The Doctor Who creative team and actors are particularly careful about revealing too much about the upcoming series, so who may have slipped up with some more details in recent interviews?
It seems like the more popular a show gets the more the creative team wants to keep storylines a secret. As annoying as this is to hardcore fans, there are certain payoffs. Jenna-Louise Coleman making her debut in Doctor Who in “Asylum of the Daleks” certainly took everyone by surprise and had a profound impact.
For months we’ve heard the usual: “this will be the biggest season ever,” “the 50th will be epic,” “it’s all so exiting to be a part of television history,” etc. So, beyond the usual platitudes and rehash, what information do we actually know that’s new? What information do we need to know going in?
Starts this Saturday with eight new episodes lined up.
The first episode is called “The Bells of St. John” and features the new aliens called The Spoonheads that have taken over the WiFi networks.
When asked if there was an anti-technology, subtle message in “The Bells of St. John” at the season’s Los Angeles press conference, Steven Moffat stated, “No, I’m trying to make up a really, really good adventure about the Doctor, really. What Doctor Who often does is grab hold of whatever is omnipresent in your life and turn it into a monster…Suffice it to say, wifi covers every civilized country, so if something got into the wifi, that would be a problem for us all. It’s a new way to invade us.”
When Jenna-Louise Coleman was asked about possible romance aboard the TARDIS, she was non-committal and stated to Access Hollywood, “…we start Series 7 and it’s very much like — we haven’t met this Clara before, so we start the story again. So, what happens in the Christmas episode doesn’t necessarily carry on through…I think that…there’s so much more at work here and I kind of don’t want to give anything away going into the series, but it’s a new start again. It’s a completely — it’s a different character, it’s a different girl and we will all understand why.”
Highlights of these first four episodes including visiting a new planet with a space station, visiting a submarine during the Cold War with the Ice Warriors on board, and visiting a supposedly haunted house.
Steven Moffat thought the Ice Warriors were “a rubbish and boring” alien until Mark Gatisss, who penned the episode, convinced him otherwise.
In speaking about filming on a submarine Matt Smith stated to SFX, “It’s a full length submarine, so it was really claustrophobic – and bearing in mind there’s a film crew in there, and an Ice Warrior, played by a guy who’s nearly seven foot tall! You couldn’t swing a cat in there, let alone Jenna-Louise Coleman. And it was filled with water up to your knees, sometimes up to your chest. It was great fun, though. It was a right old laugh.”
The ghost story that is titled “Hide” is the first time that the mother/daughter acting team of Dame Diana Rigg and Rachel Sterling will appear on screen together. Mark Gatiss managed to pull off this bit of casting when he was starring in a West End play with Sterling and suggested that she and her mother would be perfect for the roles. Sterling, a Doctor Who fan, jumped at the chance and convinced her mum.
Episodes 10 and 11 are titled “Journey to the Center of the TARDIS” and “The Crimson Horror.” In the first episode we are promised a proper look at the TARDIS beyond the control room. In the second, Victorian England is again the setting with Strax, Vastra, and Jenny all playing key roles.
Matt Smith shared his opinion with TV Guide U.K. about what is seen in “Journey to the Center of the TARDIS”: “I really wanted to see the Doctor’s bedroom but we don’t, unfortunately. What’s really exciting about the episode when we do find out a bit more about the TARDIS is that it’s not just walls and corridors. There are lots of different parts. I thought he’d have a space safari park in there where he’s collated all these mad animals from throughout the universe who just hang around.”
Neil Gaiman’s episode, which is the second to last in the line-up at number 12, was originally titled “The Last Cyberman.” It is currently titled “Nightmare in Silver.”
Somehow The Great Intelligence figures into the second half of the series. The BBC has created an extensive section on the Doctor Who official website detailing the backstory of this old foe of the Doctor’s. Look for the vocal talents of Richard E. Grant and Ian McKellan to return this series.
The final episode’s title has not been released, but rumors abound. At a conference in Ireland, Steven Moffat confirmed that River Song would be back in some capacity. Jenna-Louise Coleman stated to Daybreak that, “It’s a huge finale episode, and it’s a kind of build up to the 50th.” When questioned further if the Doctor’s secret would actually be revealed, and that it wasn’t a tease, Coleman responded, “yes.”
The 50th Anniversary Celebrations
The filming has been pushed back to April to allow for PR for series 7b and the shooting of Sherlock.
The episode will be shot in 3-D, and will be presented both in theaters and on television.
There will not be appearances by any of the following actors as confirmed by them: Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, John Barrowman. David Tennant and Christopher Eccelston are possibly involved, but they have been tight-lipped about the extent of their involvement and change the subject when asked.
Steven Moffat does not want an overly nostalgic feel to the special because he thinks that would be like saying goodbye to the Doctor and kill future series momentum. He stated at the recent Los Angeles press conference, “One of the things that I’m concerned about this year is that the show must be seen to be going forward. It’s all about the next 50 years, not about the last 50 years. If you start thinking it’s all about nostalgia then you’re finished. It’s about moving forward. The Doctor is moving forward, as he always does. He wants to solve the mystery of Clara. He’s not thinking about all his previous incarnations and all his previous adventures. He’s thinking about the future. That, for me, is important. The show must never feel old. It must always feel brand new, and a 50th anniversary can play against that.”
Jenna-Louise Coleman has confirmed that the production team is going to let her grandmother, a huge Doctor Who fan, visit the set during the filming.
When asked if he thought the show might get too complex for young viewers, Matt Smith stated, “Children are always going to engage with the story in a slightly different way to adults, but I tell you this, I bet you they pay more attention. What are we meant to do? Just dumb everything down? The science is mad and complicated and brilliant. It’s Doctor Who! If it’s too easy, what’s the point? I think we have to give children more credit.”
When asked to comment on the script itself, Matt Smith stated, “It sort of does what it says on the tin. You won’t be disappointed. I read it and I clapped at the end. It’s epic and it’s fast and I’m telling you nothing more; it’s going to be the biggest, best, most inventive and most exciting year for the show, and I think this script delivers on all those points that you want it to for where the show is at this time. It’s brilliant. We’re upping the scale of everything; it’s 3D – I won’t say anything about the event but there’s a bit more for your buck.”
If you are relatively new to Doctor Who and want an overview of the most important events from 1963 to the present, then the LA Times has come to your rescue. It has a great pictorial chart recapping the most important information from the last 50 years.
The Christmas Special
Filming has not yet begun.
Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman have both confirmed their involvement.
Jenna-Louise Coleman has confirmed she will be in the show in 2014, but Matt Smith has not confirmed either way. Smith has stated that were he to confirm it would detract from mysteries and elements of jeopardy that fans find exciting for the Doctor.
There will be no new episodes in fall/winter 2013 other than the 50th anniversary special and the Christmas special.