'Doctor Who': Everything we learned about Series 11 at SDCC 2018

Doctor Who: Everything we learned about Series 11 at SDCC 2018 (BBC One)
Doctor Who: Everything we learned about Series 11 at SDCC 2018 (BBC One)

After our first look at Doctor Who series 11 in Saturday’s World Cup trailer, a lot more news has been released today as part of the Doctor Who panel at San Diego Comic-Con.

From details about the companions to new monsters, and of course a trailer with our first look at Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor, we learned a lot about Doctor Who series 11 today – and you can find all the news collected and explained below.

“All of this is new to me”

As the Doctor puts it in the trailer, “all of this” is new to her – and it’s going to be new to the audience, too.

Chris Chibnall said that “this year is the perfect jumping on point for that person in your life who has never watched Doctor Who. I want you to go out there and SIT them down. There is no barrier for entry this year”. Nonetheless, though, Chibnall also specified that “it’s a continuation […] All the things you love about Doctor Who are in there” – as new companion actor Tosin Cole put it, “it’s still Doctor Who, just with a little sauce on it!”

Of course, while Chibnall emphasised in a recent interview with the Radio Times that we’d see “all-new stories, all-new monsters, all-new villains”, it’s worth noting that there’s a difference between “all-new” and “all new” – so don’t discount appearances from, say, the Daleks just yet…

The 13th Doctor is going to be “energetic”, “witty” and “effervescent”

Everyone was full of praise for Jodie Whittaker’s performance; Chris Chibnall pointed to the moment Whittaker shot her first scenes, commenting that “all the crew who’d been working on the show for years saw [her] in action and said ‘She’s the Doctor’”.

We learned a little more about her take on the Doctor too, with the character described as “effervescent”, “energetic” and “a pillar of hope, striving for brightness and inclusion”.

We know a little more about Yaz and Graham

Mandip Gill, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who Series 11 (BBC One)
Mandip Gill, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who Series 11 (BBC One)

Asked to describe her character Yasmin Khan, Mandip Gill said she’s “a 19-year-old girl from Sheffield. She enjoys her job but she thinks she can do a little bit more, so she asks for a little bit more, and she GETS a little bit more. So, she gets whisked away on this adventure”.

Meanwhile, Graham’s surname has finally been confirmed – it’s not Oswald, as has been theorised, but O’Brien. Presumably, but not necessarily, Sharon D Clarke’s character is going to have the same surname; while it’s not been officially confirmed, Clarke let slip in an interview some time ago that her character is married to Bradley Walsh’s character.

It’s going to be made up of mainly standalone stories

In an exclusive interview with Digital Spy, Chris Chibnall revealed that series 11 is largely going to be made up of standalone stories, with no two-parters. The intention, he said, “is for people to feel like we’ve got the range and variety of Doctor Who this year”.

Shaun Dooley is going to guest star

While the trailer didn’t reveal much, a few eagle-eyed viewers spotted one familiar face. Shaun Dooley, also previously of Broadchurch, can be seen at the 30-second mark of the new trailer – he’s seemingly on an alien planet, alongside Jodie Whittaker, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill.

Dooley joins Alan Cumming and Lee Mack as another guest star that we know will be appearing in Series 11, despite not having been strictly officially confirmed – Dooley after having been spotted in the trailer, and Cumming and Mack both having mentioned their guest roles in unrelated interviews, apparently not realising they were meant to keep it secret.

There’s a brand new sonic screwdriver

A replica toy version of the sonic screwdriver (Character Options)
A replica toy version of the sonic screwdriver (Character Options)

We also got our first glimpse at the Doctor’s new sonic screwdriver – and apparently “there’s a story to how the Doctor gets the screwdriver”.

Presumably, the Doctor gets her new sonic screwdriver in the first episode of series 11 – meaning, perhaps, the shots of the Doctor building something in the trailer are in fact her building the new sonic screwdriver?

They’re taking a new approach to the writing

This year, Doctor Who is taking a different approach in terms of its writing process, as Chibnall explained to Digital Spy, noting that it was “a big group endeavour”, somewhere between “the British way of working” (i.e. writers interacting primarily with the showrunner) and “the American way of working” (i.e. a writersroom, with everyone working together).

We still don’t know who will be writing episodes in series 11, other than Chibnall himself, who promised “a lot of new writers to the show”. Stalwarts of the Capaldi era Peter Harness, Jamie Mathieson and Sarah Dollard have all ruled themselves out; a possibility worth considering, though there’s no official confirmation, is Louise Fox, a close collaborator of Chibnall’s previously, having been the only writer other than him to pen an episode of Broadchurch.

We still don’t know exactly when Doctor Who series 11 is going to air, though

The Doctor Who team are still being a little secretive about just when the show is going to return to our screens, offering nothing more specific than “this fall”. It’ll likely be a little while before we find out what that actually means, though you can expect it to probably be some time between late September and early October – so not long to wait!

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