This season is the tenth to air following the programme's revival in 2005, and is the thirty-sixth season overall.
|The First Doctor
It was announced in July 2015 that the BBC had invested in a tenth series of Doctor Who in its annual review. This season was led by Head Writer and Executive Producer Steven Moffat, alongside Executive Producer Brian Minchin. This is the third and final season that was overseen by the two as Executive Producers, as well as being Steven Moffat's sixth and final season as Head Writer. It was announced in January 2016 that this season would be Steven Moffat's final season as its showrunner, after which he would be replaced in the role, in 2018, by Chris Chibnall.
Not including the two Christmas specials the main part of this season consisted of twelve episodes over eleven stories. It premiered on the 15th April 2017 and concluded on the 1st July 2017.
Speaking at the New York Comic Con, on the 7th October 2016, Steven Moffat revealed that this season would feel completely new - like episode 1 of series 1, saying ‘The tone is very different. The last series with Clara - that relationship had got tortured and dark and went to odd places. It was one of my favourite series to work on, I was delighted with it. But it had become darker. It just had. That's where we were in that relationship. If I gave you one tone word for this series it's 'new'. It's brand new. You're getting to see The Doctor all over again through a very different pair of eyes. In fact, we went to particular pains to make sure that episode one is really episode one. It could be the first episode you ever see. It explains the entire mythos of Doctor Who - in the two minutes it takes - and you can start there. Brand new is the tone’.
This season is the third and final season starring Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. Peter Capaldi announced on BBC Radio 2 on the 30th January 2017 that this season and the 2017 Christmas special would be his last, remarking that ‘It's time to move on’. However, Steven Moffat revealed that Peter Capaldi ‘came close’ to staying for one more season. On the 23rd March 2017 Peter Capaldi revealed his real reason for leaving was to keep the show fresh and even though part of him wanted to stay while he also wanted different challenges.
This season introduced Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts, The Doctor's newest travelling companion, after the departure of Jenna Coleman. To avoid leaks while casting the new companion, the production team used the word ‘Mean Town’, an anagram of ‘Ten Woman’. This is a reference to the fact that Bill is the companion of the tenth series, and was revealed by the casting director Andy Pryor to Radio Times.
Pearl Mackie was named on the 23rd April 2016 as having been chosen by the BBC to play the part of Bill Potts. Pearl Mackie is a 2010 graduate of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and in 2014 played the part of Anne-Marie Frasier in Doctors. In 2015 she performed in the National Theatre's West End production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.
Pearl Mackie made her first appearance in "The Pilot" and during the season she received consistently favourable comments, noting how she was ‘bringing an energy distinct from any previous new series companion’, describing Bill as ‘a wonderful change of pace’, and how her acting was ‘consistently honest, raw at times, and never, ever whimsy’, with certain scenes being ‘guttural’ and ‘heart-wrenching’.
Bill Potts has been widely reported as being the first openly gay companion (despite the precedent set by Jack Harkness being omnisexual), with Pearl Mackie saying that ‘it shouldn't be a big deal in the 21st century. It's about time isn't it?’ and ‘that representation is important, especially on a mainstream show’.
Matt Lucas returned in his role as Nardole, as seen in the 2015 and 2016 Christmas specials "The Husbands of River Song" and "The Return of Doctor Mysterio", in a regular role that started from "The Pilot".
New enemies and aliens for this season include: The Shoal of the Winter Harmony, Sentient Water, Possessed Heather, Vardies, Emojibots, Sea Creature, Lure Fish, Lord Sutcliffe, David Suchet as The Landlord, Dryads, Ganymede System Smartsuits, The Monks, Ice Queen Iraxxa and a Light-eating locust.
Returning enemies and aliens include: Missy and The Master, Movellans, Daleks, Ice Warriors, Alpha Centauri, Cybermen and - returning for the first time in over 50 years - the Mondasian Cybermen. The return of the original Mondasian Cybermen, from the 1966 First Doctor story "The Tenth Planet", was announced on the 6th March 2017.
In October 2016 it was announced that Justin Chatwin was set to appear as a superhero in the 2016 Christmas special "The Return of Doctor Mysterio". Justin Chatwin commented: ‘Working with the amazing people at Doctor Who has been one of the most fun and rewarding projects I've ever had the pleasure of being involved with’. Steven Moffat also said ‘I've always loved superheroes and this Christmas Doctor Who dives into that world. My favourite superhero is Clark Kent. Not Superman, Clark Kent’.
On the 16th August 2016 it was announced that David Suchet, famous for his role in Agatha Christie's Poirot, would appear as a character known as ‘The Landlord’ in "Knock Knock".
For the first time ever in the show this season includes a multi-Master story, with John Simm returning as The Master alongside Michelle Gomez's Missy. John Simm said of his return that ‘I can confirm that it's true, thanks to the power of time travel I'm back’. His return was originally to be a secret, but Steven Moffat said of the reveal that ‘Nothing stays secret for long on Doctor Who but you'll have to wait a little bit longer to see exactly what The Master is up to and how he makes his return to face The Doctor’.
In October 2016 Michelle Gomez announced that she would reprise her role of Missy, saying ‘Weirdly, this is the sort of crunch week where I get to find out exactly what I'm going to be doing next’, and added ‘I can officially say that I will be starting back on Doctor Who soon, so that's one thing’. She then revealed ‘I am an actor for hire, so if I'm free and it seems like the right thing to do at the time I'd grab it with both hands’. Then in May 2017 she then revealed that she would be stepping down from the role as Missy at the end of this season, having said ‘it's the end of a chapter’.
On the 6th April 2017 the BBC announced that John Simm would be returning in his role as The Master alongside Michelle Gomez.
David Bradley made a cameo appearance, as the First Doctor, at the end of "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls". The First Doctor was an integral part of the 2017 Christmas special. David Bradley had previously played the original actor William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time. "Twice Upon a Time" marks the First Doctor’s first full appearance in the show since the Twentieth Anniversary special "The Five Doctors". This also makes David Bradley the third actor to play this role in the television programme, after William Hartnell and then Richard Hurndall (in the 1983 Twentieth Anniversary special "The Five Doctors"). David Bradley has also appeared in Doctor Who before - as Solomon in the 2002 Eleventh Doctor story "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship".
In addition to David Bradley's appearance in, "Twice Upon a Time" this story also featured Mark Gatiss as a captain from World War I, Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts, and the first appearance of the Thirteenth Doctor portrayed by Jodie Whittaker.
In May 2016, Steven Moffat stated in the 500th issue of Doctor Who Magazine that he would be writing the first and last three episodes of this season. Furthermore, he stated that this season would consist mostly of single-part stories so that the new companion, Bill Potts, could have more stories to explore her character, though two-parters would still be present. Steven Moffat actually wrote six stories - including the 2016 and 2017 Christmas specials.
Other returning writers who have worked on previous stories include; Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Sarah Dollard, Jamie Mathieson, Peter Harness, Toby Whithouse and Mark Gatiss. Two new writers, for the revived era of the show, are Mike Bartlett and Rona Munro. Rona Munro wrote "Survival", the final story of the original era of the show - making her the first writer to contribute stories for both eras of the show.
Steven Moffat wrote the first, second, seventh, eighth, twelfth and thirteenth stories while Frank Cottrell-Boyce wrote the third story, "Smile", having previously written the 2014 story "In the Forest of the Night". Sarah Dollard, who wrote the 2015 story "Face the Raven", returned for the fourth story, "Thin Ice". New Doctor Who writer Mike Bartlett wrote the fifth story "Knock Knock". Jamie Mathieson wrote the sixth story, "Oxygen", having previously written the 2014 stories "Mummy on the Orient Express" and "Flatline" and having co-written the 2015 story "The Girl Who Died". While Peter Harness co-wrote the eighth story, "The Pyramid at the End of the World", having previously written the 2014 story "Kill the Moon" and the 2015 story "The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion".
Toby Whithouse wrote the ninth story, "The Lie of the Land". He initially referred to "Extremis", "The Pyramid at the End of the World" and "The Lie of the Land" as a three-parter, with Toby Whithouse specifying to Digital Spy that the ninth story, that would become "The Lie of the Land", was ‘the third part of a three-parter’, Steven Moffat though denied this in issue 512 of the Doctor Who Magazine, released in June 2017, saying that he would not call "Oxygen" to "The Lie of the Land a four-parter, or even that "Extremis" to "The Lie of the Land" a three-parter, stating ‘because they're not, really. They're all still separate stories. But I thought we'd have a nice 'To Be Continued' run in the middle of the series... ’. Toby Whithouse again referred to "The Lie of the Land" as ‘the third part of this three-parter’ in issue 513 of the Doctor Who Magazine, released in July 2017. Additionally, in a video introduction for "The Lie of the Land", actor Pearl Mackie called this story ‘the last in the trilogy of The Monks and their evil plan’.
In June 2016 Mark Gatiss stated he would be writing a story. This was later identified as the tenth story, a change to Steven Moffat's previous announcement that he would be writing the story for that particular slot. In 2015 Mark Gatiss had indicated that he might write a sequel for his 2015 story "Sleep No More". However, this was not the basis for Mark Gatiss' story for this season. Instead, his story featured the return of the Ice Warriors, a race known for their appearances in the eras of the Second Doctor and Third Doctor, and in the 2013 story "Cold War", also written by Mark Gatiss.
Steven Moffat announced in October 2016 that a writer who had previously written for the original run of the show would be returning to write a story. This was later confirmed as being Rona Munro who previously wrote the 1989 Seventh Doctor story "Survival", the final story of both Season Twenty Six and the original run of the show. Rona Munro is the writer for the eleventh story, titled "The Eaters of Light".
Just as Steven Moffat wrote the Eleventh Doctor's introductory scene in "The End of Time" Chris Chibnall wrote the first appearance of the Thirteenth Doctor in the final scenes of the 2017 Christmas special.
Directors of this season include four who have previously worked on the show (Charles Palmer, Daniel Nettheim, Ed Bazalgette and Rachel Talalay), and three new to the show (Lawrence Gough, Bill Anderson and Wayne Yip).
Of the new directors: Lawrence Gough directed "The Pilot" and "Smile"; Bill Anderson directed "Thin Ice" and "Knock Knock" while Wayne Yip directed "The Lie of the Land" and "Empress of Mars".
Of the returning directors: Charles Palmer directed "Oxygen" and "The Eaters of Light"; Daniel Nettheim directed "Extremis" and "The Pyramid at the End of the World" after having previously directed the 2015 two-part story "The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion"; Ed Bazalgette directed "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" while Rachel Talalay directed "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls" and "Twice Upon a Time" - making this her third consecutive season finale.
The production of this season began on the 14th June 2016 (with the read-through for "The Pilot") with filming beginning on this story on the 20th June 2016.
During the recording of the remaining stories production of the 2016 Christmas special began on the 5th September 2016 and wrapped on the 30th September 2016. Filming for the main stories in this season was concluded on the 7th April 2017. Production for the 2017 Christmas special then started on the 12th June 2017 and concluded on the 10th July 2017.
Only a Christmas special aired in all of 2016 with the main part of this season being broadcast between April and July 2017.
The fifth story, "Knock Knock", was the first story to receive a 3D surround sound effect on the BBC iPlayer, allowing viewers to experience the story all around them.
A preview scene was filmed in April 2016 as part of a promotional clip shown on the 23rd April 2016 on BBC One, during the semi-final half-time of the 2015/16 FA Cup. It introduced The Doctor and his new companion, Bill Potts, being faced with Daleks. However, Steven Moffat stated that this scene may not be included into the season itself.
The first trailer for the season was premiered at the end of the 2016 Christmas special, "The Return of Doctor Mysterio". A second teaser trailer was then released on the 25th February 2017.
On the 13th March 2017 the BBC released new promotional images of Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie and Matt Lucas, as well as releasing the title for the premiere. The full trailer for the season was premiered later the same day on BBC One, during the quarter-final half-time of the 2016/17 FA Cup, along with promotional images from "The Pilot".
Leading up to the broadcast of "The Pilot", five teaser trailers aired online. On the 31st March 2017 BBC America released the trailer for Doctor Who and Class. On the same day an interview with Pearl Mackie was shown on BBC News, containing clips from "The Pilot". Another trailer for the season premiered on the 3rd April 2017. On the 9th April 2017 Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin attended a panel at the BFI & Radio Times TV Festival, which featured a sneak preview of clips from this season.
"The Return of Doctor Mysterio" was rumoured to be a sequel to "The Husbands of River Song". This turned out to be largely true, with the return of the Shoal of the Winter Harmony, Nardole, and containing mention of Hydroflax, River Song, and The Doctor's 24 years that he spent with her.
The seventh, eighth and ninth stories ("Extremis", "The Pyramid at the End of the World", and "The Lie of the Land") constitute a three-part arc while remaining separate stories. The episodes "World Enough and Time" and "The Doctor Falls" serve as the season's only multi-part story and is (ignoring the Christmas specials) in the same format as Season Thirty Four (New Series 8).
It had previously been believed that there was to be a Casualty crossover during this season and this was speculated to be a Children in Need special. However, it seems that this was to be part of the story "The Lie of the Land", but this was cut from this story before broadcast.
Due to lots of fans debating back and forth about the possibility of a female incarnation of The Doctor, with the subject having been given mixed reactions, upcoming showrunner Chris Chibnall told the East Anglian Daily Times that ‘I can honestly say that nothing has yet been decided, I haven't got my feet under the table yet. I have been working on the play (new comedy Worst Wedding Ever) and I am still finishing the latest series of Broadchurch. Nothing is ruled out but I don't want the casting to be a gimmick and that's all I can say’. However, on the 11th June, 2017 former showrunner Russell T Davies told in an interview at the LGBT Awards that the next incarnation had been cast and he knew who it would be, but that he would not tell.
On the 14th July 2017 the BBC revealed that the casting of the Thirteenth Doctor would be announced on the 16th July after the Wimbledon Men's Finals. This was revealed as Broadchurch actress Jodie Whittaker. She made her first appearance as the Thirteenth Doctor at the very end of the 2017 Christmas special "Twice Upon a Time".
The return of Nardole and the Shoal of the Winter Harmony in the 2016 Christmas special "The Return of Doctor Mysterio".
|Missy, The Master and The Doctor
The introduction of Bill Potts and St Luke's University. The reappearance of the Daleks and the Movellans in "The Pilot".
In "Smile" Bill experienced her first trip into the future, to Gliese 581 D. While in "Thin Ice" Bill experienced her first trip to the past - to 1814 and the last great frost fair to be held on the Thames.
In "Knock Knock" Bill, along with some friends, move into a large house where they encounter strange noises and the even stranger landlord played by David Suchet.
In "Oxygen" the TARDIS takes The Doctor, Nardole and Bill to a mining space station. There The Doctor has to save Bill from danger. But the exposure to the vacuum of space causes The Doctor to go blind.
In "Extremis", with The Doctor concealing his blindness from Bill, The Doctor, Nardole and Bill have to find the secret of an old book in the Haereticum (the Vatican's secret library of blasphemy), but it turns out that this all occurs in a virtual reality. This story includes the first appearance of The Monks and the reappearance of Missy (who it is revealed is imprisoned inside the vault under St Luke’s University that The Doctor and Nardole have been guarding).
A mysterious pyramid appears out of nowhere in "The Pyramid at the End of the World", and The Monks are asking the human race to consent to their rule. When The Doctor becomes trapped in a laboratory that is about to explode, and on discovering that The Doctor is blind and that The Monks can restore his eyesight, Bill consents so allowing The Monks to take over Earth.
In the following story, "The Lie of the Land" - the third and final part of what has been described as 'The Monk Trilogy', in a world taken over by The Monks, Bill must figure out what has happened to The Doctor and how to defeat The Monks. This story includes the reappearance of Missy when The Doctor, Nardole and Bill enter the vault to talk to Missy, so as to discover how to defeat The Monks. Archive footage, from previous stories, is also used to form reappearances of the Daleks, Cybermen and the Weeping Angels.
In "Empress of Mars" The Doctor, Nardole and Bill travel to Mars after the discovery of a strange message on the planet’s surface. There they discover Victorian soldiers who become involved in a battle with Ice Warriors. As well as the return of the Ice Warriors this story contains the first appearance of a female Ice Warrior and a cameo appearance by Alpha Centauri - who was last seen in the 1974 Third Doctor story "The Monster of Peladon".
In "The Eaters of Light" The Doctor takes Nardole and Bill to the 2nd century because Bill thinks she knows what happened to the Ninth Legion of the Roman Empire. There they discover Picts guarding a portal to another universe and a strange beast lurking in the forests.
The two-part story "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls" sees the return of the Mondasian Cybermen, the final appearance and death of Missy, the return and beginning of the regeneration of The Master (as played by John Simm), the reappearance of the sentient oil Heather, the departures of travelling companions Bill Potts and Nardole and features the Twelfth Doctor encountering the First Doctor as played by David Bradley.
The 2017 Christmas special, "Twice Upon a Time", sees the return of the First Doctor, the final appearance of the Twelfth Doctor, the introduction of the Thirteenth Doctor and the return and final appearance of travelling companions Bill Potts and Nardole.