Doctor Who news and rumors: Season 10 and beyond (Updated!)
Welcome to our Doctor Who news and rumors page! This article was originally dedicated to Season (or series) 9, but it quickly outgrew that. Plus, with season 9 done the focus has shifted to the future.
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!
(This article is filled with Doctor Who news and rumors, so there may be some spoilers. Some of it is unconfirmed, but be warned.)
Updated: April 7, 2017.
Doctor Who Season 10 news, broadcast announcements, and show 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.
The BBC has confirmed that the tenth season will consist of 12 episodes (not counting the Christmas special), just like the previous two seasons. The reason for the downsized season order from 13 to 12 is to give the production more time and to save a little money. Seasons of 12 episodes are probably the new norm.
At the conclusion of the 2017 Christmas Special 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.
The official reason for withholding the show until 2017 is to give Moffat’s last season a sense of anticipation in the build up, and because in 2016 the BBC was already filled with content thanks to the Summer Olympics and the Euro Cup. It probably also had something to do with Moffat’s commitments to Sherlock, which was long overdue a fourth season.
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, which would presumably air in spring 2018 (although that could always change). Chibnall will have some help from Misfits and EastEnders producer Matt Strevens, who will act as co-producer, although it’s not exactly clear how this split will work. Strevens is a devout Doctor Who fan and helped produce the Doctor Who biopic, Adventures in Time and Spece.
On January 30, 2017, Peter Capaldi also confirmed that he is leaving Doctor Who. The 2017 Christmas Special will be his last episode.
Season ten will premiere on April 15, 2017.
- Each 12-13 episode season (plus the Christmas Special) takes nine months to film.
- Moffat’s final episode will be the 2017 Christmas special.
- With Capaldi’s last episode set for the 2017 Christmas special, expect casting of a new Doctor to be announced late summer or early fall 2017. The BBC could push it a little and film the regeneration much later, but Capaldi was announced in August 2013, a full year before the eighth season aired. There’s no reason to think the BBC will do thing differently this time.
- For those mourning the loss of Doctor Who on Netflix, it is now available on Amazon Prime.
- Filming for season 10 began mid-June 2016 and concluded in March 2017.
- Although initially wanting Capaldi to stay, the BBC has changed its mind and wants Chibnall to have a “clean slate” when he takes over in 2018. Unconfirmed reports claim that the BBC is concerned that merchandising and ratings are down, and it hopes to reset the show with a more dashing hero in the vein of David Tennant. The report specifically claims the BBC wants a younger male star and a female costar.
- There’s a very good chance that new companion Pearl Mackie will only appear in one season (although if she proves popular enough that could change).
- With so much change on the horizon, the eleventh season probably won’t air until fall 2018 at the earliest.
Casting and Guest Star rumors
Shortly after Jenna Coleman’s departure, Capaldi voiced his support for the new companion to be female. His argument is that if there is a male companion, writers will generally make that character more physical, which would relegate Capaldi’s Doctor to spouting out science and advice and being somewhat removed from the action – just as the First Doctor William Hartnell was (although the 58-year old Capaldi is in much better shape than Hartnell was when he took on the role at 55).
On April 23, 2016, actress Pearl Mackie was confirmed as the new companion. The announcement came via a two-minute video, filmed specifically for the debut (although some of it may end up being similar to a planned episode with the Daleks).
Not much is known about Mackie’s Bill Potts beyond what is shown in the clip. She described the character as “wicked,” and “cool, strong, sharp, a little bit vulnerable with a bit of geekiness thrown in.”
Mackie will join the show when it returns in 2017 for its tenth season.
- 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.
- Georgia Moffett, who appeared as the Doctor’s genetic daughter in the fourth season, was spotted on set with Capaldi – although it was apparently just a social visit. Still, after appearing in the episode “The Doctor’s Daughter,” Moffat reportedly requested that the character survive so he at least has an idea for her.
- 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.
- John Barrowman recently teased a return to Cardiff for a secret project, which has many speculating that he is returning to Doctor Who as Captain Jack.
- The BBC is aware that it doesn’t have a great track record with hiring people of color to star in many of its biggest shows, including – maybe even especially – Doctor Who.
- 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.
- Michelle Gomez will return as Missy in season 10.
- John Noble said he would like to appear on Doctor Who.
- Peter Capaldi stated that he would like to see Caroline Ford reprise her role as Susan, the very first companion on the show, and the Doctor’s granddaughter.
- Matt Lucas, who appeared in the Christmas Specials “The Husbands of River Song” and “The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” will reprise his role as Nardole in the season 10 opener. The role may be recurring.
- There have been rumors floating around that Matt Smith will return to the role of the doctor after Capaldi leaves. This is categorically untrue and stems from a conversation with Moffat where he stated that Smith regretted leaving when he did. That doesn’t mean Smith won’t appear again in a special, but he will not reprise the role full time.
- Mackie signed a one-year contract. If the BBC wants a clean slate for Chibnall, Mackie will leave with Capaldi, or possibly even before.
- There is a story going around that actor Eddie Redmayne wants to be the Doctor. Redmayne was on a talk show promoting Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them when he was asked about whether or not he would take the role. The actor enthusiastically said yes, but even if he was serious, Redmayne has multiple commitments for the next several years – not to mention the significant pay cut he’d be taking.
- David Suchet, best known for his role as Poirot on the BBC show of the same name, will appear in season 10.
General storylines news and rumors – Season 10 and beyond
There are only a handful of hints regarding the season 10 storylines, but we can make some educated guesses. One thing to keep in mind is that Moffat hates loose plot threads. Since he is leaving, he will likely try to tie up any of the loose ends he introduced – as evidenced with his River Song storyline in the 2015 Christmas special.
Here is the season 10 episode list as it stands right now, including all of the writers. We will update this list as new details become available. (Many of the episode titles have changed.)
- “The Pilot,” by Steven Moffat
- “Smile,” by Frank Cottrell-Boyce
- “Thin Ice,” by Sarah Dollard
- “Knock Knock,” by Mike Bartlett
- “Oxygen,” by Jamie Mathieson
- “Extremis,” by Steven Moffat
- “The Pyramid at the End of the World,” by Peter Harness
- “The Lie of the Land,” by Toby Whithouse
- “The Empress of Mars,” by Mark Gatiss
- “The Eaters of Light,” by Rona Munro
- “World Enough and Time,” by Steven Moffat
- “The Doctor Falls,” by Steven Moffat
A new trailer for season 10 was released along with the Christmas episode.
Here are a few other hints:
- Moffat has confirmed that there are no plans for a Doctor Who movie. You can also stop hoping for a Doctor Who/Sherlock crossover.
- According to Moffat, the BBC is tentatively planning for at least five more years of Doctor Who. That is an incredible vote of confidence from the BBC, but it could always change if ratings slide.
- Capaldi wants to do a “Genesis of the Cybermen” episode that shows how the real Cybermen (not the alt-Cybusmen) were first created on the planet Mondas. That’s just Capaldi’s personal preference, but if they do decide to go that route, there is an excellent Big Finish audio episode known as Spare Parts that tells that story. Russell T. Davies even called it “some of the finest drama ever written for any genre, in any medium, anywhere.”
- Along with a return to the Cybermen’s home of Mondas, Capaldi would like to see a return of the Axons, Zarbi, and Mentropa. That is Capaldi’s wish list, however, not a confirmation.
- The new companion will change the tone of the series.
- The Daleks are back for at least one episode.
- Missy will return in season 10.
- The Movellans, a ruthless race of androids locked in a war with the Daleks, may return. The Movellans were seen just once before in the Fourth Doctor episode, “Destiny of the Daleks.”
- The new season will feature several original creatures.
- There will be at least one historical episode, although it will almost certainly feature aliens.
- Season 10 will return to Gallifrey.
- New Time Lords may be introduced beyond the Doctor, Missy, and those confined to Gallifrey.
- Matt Lucas will appear in multiple episodes as Nardole.
- The volcanic monsters from Pyrovellia seen in the episode “The Fires of Pompeii” are expected to return.
- Multiple fans that have seen the show filming report spotting the word “truth” on signs and banners. This seems to hint at a season long story arc.
- The final two episodes of the season will feature the return of the original Cyberman, last seen in the First Doctor serial “The Tenth Planet.”
- The new season will feature a three-part episode introducing a new monster known as the “Monks.” This marks the first true three-parter (not counting the story that began with “Utopia”) since the show’s revival.
- The three-parter will unfold over episodes 6-8.
- Season 10 will feature Doctor Who’s first full-time gay character in Bill.
- John Simm will return as the Master, and he will appear opposite Michelle Gomez’s Missy.
- Missy (and presumably John Simm’s Master) will appear in the two-part season finale.
- Although Capaldi’s last episode is the 2017 Christmas Special, a recent trailer and the name of the season 10 finale suggest it might be sooner. More likely given Moffat, however, it will be more complicated than that.
Writers and Directors, season 11 and beyond
The full list of writers of season 10 has been revealed (see the episode list above). The show is always looking forward, however, and below are a few hints at people that may end up working behind the lens, and those that might have been.
- 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, 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.
- Chibnall is supposedly considering employing an American-style writers room for season 11, with multiple writers helping to craft the stories and one person actually putting pen to paper (so to speak).
- 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.
Despite having yet to air in the U.S., the BBC is reportedly planning on canceling Class after just one season, although an official announcement has yet to come. The numbers were never strong, and they continued to dip as the eight-part season continued. The BBC is likely waiting to see what the international response to the show is. If it does well – very well – it might live on.
- Jenna Coleman may appear as Clara, although that is still very much a rumor at this point. If true, she may appear in a cameo or a flashback.
- Michelle Gomez is open to appearing in Class as Missy.
- There are three Class tie-in novels, published on October 27, 2016.
- The show debuted in Great Britain on October 22, 2016.
- Class will debut in the US on April 15, the same day as the tenth season of Doctor Who.
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.
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 will appear in an audio play as River Song. She is currently set to join the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, but she may appear with other Doctors as well.
- John Barrowman is set to reprise his role as Captain Jack in a series of Big Finish audio adventures. The audio plays will debut in June 2017.
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.
With no new season of Doctor Who coming until 2017, 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.