning as Clara Oswald (she leaves in episode ten of this run), and we also know that Peter Capaldi will be helming the TARDIS for at least the upcoming tenth season.
Recent comments by Capaldi brought to light the fact that the BBC were keen to double the number of episodes in a season’s run, which usually comes in at around 10-12 episodes, bulking it up to around 20. However, Capaldi made it very public knowledge that he was against this idea, saying Doctor Who should be about quality over quantity, and that more episodes would compromise the story telling as well as pushing cast and crew beyond reasonable working limits.
Following on from those remarks comes the rumor that Doctor Who’s tenth season will not be longer at all; in fact, it will be considerably shorter. The Mirror reports that season ten of the hit sci-fi show will see its episode count reduced to half (so presumably, six) the usual number of episodes, supplemented by a Christmas special. The ‘supplemented’ part seems a bit superfluous, since Doctor Who Christmas specials have been a staple of British holiday programming for the past ten years, but presumably that’s to appease those who won’t take kindly to the shortened run.
Allegedly, the reason for the reduced length comes because Capaldi wants time off to pursue other projects; including directing a film based on his time in 70’s punk band The Dreamboys as well as appearing in two episodes of Veep. Capaldi is previously quoted as saying “Playing the Doctor takes up so much time. It doesn’t leave much room for other things,” but it seems as though he has indeed found the time to branch out, even if it is at the cost of Doctor Who.
If the short season is true, it seems possible that there was some behind-the-scenes wrangling to keep Capaldi on as the Doctor. Many had thought he would depart at the end of season 9, and showrunner Steven Moffat only recently confirmed that Capaldi will be back.
Wanting to work on other projects is perfectly reasonable, of course, and Capaldi is highly regarded as a great comic actor with a dry, sharp wit, so working on Veep will suit him - but it is a little surprising that he is willing to disappoint fans of Doctor Who so readily, if true. It seems as though for many, the Doctor is a role that should be all-encompassing, whereas Capaldi seems to be almost carrying on in spite of the huge undertaking this role requires.
One option would have been to put a hold on season ten, and return in 2017 instead, but rightly or wrongly, viewers do expect a new season of Doctor Who each year, and Moffat has already confirmed that the show will run until at least 2020. The BBC will perhaps be hoping that a shorter season will mean a rise in viewers though; season nine viewing figures have recently dipped below the 4 million mark for the first time this run and the season premiere only scored 4.6 million viewers in the UK.
Doctor Who continues on Saturday, November 7th with 'The Zygon Inversion' on BBC1 and BBC America.
Source: The Mirror