Today brought with it the first teaser trailer for this fall’s eleventh season of Doctor Who. At only 40 seconds long, it was a brief, silent affair that nonetheless introduced us to each of the new TARDIS team: Ryan (Tosin Cole), Yasmin (Mandip Gill), Graham (Bradley Walsh) and, of course, the Thirteenth Doctor herself, Jodie Whittaker.
In particular, the promo promised that the Doctor will still have her old puckish sense of humor in this new incarnation. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know that the structure of the trailer has the time traveller manipulating time to play some pranks on her companions. This includes stealing Ryan’s food, giving Yasmin a fresh pizza and finally swapping Graham’s newspaper for an issue of The Beano, the beloved British children’s comic.
Let’s focus on that last part, for a moment, though. It’s extremely easy to miss, but the Beano gag is actually a callback to the Matt Smith era. Back in 2013’s “The Rings of Akhaten,” the Eleventh Doctor dove back into history to visit his friend Clara’s parents before she’s born. Whereas other people might try to look casual by reading the paper, the Doctor reads The Beano. Specifically, the 1981 summer special.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, this is the same edition of the comic that Thirteen gives to Graham in this new teaser. You can see what we mean in the comparison below, as first pointed out by BBC entertainment journalist Lizo Mzimba
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It’s nice to see the Doctor’s taste in reading material hasn’t changed over the regenerations. This connection is especially interesting, too, as Doctor Who star Mandip Gill recently compared Whittaker’s interpretation of the character to Matt Smith’s, saying that they have a similar high level of energy and enthusiasm. That would no doubt make them a great pair if No. 11 and 13 ever crossed paths, as Smith has said he wants to happen.
While not hugely significant, this fun little nod to the past just adds to the overall promise that Doctor Who season 11 will both honor the show’s history while also taking it in a fresh new direction. And we’ll likely find out a little bit more about what that direction is at the BBC America Comic-Con panel next Thursday.