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Doctor Who (series 12)

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Doctor Who (series 12)
Doctor Who Series 12.png
Promotional poster
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of stories3
No. of episodes4
Original networkBBC One
Original release1 January 2020 (2020-01-01) –
present (present)
Series chronology
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Series 11
List of Doctor Who episodes (2005–present)

The twelfth series of the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who premiered on 1 January 2020 and is set to air through to March 2020. The series is the second to be led by Chris Chibnall as head writer and executive producer, alongside executive producer Matt Strevens. This series is the twelfth to air following the programme's revival in 2005, and is the thirty-eighth season overall. The twelfth series is set to be broadcast on Sundays, bar the premiere episode, continuing on from the eleventh series, after regular episodes of the revived era have previously been broadcast on Saturdays.

Jodie Whittaker returns for her second series as the Thirteenth Doctor, the most recent incarnation of the Doctor, an alien Time Lord who travels through time and space in the TARDIS, which appears to be a British police box on the outside. The series also stars Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill as the Doctor's travelling companions, Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair and Yasmin Khan, respectively.

The ten episodes were directed by Jamie Magnus Stone, Lee Haven Jones, Nida Manzoor and Emma Sullivan. Alongside Chibnall, who wrote four scripts for the twelfth series, the writers include Ed Hime, Pete McTighe and Vinay Patel, who return from writing for the previous series, as well as new contributors Nina Metivier, Maxine Alderton and Charlene James. Filming for the series commenced in January 2019 and concluded by November of that year. The series will be followed by a special episode.


The twelfth series will include two-part stories for the first time since the tenth series, and more than one two-part story for the first time since the ninth series.[1]

Story [2]EpisodeTitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date [3]UK viewers
(millions) [4]
288a1"Spyfall, Part 1"Jamie Magnus StoneChris Chibnall1 January 2020 (2020-01-01)6.8982
The Doctor, Yaz, Graham, and Ryan are called into MI6 by C to investigate mysterious deaths. Their only lead is Daniel Barton, the CEO of a media company. The Doctor contacts Agent O, who was tasked with monitoring extra-terrestrial activities. C is killed by aliens, but the Doctor and her companions escape. Yaz and Ryan investigate Barton, who invites them to his birthday party. Graham and the Doctor find O in the Australian outback. Both groups encounter the same alien lifeforms, though the Doctor is able to capture one of them. While sneaking into Barton's headquarters with Ryan, Yaz is captured by an alien, and the Doctor's captured alien is able to free itself by replacing itself with Yaz. Joined by O, the four investigate Barton at his party. After the Doctor reveals him, Barton tries to escape, so the Doctor and her companions pursue on motorbikes to Barton's private jet. Leaping aboard the jet, O reveals he is actually The Master – having been in control of Barton and the aliens the whole time. A bomb detonates, and the Master escapes while the Doctor is captured by one of the aliens, leaving her companions in the falling plane.
288b2"Spyfall, Part 2"Lee Haven JonesChris Chibnall5 January 2020 (2020-01-05)6.0782
In the aliens' dimension, the Doctor meets Ada Lovelace, and they are both transported to 1834. The Doctor summons a alien, called the Kasaavin, hoping it will take her back to the 21st century, but Ada abruptly joins her. In the present, Ryan discovers how to safely land the plane after finding a recording of the Doctor, but Barton brands the companions as fugitives. The Doctor and Ada accidentally land in Paris during World War II, but are rescued by Noor Inayat Khan. The Master tracks the Doctor disguised as a Nazi, though she arranges a meeting between them. The Master claims Gallifrey has been destroyed before the Doctor blows his cover and escapes with Ada and Noor to the present in the Master's TARDIS. Barton speaks at a conference, revealing that the Kasaavin will rewrite humanity's DNA. The Master arrives to see the device activate, only for it to fail. The Doctor exposes the Master's machinations to the Kasaavin, provoking them into taking him with them as they're forced back to their dimension. The Doctor visits a destroyed Gallifrey to confirm the Master's claim, and learns from a recording of him that their lives were based on lies.
2893"Orphan 55"Lee Haven JonesEd Hime12 January 2020 (2020-01-12)5.3877
The Doctor, Ryan, Yaz and Graham are transported to Tranquility Spa, a "fakation" facility built in a dome on a desolate "orphan" world. Seemingly peaceful at first, the facility is quickly overrun by Dregs, humanoid monsters, due to an intentional disruption of the security systems. Several guests and facility workers are killed before the Doctor re-establishes the security fields. The survivors leave the dome to save a fellow survivor, but the Dregs lead them into a trap, and they retreat to a tunnel to return to the facility. There, one of the guests, Bella, reveals she purposely disrupted the security field as revenge against her mother Kane, who built Tranquility Spa and ignored her childhood. The Doctor discovers the orphan planet is really Earth after years of climate change and war, and the Dregs are mutated human survivors. Kane and Bella sacrifice themselves to destroy the facility and protect the others as the Doctor safely transports them to their original planets.
2904"Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror"Nida ManzoorNina Metivier19 January 2020 (2020-01-19)TBD79
In 1903, Nikola Tesla works on his wireless power transmission system. He comes across a floating orb, and makes a run as a cloaked figure shoots at him. The Doctor arrives to help them escape aboard a train headed to New York City. The group finds protesters waiting outside Tesla's lab, having been goaded into fearing Tesla by Thomas Edison. The Doctor, Graham and Ryan visit Edison's workshop. The cloaked figure arrives at Edison's lab before pursuing Edison. The Doctor tries to warn Tesla and Yaz back at his lab, but the two are captured and transported to an invisible alien ship. The Queen of the Skithra demands they fix her ship. The Doctor transports herself, Tesla, and Yaz back to Tesla's lab. The Doctor warns the Queen to leave, but the Queen refuses, threatening if Tesla is not given over, she will destroy Earth. As Tesla and the Doctor hook up the TARDIS to help power Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower, the Tower activates, and electrical bolts shoot through the ship, forcing it to leave Earth. Yaz learns that while Tesla was recognised as helping to save Earth, his reputation in the future remained unchanged.
2915"Fugitive of the Judoon"[5][6]Nida ManzoorVinay Patel and Chris Chibnall26 January 2020 (2020-01-26)TBDTBD
2926"Praxeus"[5][7]Jamie Magnus StonePete McTighe and Chris Chibnall2 February 2020 (2020-02-02)TBDTBD
2937TBAEmma Sullivan[8]Charlene James[9]2020 (2020)TBDTBD
2948TBAEmma Sullivan[8]Maxine Alderton[10]16 February 2020 (2020-02-16)[11]TBDTBD
295a9TBAJamie Magnus Stone[12]Chris Chibnall[2]2020 (2020)TBDTBD
295b10TBAJamie Magnus Stone[12]Chris Chibnall[9]2020 (2020)TBDTBD
296TBALee Haven Jones[14]TBA2020 (2020)TBDTBD


The series is the second series to feature Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor.[15][16] Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill will also reprise their roles as Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair and Yasmin Khan, respectively.[17][18]

Stephen Fry appeared in the first part of the two-part episode "Spyfall", with Lenny Henry appearing in both parts.[19] Dominique Maher and Darron Meyer portrayed Agent Browning and Seesay respectively in "Spyfall, Part 1".[20] Sacha Dhawan appeared unannounced in "Spyfall, Part 1", and was revealed at the end of the episode to be the Master.[21] Aurora Marion portrayed Noor Inayat Khan in "Spyfall, Part 2".[22][23] James Buckley appeared in "Orphan 55" as a character named Nevi.[24] Laura Fraser also appeared in "Orphan 55" as Kane,[25][26] as did Julia Foster as a character named Vilma.[27][5] Robert Glenister and Goran Višnjić have also been cast,[28] as Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla respectively,[29] and appeared in "Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror".[5] Anjli Mohindra, who had previously portrayed Rani Chandra in the Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures, played a character named Queen Skithra in "Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror".[27][5]

Jo Martin is set to appear as a character named Ruth Clayton in "Fugitive of the Judoon".[30][5] Neil Stuke is also set to star in Series 12, as are the Judoon, in "Fugitive of the Judoon".[31][5] Molly Harris is set to appear as a character named Suki Cheng in "Praxeus".[12][5] Warren Brown was also cast in the episode.[32]

Maxim Baldry is also set to appear in a historical episode.[33] Jacob Collins-Levy is also set to appear in an episode.[34]


Writing and development

In April 2015, Steven Moffat confirmed that Doctor Who would run for at least another five years, extending the show until 2020.[35] In May 2017, it was announced that due to the terms of a deal between BBC Worldwide and SMG Pictures in China, the company has first right of refusal on the purchase for the Chinese market of future series of the programme until and including Series 15.[36][37]

Chris Chibnall returns as the series' showrunner, the role he took on following Steven Moffat's departure after the tenth series.[15] Matt Strevens also returns to serve as executive producer alongside Chibnall.[38] Ed Hime, who wrote the penultimate episode of the previous series, "It Takes You Away", wrote an episode for the series.[39] Nina Metivier, who served as script editor on the previous series, also wrote an episode for this series.[40]

In November 2019, Doctor Who Magazine revealed the writers for the twelfth series, including Vinay Patel, Pete McTighe, Maxine Alderton and Charlene James, as well as Hime, Métivier and Chibnall; Chibnall wrote four episodes of the series.[9] The Cybermen are set to appear in the series.[41] In a Radio Times article, Chibnall confirmed that Series 12 would feature the return of two-part stories.[1]


Costume designer Ray Holman listed the twelfth series as being in pre-production in November 2018.[42] By 17 November, BBC confirmed that Whittaker's second series had begun production.[15] Jamie Magnus Stone, who previously directed the fiftieth-anniversary minisode "The Last Day", directed the first block, which comprised the first and sixth episodes of the series.[43][12] Lee Haven Jones directed the second and third episodes in the second block, Nida Manzoor directed the third block of the fourth and fifth episodes,[44] Emma Sullivan directed the fourth block of the seventh and eighth episodes,[8] and Stone directed the fifth block of the ninth and tenth episodes.[45] A special episode was filmed by Lee Haven Jones.[14][13]

Filming commenced on 23 January 2019.[46] Filming began in Cape Town, South Africa,[47][48] and concluded in South Africa 7 February 2019, with location filming taking place at Western Cape, Hopefield,[49] Table Mountain[50] and Taal Monument.[51] Filming took place in Cardiff and Wales between February and October 2019.[52][53][54][55][22][56][57][58][59][60][61] Filming has also taken place in Tenerife,[62] Gloucester,[63] and Merthyr Mawr.[33] Filming concluded by 19 November 2019.[64]

Production blocks are arranged as follows:

Block Episode(s) Director Writer(s) Producer Ref(s)
1 "Spyfall, Part 1" Jamie Magnus Stone Chris Chibnall Nikki Wilson [65][5]
"Praxeus" Pete McTighe and Chris Chibnall TBA
2 "Spyfall, Part 2" Lee Haven Jones Chris Chibnall Alex Mercer
"Orphan 55" Ed Hime
3 "Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror" Nida Manzoor Nina Metivier Nikki Wilson
"Fugitive of the Judoon" Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall TBA
4 Episode 7 Emma Sullivan Charlene James Alex Mercer [45][8][10]
Episode 8 Maxine Alderton
5 Episode 9 Jamie Magnus Stone Chris Chibnall TBA [45][2]
Episode 10
X Special episode Lee Haven Jones TBA Alex Mercer [14][13]

Design and effects

The twelfth series introduces changes to the design of the TARDIS, with a modified column above the time rotor, the pathway from the TARDIS's doors, stairs, and modifications to the central console. These changes were introduced by production designer Dafydd Shurmer.[66][67] The eleventh series removed the cold openings, which was reintroduced for a number of the episodes of the twelfth series.[68]


Segun Akinola returns to compose for the twelfth series.[69][70]



The BBC confirmed after the eleventh series' finale that the twelfth series will premiere in "very early" 2020.[17][18][3] BBC confirmed on 2 December 2019 that the series was set to premiere on 1 January 2020,[71] and will air through to March 2020.[72] The twelfth series is set to be broadcast on Sundays, bar the premiere episode, continuing on from the eleventh series, after regular episodes of the revived era have previously been broadcast on Saturdays.[71] The series will be succeeded by a special episode.[13]

The "Spyfall" two-part episode was released in cinemas in the United States on 5 January 2020.[73]


The first poster for the twelfth series was released on 21 November 2019.[74] The first trailer for the series was released on 23 November 2019, coinciding with the programme's fifty-sixth anniversary.[75][41] A second trailer was released on 2 December 2019 alongside news of the series' premiere date.[71] Forbidden Planet are releasing shirts weekly with themes that correspond to each week's broadcast episode of Series 12.[76] A new trailer was released mid-series on 20 January 2020.[77]

Home media

Individual releases

Series Episode name Number and duration
of episodes
R2/B release date R4/B release date R1/A release date
12 Doctor Who: The Complete Twelfth Series TBA 16 March 2020
(D,B) [78]
TBA TBA (D,B) [79]



No. Title Air date Overnight ratings Consolidated ratings Total
AI Ref(s)
Rank Viewers
1 "Spyfall, Part 1" 1 January 2020 4.88 2 2.01 8 6.887[a] N/A 82 [4][80][81]
2 "Spyfall, Part 2" 5 January 2020 4.60 5 1.47 16 6.074[b] N/A 82 [4][80][82]
3 "Orphan 55" 12 January 2020 4.19 5 1.19 25 5.378[c] N/A 77 [4][80][83]
4 "Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror" 19 January 2020 4.04 6 N/A N/A N/A N/A 79 [84]

Critical reception

Doctor Who's twelfth series has received positive reviews from critics. Series 12 holds a 80% approval rating on online review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 6.97/10, based on 76 critic reviews.[85] Metacritic calculated a weighted average score of 80 out of 100 from 4 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[86]

Doctor Who (series 12): Critical reception by episode


  1. ^ Episode 1, total viewers: 6.699m on TV, 101k on PC, 49k on Tablet, 37k on Smartphone
  2. ^ Episode 2, total viewers: 5.909m on TV, 85k on PC, 45k on Tablet, 34k on Smartphone
  3. ^ Episode 3, total viewers: 5.246m on TV, 66k on PC, 37k on Tablet, 29k on Smartphone


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