After a year out, Doctor Who is finally about to return to our screens this New Year’s Day with the much-anticipated opener of season 12. With fans having waited for a whole 12 months for another trip in the TARDIS and with its yuletide airdate meaning it’s something of a blend between winter special and season premiere, hopes are high it’ll be a top-quality episode. And it seems we won’t be disappointed.
While speaking with Deadline, showrunner Chris Chibnall made the bold statement that he thinks the season 12 opener, punningly titled “Spyfall,” could well be the “biggest episode” of Who there’s ever been over the past 50+ years. Specifically, because of the scope of production, with the episode shot in various locations around the world. That said, he promised that the outing won’t lose sight of the smaller-scale character stuff, too.
“Episode one is probably the biggest episode of Doctor Who we’ve done, or has been done, I would imagine. Physically, there’s a lot of stunts, there’s a lot of locations, it’s a globe-trotting action thriller,” he said. “But you don’t want to lose sight of character and intimacy and emotion. You can’t do everything at 11.”
Given the increased scale of the premiere, Deadline questioned whether viewers are expecting more from the show nowadays, given the popularity of higher-budget U.S. sci-fi/fantasy TV series like Game of Thrones or Stranger Things. Chibnall admitted that this probably is the case, but Who‘s unique format ensures it stands out from the crowd.
“Yes, I think they do. [But] Doctor Who has a thing that those shows don’t have, which is that we go somewhere new every week. So every week, we’re in a new world, we’re in new locations, we’ve got new guest actors, got a new guest cast, got new monsters, we’ve got a new threat, got a new story. So the incredible thing is Doctor Who has already structured itself like that. Our responsibility is to make sure the production standards are up to scratch.”
“Spyfall” is a two-part storyline that encompasses the January 1st episode and the second installment on January 5th. Episodes will continue Sundays after that on BBC One/America after all.
Don’t miss Doctor Who season 12 this festive season, as it sounds like we’re in for a true intergalactic treat.