When Doctor Who and the BBC announced that Jodie Whittaker (Broadchurch, The Assets) would be the Thirteenth Doctor it was met with mixed reactions. Every previous incarnation of the Time Lord had been a man. In fact, many fans who followed since the beginning have referred to the fact that the character is called the Time Lord and not Time Lady. Whichever side your preference falls, it won’t sway the BBC from making Doctor Who season 13 with the Thirteenth Doctor.
Here’s everything we know about Doctor Who season 13.
WHEN WILL DOCTOR WHO SEASON 13 PREMIERE?
First you should know we are definitely getting Doctor Who season 13. Even though the show is struggling to maintain its audience (more on that later), the BBC has committed to keep making Doctor Who at least through season 13.
So when will Season 13 arrive? Originally Doctor Who season 13 was supposed to go into production in June of 2020. However, the Coronavirus has caused the world to grind to a total halt. That shutdown includes shutting down the production of shows like Doctor Who. So it’s likely the start of production on Doctor Who season 13 will be delayed.
Originally it was thought Doctor Who season 13 would arrive in the fall of 2021 but if production gets pushed back more than a month or two, that could throw the whole thing off. It’s possible that we might not get more Doctor Who until 2022. Waiting two years for a new season of a show that’s been falling in the ratings seems like a lot to ask from long-suffering fans.
WILL DOCTOR WHO SEASON 13 BRING WHITTAKER BACK?
It’s confirmed. Jodie Whittaker will return in Doctor Who season 13 as The Doctor. Various sources have confirmed it and so has Whittaker, who announced her imminent return saying: “Yes, I’m doing another season… I absolutely adore it. At some point, these shoes are going to be handed on, but it’s not yet. I’m clinging on tight!”
Most fans seem to have warmed Whittaker’s Doctor, even the ones who aren’t happy with the rest of the show currently being produced. Her character has been very different from those previous regenerations of the Time Lord, not only because she’s the first time the Doctor has regenerated into a woman, but because of her personality.
Showrunner Chris Chibnall described the new Doctor soon after he announced Whittaker would assume the role. “The Thirteenth Doctor is incredibly lively, warm, funny, energetic, inclusive – she’s the greatest friend you could wish to have as your guide around the universe,” he told RadioTimes.
With Whittaker’s return a lock for Doctor Who season 13, fans know that at least for one more season Doctor Who, regardless of the continued unhappiness from its most ardent fans, will remain the same.
OTHERS RETURNING TO THE TARDIS FOR DOCTOR WHO SEASON 13
Whittaker’s Doctor has been with the same three companions since her premiere and with Season 12 smack dab in the middle of its run. For Doctor Who season 13, the show may make some changes.
The Mirror says Bradley Walsh, who stars on the show as Graham, is quitting the show after the next Doctor Who holiday special. As for why he’s leaving, Walsh says he’s ready to move on to other things. He says, “We have great fun doing it. But you must sleep and look after yourself, because if you don’t, you will come unstuck. This is 10 months of ramming speed. That’s what it is. I’m in my 60th year. It’s tough. It’s hard. It’s relentless. It really is. This ain’t an easy gig.”
Additionally, the show is parting ways with Tosin Cole, who plays Ryan. Where Walsh is said to have quit, the situation is less certain with Cole. It may simply be that the show feels it’s time to part ways with his character. However Cole does have a role lined up on another show, which could account for his departure.
The Doctor will have at least one companion left going into Doctor Who season 13. Mandip Gill is expected to return as Yaz.
THE PLOT OF DOCTOR WHO SEASON 13
It’s too early to tell what Doctor Who season 13 may be about. With time-travel as the show’s central focus, there is always a chance Whittaker’s Doctor runs into a previous doctor, as the show has pulled off this feat in the past. In fact recent episodes have focused on a character who may in fact be the original Doctor. She’s been played by actress Jo Martin (pictured above).
There is also the chance that whatever story is running at the end of season 12 will move forward to season 13. Or since it’s Doctor Who, they could totally reset everything. Given the trouble the show has been having in the ratings, a total reset might be just what they need for Doctor Who season 13.
A FRANCHISE IN TROUBLE
It’s no secret that since the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor, Doctor Who has been on shaky ground. Some would like to point the finger directly at Whittaker, but it isn’t that cut and dry.
In fact, the first six episodes of Season 12 have been met with mixed results by series critics, ranging on the old Rotten Tomato-meter from as high as 100% approval down to 47%.
Fans, on the other hand, have been much harsher in their critique. One fan posted on Rotten Tomatoes, “Really sad to see a good show go so bad. I don’t think the show can be saved at this point. Just end it and put it out of its misery. It’s embarrassing to those of us that are going to wear Doctor Who shirts to the conventions.”
Not only is the series getting ripped by its fans, but the series is also losing viewers in droves. Over the course of Season 12, the show has lost close to a million viewers from the numbers it had at the start of the Season 12 premiere. That’s nearly 1/4 of its total audience, in just a few short weeks. That doesn’t bode well for Doctor Who season 13.
The BBC On Doctor Who’s Low Ratings
One of the big questions will need to be answered: what happens if Doctor Who season 13 continues its downward spiral? How long will the BBC continue to back a floundering series?
Controller of BBC Drama Piers Wenge was asked at a recent BBC even it they would consider “resting” the Doctor Who franchise in light of the show’s recent ratings woes. Here’s how he answered: “I worked on Doctor Who myself and produced it for many years and I can honestly say I don’t think it’s been in better health editorially. The production values have never been better. It’s also not just funded by the BBC, it’s funded by lots of international partners.”
That’s ‘not exactly a straight answer but it does suggest that ratings alone aren’t what creates Doctor Who’s revenue stream. Wenge continued, “It’s an incredibly important show for young audiences, it’s still watched by families in a world where there are fewer shows that have the power to do that. It will always be an important show for us and we’re a very long way from wanting to rest it.”
That doesn’t entirely put to rest the idea that the BBC might bail on Doctor Who if the ratings continue to fall, but it does sound like they are currently still behind the series as it is now.
The Doctor Returns To Deliver An Important Message
Between Doctor Who season 12 and Doctor Who season 13, the Coronavirus pandemic swept the world. So of course, The Doctor was there to help. Well, not so much help as deliver a friendly message to help people get through this big mess.
Here’s The Doctor…
Doctor Who Accused Of Being Racist
The most recent seasons of Doctor Who have met with complaints from some fans that they’re too worried about being politically correct. So far it seems like Doctor Who season 13 will ignore those complaints. Part of the reason they’ll likely ignore them has to do with a totally different group of fans who now have the opposite problem with old episodes of Doctor Who: They don’t think they’re politically correct enough.
Classic episodes of Doctor Who are currently available on the streaming service BritBox. And now the streaming service is under fire for daring to show them. Specifically they’re under fire for making a six-part series of Doctor Who episodes titled “The Talons of Weng-Chiang” available.
“The Talons of Weng-Chiang” was filmed during Tom Baker’s tenure as the character back in 1977. In those episodes, caucasian British actor named John Bennet dons yellowface to play a villain who is a Chinese stage magician. Throughout the storyline characters make offensive references to Chinese people, using racial slurs against them. In the episodes, Tom Baker’s Doctor seems to be all for it and does nothing to call out this bad behavior.
Obviously back in 1977 they really had no idea what they were doing and the way things were back then just aren’t how they were now. But that explanation isn’t enough for activists who are now calling out BritBox.
Emma Ko a spokeswoman for the British East Asians in Theatre & on Screen tells the Daily Mail: “When you are somebody who was called a “Chink” in your childhood, as I have been, it is so hard to hear that word and not feel immediately a trigger reaction of how wrong it is.”
It’s fair to point out here that no matter what you think of these episodes, BritBox deserves some blame. The thing is, BritBox has been billing itself as a streaming service that won’t show viewers any offensive comment. In the past they’ve very publicly censored classic television programming in the name of protecting modern viewers from old fashioned content they might find offensive. In other cases they’ve added content warnings on classic programming warning viewers that it may contain offensive material. Neither of these things they promised have been done with Doctor Who.
So we have a situation where BritBox promised to do something and, at least in the case of Doctor Who, it didn’t do it. Whether you think Doctor Who should be censored or not, it’s easy to understand why BritBox viewers might be upset the streamer isn’t delivering the offense-free service they promised.
WHO IS WHO?
For those unfamiliar with Doctor Who, the show is about The Doctor, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, the original home of all the Time Lords, located 250 light-years from Earth. The first Doctor left Gallifrey in a stolen TARDIS, a time machine that appears on Earth disguised as a blue police box, when inside the interior is vast.
The Doctor typically travels with companions in an effort to thwart evildoers from hurting the innocent or even stop them from changing history. The Doctor also has the ability to regenerate. When death is imminent, a Doctor will restore themselves, hence the Thirteenth Doctor. They all do represent the same Doctor, keeping memories of those who came before them, but they regenerate into new bodies with new personalities and employ different methods in handling the issues they are faced with.