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Series 12 of Doctor Who premiered on Wednesday 1 January 2020. Chris Chibnall remained in the position of executive producer whilst Jodie Whittaker, Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh reprised their roles as the Thirteenth Doctor, Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan and Graham O'Brien respectively.

Series 12 was first confirmed in April 2015, when then-showrunner Steven Moffat confirmed that Doctor Who had been renewed through 2020.[1]

Whittaker announced her own return on Friday 7 December 2018, two days prior to the broadcast of the series 11 finale, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos.[2] The series was announced almost immediately after the conclusion of said episode.[3]

A series of behind the scenes features were released to YouTube.

It continued an ongoing storyline, only briefly mentioned previous series, of "the Timeless Child".

Overview[edit | edit source]

Series 12 consisted of 9 stories shown over 11 episodes, bring back two-parters, a format that had not occurred the previous season. Spyfall, the opening story of the series, was the first time since 2010's The End of Time that a two-parter didn't receive individual titles. The series had a heavy environmental theme, mirroring current global concerns.

The series continued the "Timeless Child" story arc, and delved into an unknown past of the Doctor, the Time Lords and Gallifrey. This was done via a more "traditional" series arc, as was prominent in the Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat eras.

Series 12 delved deeper into the companions' lives and ultimately resulted in the departure of Ryan Sinclair and Graham O'Brien in the New Years special. The series also saw the temporary return of Captain Jack Harkness.

As was done between series 8 and series 9, this series also saw some changes to the TARDIS compared to the previous series, in the form of a new crystalline column hanging from the ceiling just above the crystalline time rotor, a set a hexagon-filled gold stairs to an upper level that leads to the rest of the ship and new screens and systems and wall changes to make it look even bigger.

The "cold openings" returned for some of the episodes this series, having been notably absent in the previous series.

Returning foes[edit | edit source]

Series 12 welcomed back the Master to the show in a new male incarnation played by Sacha Dhawan and disguised as an MI6 spy known as "O". The Master was last seen in series 10's The Doctor Falls with both their Harold Saxon incarnation played by John Simm and Missy incarnation played by Michelle Gomez. The series finale, The Timeless Children, used an anagram for Dhawan on the Doctor Who website; "Barack Stemis" which, if re-arranged, means "Master is Back" and playing a false character called "Fakout".[4][5] This tactic, discounting in-universe examples from 2007's Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords, had not been seen since The King's Demons in 1983, when an alias was used to hide the presense of Anthony Ainley.

Series 12 re-introduced the Judoon, giving them a central role in a television story for the first time since the series 6 mid-series finale A Good Man Goes to War in 2011. The Nanogenes, last seen in the 2012 story Asylum of the Daleks, also made an appearance this series.

The series also saw the return of the Eternals, not seen on television since before the 2005 revival of the show. This was done through new characters, Zellin and Rakaya.

The Cybermen also made their way back onto the small screen this series, in their first TV appearance since the 2017 story The Doctor Falls (discounting archival footage in Twice Upon a Time), first in the form of a single Lone Cyberman, followed by a whole army of them, consisting of the Cybus/Mondasian cross-breed as Cyberguards and a new variant called Cyber-Warriors. They also utilised a new weaponry called Cyberdrones, which were flying Cyber-helmets.

The Time Lords returned for the first time since the 2015 series 9 finale Hell Bent. Although they mainly appeared only through a vision scene in the Matrix, a sole Time Lady was also seen working with the Judoon in Fugitive of the Judoon. The finale also gives mention to the Shobogans, first mentioned in 1976's The Deadly Assassin.

The Daleks also made their way back, both in their bronze design and in the "scrapyard" design from Resolution, albeit with a new black Dalek casing. But like Series 11, they did not feature in the main series, instead popping up in the following special.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Recurring[edit | edit source]

Guest[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

It was originally reported that pre-production on series 12 had begun in November 2018, with Ray Holman having updated his CV to say so. Furthermore it was said that filming would begin in January 2019.[6]

In an interview with Radio Times the cast and showrunner spoke about feeling "less pressure" heading into the second series, with Tosin stating: "Last year was new showrunner, new Doctor, new companions, new time of the show, so everything was just brand new – now that we’ve done that, everyone survived, everyone’s OK, the fans have loved it." Mandip added that "there was a bit of uproar or whatever while we were doing it, but [the fans] proved that they do change with the Doctor – and they stay". Chibnall followed up by saying: "There was more pressure last year, launching Jodie, launching a whole new family of companions, a new look, a new composer – it was a whole new team last year."[7]

Producer Nikki Wilson noted that the crystal "fingers" in the TARDIS looked pink on camera; a colourist colour-corrected every TARDIS scene for series 11. For series 12, the LEDs in the "fingers" were completely redone to fix this problem.[8]

Crew[edit | edit source]

Producers[edit | edit source]

Producers included Stefan Morris and Alex Mercer.

Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens continued their roles as executive producers.

Nikki Wilson continued her role as series producer.

Dafydd Shurmer, the previous series' art director, took over the position of production designer after Arwel Wyn Jones left.

Writers[edit | edit source]

Headwriter Chris Chibnall wrote four episodes for the series, namely the two-part opener and the two-part finale. He also co-wrote the fifth, sixth and seventh episodes.

Series 11 writers Ed Hime, Vinay Patel, and Pete McTighe returned to each pen another script for this series. Nina Métivier, who served as script editor on series 11, also wrote a story for this series. New writers included Maxine Alderton and Charlene James.

Sheena Bucktowonsing served as script editor on the series.

Directors[edit | edit source]

Jamie Stone directed Block 1, consisting of episodes 1 and 6[9], as well as Block 5, consisting of 9 and 10.[10] Lee Haven Jones directed Block 2, consisting of episodes 2 and 3.[10] Nida Manzoor directed Block 3[11], consisting of episodes 4 and 5.[9] Emma Sullivan directed Block 4[10], consisting of episodes 7 and 8.[12] Lee Haven Jones also directed the festive special.

One director of photography this series was Ed Moore.

Caroline Pope was choreographer and movement director.[13]

Filming[edit | edit source]

Location filming on series 12 began on 23 January 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa.[14][15][16][17], with cast members having arrived in the country shortly beforehand.[14][18] Filming in South Africa ended on 7 February.[19] While filming in South Africa, Jodie Whittaker was let into contact with a Sac Spider, which are extremely dangerous and venomous. She let it crawl around on her inside her costume, unaware of the danger.[20]

Filming for the season took place in various locations around Wales, including Cardiff,[21] Swansea,[22] Barry,[23] St Athan,[24] New Port,[25] Bridgend,[26] and Nash Point.[27]

Filming also took place in Tenerife[28], Bulgaria,[29] London[30], Gloucester[31] and Bristol.[32]

On the 25 October, the cast and crew held a Halloween-styled wrap party to celebrate that filming was nearing its end.[33]

Filming wrapped up completely on 19 November 2019, adding a short Wrap Up-video to prove it.[34]

Revolution of the Daleks was also filmed in winter 2019, over a year prior to broadcast, reportedly in order to attach it to series 12 filming, to give the cast a longer break.[35]

Unusually, sometime in November 2020, an extra scene was filmed for Revolution as part of a test day for startup on filming for Series 13 during COVID-19 restrictions.[36]

Promotion[edit | edit source]

"Watch this Space"

On 31 October 2019, the BBC released the first proper promotion of the coming series 12, in the form of a poster showing a shadow of the Thirteenth Doctor cast in the yellow light from the open TARDIS doors in the bottom corner. A faded rainbow appeared across her chest, and the tagline said "Watch this Space".[37]

On 10 November, the BBC released a promo teaser for the new series on the Official Doctor Who YouTube Channel, with the camera zooming fast through a purple vortex to a region of space in which the TARDIS suddenly appears and zooms across, revealing first the tagline "Watch this Space" then the "Doctor Who" logo and the text "Coming Soon". The "Doctor Who" page itself said "Make Space... 23/11/19".[38]

At a Q&A session held at Sheffield Hallam University on 19 November, Chibnall told the audience that the opening story would be "the biggest episode in the show’s history". A BBC One source to The Mirror said that "It’s going to be huge. The scale is just epic. No one will be disappointed."[39] Whittaker added that "I feel like we’re treading new ground for each of the character journeys, and the development of everybody’s storylines."[40]

"Space. For All."

On 21 November, the "Doctor Who" page posted a new poster, this time showing the entire main cast on a white background at the top and a region of space at the bottom. The poster said "Space. For All." as well as "Coming Soon".[41]

On 22 November, the "Doctor Who" Facebook page posted a "Trailer Preview" video showing the three companions inside the TARDIS, nodding, to which the Doctor pulled a lever on the console. The preview then said "Trailer Premiere Saturday" with the page itself posting the time and the hashtag for Doctor Who Day.[42]

On 23 November, the first official trailer for Series 12 was released.[43]

On 2 December, the second official trailer for Series 12 was released. It followed up on what was shown in the first trailer as well as showing new content. It ended with a repeat of "Watch this Space" from the teaser trailer and was followed by the release date, "New Year's Day".[44]

"Space. For All" on 01.01.2020

On the same day they re-released the second promo poster but with a slight alteration: instead of "Coming Soon", the text below now read "New Year's Day". The Doctor's companions were also not present in this poster variant.[45]

On 6 December, while promoting Fathom Events, the Doctor Who Facebook page repeated clips from the second trailer for the series.[46] On the same day, a "first look" at Spyfall Part 1 was released. It revealed an "impossible" mission for the Doctor and friends.[47]

On 8 December, a "What To Expect" video was released, with Jodie, Mandip, Tosin, Bradley and Chris Chibnall telling viewers what to expect. The first official trailer was shown along with it.[48] On the same day, a platoon of Judoon invaded Victoria Station to meet visitors, and a big interactive screen was put up, showing the "Watch this Space" teaser transitioning into the TARDIS landing on a surface invaded by Judoon.[49]

On 10 December, a second "Preview" clip from the first episode was released. It showed Ryan and Yaz interviewing a spy.[50]

On 11 December, a "New to Who?" video was released, offering a quick summary of the character of "The Doctor" and the show's premise to potential new viewers, showing a range of clips from the Thirteenth Doctor's time until now.[51]

On 12 December, a video of the Judoon invading Victoria Station along with other parts of London was released. This video also featured interviews with fans.[52]

On 16 December, a video with the caption "She's Back" was released exclusively on the Doctor Who Facebook page showing an compilation of clips from Series 11 along with some descriptive words of the Doctor in-between and ending with two clips from the new series.[53]

On 17 December, another promo poster was released. It showed Team TARDIS in black suits in front of what seemed to be a black hole with a ring of distorted light around it.[54]

On 21 December, a short "Words to Live By" video was released that had the "Space. For All" clip at the beginning and end, with a clip from each of the main "New Who" Doctors in-between.[55]

On 24 December, a short video with a few clips from the second trailer and the words "Space For Adventure" was released.[56] Similar videos were released over the next three days, each with a different tagline.[57][58][59]

On 8 October 2020, a live-streamed video panel was held at New York Comic-Con, attended by Whittaker, Walsh and Gill. The panel teased the forthcoming winter special Revolution of the Daleks.[60] At the same panel, the question was brought up about how a life sentence for a Time Lord would work, given the series finale conclusion with the Doctor being sentenced to life in a space prison and due to a Time Lord’s life-span, to which Whittaker hinted that there might be answers given in Revolution.[61]

On Doctor Who Day, 23rd November, the official Doctor Who website and YouTube channel released promo posters and a promo preview from Revolution, both showing the return of Captain Jack Harkness. The posters also showed the return of the Daleks.[62] The trailer for the special was released on the 29 November and revealed that it would be released on New Year's Day 2021.[63]

Broadcast[edit | edit source]

Regular episodes, apart from Spyfall: Part One, continued airing on Sundays, following on from the schedule established with series 11.

On 17 December, BFI Southbank held a press screening of Spyfall attended by cast and crew. Burgers branded with "DOCTOR WHO" were served.[64]

BBC America aired all full series and specials of New Who during the week between 24 December and 1 January in preparation for series 12. The network also aired animated "lost episodes" as an extra.[65]

On Sunday 5 January, Fathom Events played host to a special screening of the premiere episode Spyfall as well as showing an early unveiling of the following episode.[65]

Myths[edit | edit source]

Although now debunked, Starburst Magazine had reportedly been in contact with the BBC back in November 2018, during which time, the BBC said that series 12 would air in Autumn 2019.[66] Starburst also claimed that Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker had not been very happy behind the scenes, and were set to leave after series 12 had finished.[66]

A rumour of Chibnall's departure gained momentum once again in August 2019 when some Gallifrey Base spoiler hounds ambiguously reported that "Chibnall has already gone, it's chaos in Cardiff." This quickly spread to Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.[67] The rumour was later denied as "nonsense" by BBC insiders, who went on to reference similar rumours of the past.[68]

Television stories[edit | edit source]

Regular series[edit | edit source]

Episode
Number
Title Writer Director Notes
1 & 2 Spyfall Chris Chibnall Jamie Magnus Stone MI6 makes its first appearance on televised Doctor Who. Return of the Master and his TARDIS. Reintroduction of the Tissue Compression Eliminator. Gallifrey is revealed to have been destroyed. First appearance of the Timeless Child.
Lee Haven Jones
3 Orphan 55 Ed Hime
4 Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror Nina Métivier Nida Manzoor
5 Fugitive of the Judoon Vinay Patel & Chris Chibnall Return of the Judoon, Jack Harkness and the Chameleon Arch. First mention of the Lone Cyberman. Ruth Clayton is revealed to be another incarnation of the Doctor.
6 Praxeus Pete McTighe & Chris Chibnall Jamie Magnus Stone
7 Can You Hear Me? Charlene James & Chris Chibnall Emma Sullivan
8 The Haunting of Villa Diodati Maxine Alderton The Lone Cyberman appears.
9 & 10 Ascension of the Cybermen / The Timeless Children Chris Chibnall Jamie Magnus Stone The Timeless Child is revealed to be the Doctor, and the Doctor learns she's had many past lives.

New Year special[edit | edit source]

# Title Writer Director Notes
N/A Revolution of the Daleks Chris Chibnall Lee Haven Jones Return of Jack Robertson and the Time War Daleks. Jack Harkness meets the Thirteenth Doctor. Ryan and Graham leave the TARDIS.

Episode notes[edit | edit source]

Aliens and enemies[edit | edit source]

Adaptations and merchandising[edit | edit source]

Home media[edit | edit source]

DVD / Blu-ray[edit | edit source]

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 past and future series and spin-offs, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, of the programme.[75][76]

In October 2019, it was revealed that due to the show heading to HBO Max, the network had struck a deal for additional series of the programme.[77]

The twelfth series was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 4 May, 2020 alongside the 2019 New Year Special Resolution[78] which was originally given a separate release from the previous series.[79]

Action Figures[edit | edit source]

to be added

Stories set during this season[edit | edit source]

Novels[edit | edit source]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-32202633
  2. Jodie Whittaker Confirms Return for 'Doctor Who' Season 12 (Exclusive). Hollywood Reporter (7 December 2018). Retrieved on 9 December 2018.
  3. The Doctor Who Team (9 December 2018). Doctor Who Series 12 Announcement. Doctor Who. Retrieved on 9 December 2018.
  4. https://twitter.com/0_MattWhelan_0/status/1230222077300482050
  5. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000g09m
  6. Bone, Christian (12 November 2018). Doctor Who Season 12 Has Already Begun Pre-Production. We Got This Covers. Retrieved on 12 January 2019.
  7. https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2019-12-14/doctor-who-series-12-less-pressure/
  8. https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2019-12-15/doctor-who-tardis-changes/
  9. 9.0 9.1 https://cultbox.co.uk/general/doctor-who-series-12-new-episode-titles-writers-and-descriptions
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 http://cultbox.co.uk/news/doctor-who-series-12-new-directors-discovered
  11. https://cultbox.co.uk/general/doctor-who-series-12-new-director-actor-character-discovered
  12. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/doctor-who-series-12-news-on-a-special
  13. https://cdn.casarotto.co.uk/files/cvs/pope.pdf?mtime=20190823171640
  14. 14.0 14.1 Harp, Justin (23 January 2019). Doctor Who kicks off series 12 filming with first-look at Jodie Whittaker and cast. Digital Spy. Retrieved on 24 January 2019.
  15. 24 January 2019 (24 January 2019). Doctor Who series 12 has officially started filming. RadioTimes. Retrieved on 26 January 2019.
  16. Marc, Christopher (7 January 2019). 'Doctor Who' Series 12 Is Officially Delayed To 2020 But Could Begin Filming Soon In Wales/South Africa. HN Entertainment. Retrieved on 12 January 2019.
  17. http://cultbox.co.uk/news/doctor-who-series-12-jodie-whittaker-and-companion-actors-headed-abroad
  18. https://twitter.com/thinguy/status/1086694785933545473
  19. https://cultbox.co.uk/general/doctor-who-series-12-new-photos-of-jodie-whittaker-and-the-tardis-in-south-africa
  20. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/jodie-whittakers-near-fatal-encounter-with-south-african-spider-while-filming-doctor-who
  21. http://cultbox.co.uk/news/doctor-who-filming-in-cardiff
  22. http://cultbox.co.uk/news/doctor-who-filming-at-swansea-guildhall-wales
  23. http://cultbox.co.uk/news/doctor-who-series-12-more-filming-in-barry-with-bradley-walsh
  24. http://cultbox.co.uk/spoilers/doctor-who-series-12-bradley-walsh-filming-at-mod-st-athan
  25. http://cultbox.co.uk/general/doctor-who-series-12-filming-at-tredegar-house
  26. https://cultbox.co.uk/spoilers/years-and-years-actor-maxim-baldry-to-appear-in-doctor-who-historical-episode
  27. https://cultbox.co.uk/general/doctor-who-series-12-filming-at-nash-point
  28. http://cultbox.co.uk/general/doctor-who-series-12-completion-of-filming-in-tenerife
  29. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/goran-visnjic-and-robert-glenister-to-appear-in-doctor-who-series-12-episode
  30. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/doctor-who-series-12-glimpses-of-filming-from-new-video-release
  31. https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/whats-on/doctor-who-filming-right-here-2868729
  32. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/doctor-who-series-12-filming-with-new-dalek-design-in-bristol
  33. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/doctor-who-series-12-fancy-dress-wrap-party
  34. https://www.blogtorwho.com/video-its-a-wrap-series-12-filming-has-finished/
  35. Fullerton, Huw (31 March 2020). Why Doctor Who might escape delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic. RadioTimes. Retrieved on 13 May 2020.
  36. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/revolution-of-the-daleks-2020-filmed-scene-inserted-into-doctor-who-new-years-special
  37. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3656897680990899?d=n&sfns=mo
  38. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3686361808044486?vh=e&d=n&sfns=mo
  39. https://cultbox.co.uk/general/doctor-who-showrunner-claims-series-opener-will-be-the-biggest-episode-in-the-shows-history
  40. https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2019-11-21/doctor-who-series-13-happening/
  41. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3732364913444175?d=n&sfns=mo
  42. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3734818519865481?vh=e&d=n&sfns=mo
  43. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3735856496428350?vh=e&d=n&sfns=mo
  44. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3773118029368863/
  45. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3773122112701788/
  46. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3784314294915903/
  47. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3788741727806493/
  48. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3788410177839648/
  49. https://www.blogtorwho.com/doctor-whos-judoon-invade-victoria-station/
  50. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3802867306393935/
  51. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3806021629411836/
  52. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3809787369035262/
  53. https://www.facebook.com/DoctorWho/videos/767190083782463/
  54. https://www.facebook.com/127031120644257/posts/3825786647435334/
  55. https://fbwat.ch/1Kw4MhdG126r76UN
  56. https://fbwat.ch/1prvQYp1ZkXAmAVo
  57. https://fbwat.ch/1zA15esmAica14su
  58. https://fbwat.ch/1x29JHubDo2UsMg2
  59. https://fbwat.ch/1nKSYgeBEUqoYXCE
  60. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/revolution-of-the-daleks-what-is-known-so-far-about-the-doctor-who-special
  61. https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2020-10-09/doctor-who-christmas-special-jodie-whittaker-regeneration/?fbclid=IwAR2SdI21SdTSCAkn3QtaRnanbzMG1I1d3sj6RK9qhLK7o7hoUtbTzTnaDj0
  62. https://www.doctorwho.tv/news/?article=captain-jack-revolution-of-the-daleks-john-barrowman&fbclid=IwAR0ZhVX2fOGfE8XzV7AbyF6PvfZdeyZGwTM4K4102s4cncVQxawX9BMI7AM
  63. https://fb.watch/23IwJ2mhfB/
  64. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/doctor-who-spyfall-screening-at-bfi-southbank
  65. 65.0 65.1 https://cultbox.co.uk/news/nationwide-bbc-america-doctor-who-fan-event-spyfall-screening
  66. 66.0 66.1 https://www.starburstmagazine.com/doctor-bbc-confirm-series-12-broadcast-2019
  67. https://www.reddit.com/r/gallifrey/comments/cndtrj/rumor_chris_chibnall_has_left_doctor_who/
  68. https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2019-08-08/doctor-who-departure-rumours-branded-nonsense-by-insiders/
  69. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/doctor-who-spyfall-new-images-and-information
  70. https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2019-12-27/doctor-who-series-12-monsters-orphan-55/
  71. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/judoon-captain-named-for-doctor-who-fan-paul-condon
  72. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/doctor-who-fugitive-of-the-judoon-behind-the-scenes
  73. https://cultbox.co.uk/news/nightmare-episode-of-doctor-who-will-include-an-animated-segment
  74. https://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/1367134/Jodie-Whittaker-crying-Bradley-Walsh-last-scene-tosin-Cole-exit-BBC-video
  75. http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2017-06-03/the-bbc-is-already-preparing-for-at-least-five-more-series-of-doctor-who
  76. http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/worldwide/2017/doctor-who-china
  77. https://vocal.media/futurism/doctor-who-series-13-and-14-confirmed-hbo-max-reveals-but-will-whittaker-stick-around
  78. https://www.thedigitalfix.com/television/news/doctor-who-series-12-dvd-and-blu-ray-release-confirmed-for-april-and-will-include-resolution/
  79. https://shop.bbc.com/products/doctor-who-resolution-21898.html

Notes[edit | edit source]

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