‘Doctor Who’ season 11: release date, trailer, photos, cast, plot and everything you need to know

It's arriving in the next week...

Listen up, earthlings. That Time Lord from Gallifrey is returning to our screens this weekend with Jodie Whittaker becoming the first woman to ever play the Doctor.

With only days to go, here is everything we know about it –  from trailers and cast updates to all the juicy plot details.

New updates

  • First look at Doctor Who New Year’s Day guest stars. More details about the setting and the episode’s plot have also been revealed
  • More spoilers about the Doctor Who New Year’s Day episode are emerging
  • The BBC have released details of the Doctor Who New Year’s Day episode
  • Jodie Whittaker says gender backlash to her casting in the role is “ridiculous”
  • Jodie Whittaker speaks about the moment when she was first cast in the iconic role
  • Whittaker also says she admires David Tennant, calling him a “phenomenal doctor”
  • The second trailer has just dropped. Check it out below…

When is Doctor Who series 11 hitting our screens and how many episodes are there?

Doctor Who will return to our screens on Sunday October 7.

There will be 10 episodes, making it the shortest season since the show returned in 2005 – and it’s the first time that the show has aired on a Sunday teatime slot.

Rumours previously persisted about Who moving slots ever since it was first reported by The Mirror earlier this year.

We also know that the first episode will be aptly titled ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’.

“The last time viewers saw the Doctor, she was falling from her Tardis so it’s about time for the Doctor to land,” the BBC confirmed.

Showrunner Chris Chibnall has previously stressed that this year’s series will be a “great moment to bring everyone onboard”.

In short, a fresh and earlier slot could make perfect sense – and it will allow younger fans to watch it too.

“We’ve got 10 standalone stories,” he said at San Diego Comic-Con.

“Lots of new villains, lots of new characters for you to fall in love with…

“This year is the perfect jumping-on point for that person in your life who has never watched Doctor Who. There is no barrier to entry this year. When a new Doctor comes in, with new friends, it’s a great moment to bring everybody on board.”

In an interview with Digital Spy in August, British screenwriter Neil Gaiman expressed a desire to write for the programme again.

Gaiman previously penned the episodes ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ and ‘Nightmare In Silver’ in 2011 and 2013 respectively but hasn’t found the time to write another one since.

“If you examine my DNA and you go in deep enough, with a good enough microscope,” he said, “you’re gonna see a TARDIS, with a little light blinking on the top!

“So the idea of writing for Jodie, or for her successor, whoever she/he/they happen to be, is… yeah, it’s Doctor Who! You can’t say no.”

Meanwhile, Jodie Whittaker has said she is “leaving the country” when the new season airs in a bid to avoid the responses to her new role as The Doctor. Speaking to Marie Claire, Whittaker said: “[I’ll be] somewhere far away, so I don’t watch it in the same time zone…I’ll be turning my phone off and hoping for the best!”

Whittaker also hit out at those who are still criticising the female cast of a Doctor. She said: “[The Doctor] celebrates change more than any other role. You have a physical regeneration, so casting me supports that story and doesn’t go against the rules of the show in any way.”

Whittaker has also spoken to Dermot O’Leary on BBC Radio 2 just a week before her outing as the Doctor (September 29). Speaking about when the casting first felt “real” to her, the actress revealed that she’s had a few moments over the last year where the reality of being the next Doctor hit home.

She said: “I think the day after the reveal, after Wimbledon…I think that is an odd way round – you become famous for a job before you’ve even done it. So, that felt very real.”

She added: “The filming of it; the first day, the first time you say certain words or lines, it’s really exciting and then it’s done and it’s on film forever, so you can kind of settle into the role. But it’s very much a bubble for nine months. You’re shooting away from home, with, like I said, these amazing people, having a laugh and no-one’s seeing it.”

Whittaker added that she now cannot wait for fans to see the show. “I think once now it’s entering into the public domain, it’s its own [thing]…I’m just ready for it to come out. Because for me, I want to see it. I’ve only seen episode one and just knowing what’s to come… it’s brilliant, it’s really brilliant. The actors in it are phenomenal.”

Jodie Whittaker reaction

Jodie Whittaker

Speaking at an event for fans ahead of the show’s premiere, Whittaker also praised former Doctor Who star David Tennant.

“I love working on dialect…But with this kind of vocabulary and this amount of lines every evening, I take my hat off to David [Tennant], who transformed his voice as well as doing a phenomenal Doctor.”

It has also been announced that the new thirteenth doctor will get her own Little Miss book for the Mr Men series called ‘Dr. Thirteenth.’ The books official synopsis reads: “The Doctor, Graham and Ryan try and come up with a fabulous surprise for Yaz on her birthday. And what an explosive surprise it is.”

Appearing on the Graham Norton Show, Whittaker has said she finds the backlash to the gender of the Doctor as “ridiculous”. Whittekar said: “It is ridiculous that it is such a big deal in 2018…but it is an exciting moment and I can always say that I was the first!”

tShe also added that she feels “joy, fear and responsibility to the fans” to make her role a memorable one. You can watch the interview here:

Who’s writing the new episodes?

The BBC has announced the team of new writers who will be creating adventures in time and space – led by popular author Malorie Blackman.

Describing the honour, Blackman said: “I’ve always loved Doctor Who. Getting the chance to write for this series has definitely been a dream come true.”

Check out the list of writers below.

  • Writers: Malorie Blackman
  • Ed Hime
  • Vinay Patel
  • Pete McTighe
  • Joy Wilkinson

Have we had a trailer yet?

Yes! Check it out below…

Earlier this summer, a first glimpse was shared during the World Cup. There WASno sight of Whittaker, but it shows new cast members Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole and Bradley Walsh.

A second teaser was released as part of the show’s participation in this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego. This one does star new doctor Whittaker, who ends the clip saying: “Right, this is gonna be fun!” Watch it below.

Who are the new companions?

As previously mentioned, Whittaker will be joined by three new companions played by Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole and Bradley Walsh.

Gill will play Yasmin Khan, Cole will play Ryan Sinclair and Walsh will portray Graham.

Describing the role, Walsh said: “I remember watching William Hartnell as the first Doctor. Black and white made it very scary for a youngster like myself.

“I was petrified but even though I’d watch most of it from behind the sofa through my fingers, I became a fan. I then queued up for ages to get into the Carlton picture house in Watford to watch the great Peter Cushing appear as the Doctor in a full length feature film made in glorious colour. Am I thrilled to be part of this whole ground breaking new dawn for the Doctor?? Oh yes!”

Showrunner Chris Chibnall has now explained why there are three companions this series, instead of the traditional one. Speaking to Digital Spy, he said: “I love Doctor Who as a big, popular, mainstream, accessible show. So I wanted to make sure that every member of the audience felt they had a relatable character, an access point. Hopefully, it means that the show can resonate with the broadest possible audience.”

He added that the change isn’t the first time the programme has featured more than one companion. “And of course, three companions with the Doctor… we’re really going back to 1963 – that’s the format of the show!” he said. “You’re not changing the format, that’s how it started, really – which I only realised afterwards.”

Have we seen any photos of what to expect?

Yes! The main one being the look that Jodie Whittaker will rock during her Tardis tenure.

Take a look below.

Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor

And then there’s the concept art for Jodie Whittaker’s Sonic Screwdriver.

It’s a world away from the usual futuristic look – with Whittaker instead opting for a creation that looks like it’s straight from the otherworldly realms of Gallifrey.

We’ve also seen the release of the below images, which give the briefest idea of what to expect from the companions.

What have the critics said?

There’s been widespread praise for Whittaker’s portrayal of the Doctor.

The Sun claimed that she might just be “the breath of fresh air needed to revive a flagging franchise.”

Her performance was described as “a huge improvement on Peter Capaldi and brings back some of the spirit of David Tennant and Matt Smith — even if she doesn’t nail the character quite as well as they did.

“She doesn’t always strike the right balance between quirky geek and masterful Time Lord. And at times she comes across as irritatingly childlike.”

The I Paper said: “Never before has Doctor Who looked so crisp and cinematic, nor the CGI so convincing and expensive”.

“Bursting with energy, intensely moral and a little distracted, she’s eminently convincing as the continuation of every Doctor we’ve seen thus far while still breaking in new quirks. And while her gender change does briefly come up (she makes reference to having been “a white-haired Scotsman” just half an hour before her new team meet her), it’s actually surprising how little you notice or even think about the fact that the new Doctor is a woman this time around”, said the Radio Times.

“It just feels like an irrelevant piece of trivia – like the colour of her hair – as you join the familiar figure of the Doctor for yet another year of sci-fi exploring, and that’s exactly how it should be. By the end of the hour, you’ll definitely be desperate for more adventures with this strange woman from the stars.”

What do we know about the plot?

So far, details are scant about the specifics of the Doctor’s next adventures in Time and Space.

Although nothing’s been confirmed, one story will reportedly be set in segregation-era America and focus on the story of Civil Rights hero Rosa Parks.

Another will reportedly take place in the 17th century and focuses on witchcraft (including a guest appearance from Alan Cumming as Stuart King James I).

However, we’ve been treated to a synopsis for Episode One – which is set in Sheffield.

“In a South Yorkshire city, Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) and Graham O’Brien (Bradley Walsh) are about to have their lives changed forever”, a synopsis teases.

“A mysterious woman, who is unable to remember her own name, falls from the night sky. Can they believe a word she says? And can she help solve the strange events taking place across the city?”

In an interview with Deadline, Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall revealed the new series would be “more inclusive” and wouldn’t require viewers to be big fans of the show to understand what was going on.

“I want to take those elements that’ve gone before in a new direction without losing any of the rich history of the show,” Whittaker explained. “The way we’ve been operating is that if you’ve been a fan of this show for the last 20 years or 50 years, then this will absolutely carry on your passion, and engagement, and excitement. But if you’re brand new to it, that’s OK too. You don’t need to have an encyclopedic knowledge to come into this with fresh eyes, and that’s of any age or gender. I think that’s what’s been exciting for me because I didn’t come at this as a Whovian, and this is a show that’s inclusive rather exclusive and that’s great.”

Chibnall added the series would be comprised of 10 standalone stories. “Every week, we’re in a different world with the different characters and the new monsters,” he said. “You are really making a new movie every week. You know, the only thing that stays constant is the Doctor and her friends.”

He continued: “I want everybody to be very, very included in the series. So, a lot of new adventures, a lot of new settings, lots of new characters to fall in love with, and lots of new monsters, you’ll see.”

Credit: Gettty

Chibnall, Whittaker, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole, plus exec producer Matt Strevens also recently made an appearance at Comic-Con. Chibnall said the new series will be different as it features writers of colour for the first time, along with female guest writers, directors and editors.

“People need to know the business is for them as well,” Strevens said.

Whittaker also revealed the Doctor’s new sonic screwdriver on stage and it appeared to have had quite a makeover.

The screwdriver still had its iconic sound though and was actually available for purchase at Comic-Con. If you weren’t at the show, the 7.4-inch-long toy will hit shelves in August.

Meanwhile, director Jennifer Perrott – who will helm a couple of episodes during the new season – has said that there will be a lot of “zany” CGI action.

Speaking to Doctor Who Magazine, Perrott said: “I did have a zany action sequence in studio where we just had the actors, green screen and fans blowing their hair – the entire world around them will be created with VFX.”

“I can’t wait to see what those geniuses at [effects house] DNEG create for that,” she added.

Who is the showrunner?

Steven Moffatt departed at the end of the last series, and it’s Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall taking the reins.

His appointment was announced in 2016.

What’s this I hear about a new theme tune?

Yep, Doctor Who’s iconic theme tune is to receive a reworking.

The man responsible is composer Segun Akinola, entrusted with creating “a fresh take on the legendary theme tune”.

“Welcome to the Doctor Who family, Segun Akinola!” new Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall previously said.

“We’re over the moon Segun’s agreed to join us, to provide the score for the next phase of the Doctor Who adventure.

“From our very first conversations, it was obvious Segun was a passionate, collaborative and delightful human being as well as a fantastic and bold composer. We’re looking forward to introducing the world to his exciting and emotional soundtracks for the Thirteenth Doctor.”

“Doctor Who is woven into the fabric of British culture and recognised globally,” Sekinola said.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be given the privilege of working on such a beloved series and to bring my musical voice to it.”

The New Year’s Day episode – what can we expect?

Details of the Doctor Who New Year’s Day episode have also been released by the BBC – and the Doctor is revealed to have a new scarf echoing the costume of former Doctor Who, Tom Baker.

Speaking about the new episode, the BBC write: “More Details Revealed – As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring, from across the centuries of Earth’s history. As the Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?

More details are emerging about the New Year’s Day episode. According to The Mirror, the Dalek’s will return. Showrunner Chris Chibnall has said previously that only new villains would feature saying “There are no old monsters.” However, the fact the Doctor will supposedly tackle “a terrifying evil” in the episode has led to speculation that the Doctor’s old adversaries, The Daleks, may well make an appearance, despite the fact the showrunner has earlier dismissed these claims.

Earlier this month, the BBC have revealed a “first look” at the guest stars for the New Year’s Day episode saying that they are meeting to face “a terrifying evil from across the centuries of Earth’s history.”

Now, new pictures show reveal there will be at least two additions to the cast in the episode – Mitch (Nikesh Patel) and Lin (Charlotte Ritchie). You can see images from the New Year’s Day special here:

It has now also been revealed that the New Year’s Day holiday special, titled ‘Resolution’ will take place on New Year’s Day after all, putting pay to rumours that the episode was moved from a Christmas special to a NewYear one.

Now, showrunner Chris Chibnall has told Doctor Who Magazine: “The episode is set on New Year’s Day. There’s no better way to start a new year than with Doctor Who.”

He added: “You want the special to feel like an event…like an opener and a finale all rolled into one. You want it to be accessible to those who’ve missed the series, but you also want to reward the audiences and fans who’ve been there for the whole ride.

He continued: “Most of all, you want it to feel like a treat: a big, thrilling, explosive, moving, cheeky, surprising treat. Basically, you want the special to be epic. And I promise, it’s going to be epic.|

Guest star Nikesh Patel described it as “a psychological thriller” whilst the director of the episode, Wayne Yip, called it “a popcorn, blockbuster version of Doctor Who”.