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Everything You Need to Know About Doctor Who Season 11

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The 13th Doctor, and the first woman to play the role, Jodie Whittaker's first line matched the hopeful tone of her arrival: "Oh, brilliant!"

As the new season gets ready to begin, we have all the news and gossip you need to know about the biggest season of Doctor Who yet...

Credit: Doctor Who – Series 11 – Episode 1 – Yaz (MANDIP GILL), Ryan (TOSIN COLE), The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER), Graham (BRADLEY WALSH), Grace (SHARON D CLARKE) – (C) BBC / BBC Studios – Photographer: Sophie Mutevelian

Places and Locations

Talking to Den of Geek, Chris Chibnall described how his first season of Doctor Who will establish “a sense of place” which is “really important”.

The first episode, 'The Woman Who Fell To Earth', is set and partly filmed in Sheffield, and as a result the first episode of series 11 will premiere there.

Chibnall went on to say, “It feels very important to connect Doctor Who to Sheffield. You’ll see it again during the series.” The reason being that Jodie’s Doctor’s homebase on Earth will be the city this year.

Chibnall knows how “cinematic" the city is and how it offers a "different humour”, and hopes it will add something new to the hit show. Other locations will include South Africa which stands in for different worlds and landscapes and is described by Chibnall as, “stunning”. 

Villains and Recurring Characters

Chibnall has promised that the series is a fresh start for new viewers. We can look forward to “all new monsters”. Recent and traditional baddies like the Daleks, the Master (Missy), the cybermen and weeping angels won’t be in the new season, however. Neither will recent recurring characters like River Song and the Pasternoster Gang.

Don’t panic though! Chibnall told a worried young fan that “It's not like a rule forever”. Just an attempt to make this first season truly unique and new in the Whoverse. 

The Writers and Directors

 Alongside Chibnall, many writers new to Who are joining the crew. These include Malorie Blackman, known for the YA Noughts and Crosses series, Skins writer Ed Hime, Murdered by my Father writer, Vinay Patel, Pete McTighe and Joy Wilkinson. Jamie Childs, who oversaw the reveal of Whittaker, will take the directing role for the opening episode. 

Doctor Who?

Small hints at what kind of doctor Jodie Whittaker will be have come out recently. BBC Drama controller Piers Wenge told The Radio Times that in Jodie, “gone is the daffiness and idiosyncrasy of her predecessors in favour of a doctor with energy spark and relatability”.

Showrunner Chris Chibnall meanwhile asserts, “she’s absolutely the doctor, but there’s a new calibration, a new mixture of Doctorishness. The Thirteen Doctor is incredible lively, warm, funny, energetic, inclusive”.

She “speaks at a hundred miles an hour” and has a similar “energy” to Matt Smith’s 11thDoctor, new companion Mandip Gill has revealed.  Oh and she has Jodie’s natural Yorkshire accent. As Ecclestone’s Doctor once said, “Lots of planets have a North!”.

The Companions

The companions are many this year! They include Ryan Sinclair, played by Tosin Cole, Bradley Walsh as Ryan’s step-grandad Graham O’Brien, and Yasmin Khan played by Mandip Gill.  

Sharon D Clarke will have a returning role. Ryan’s character will be portrayed with dyspraxia, a condition impacting physical co-ordination. Meanwhile, Walsh had not seen the show since the 1960s until he was cast!

Cole has expressed that he is “excited to be a part of this journey”, Gill says she is “over the moon” to join the Doctor Who family and Walsh is thrilled to be part of “this whole ground-breaking new dawn for the doctor”.

The First Episode

Our first trip with the new doctor is titled 'The Woman Who Fell to Earth', a play on both the Bowie film about an alien in 70s America, and the precarious situation Jodie’s Doctor found herself in as she fell out of her Tardis in 2017’s 'Twice Upon a Time'.

Written by Chibnail,  the plot synopsis is “We don’t get aliens in Sheffield. In a South Yorkshire city, Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan and Graham O’Brien are about to have their lives changed forever, as a mysterious woman, unable to remember her own name, falls from the night sky.Can they believe a word she says? And can she help solve the strange events taking place across the city?”

The New Tardis/Sonic Screwdriver/Theme Tune

When each doctor changes so does their Tardis, theme and screwdriver. What news is there about Whittaker’s? A since deleted tweet by a DW concept artist, Darren Fereday, describes the Tardis production design ideas by new designer Arwel Wyn as, “crazy”.

Meanwhile, the screwdriver has already been pictured in promotional images and some photographs might suggest the 13th Doctor builds this version.

Finally on the theme, Chibnall in Doctor Who Magazine noted there is “a new opening title sequence, and a new arrangement of the opening theme, by our brilliant new composer Segun Akinola”. He teased however that “you’ll have to wait until episode two[…] Episode one starts slightly differently…”

No opening title sequence for this is just another of the many new aspects of season 11.

The Future of Doctor Who

Anyone worried about the future of the show can breathe a sigh of relief as it's going to be here a good while yet…

A press release from last year revealed that series 11 will be followed by another four, with the show renewed until season 15. This probably fits in with Chibnall’s supposed “five-year plan” for the show. 

The first episode, The Woman Who Fell To Earth, premieres this Sunday the 7th of October on BBC One at 6:45pm. 

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