After a full year without any new episodes – except for one special back in January – Doctor Who is set to triumphantly return to our screens in the New Year. This will be Jodie Whittaker’s second run in the TARDIS as the Thirteenth Doctor and fans can apparently expect things to be even bigger this time around, or so teases showrunner Chris Chibnall.
While speaking with the press during a set visit (via Den of Geek), Chibnall explained the high benchmark he’s hoping to reach with season 12 and how he and the production team have aimed to “go up a level” from what they managed with season 11, which aired in 2018.
“We want to do big action-packed, emotional, scary, funny stories. And I think we want to go up a level from last year.”
As for his approach to his first year in charge of the sci-fi institution, Chibnall described it as a “recruitment year” with the aim being to get everybody on board with the new Doctor and the fresh tone and style.
Chibnall continues: “Last year was a recruitment year. For the show, for the Doctor, for getting everybody in … It’s always a stepping-on point with a new Doctor, and also bringing that existing audience as well.”
With that achieved, the show’s now free to aim a little higher and up the scale of the storytelling, apparently.
“I think we did alright in the recruiting year, and this year we’re saying to those people and any other people, ‘Okay, here’s the amazing world of Doctor Who, and here’s lots of treats, and here’s lots of new stuff, and here’s some old stuff. Let’s see what you make of this.’ But also I think for ourselves, the ambition is… go up a level, and I think we’ve done that.”
Specifically, Chibnall promised that there are several big moments to come within this new batch of episodes, saying:
“Scale, storytelling, everything. I would say we are aiming to keep moving forward and up. There are bigger moments this year.”
The showrunner has stated that season 12’s opening story is perhaps “the biggest story the show’s ever done.” It’s been reported that this could be a two-part epic as well, with the first half airing on New Year’s Day. However, this has yet to be confirmed. Likewise, it’s rumored that the show could return to Saturday nights, after season 11 switched to airing on Sundays.
What we do know for sure is that Stephen Fry and Lenny Henry will be guest starring in this opening story, as confirmed the other day. And we’ll get our first look at the upcoming run in the season 12 trailer, which arrives tomorrow on Doctor Who Day (November 23rd).