With lockdown easing and the movie and TV industry gearing up again, there are a lot of questions going around about what changes productions will have to make to adhere to social distancing rules amidst the continuing pandemic. When it comes to BBC flagship Doctor Who, though, it seems the corporation is wondering whether they can even still make the show as things stand.
During an online Q&A, Director of BBC Wales Rhodri Talfan Davies cast doubt on when the thirteenth season of Doctor Who will be able to go ahead. Davies remarked that he doesn’t believe the series can be made “to the current standard” under restrictive social distancing guidelines. So, according to him, when season 13 can head into production “depends when you think social distancing is going to end.”
“It’ll be down to social distancing,” Davies elaborated. “A production like that, which at any point employs hundreds of people, freelance and staff, I don’t believe can be made to the current standard in a socially distanced environment.
Prior to the COVID-19 really taking affect, producers revealed that pre-production was supposed to begin this very month with the shoot starting this fall. However, it looks like the pause button is being hit on the series even with other TV shows going back to work because of the complicated nature of making Doctor Who. Like Davies says, there are a lot of folks involved with bringing a season to life, which makes it difficult to comply with social distancing guidelines. It’s also worth noting that recent seasons have featured a lot of overseas filming, which will be trickier to pull off from now on.
That said, it doesn’t sound like an official decision has been made by the BBC yet as they’re just waiting to see how the situation develops. The exec even commented that there’s a chance restrictions could ease in Wales sooner than in England, which could be in Doctor Who’s favor. “It may well be that the rules on social distancing in Wales are different to those in England,” they said, in this same Q&A.
While we wait for more news on season 13, at least we have a Doctor Who special – shot last year – confirmed for this winter.