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Series 13 of Doctor Who premiered on Sunday 31 October 2021. Chris Chibnall remained as executive producer, whilst Jodie Whittaker returned as the Thirteenth Doctor. Mandip Gill returned as Yasmin Khan, joined by newcomer companion Dan Lewis, played by John Bishop.
In July 2021, it was announced that both Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker would be departing at the end of this series, making good on a private agreement between the two to leave the programme after three series.
Although initially reported in an announcement by Chibnall that this series would only contain 8 episodes, it was later announced that an additional feature-length special was in the works for the end of the era, to be released alongside two other specials in 2022 (similar to those at the end of David Tennant's run). This would bring the total count up to 9, including this "trio of specials". The reduced episode count was due to constraints running a production during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At San Diego Comic Con @ Home on 25 July 2021, it was also announced that the main series would follow a serialised format, meaning it would be one serial spanning six episodes, similar to Torchwood: Children of Earth (and most Doctor Who television stories prior to the 1996 TV Movie).
At a press event held on 19 October 2021, it was revealed that the series would be comprised of 'six episodes – or chapters, as they’re going to be labelled' and 'It changes the way we deal with characters – characters who go across more than one episode. Monsters who go across more than one episode.'
- 1 Overview
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 4 Television stories
- 5 Episode notes
- 6 Aliens and enemies
- 7 Rumours
- 8 Promotion
- 9 Adaptations and merchandising
- 10 Stories set during this season
- 11 Footnotes
On 5 December 2020, Gill told Radio Times that while her co-stars, Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole, felt ready to leave during the preceding New Year Special Revolution of the Daleks, she was not ready to leave the TARDIS behind, saying there's still more to explore about Yaz's past and mental health.
Similar to the preceding series 12, this series would see a list of returning foes:
The Sontarans would make a return in their first proper villainous comeback since their "New Who" debut story, series 4's The Sontaran Strategem/The Poison Sky. Although several Sontarans have appeared since, most notably Strax last seen in series 8's Deep Breath.
The Weeping Angels would also make a return to the series, presenting a threat for the first time since 2013 Christmas Special The Time of the Doctor.Although they did make cameos in series 9 finale Hell Bent and the immediately preceding New Year Special Revolution of the Daleks, respectively.
The Master also managed to make a return to the show, making his return in the Centenary Special after having last appeared in the Series 12 finale Ascension of the Cybermen/The Timeless Children.
- Graham O'Brien - Bradley Walsh
- Neville - Paul Broughton
- Dan’s mother - Sue Murphy
- Vinder - Jacob Anderson
- Voice of the Daleks - Nicholas Briggs
- Daleks - Nicholas Pegg, Barnaby Edwards
- Karvanista - Craige Els
- The Master - Sacha Dhawan
- Mary Seacole - Sara Powell
- TBA - Annabel Scholey
- Mrs. Hayward - Penelope McGhie
- Diane Curtis - Nadia Albina
- TBA - Kevin McNally
- Joseph Williamson - Steve Oram
- TBA - Robert Bathurst
- TBA - Thaddea Graham
- TBA - Blake Harrison
- TBA - Craig Parkinson
- TBA - Gerald Kyd
- "Train Marshall" - Sanchia McCormack
- TBA - Rochenda Sandall
- Swarm - Sam Spruell
- TBA - Jonathan Watson
- TBA - Sue Jenkins
Production during COVID-19
On 31 March 2020 it was reported by Radio Times that due to a lucky break in filming, Doctor Who might have dodged a bullet and inadvertently gone around the whole Lockdown crisis that other production have suffered, and therefore escaped the COVID-19 virus altogether.
However, it was reported on 18 June 2020 by The Mirror that Director of BBC Wales Rhodri Talfan Davies had said that the series would not be continuing filming during current social distancing rules.
On 11 September 2020 it was claimed by the Metro Entertainment that due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, series 13 could potentially be moved to 2022 due to significant delays in principal photography as a result of the virus.
That same day, a conflicting report from Radio Times mentioned that filming was set to begin "soon", noting that little was known about what social distancing rules would mean for the series or the number of episodes.
On 11 November 2020, Chris Chibnall announced to The Mirror that the series run had indeed been impacted by the virus, and had been reduced to eight episodes. He stated: "In this strangest of years, the Doctor Who production team have worked wonders to get the show back into production. Given the complexity of making Doctor Who, and with new and rigorous Covid working protocols, it’s going to take us a little longer to film each episode, meaning we expect to end up with eight episodes, rather than the usual 11."
In an interview with the Radio Times on 28 November, Chibnall opened up a bit more about the struggles of making the show during a global pandemic while trying to avoid fans thinking about the pandemic while watching the series, saying: "Basically, for the past six months we’ve been going, 'How do we make Doctor Who in the middle of a pandemic?' We had to re-interrogate absolutely everything. We couldn’t do Spyfall this year. We won’t be able to do overseas filming. Editorially, production-wise, logistically, health and safety-wise, it’s had a massive impact. But where we are is incredibly exciting. As much as possible at the moment everybody's smiling, and we've got some really lovely, great, mad scary ideas."
Producer Matt Strevens reassured fans that the quality of the series would not be affected, saying: "The biggest thing is that when series 13 finally does air, whenever that is, we never want people to watch it under the caveat of COVID, going, 'Ah, well, but they made this during the pandemic.' We want to make sure that when you watch it, it's – no pun intended - timeless, and feels as exciting and as high-end as we've tried to make the series since we took over. That was the driving impulse behind looking at the narratives and reducing the number of episodes slightly: we want to make sure we can give people the biggest production values possible."
On 25 July 2021, during the Comic Con @ Home, Chibnall announced that the series had undergone changes in format, giving it a storytelling style similar to Classic Who era, with it being a singular multi-part story throughout the entire season.
In Doctor Who Magazine issue 570, Whittaker spoke about the difficulty of shooting a particular scene set in a small bedroom due to social distancing rules applying still and preventing all crew getting into the room together.
Chibnall further stated that it had been incredibly difficult on set to get the show done, saying they had to "reimagine their job", however that they had been able to "do all the things [we] normally do in terms of character interactions".
In an interview with Television Magazine in June 2017, Chibnall promised that his run would be "bold" and "risky".. (Contrary to common belief, he made no mention of a five-year plan, but his friend, James Strong indicated his belief that the position was a five year project.) This plan involved the revelation of the Timeless Child, given at the end of series 12.
- Interestingly, the five-year-plan would come to pass with the Centenary Special releasing in October 2022 completing the run which had begun when filming for the Chibnall era began on 31 October 2017 with series 11.
Azhur Saleem directed the second filming block consisting of episode 3, 5 and 6 of the series.
Haolu Wang directed the Easter Special.
Maxine Alderton was originally confirmed as a "core writer" for the series.
Series 13 was the first season since Season 23 of the Classic Series to not introduce any new writers.
This should be converted into proper prose, or at least grouped into fewer paragraphs for ease of reading.
Tracie Simpson announced at the Gallifrey One convention on 15 September 2020 that filming would begin in September the same year. This was, of course, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with spikes in cases and deaths at around this time.
Filming took place at Roath Lock Studios on 5, 6, 22, 23 and 26 July while filming took place again on Sully Beach on 15 July. Additional filming also took place at Cardiff Bay on 26 July. Filming wrapped soon after.
|Serial title||Episode title||Writer||Director||Notes|
The Halloween Apocalypse
|Chris Chibnall||Jamie Magnus Stone||Introduction of Dan Lewis. Re-appearance of the Sontarans.|
|TBA||Maxine Alderton and Chris Chibnall||Jamie Magnus Stone|
|TBA||Chris Chibnall||Azhur Saleem|
|N/A||TBA||TBA||Annetta Laufer||New Year Special|
|N/A||TBA||TBA||Haolu Wang||Easter Special|
|N/A||TBA||TBA||Jamie Magnus Stone||UNIT returns. Graham O'Brien returns.|
Aliens and enemies
- The Flux
- Weeping Angels
- The Master
- One of the stories is set during the Crimean War.
- On 21 June 2021, an urgent casting call of people of Chinese descent for an “exciting BBC programme” and a post on Facebook, seemingly quoting said casting call, calling for people to play sailors on Doctor Who, suggests a possible 19th century story featuring Chinese pirates. The episode may feature "Pirate Queen" Zheng Yi Sao.
- The Multiverse could be explored.
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 of the programme.
Whittaker briefly mentioned her return in Doctor Who Magazine[which?] on 9 December 2019, a little under a month before series 12. She later spoke about it publicly to Entertainment Weekly on 22 January 2020.
Following the broadcast of Revolution of the Daleks on New Year's Day 2021 was a clip promoting this series featuring two men loading a truck while reading horoscopes. The horoscope in question read amongst others that "lucky number is 13, the colour blue will be important", the camera then pans to John Bishop and flashes a few brief clips of various sequences from the upcoming series. This new upcoming companion was later revealed to be named "Dan". Bishop himself said of the experience: If I could tell my younger self that one day I would be asked to step on board the TARDIS, I would never have believed it. 
On 25 July 2021 San Diego Comic Con @ Home was held to promote the new series, with John Bishop, Mandip Gill Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall, in which they talked about the changes made to the series along with what it was like to work on set during pandemic times and their favourite things about it, also each sharing a word to describe the series: "Riveting", "Inspirational", "Mysterious" and "Swarm". The panel also introduced a special guest Jacob Anderson as recurring character Vinder. At the end of the panel, the Series 13 trailer was shown, and following that it was released on the Doctor Who YouTube Channel. At the panel were also shown publicity photos of the new Team TARDIS and Vinder, respectively.
On 29 July it was announced on the Doctor Who website that Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall would be handing over the control of the show to someone else following a 6-part event series and a trio of specials stretching all the way into autumn 2022 as part of the BBC Centenary celebrations. Chibnall said of the experience: "Jodie and I made a “three series and out” pact with each other at the start of this once-in-a-lifetime blast. So now our shift is done, and we’re handing back the TARDIS keys. Jodie’s magnificent, iconic Doctor has exceeded all our high expectations. She’s been the gold standard leading actor, shouldering the responsibility of being the first female Doctor with style, strength, warmth, generosity and humour. She captured the public imagination and continues to inspire adoration around the world, as well as from everyone on the production. I can’t imagine working with a more inspiring Doctor – so I’m not going to!" to which Whittaker adds: "In 2017 I opened my glorious gift box of size 13 shoes. I could not have guessed the brilliant adventures, worlds and wonders I was to see in them. My heart is so full of love for this show, for the team who make it, for the fans who watch it and for what it has brought to my life. And I cannot thank Chris enough for entrusting me with his incredible stories."
On 16 August the Official Doctor Who social media accounts posted a new publicity photo. The photo featured Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill and John Bishop as the Doctor, Yaz and Dan, respectively, in front of a graffitied brick wall.
On 18 August BBC America, in conjunction with AMC Channels, released a summary of the upcoming series. In this summary it was revealed the Series would have "terrifying new adversaries" as well as "truly iconic old enemies" and that the Doctor would "be questioning everything about her past" and that she would "undoubtedly be searching for answers". The summary further said that the audience should expect "action", "fun", "scares", "new worlds" and that Team TARDIS would be confronting "a deadly evil".
On 19 August Chris Chibnall told Doctor Who Magazine that he was originally only supposed to do 8 episodes consisting of the 6-part serial and two specials, but earlier in the year was contacted by BBC Director of Content Charlotte Moore about doing a celebratory Centenary Special, to which he agreed and following that "numbers were crunched, conversations were had, deep breaths were taken, more testing kits were ordered, and contracts were extended".
In the SFX Magazine issue released on 6 October it was revealed that the release date of Series 13 was "imminent" as given in this message: " YES, IT’S THIRTEEN’S LAST FULL SERIES AND YES, IT’S ONLY SIX episodes, but it’s landing imminently (yes, there’s an embargo) and there’s a new companion (or possibly two?). It’ll come as little surprise that details are very thin on the ground for Jodie Whittaker’s final “full” series, but we can confirm that John Bishop joins the “fam” as Dan, and Jacob Anderson guest stars as Vinder alongside Mandip Gill as Yaz.", alongside 3 exclusive images from the series itself.
On the same date, the Doctor Who social media accounts posted a picture of a Sontaran Battle Fleet hovering above the Liverpool docks at George's Pier Head. This spacecraft was reportedly projected across the night sky.
Shortly after, they cryptically posted "++ ---/CAN YOU HEAR ME?/ ---++", the same message as given in the static-filled "interruption", followed by an immediate shutdown of all active Doctor Who social media accounts.
Early in the morning on 9 October the BBC reactivated the Doctor Who website with a big announcement titled Have You Seen The Aliens Terms and Conditions, in which the Doctor asked anyone to call her if they had seen any aliens around the area.
Also that day, the BBC had an "Incoming Message" shown on billboards around Liverpool, which showed prints of various dangers to come and the phone number 0800 678 3110 to call to report sightings of any aliens.
In the evening on that same on, all the Doctor Who social media accounts went back up and with a new poster featuring the Thirteenth Doctor, announced that the new series would be called Flux and would begin broadcast on 31 October 2021, lining up with Halloween. Along with it was released the finished version of the "interruption" on YouTube, as a webcast named The Flux is Coming, which had the Doctor reveal that something called The Flux was coming and bringing with it Sontarans, Weeping Angels and creatures called the Ravagers and other enemies from across the universe, and that this to be the fight of their lives.
On 14 October the Doctor Who Magazine issue number 570 was released which offered a look at the new Sontarans, revealing them to be similar to the design from 1974 story The Time Warrior. Furthermore, DWM revealed the list of writers for Flux, with all episodes being solely written by Chibnall except episode 4, which was co-written by Maxine Alderton. Of the new format, Whittaker mentioned the familiarity of it, having lived it on Broadchurch and further said of the series: "This season is going to take you on a labyrinthine adventure, the Doctor is going to find things out about herself and is going to face some of her biggest and oldest foes. And she won’t be able to do any of that without Yaz and Dan standing by her side."
Chibnall further stated that the series would start off with "cataclysmic events".
In the evening on that date, the Doctor Who social accounts asked fans if they wanted a trailer the following day, using a “It’s Coming, Be Ready" gif.
On 15 October, Jodie Whittaker appeared on The Graham Norton Show talking about the new series, saying that she had filmed her regeneration scene, but didn’t know who the Fourteenth Doctor would be. She further said that: "I’m not allowed to tell you anything, but I can say the first episode is out on Halloween and it is a six-episode story arc – it’s like a six-hour film and it is amazing.".
The second trailer was also released, giving a further look into what could be expected from the upcoming series, naming it as "one epic story over six thrilling chapters". Matt Strevens said of the series "I can’t wait for the audience to come on the Flux ride with us. It’s our biggest adventure yet with so many brilliant new characters to fall in love with. We had a blast making it."
That same date, John Bishop told in an interview with The Times that his character Dan gets to live throughout the entire experience and that he, Yaz and the Doctor would have some banterish moments throughout it all.
On the same date the title of the first episode was released by the Doctor Who accounts, calling it The Halloween Apocalypse, and releasing it alongside a synopsis promising that "an ancient evil is breaking free"
- Main article: FindTheDoctor (series)
The prime objective was to search for letters and/or numbers which were part of a larger password that would eventually unveil a hidden page on said website; the clues were as follows:
- /mystery: D
- A Message from Yaz: C
- Promotional image: 5 (look here)
- John Smith's Google Maps reviews: E
- What’s the Doctor reading: G
- La Boîte Bleue: Y
- Unknown object—RHCTDM-OEI-OLOAW/0209: V
- Mary Shelley: A
- An almost complete mystery: N
- A Message: V
- ↳: ETE
The prize received from completing the ARG and typing in the password was a voice message reply from the Thirteenth Doctor as presented in A Message from the Doctor, also offering a brief look at a new villain. Along with it came an exclusive promo photo of the Doctor.
As a follow-up, the BBC released a statement video from Jodie Whittaker on 24 September 2021 thanking all the fans for getting involved in the adventure, #FindTheDoctor. She further revealed that there would be much more Series 13 news in the coming days up to the actual broadcast of it.
Adaptations and merchandising
to be added
Stories set during this season
to be added
- Doctor Who Team (29 July 2021). Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall to leave Doctor Who in a trio of Specials in 2022. Doctor Who (doctorwho.tv). Retrieved on 30 July 2010.
- McLennan, Patrick (11 November 2020). Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall confirms season 13 will be three episodes shorter than usual. RadioTimes. Retrieved on 30 July 2021.
- Houghton, Rianne (14 June 2017). Chris Chibnall has "five-year" plan for Doctor Who – and it's risky and bold. Digital Spy. Retrieved on 12 January 2019.