In the first part of November it was revealed that Doctor Who was back in front of cameras and shooting its upcoming thirteenth series of episodes, though sporting a shorter count of episodes than usual. The upcoming Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks, the latest holiday special, will be released on New Year's Day and will be the last episode of the Jodie Whittaker starring series for some time. With a smaller amount of episodes one might expect the series to return sooner than usual, but showrunner Chris Chibnall isn't talking. Speaking in a new interview he teased that he has "an idea" of when the series will return but that any specifics would be met with a lecture from the BBC.
"We’re filming as we speak," Chibnall told EW. "We’ve got lots of new characters, new monsters, some old ones coming back. We’re only a few weeks in. We’re obviously having to work in a very different way, under COVID protocols. So, it’s not without its challenges but every series of Doctor Who has had its challenges. At the moment, everybody's smiling and what we’ve got so far is really thrilling."
In his previously released statement about the new season, Chibnall noted the "rigorous" protocols in place for the series as they attempt to film during the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, which as a result will force them to film each episode longer than it would in a typical series. It was previously reported by RadioTimes that the series was aiming for a 2021 broadcast, but that report came before the coronavirus.
"Rest assured, the ambition, humor, fun and scares you expect from Doctor Who will all still be firmly in place," Chibnall said in November. "For everyone around the world, this is a challenging period – but the Doctor never shirks from a challenge!”
Matt Strevens, Executive Producer BBC Studios, added: “We are so thrilled to have unlocked the TARDIS, dusted down the sonic and be able to start filming again for the next season of Doctor Who. The amazing production team, crew and cast have worked wonders to get us shooting again in these challenging times. It’s going to be as fun-filled and action-packed as ever – with plenty of surprises.”
The season 12 finale left things on a cliffhanger as Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor was left behind, locked away in an eternal prison and her fate unknown. The upcoming Christmas special will primarily focus on the Doctor’s best friends Yaz (played by Mandip Gill), Ryan (played by Tosin Cole) and Graham (played by Bradley Walsh) as they work to keep their lives going in her absence. They'll soon discover though that a disturbing plan forming involving one of the Doctor’s biggest and most feared enemies – the Daleks - is a foot. How do you fight the Daleks without the Doctor? With the Doctor’s fate unknown, just what will season 13 bring?