As well as the big shake-up that is Jodie Whittaker being cast as the Thirteenth Doctor, the whole structure of Doctor Who will change when it returns for its eleventh season later this year. Peter Capaldi’s era on the show, for example, featured seasons of 12, 45-minute long episodes. The new run, however, will be made up of 10, 50-minute long outings.
So far, this revamp has been met with mixed reactions. Fans like the idea of giving the episodes an extra five minutes to breathe, but the fact that the season has been chopped down to ten installments does mean we’re getting less Who per year. At least we now know that there’s some kind of consolation prize, though, as the season premiere will be fifteen minutes longer than normal.
As reported by Radio Times, a listing for the BBC Worldwide Showcase in Liverpool later this month cites the opening episode of season 11 as clocking in at a 65-minute runtime. This isn’t entirely shocking news, as another BBC press release had already revealed that the premiere would be an hour-long. Now, though, it turns out that there will be five more minutes of it than we thought.
As it’s sporting an extended length, we wonder if the BBC are planning to turn the episode into another multimedia event, much like Peter Capaldi’s debut back in 2014. Titled “Deep Breath,” that premiere was almost feature-length at 75 minutes and was shown at select cinemas worldwide. Something similar was also done to great success with 2013’s 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor.”
Of course, we could be wrong, but it would be a clever move from the corporation if they’re wanting to launch Jodie Whittaker’s revamped version of the series in the biggest way possible. After all, the fact that the new Doctor is a woman has intrigued many non-fans, so the show needs to hook this potentially massive new audience.
No doubt, this special episode will kick off a bright, fresh era of Doctor Who, with Whittaker ably supported by three companions – Graham (Bradley Walsh), Ryan (Tosin Cole) and Yasmin (Mandip Gill). Chris Chibnall will be the showrunner and it’s expected to materialize on our screens this autumn.