Last week we learned that Doctor Who will be returning for its eighth modern season this August, but the brief teaser didn’t give us much to go on. As we inch closer to the show’s season premiere, there are, however, some intriguing rumors making the rounds, including the possibility of more companions taking up residence in the TARDIS and a brain-twisting idea that could somehow, within the narrative, address the fact that Twelfth Doctor actor Peter Capaldi has already appeared in the Who-niverse twice as other characters.
First, the companions. Clara (Jenna Coleman) is obviously returning, but there have also been rumors that actor Samuel Anderson, who is playing a recurring character named Danny Pink, will be traveling with the Doctor as a companion. Pink is a teacher at Coal Hill School, the same place where Clara is on the teaching staff. And of course long-time Who fans will recall that Coal Hill played a big part in the very first Doctor Who story: the Doctor’s first companions, Ian and Barbara, both taught at Coal Hill, where the Doctor’s “granddaughter” Susan had been attending school while they were on Earth. But if Danny Pink is to be a new companion, he might not be the only one.
A few weeks ago, Anderson posted this picture to his Instagram:
Actress Ellis George is appearing in at least one episode of Who this season, and previous rumors suggested she would be playing a student at Coal Hill. But if she is indeed playing Danny Pink’s “little sis,” could that picture be hinting that her role is bigger than we thought? After all, if you’re going to be exploring the wonders of time and space, why not bring along the family? It would also make for some nice parallel structure. The end of Matt Smith’s run effectively rebooted the Doctor’s regeneration cycle, so having Coal Hill play a part in the upcoming episodes is a nice callback to the First Doctor. Giving the Twelfth Doctor his own three companions as well definitely seems like the sort of thing showrunner Steven Moffat might do to echo the show’s origins.
Now on to a far stranger possibility. It’s well known that new Doctor actor Peter Capaldi has appeared in both an episode of Doctor Who (“The Fires of Pompeii”) and in Torchwood: Children of Earth. Last October, Moffat said the following:
I remember Russell [T Davies] told me that he had a big old plan as to why there were two Peter Capaldis in the Who universe: one in Pompeii and one in Torchwood. When I cast Peter and Russell got in touch to say how pleased he was, I said, ‘Okay, what was your theory and does it still work?’ and he said, ‘Yes it does. Here it is…’
We’ll play that one out over time. It’s actually quite neat.
Interestingly, Moffat has hinted that Who would be “returning to the scene of an old adventure,” and the show has recently been filming at the Volcán del Cuervo, aka the Raven’s Volcano, which could certainly stand in for Pompeii’s Vesuvias if need be. Other speculation suggests that the “old adventure” in question is instead the Fifth Doctor’s 1984 “Planet of Fire” storyline. Plus, Moffat’s claim that they will play out the multiple Capaldis storyline “over time,” so the Twelfth Doctor’s first season might be a little too soon for the Doctor to encounter his Pompeii doppelganger. But hey, this is Doctor Who — anything can happen.
And if you’re excited about the show’s return, check out this lovely fan-made trailer.