Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor will be treated to her own TARDIS interior, as well as longer episodes, when Doctor Who returns for its eleventh season. As previously announced, this year’s Christmas episode of the long-running British science fiction series will be the swansong for both lead actor Peter Capaldi and current showrunner Steven Moffat. The duo will be replaced by Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall, respectively.
Other than those salient details, very little is known about Doctor Who‘s immediate future, although rumors persist that the vacancy of “Doctor’s companion” will be filled by actor and gameshow host Bradley Walsh. With the Thirteenth Doctor marking the first female incarnation of the titular Time Lord, Doctor Who‘s forthcoming season is already promising to be a significantly different affair compared to previous efforts and with new faces both in front of and behind the camera, the changes aren’t stopping there.
As reported by The Mirror, the next season of Doctor Who will feature a brand new design for the interior of the TARDIS and an updated sonic screwdriver for Whittaker to whip out every five minutes. Season eleven will also feature longer episodes, with each installment clocking in at 60 minutes, rather than the usual 45. This alteration does come at a price however, as the episode count for the upcoming run will be reduced to a lower-than-usual 10.
While sonic screwdriver changes between seasons have become par for the course on Doctor Who – that merchandise doesn’t sell itself, you know – TARDIS revamps are somewhat more special and don’t always occur post-regeneration, as seen with David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor who retained his predecessor’s modern decor. The most significant update, however, is undoubtedly the change in season structure. Even the most ardent Whovian would have to admit that recent seasons of the show have included a couple of duff episodes (that means you “In the Forest of the Night”) so cutting away some filler in order to give more time to each individual story sounds like a very prudent move on Chibnall’s part.
With that said, the new boss should perhaps be wary of making wholesale changes to the point where Doctor Who becomes unrecognizable from seasons past. When Steven Moffat took over the reigns from Russell T. Davies, he too overhauled the series and although Matt Smith’s Doctor was ultimately a roaring success, the various new elements did take a few episodes to gel and find their feet. Moffat himself has even admitted that early Smith-era episodes such as “The Beast Below” aren’t some of Who‘s finest moments and this should perhaps act as a warning for the new head honcho.
Doctor Who season eleven is expected to premiere in late 2018 on the BBC
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