Doctor Who (series 13)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Original network||BBC One|
The thirteenth series of the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who is set to premiere in 2021, after being announced in November 2019. The series will be the third and last to be led by Chris Chibnall as head writer and executive producer. This series is set to be the thirteenth to air following the programme's revival in 2005, and will be the thirty-ninth season overall.
Jodie Whittaker returns for her third and final 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. It also stars Mandip Gill and John Bishop as the Doctor's travelling companions, playing Yasmin Khan and Dan Lewis, respectively.
The series will consist of six episodes, which are set to form a single story across the series. The six episodes were directed by Jamie Magnus Stone and Azhur Saleem. Alongside Chibnall, the writers include Ed Hime and Maxine Alderton, who return from writing the previous series. Filming commenced in November 2020, and was completed for the series by August 2021.
The series is the third to feature Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. Mandip Gill will also return as Yasmin Khan. Following the departures of Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole in "Revolution of the Daleks", John Bishop is set to join the cast for the series as Dan Lewis. Jacob Anderson will appear in a recurring role as Vinder.
In July 2021, near the end of filming, both Whittaker and Chibnall announced their intention to leave the programme following the series and three associated specials, to air by 2022. Chibnall explained that he and Whittaker had agreed to a "three series and out" pact, and that "now our shift is done, and we’re handing back the Tardis keys". In the BBC press release, Chibnall is quoted as saying: “I wish our successors - whoever the BBC and BBC Studios choose - as much fun as we’ve had. They’re in for a treat!”
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. In October 2019, a deal was made between HBO Max and BBC for an additional two series of Doctor Who, including the thirteenth and fourteenth series.
The thirteenth series was announced by showrunner Chris Chibnall to be in development in November 2019, before the twelfth series premiered; Chibnall returns as the series' showrunner, having been in the role since the eleventh series.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on television, the series' production included only eight episodes, reduced from the previous eleven. This was later announced to be shown as six episodes as part of the thirteenth series and two specials slated to air in 2022, with an additional special ordered for later that year as part of the BBC's centenary celebrations. The latter episode will be Whittaker and Chibnall's last as star and executive producer respectively. The six-episode series also tells one complete narrative across its entirety, rather than episodic stories; this format was last used in The Trial of a Time Lord (1986). Chibnall stated, "Before we started making it, there were times when we thought we were going to be unable to do the show under Covid conditions this year… there were two ways you could go. You could go 'let's do lots of tiny little episodes in one room, with no monsters,' or we could throw down the gauntlet and do the biggest story we've ever done." Chibnall considered the latter approach more suitable, and said that it is "definitely the most ambitious thing we've done since we've been on the series."
Maxine Alderton, writer of the twelfth series episode "The Haunting of Villa Diodati", was listed on her CV as a "core writer" for the thirteenth series, while Ed Hime, who penned "It Takes You Away" (2018) and "Orphan 55" (2020) from the two past series, listed on his CV that he was set to write an episode for the series. In April 2020, Chibnall confirmed that writing for the series had commenced and continued remotely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to producer Tracie Simpson, pre-production for the thirteenth series was set to begin in June 2020, with filming originally set for September 2020. Filming eventually commenced in November 2020, and ran for ten months. Filming was still ongoing in July 2021 as confirmed at the San Diego Comic Con. Jamie Magnus Stone and Azhur Saleem directed episodes of the series, with Stone directing the first, second and fourth episodes, and Saleem directing the third, fifth and sixth episodes. Filming for the six episodes of the series had concluded by August 2021.
The series was first promoted at San Diego Comic Con on 25 July 2021, where the first teaser trailer was released.
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