Season 11 Of Doctor Who Will Have Longer Episodes And A New TARDIS


As the 11th season of Doctor Who rapidly approaches, it’s beginning to look like the show is set to the ring in the changes in more ways than one. While certain corners of the fandom reacted somewhat vigorously to the news that the titular character will now be played by a woman – Jodie Whittaker – it’s rumoured that this change is just one component of a full scale overhaul for the iconic television property.

The refit for the flagship BBC sci-fi series undoubtedly starts with a changing of the showrunning guard, with Steven Moffat departing to make way for the incoming Chris Chibnall. This change in leadership is evidently having something of a trickle-down effect, with alterations being made to both the fabric and format of episodes. As is traditional, for example, a regenerated Doctor is accompanied by a regenerated TARDIS interior – and it seems that with such a drastic change in lead character, we could see a spectacularly different design being revealed inside the legendary police box.

Furthermore, the sonic screwdriver is a tool that is deeply entrenched in Doctor Who lore and, while not every Doctor has used it, a number have relied upon it during their tenure at the helm of the TARDIS. It, too, has also changed with every new Doctor, and so we can apparently expect Whittaker to be seen wielding a brand new one of her own.

What’s not a traditional change, however, is the length of the individual episodes and the season as a whole. Since its modern return in 2005, Doctor Who episodes have been 45 minutes in length, with the season comprising of 13 episodes at first before reducing to 12 episodes for season 10.

Season 11, reportedly, will see episodes lasting 60 minutes, with only 10 installments in the season, plus the Christmas special. If we assume that the previous 45 minute length was aimed at enabling easy broadcast of the show on the commercialized BBC America, it remains to be seen what effect the longer length will have on those particular programming schedules.

Longer, fewer episodes will allow for changes to the pace of storytelling in the show, which will likely be a vast improvement. Deeper character and plot arcs through a tighter narrative can only benefit this classic sci-fi drama, but whether fans will respond positively to the rest of this range of changes remains to be seen.

Doctor Who returns for its new Christmas Special on December 25th.