The good news is that work has begun on Doctor Who season 13, despite fears that the BBC flagship show was going to suffer a lengthy delay due to the pandemic. The bad news is that the COVID-19 outbreak has affected the series’ production in some form.
Showrunner Chris Chibnall has confirmed this week that season 13 will have a reduced episode count. In total, it’ll be three installments shorter than usual. The EP told The Mirror that he was “thrilled” to be able to make a new season of Doctor Who at all, though, due to the difficulties in the TV industry that the pandemic has brought about.
Production has now begun on the 10-month shoot, but because of safety protocols that have to be in place, it’ll take much longer to put together each episode, hence the reduction in quantity. As Chibnall said in a statement:
“In this strangest of years, the Doctor Who production team have worked wonders to get the show back into production,” he explained. “Given the complexity of making Doctor Who, and with new and rigorous Covid working protocols, it’s going to take us a little longer to film each episode, meaning we expect to end up with eight episodes, rather than the usual eleven.”
He also promised that, though the quantity is down, the quality will be just as high, stating:
“But rest assured, the ambition, humour, fun and scares you expect from Doctor Who will all still be firmly in place. For everyone around the world, this is a challenging period — but the Doctor never shirks from a challenge.”
EP Matt Strevens likewise teased another “fun filled and action-packed” season in his own statement, saying:
“We are so thrilled to have unlocked the TARDIS, dusted down the sonic and be able to start filming again for the next series of Doctor Who. The amazing production team, crew and cast have worked wonders to get us shooting again in these challenging times. It’s going to be as fun filled and action packed as ever – with plenty of surprises.”
Since Chibnall took over the reigns, fans have got used to getting a new season every other year instead of receiving one annually. The new showrunner also took the episode count down from 13 (including special) to 11 (including special). Going by his comments here, season 13’s eight installments includes the winter outing, so the actual season itself will likely only be seven episodes long.
As The Mirror says, the new run looks to be on course to arrive late next year. In the meantime, Doctor Who is back this festive season for “Revolution of the Daleks.” Expect a first look trailer for that in the next couple of weeks.