During half-time of the World Cup Final on July 15, the BBC aired a teaser for the upcoming Doctor Who season. Here’s what we gleaned from it.
While the teaser did not feature any footage from the show itself, there were still enough clues throughout to give us a taste of what to expect when it returns for the 11th outing of the New Who era.
So, without further ado, this is everything we noticed in the Doctor Who teaser.
Though there was no dialogue between the characters featured in the teaser, that doesn’t mean that it was entirely devoid. Taking its cue from where the spot was placed, the BBC opted instead to utilize sports commentary from the World Cup, with the voices of Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand featuring.
“It’s a big occasion, but he’s a big game player,” Shearer said, opening the teaser, as the footage panned over new “friend” of the Doctor, Ryan Sinclair. “And you can see that from the confidence he has.”
Whether that is a hint as to the kind of character that Ryan will be — stepping up in the big, important moments — will remain to be seen, but it’d be unusual for the BBC not to be deliberate about the placement of the dialogue.
“The first touch was out of this world,” Shearer continued, as the teaser moved into Yasmin Khan’s gathering with her friends. Then, Rio Ferdinand added, as the footage shifted to Graham. “They’ve got the makings of a really strong team. They’ve got great energy, they’ve got great flair. I’m really excited to see what happens.”
That final bit of commentary is a bold promise, but one we don’t doubt that season 11 of Doctor Who can live up to.
Food, glorious food
Food is a fairly significant feature across the teaser. Ryan is enjoying a full English breakfast — which the Doctor helps herself to — while Yasmin shares a pizza with friends, and Graham sits in a chip shop. With the choices of food, all things fairly commonly accepted as British staples, it suggests a down-to-Earth nature for each of the Doctor’s newest friends. Normal is something that is entirely welcome, especially set against the backdrop of the Doctor’s fantastical world.
Equally, the way that the Doctor interacts with each of the characters in turn — messing with Ryan, bringing pizza to Yasmin so she has more to share — could also provide something of a hint as to how their respective relationships might be.
A new, shiny look
We’d be remiss not to mention the new look of the footage in the teaser. While it won’t be used in the show itself, we have no doubt that it uses the same filming technique that will be present in season 11.
In a comment to the Radio Times, Films at 59’s Dave Wride said, “The BBC have made a monumental leap here to enhance the look of Doctor Who and I’m sure the fans will not be disappointed with the distinctly cinematic results that this lens and camera combo will afford them.”
So, the Doctor herself, and the additions of Ryan, Yasmin, and Graham, aren’t the only new things heading to Doctor Who. With updated, cinematic visuals, as well as a new visual effects team, and a new composer, the 13th Doctor is going to have a completely revamped look and sound. Though, hopefully, it won’t stray too far from the Who we all know and love. (You can’t say that you don’t love a few practical creature effects and costumes.)
One minor detail that struck us as odd about the announcement of the characters was that Graham was the only one without a last name. Both Ryan and Yasmin’s were revealed early on, but everyone’s lips are still sealed on what, exactly, Graham’s full name is. Could he be related to a character that we have already been introduced to in previous seasons?
When the Doctor sweeps into the frame and swaps out Graham’s newspaper for The Beano, a fleeting thought crossed our minds: hadn’t we seen that edition of The Beano before?
As it happens, that 1981 Summer Special of The Beano has been on the show previously. While Matt Smith’s 12th Doctor was digging into exactly who Clara Oswald was, in the episode “The Rings of Akhaten,” he read this same issue.
It could be that the Doctor held on to this specific issue of The Beano. Or, perhaps, it could be an early hint that, somehow, Graham is related to Clara. Either are plausible, depending on how closely new showrunner Chris Chibnall wants to connect his incarnation of the Doctor with earlier seasons.