Doctor Who is returning with its biggest episode ever on New Year's Day. The Season 12 premiere episode "Spyfall" is the first two-part episode since Chris Chibnall took over the series as showrunner. Chibnall promises the episode will provide a "movie-like" experience such as Doctor Who fan have never experienced. "Episode one is probably the biggest episode of Doctor Who we've done, or has been done, I would imagine. Physically, there's a lot of stunts, there's a lot of locations, it's a globe-trotting action thriller," Chibnall tells Deadline. "But you don't want to lose sight of character and intimacy and emotion. You can't do everything at 11."
"Spyfall" guest-stars Stephen Fry and Lenny Henry. The episode sees the Doctor aiding British intelligence agencies against alien attacks. Chibnall wrote the episode and Jamie Magnus Stone directs.
Chibnall also says there's a connective narrative thread running through the season. "The success of last year really emboldens you. All that audience we gathered up last year, we're now going to take them on a journey into the toy box of Doctor Who," he said.
"It's easy to take for granted how loved Doctor Who is around the world and how loved it is in Britain, how important is to the BBC. How important it is to iPlayer – even when the show is off air. It's got its own space in this world of streaming and on-demand and it's much more than just linear broadcasting. Look at Netflix and Amazon, who have the back catalog, the importance of it to any number of industrial partners globally is kind of enormous."
Jodie Whittaker returns to star as the Thirteenth Doctor. She debuted in the role in Season 11, becoming the first woman to play an incarnation of the Doctor. "I really can't wait to step back in and get to work again," Whittaker said when the show was renewed, confirming her return. "It's such an incredible role. It's been an extraordinary journey so far and I'm not quite ready to hand it over yet."
The new season also sees the return of Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill as Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair, and Yasmin Khan, respectively. Each is one of the Doctor's companions traveling in the TARDIS.