‘Doctor Who’ series 11: What we know, what we want, concerns
Hey there, Whovians! Do you hear that? That’s the universe calling. With the new series 11 teaser officially out, I’m (somehow) even more pumped for the return of Doctor Who. I thought I’d take the time to review what we know, a couple wishes I have for the new season, and my worry concerning companions. We still have a bit of a wait before the new season, but when the universe calls, you answer, so let’s dive in and look ahead!
What we know
Rather than the 12-episode seasons we’ve grown used to, series 11 of Doctor Who will only be 10 episodes. However, rumor has it the episodes will be longer in length to compensate for the lost time, with the first episode being even longer to introduce the series. This 10-episode season, as far as I know, does not include the Christmas special.
The Thirteenth Doctor will have three companions: Yasmin Khan, played by Mandip Gill; Graham, played by Bradley Walsh; and Ryan Sinclair, played by Tosin Cole.
The TARDIS gets a makeover. The most notable changes: The St. John Ambulance decal is gone, and the “Pull to Open” sign has reversed its colors. The sign now contains white text on a black background, which is a huge difference from the black text on the white background. Other changes include a darker blue color for the exterior, and the windows are now all the same color. New Doctor, new TARDIS – makes sense considering the TARDIS is currently flying out of the sky sans its pilot.
New composer! With Murray Gold’s exit, Segun Akinola is stepping in to provide the all-important musical aspect of the show, including a new theme song. From what I’ve seen, I get the feeling the new theme will be a tad different than we’re used to, but I have complete faith the change won’t be so drastic as to make the iconic theme tune unrecognizable. I’m actually quite excited about this. Murray Gold did some amazing, moving work, but I’m looking forward to the direction Segun Akinola will take the music. The Doctor Who soundtracks are always epic, and I see no reason we should expect any less with a new composer.
Alan Cumming will be in the last episode of the season (11×10) as King James.
What we want to see
Bringing in King James seems promising for a history-based episode, which I am a complete sucker for. I’m especially excited to see The Doctor, now a woman, mess with history in times women were considered inferior to men. That could make for some really great explanations for and twists of historical events in very Doctor Who-esque fashion.
My main exposure to Jodie Whittaker is Broadchurch, so I know she is capable of acting the complete spectrum of emotions. This is pivotal for any actor playing The Doctor because this range is one of the things that makes The Doctor interesting. She needs to be able to get the seriousness of Eccleston, the goofiness of Smith, the subtle anger of Capaldi, and she needs to embody the Tennant technique of thinking he actually owns the TARDIS, allowing her to work the TARDIS like she knows how any of those buttons truly work.
With new showrunner Chris Chibnall also coming from Broadchurch, I hope he takes advantage of all the amazing things he knows Jodie Whittaker can do and writes them in for her. It’s one thing for an actor to be incredible, but the writing needs to give them room to do their thing.
Since the Thirteenth Doctor and the TARDIS are freefalling from the sky, part of me wanted to see another Doctor stuck on Earth like the Third Doctor was. However, with the new TARDIS, this doesn’t seem like the case. I’d have loved an Earth-based series with The Doctor working with modern-day UNIT. Despite my wish for a Doctor stuck on Earth, I am very excited to see where this new Doctor goes with her new TARDIS.
And one more wish: I want The Doctor to get a new sonic screwdriver. Peter Capaldi’s screwdriver upgrade was amazing, so I totally want more. There’s no guarantee the Thirteenth Doctor will get a new one, but it’s a definite possibility.
The more the merrier does not apply to people aboard the TARDIS.
Companions cannot really get their own stories when the TARDIS is so packed because there are only so many things you can cover in one episode/one season. Too many plots get confusing for viewers. At Regeneration Who 4 in Baltimore, one thing Fifth Doctor companion and packed-TARDIS expert Janet Fielding (Tegan) claimed she loved about the revival of the show is that the companions had developed backgrounds, and this was possible because the number of companions, with the exception of “Journey’s End,” was steadily lower. Three companions are just too many.
There’s another layer to concerns about the new Doctor getting three companions. I hope the Thirteenth Doctor was not given so many companions because the showrunners think she needs the backup. Regardless of the reason (gender or otherwise), the idea that the number of companions increased to provide support should she need it is problematic.
However, Jodie Whittaker has called the new TARDIS team a “dream team,” so maybe they’ll pull it off. I’m optimistic! I’m really interested to see how the writers use the three-companion setup.
Recognize this Beano from “The Rings of Akhaten”?! The Doctor must really love Beano.
We still don’t have an airdate for series 11 yet, but it’s summer now, so we’re one season closer to Doctor Who’s return in the fall. Until then, hang in there, Whovians. We’ll talk more Doctor Who soon!
What do you want to see on the new season of ‘Doctor Who’? Let us know at @PureFandom on Twitter!
Doctor Who will return to BBC America this fall.