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 3, 2018.
Update #2: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Doctor Who has never aired on any day other than Saturday. Some episodes of the classic series, including the Seventh Doctor’s full run, were on Monday and Wednesday. The article has been updated, and thanks to James Nestor for pointing it out.
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 officially stepped down. He oversaw Doctor Who for six seasons over seven years, and he helped propel the revitalized show to international fame. Along with Moffat, producer Brian Minchin also left, and shortly after then-series star Peter Capaldi left as well.
That gave the BBC a clean slate.
To take over for the show’s eleventh season (or season 37 if you count to classic series), the BBC tapped Doctor Who writer and Broadchurch showrunner, Chris Chibnall. 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 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 also wanted the new Doctor to be a woman, even before accepting the job.
- In 2015, the BBC confirmed that the show run for at least five more years, confirming its survival until 2020 at least.
- The BBC is pushing to make the show more inclusive, both on screen and behind it.
Doctor Who Season 11 News: Broadcast Details
Season 11 marks the beginning of a new era for Doctor Who. It starts with an all-new Doctor in Jodie Whittaker, the first female incarnation of the long-established Time Lord. Whitaker will be joined by Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, and Mandip Gill.
In something of a new twist for the recent version of the show but a throwback to its earliest days, the eleventh season will be something of an ensemble, with the companions playing as big a part as the Doctor herself. That may seem odd for newer fans, but there’s precedent. The Fifth Doctor briefly traveled with three companions, as did the Second, and perhaps most importantly the series began in 1963 with a full Tardis team of four. So in some ways, this seems like a return to the beginning.
Season 11 begins on October 7 and will consist of 10 episodes, each airing on Sunday. That marks the shortest run for the show yet, but each episode will be among the longest in its history at 50-60 minutes each so the total running time won’t be far off from previous seasons.
Although Chibnall and the BBC are keeping quiet about what to expect this season, there are rumors that it won’t feature any returning enemies. That may be a deliberate misdirect to keep some surprises under wraps, but it does seem clear that there is an effort to introduce all new monsters. That would be in keeping with the rumored intent to have season 11 act as something of a soft relaunch for the entire series.
- For those mourning the loss of Doctor Who on Netflix, it is now available on Amazon Prime.
- Season 11 will debut in the UK on BBC at 18:45. It will debut simultaneously in the US on BBC America at 10:45 am, then receive an encore that evening.
- For the first time since the show’s 2005 relaunch, Doctor Who will not air on Saturdays.
- The first episode of season 11 will be around 65 minutes.
- The season will run until December 9, then return for a Christmas Special on Christmas Day.
- The new season brings with it a new logo (see above).
- The TARDIS has undergone a redesign, both outside and in.
- Murray Gold, the show’s composer since its relaunch in 2005 has also left Doctor Who. He has been replaced by Segun Akinola.
- The show will feature a cinematic look to each episode.
- While the new season may or may not feature returning monsters in general, Chibnall has confirmed that the daleks are going not going to appear.
- The Christmas Special was filmed as part of Season 11.
- Season 11 spent three weeks filming in South Africa for one episode.
- The show will feature a new opening.
- Each episode in season 11 will be stand-alone – there won’t be any two-parters.
Doctor Who Season 11 News: Casting and Guest Star Rumors
Whittaker was first announced as the next Doctor on July 16, 2017. She is the first female Doctor and will assume the role of the 13th Doctor (although she will be the 14th incarnation of the same Time Lord). Walsh, Cole, and Gill will appear as all new characters Graham O’Brien, Ryan Sinclair, and Yasmin Khan respectively, and all three will be series regulars.
So far no returning cast or guest stars have been announced, and it seems increasingly unlikely that we’ll see any familiar faces in season 11 – at least familiar specifically to Doctor Who. The new season will have plenty of well-known actors and actresses making appearances.
- 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 at some point.
- 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.
- John Noble said he would like to appear on Doctor Who at some point.
- Alan Cumming will appear in season 11 as King James I.
- Shaun Dooley will guest star in an undisclosed role.
- Michelle Gomez has officially retired as Missy/Master. The character may return at some point, but she will not.
- There are no plans to bring back River Song or the Paternoster Gang.
- Both the cast and the BBC are very secretive regarding the contracts each performer has, so it’s hard to know who will return and who was just brought on for one season.
- There were rumors that Billie Piper would return, but those seem to have stemmed from an Instagram post where she was simply showing her appreciation for Doctor Who.
Doctor Who Storylines: 2018 Christmas Special, Season 11, and Beyond
The BBC has been very tight-lipped in regards to season 11 spoilers, so much so that when footage of the first episode leaked it immediately took legal action to track down who was responsible. We do, however, have a few hints based on casting news and the handful of very brief trailers that have been released. Beyond this season, however, things get a little murkier – or maybe clearer, depending on your point of view.
From the start, season 11 has been seen as a relaunch of sorts for the 55-year-old franchise. Not only is it an entirely new team in front of and behind the camera, the new season is designed as a jumping-on point for people that may not know the show. There will still be the occasional reference to the previous storylines and you can expect that they will bring back familiar villains – if not this season than in the future – but the story will also be somewhat reset.
What that means is that you probably shouldn’t expect more than the odd reference to Gallifrey, and if a group like UNIT appears it will probably be in a very minor capacity. It also means that the stories introduced this season may lay the groundwork for future seasons more than the previous seasons.
Here are a few other hints:
- The casting of Cumming as King John suggests that at least one episode will be set in the late 16th or early 17th century in either England or Scotland. Cumming has also suggested that his King John will be a villain, and he could return in future episodes.
- The Doctor will meet Rosa Parks at some point, although it’s not clear if that will be a major storyline or a quick greeting.
- The first episode is titled “The Woman Who Fell to the Earth,” and will begin immediately where the 2017 Christmas Special ended, with the recently regenerated Doctor falling out of the TARDIS over England.
- There will not be a major story arc throughout the season.
- Unlike previous iterations where the Doctor’s companions were essentially assistants, season 11 is emphasizing the idea that the four travelers are friends and even equals.
- There won’t be any romance between the TARDIS crew members.
- The Doctor swapping genders won’t be a big storyline – it will be quickly addressed and then treated as the norm.
- Take this with a grain of salt, but there are rumors that Whittaker has only signed on for one season. If true that could mean we’ll see another Doctor by the end of the year, but more likely it is just a negotiating tactic for future seasons. Again though, grain of salt.
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, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the show will turn to a host of new writers and directors. In fact, it is looking like the only returning writer will be Chibnall himself.
The BBC is pushing for diversity in front of and behind the lens across the board, and Doctor Who is no exception. In fact, it might be the flagship for this new initiative. Chibnall has stated that he (and by extension the BBC) want Doctor Who to be “the most diverse show on TV.”
Season 11 will feature the show’s first ever writers of color in its 55-year history. It will also feature two female writers, to directors, and the entire editing team is made up of women.
A full list of the episodes hasn’t been released yet, but several of the writers and directors have been announced, but Chibnall’s Doctor Who will approach things a little different. Where previous seasons have featured writers turning in scripts which were then edited by the showrunner and producer, the new season is adopting more of a writer’s room approach. Each episode will still have a single person attributed to it, but the stories will have more of a collaborative approach. Joining Chibnall in the writer’s room are Malorie Blackman, Ed Hime, Vinay Patel, Pete McTighe, and Joy Wilkinson.
In terms of directors, Sallie Aprahamian, Jennifer Perrott, and Mark Tonderai will each helm two episodes, and Jamie Childs will oversee four. Wayne Yip will direct the Christmas Special.
While season 11 seems to be set, there are no shortage of well-known writers and directors that have expressed interest in working on an episode of Doctor Who. It might be tougher now given the writer’s room approach, but anything can happen.
- Russell T. Davies was approached to write a season nine episode 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), spoke with Moffat and company about writing an episode. He said that he would be willing, but it is a matter of timing. Whether or not Chibnall would be interested isn’t known.
- Author Neil Gaiman has repeatedly stated that he would like to write another episode and would like to create a monster of his own. He is interested in writing for Whittaker’s Doctor.
- Gaiman had a story planned for Capaldi and was working with Moffat, but despite everyone’s best efforts, the scheduling was against them.
- 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 have been a handful of Doctor Who spinoffs over the years, with varied results. That list includes shows like Torchwood, the UK/Australian K9, The Sarah Jane Smith Adventures, and the recently canceled Class. There was also talk of a spinoff series based on the Paternoster Gang and possibly another following UNIT, but both have since gone into limbo and don’t appear likely.
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 was aiming to be released in 2017, which coincided 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 as well.
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 with a series featuring David Tennant 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 and Ingrid Oliver as Osgood 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.
- Alex Kingston appears in an audio play as River Song. She joined the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker.
- Following her debut as part of the Sixth Doctor’s adventures, River Song earned her own series. Tom Baker guest stars as the Fourth Doctor, but the stories focus on Song.
- Georgia Moffett reprised 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.
- Several Torchwood dramas are on the way featuring the original cast.
- Although Matt Smith has yet to appear, there are 11th Doctor stories. Some are told from the POV of other characters, while some feature another actor as a stand-in for Smith.
- Big Finish is continuing the story of the Doctor Who spin-off Class in audio format.
- A series starring Derek Jacobi as the War Master expands on the Master’s role during the Time War.
- Michelle Gomez will reprise her role as Missy for a series of Big Finish audio dramas.
- David Bradley reprises his role as the First Doctor from the 2017 Christmas Special (and the Doctor Who biopic Adventures in Time and Space) in a new series of new audio adventures.
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.
- Thnks to a strong demand from fans, the first Doctor Who lego set was introduced in 2017 (and continues to sell out).
- A game specifically made to help people learn coding is now available for tablets. The Doctor and the Dalek, is also available online.
- 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.
- The serial “The Wheel in Space” has been released featuring the original audio and still images from the episode.
- The missing Fourth Doctor serial “Shada” is available now featuring new audio recordings from the original cast and animated sections to fill in the gaps. The story was written by Douglass Adams; part of it was filmed but it was never completed due to a strike at the BBC.
If you’re looking for more Doctor Who, there are still 26 seasons (and a TV movie) of the classic show to satiate you. 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.