Doctor Who returns for its twelfth season in its revitalised format in January with Spyfall, a blockbusting two-part episode written by showrunner Chris Chibnall.
Jodie Whittaker is back as the Doctor for her second season in the role alongside returning companions Ryan (Tosin Cole), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh), and they’ll be joined in the season opener by guest stars Stephen Fry and Lenny Henry.
Chibnall’s first year in charge took a break from tradition, serving up ten standalone episodes, each acting as a pilot as such, meaning new fans could jump on at any point in the season, regardless of their knowledge of the show so far. There were no returning monsters (until the Dalek’s popped up in the New Year special Resolution), but the cast has promised that normal service will resume in S12.
“[S12] starts with a two-parter, which is different to last series, and it has serial threads, story arcs,” Mandip Gill shares with Yahoo.
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“We’ve got the Judoon and the Cybermen coming back in this season too,” adds Tosin Cole.
“What’s so exciting about being a part of something that isn’t just one contained series, for Chris [Chibnall] particularly and the writers, the exploration of where you can go with each character, we’re not limited by our previous eleven episodes.”
“It’s a bit more of a discovery season of who we all are.”
Where last season spent its run introducing Whittaker’s new Doctor to the audience and her companions, the new season will see the TARDIS crew exploring the universe more confidently, and the Time Lord herself will have to turn to her new friends for help.
“I think the biggest difference this year is that [the Doctor] now needs us,” shares Gill, “just as much as we need her.”
“It’s also just the fact that the leadership sometimes comes from other places,” adds Whittaker.
“And also there’s a choice more in this season to come on the journey. Whereas in the first season it was very much the aliens – as well as myself – for these guys, they were sucked in to this machine and went on it. But this time it’s more of an active choice now, so in that there’s more active roles.”
Whether they’d choose to face the Cybermen, given what the audience knows about the Doctor’s arch-villains, is another matter.
The foes, first introduced during William Hartnell’s era in 1966, are described by showrunner Chris Chibnall as “ferocious” in S12.
“When they come in that [S12] episode... it’s A LOT man,” teases Cole.
“It’s a lot of stance, it’s action-packed. It’s like bang, boom, explosions, everything.”
“They’re as terrifying as you want them to be, in a story that serves them,” adds Whittaker, “and there’s reason for them to come back.”
Doctor Who will return to BBC One on New Year’s Day with Spyfall written by Chris Chibnall, with subsequent episodes airing on Sundays.