Doctor Who was once a sad program screened late at night on public television (that’s free TV). It featured wobbly sets, scripts full of action and ideas, reputable actors of stage and screen along with fully functioning robots that screamed and rolled their eyes. It was a cult series that attracted roughly 4 million viewers on a bad day. It lasted from 1963-1989 when it was thought lost forever (the 1996 film doesn’t count… unless Moffat says so).
Since it’s return from obscurity in 2005, Doctor Who has grown from strength to strength with each successive series. Record viewing figures in BBC America where it trounced Top Gear and reruns of Are You Being Served? have made it a massive success in the United States while the BBC Wales production continues to air every week in its native land. But each year, the Doctor Who production team has taken chances, sometimes bold ones, such as setting the series in England, casting a woman as the companion or allowing comedian Peter Kay to appear on screen.
But this coming year will be the big game-changer. Producer and head writer Steven Moffat has been keeping all the secrets under wraps but a member of the catering staff stole a copy of his hard drive so the cat is out of the bag.
2015/16’s ninth series will be the biggest yet with a year-long thread called ‘The Search for Gallifrey.’ Viewers may recall that the Doctor discovered the location of the home of the Time Lords last year, but the villainous Missy has protected it with a temporal scatter field. As he approaches his goal, the Doctor will become fractured in the time stream, causing him to regress into previous incarnations.
The series opener ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ will introduce the new companion, Manny (played by famed Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao), a vampire-hunter from the 16th century trapped in the basement of a Harrod’s in the East End of London.
Story number two will center on Stephen Fry’s script (delayed since 2005), ‘The Man in the Ant Hill,’ will see the return of the Zarbi in what promises to be the most unforgettable adventure.
This story will be a thinly veiled stab at comedian and newscaster Russell Brand. Dialog for the evil force controlling the Zarbi known only as the Animus will be made up of old Brand material and his features will be digitally hidden in the monster’s face for eagle-eyed viewers.
In the third story, ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties,’ written by Neil Gaiman, David Tennant will once more wield the controls of the TARDIS. Details are few, but they involve an exclusive cocktail lounge in limbo run by River Song. From there, the search for Gallifrey picks up steam when the TARDIS is caught in a temporal funnel, returning the Tenth Doctor to his timeline. Neal Gaimen’s script is of course top secret, but passers by have reported that a musical number could be heard booming from the recording studio. The Pet Shop Boys, Moffet’s favorite band, are rumored to have recorded a new song for the special, a cover of the Nilsson/Lennon song ‘Many Rivers to Cross.’
David Tennant has regrown his popular ponytail for his hotly anticipated return.
The TARDIS is trapped in Canada for the fourth script ‘Caverns of Alberta’ by the creator of Father Ted, Black Books and the IT Crowd, Graham Linehan This will see the return of the Ice Warriors and also feature Rowan Atkinson as the Valeyard, the Doctor’s evil twin.
In this story, the Doctor is again briefly reverted to a previous incarnation, a specially computer-generated version of Sylvester McCoy. The Valeyard and the Seventh Doctor have a duel on mopeds through the streets of Alberta. This episode will also be the first time Doctor Who was filmed in Canada!
The series will see a major climax in the Christmas Special ‘The Advent of Evil’ when the Doctor reaches Gallifrey only to confront the Curator played by Tom Baker (previously seen in Day of the Doctor). This was Moffat’s long game, forcing the Doctor to face his past and future all at once.
In a battle of wills, the Doctor and Curator play a game of cosmic chess, the Doctor using past companions and the Curator old foes such as the Family of Blood, Max Capricorn (from Voyage of the Damned), The Empress of the Racnoss (from Runaway Bride) and the evil Miss Foster from Partners in Crime.
This will all lead to a mid-series shift in producer from Moffatt to… Guillermo Del Toro. Del Toro has been working along with Mofat for years in secret and his reign promises to be the most exciting and dynamic to date.
Peter Capaldi, having recently signed on for a third year on the program after the announcement of Maffet’s departure, is thrilled for what is to come. Del Toro reportedly has plans to ‘sort out the Cybermen‘ and return the silver giants of old to Doctor Who, much to Capaldi’s delight. Through special arrangement, K-9 will also be back in the TARDIS in 2016.
Happy April Fool’s Day.