Doctor Who news and rumors: Season 11 and beyond (Updated!)
Keep checking this article for Doctor Who news and rumors, including season 11 info, links to the missing episodes news, and what the future holds for DW.
Welcome to our Doctor Who news and rumors page! This article was originally dedicated to a specific season of the show, but it quickly outgrew that and has become a one stop source for everything related to Doctor Who. As a result, this page is updated frequently.
If you are looking for news on the Doctor Who missing episodes, check our separate post HERE.
If you think we missed anything, or if there are some Doctor Who rumors or pieces of news regarding the show (or anything related), please let us know in the comments!
Updated: October 10, 2017.
Doctor Who General News
Doctor Who is preparing for some major changes. In essence, the entire show is about to receive a complete reset – not in terms of the story, but in every other aspect of the production.
At the conclusion of the 2017 Christmas Special, showrunner Steven Moffat will officially step down. He will have been in charge of Doctor Who for six seasons over seven years, and he helped to further propel the revitalized show to international fame. Oddly, while the show began to see its viewership numbers slip in the UK, they have continued to grow in other markets, especially in America. Current star Peter Capaldi is also leaving, and the 2017 Christmas Special will be his last episode.
Following Moffat’s departure, the show will be overseen by Doctor Who writer and Broadchurch showrunner, Chris Chibnall. He will take over showrunning duties starting with the 11th season. His previous Doctor Who episodes include “42,” “The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood,” the webseries “Pond Life,” “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship,” “The Power of Three,” and the animated “P.S.”
Chibnall will have some help from Misfits and EastEnders producer Matt Strevens, who will act as executive producer, taking over for Brian Minchin. Strevens is a devout Doctor Who fan and helped produce the Doctor Who biopic, Adventures in Time and Space.
- The BBC originally wanted Chibnall to take over starting with the 2017 Christmas Special, but he was still busy on Broadchurch. Moffat agreed to take it on as his last episode.
- Once it became clear there was a new team taking over, the BBC decided early on that the next Doctor would be a woman.
- Chibnall and his team will create all new companions.
- The Tardis will feature a new design, both outside and in.
Doctor Who Season 11 News: Broadcast Details
One of the best things about shows produced by the BBC is that they aren’t beholden to the whims of advertisers. Instead, the network is kept operational thanks to annual television license fees that British citizens, organizations, and companies pay. The downside is that the shows aren’t beholden to audiences either, meaning they don’t need to keep to any specific schedule to make people happy. Shows could come back twice in a year or after a five-year hiatus. There are no set rules.
Season 11 is expected to air in Autumn 2018, although the BBC has not announced a specific release date.
- For those mourning the loss of Doctor Who on Netflix, it is now available on Amazon Prime.
- The format of the show will shift a bit. The next season will consist of 10 episodes, but each episode will be around 50-60 minutes. In total minutes, season 11 will be almost exactly as long as season 12, possibly longer.
- The first episode of season 11 will be around 60 minutes.
- The 2017 Christmas Special will air in theaters.
Doctor Who Season 11 News: Casting and Guest Star Rumors
Whittaker will be the first female Doctor and the assume the role of the 13th Doctor (although she will be the 14th incarnation of the same Time Lord). Her first appearance will be during the Christmas special when she takes over for Capaldi. She will then begin her run in earnest when the show returns for its 11th season since its 2005 relaunch, and its 37th season overall.
Current companion Pearl Mackie will return in the Christmas special, but she is not expected to return for season 11. In another change for the show, Whitaker’s Doctor will feature three companions. Whitaker will be joined by Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, and Mandip Gill. Other than their names – Graham, Ryan, and Yasmin, respectively – almost nothing is known about their characters.
It’s not yet clear if they will all be every episode, or if the three will have a connection that goes beyond their relationship with the Doctor. It’s also not clear when they will debut, but the first episode of the 11th season is the most probable.
- Ninth season writer Peter Harness stated that he would love to bring back the character of Ian Chesterton (played by William Russell), one of the First Doctor’s first companions. Chesterton was a teacher at Coal Hill School where Coleman’s Clara taught, and the school featured in the upcoming Class spinoff. In the 50th anniversary, it was revealed that Chesterton is the Chairman of the Governors for the school.
- The character of Osgood may return, although despite fan support she won’t be a companion.
- The Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, has stated that he would be willing to return. That might just be McGann’s wishful thinking, but it could still work.
- Maisie Williams stated that she is not expecting to return. That could always change, but at the moment her character’s story is done.
- Moffat recently revealed that the role of the Doctor was offered to a black actor (Moffat wouldn’t say who), but that actor turned it down. Capaldi then won the role.
- John Noble said he would like to appear on Doctor Who at some point.
Doctor Who Storylines: 2017 Christmas Special, Season 11, and Beyond
Almost nothing is known about season 11 yet. We can, however, make some educated guesses. The Christmas special is still on the way as well.
Here are a few other hints:
- According to Moffat, the BBC is tentatively planning for at least four or five more years of Doctor Who. That is an incredible vote of confidence from the BBC, but it could always change if ratings slide.
- Although Michelle Gomez initially said she was done with playing Missy, especially with Capaldi leaving, she later suggested that she may be up to return at some point.
- Matt Lucas may appear in the Christmas special as Nardole to tie up his story. He is not expected to return in season 11.
- Along with David Bradley appearing as the First Doctor, Ellie Spicer will appear as Polly in the Christmas Special.
- The title of the Christmas special will be “Twice Upon a Time.”
- A new trailer has been released:
- Mark Gatiss will appear.
- While there is always the chance of characters returning in season 11, the BBC seems to want to start fresh with the new team. It will essentially be a soft relaunch.
- There are rumors that Jenna Coleman will appear in the Christmas special, but that is unconfirmed. If she does, it doesn’t necessarily mean she will appear as Clara (she might be a flashback or a hallucination, for example).
- The Christmas Special will be “dark in tone,” according to Moffat.
- The BBC has released the first look at Whittaker in costume. There’s no story to it, but the outfit does give us a hint at the tone.
Writers and Directors, season 11 and beyond
Given that the BBC is looking at season 11 as a soft relaunch of the show, and given that Chibnall is taking over, there is a good chance that the show will use a new group of writers. A few may return from previous seasons, but most will likely be new.
If the show continues to follow its established pattern, Chibnall will write the first episode, and probably the two-part finale. He may write others as well. There are stories that Chibnall is considering a new approach for Doctor Who, including a writing room where the stories are created in committee, then one writer will write the actual script and dialogue. That is unconfirmed at this point, however.
Before Chibnall takes over, however, Moffat will have one final credit via the Christmas special. Originally, Moffat was not planning on writing the special, instead intending to finish his time with the show on the season 10 finale. Chibnall was still deep at work on Broadchurch when work on the special was expected to begin, so it fell to Moffat.
- Russell T. Davies was approached to write a season nine episode partly to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the show’s renewal, but he declined.
- Armando Iannucci, the creator of HBO’s Veep and the British political comedy The Thick of It (which starred Capaldi), stated that he has spoken with Moffat and company about writing an episode. He said that he would be willing, but it is a matter of timing.
- Luther creator Neil Cross was expected to return to Doctor Who with a new script in Season 8, but it either never happened or it may have been pushed. Cross previously wrote “The Rings of Akhaten,” and “Hide.”
- Author Neil Gaiman has repeatedly stated that he would like to write another episode and was especially interested in writing for Capaldi. He also stated that he would like to create a monster of his own. The problem is timing – Gaiman is already a busy guy, and with American Gods, it looks like he may not get his chance.
- Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has repeatedly stated that he would like to film an episode(s) of Doctor Who, and he would like the production to come to New Zealand. Jackson even posted a video teasing that he would direct, but it’s not clear how serious he was.
- Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker was approached to write an episode. He wanted to accept, but his schedule didn’t allow it.
Doctor Who spin-offs
There are at least two Doctor Who spin-offs, one in series form the other as a movie. They join a fairly sizable list of Doctor Who spin-offs over the years, including Torchwood, the UK/Australian K9, and The Sarah Jane Smith Adventures.
Back in October 2015, the BBC announced that it was developing a Doctor Who spin-off titled Class. The show is geared for a younger audience and focuses on students at the Coal Hill School.
The school has been featured prominently in recent seasons as Clara and Danny Pink’s school, but it was originally introduced in the first ever episode of Doctor Who, “The Unearthly Child.” It then appeared once more in the Seventh Doctor serial, “Remembrance of the Daleks.”
The show was executive produced by Moffat, but overseen by YA author, Patrick Ness. The first season consisted of eight, 45-minute episodes. This is the first time Ness has written for Doctor Who on TV, but during the 50th anniversary, he penned the original Fifth Doctor e-book, Tip of the Tongue.
The BBC has officially canceled Class.
- There are three Class tie-in novels, published on October 27, 2016.
- The show debuted in Great Britain on October 22, 2016.
- There is a chance Class may return as a Big Finish series.
The Doctor’s faithful metallic companion is heading to the big screen in his own movie, K9: TimeQuake. The film will not feature the Doctor, instead, it will pit K9 up against Omega, one of the greatest threats the Doctor faced in the Classic stories.
The movie will be a UK production, but it’s not entirely clear if it will be part of the Doctor Who canon or not. The character recently had his own UK/Australian TV show, but the BBC did not authorize Bob Baker – K9’s creator – the use of K9’s design, prompting a redesign. The movie claims that K9 will be upgraded once again, so the BBC may not be involved in the production.
The film is aiming to be released in 2017, which coincides with the 40th anniversary of K9’s introduction in the Fourth Doctor serial, “The Invisible Enemy.” There hasn’t been any official word on the film in nearly a year though, making its future unsure.
- The model for K9 has was revealed on May 2017.
- The script is complete.
Doctor Who audio
If you want more Doctor Who, there is always the massive library of original Doctor Who audio stories produced by Big Finish Productions – there are well over 200 stories at this point. The original actors that played the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Doctors have massive collections, and Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor, has recently joined in.
There are also dozens of side stories set in the Doctor Who universe. Some are Doctor Who stories involving the Doctor told from the POV of companions (including Catherine Tate and Jenna Coleman), while others are original stories with new characters facing off against classic enemies (the “Dalek Empire” and “Cybermen” stand alone stories are especially strong). There are even stories featuring other Time Lords, companions that originated in books and comics, UNIT standalone stories, and more.
Big Finish recently finished working on its most ambitious project to date: The Time War. The studio released a prequel starring the Eighth Doctor, which then led into a four-part series starring John Hurt as the War Doctor. In total, the entire story runs around 15 hours. The prequel was released November 2015 with the remaining episodes following in 2016.
Shortly after Big Finish revealed the Time War series, it followed that up by announcing that David Tennant will appear as the 10th Doctor in three new stories. Catherine Tate co-stars. All three stories are now available.
- A series starring Jemma Redgraves as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is ongoing.
- Big Finish and the BBC have agreed to a new deal granting the audio company a license to continue making original Doctor Who audio dramas until at least 2025.
- Matt Smith is open to returning to the role of the Doctor via Big Finish audiobooks, although nothing is confirmed yet.
- Alex Kingston appears in an audio play as River Song. She joined the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, but she may appear with other Doctors as well.
- John Barrowman reprised his role as Captain Jack in a series of Big Finish audio adventures. The audio plays will debut in June 2017.
- Georgia Moffett will reprise her role as Jenny, the Doctor’s Daughter (from the episode of the same name from David Tennant’s time). She will appear in her own series.
- More Torchwood dramas are on the way.
Doctor Who games and toys
There are countless video games, toys, and related merchandise for Doctor Who. The BBC has an entire series of point and click games already out starring the 11th Doctor, several mobile games exist, and more are coming.
- The first Doctor Who lego set has been confirmed following a massive fan movement.
- A new game specifically made to help people learn coding is now available for tablets. The Doctor and the Dalek, is also available online.
- All 12 Doctors (13, including the War Doctor) are playable in Lego Dimensions. Only Capaldi recorded dialogue though. The game is available for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Wii.
Missing episodes, aka the Omnirumor
When Doctor Who first began to air, the show featured a different format. Each episode was 25-minutes and multiple episodes joined together to create a serial. These stories could range from two to 12 episodes, and many of them were lost when the BBC decided to purge its archives in the late 70s.
Despite the best efforts of a fanatical fanbase, there are still 97 episodes missing. But there’s hope. It may be part fool’s hope, but nevertheless, there is hope.
For a more detailed history of the lost episodes including the latest news, check out our separate Doctor Who missing episodes post dedicated to the missing eps.
- On November 5, 2016, exactly 50 years after it originally aired, the BBC released a black and white animated reconstruction of the first Second Doctor serial, “The Power of the Daleks.”
- A colorized version was released on DVD and Blu-ray in early 2017.
- If “Power of the Daleks” does well, there may be other reconstructions. According to the BBC, however, some are easier than others to remake.
- The serial “The Wheel in Space” is coming. It will appear on the streaming platform BritBox.
- The missing Fourth Doctor serial “Shada” is on the way. The story was written by Douglass Adams; part of it was filmed but it was never completed due to a strike at the BBC.
With no new season of Doctor Who coming until late 2018, it’s a good time to catch up on episodes of Classic Doctor Who. The show debuted in 1963 and saw eight Doctors come and go before the show was relaunched in 2005, so there is plenty to choose from.
We have a DW primer for you, highlighting the best Classic Doctor Who episodes to watch. If you like those, there are plenty of others to check out.
More Doctor Who news and rumors coming soon!
Check back often, as we’ll update this post regularly! If you have a tip for us about Doctor Who, let us know.