Over the past week, we’ve endlessly speculated who the Thirteenth Doctor will be, but few of us have considered how many week are left until the confirmation of that takes place.
Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith’s departure was announced on 1 June 2013 – between Series 7 finale The Name of the Doctor and 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor – with Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi’s casting announced on 4th August 2013 following two months of speculation.
The live show that unveiled Capaldi, Doctor Who Live – The Next Doctor, was announced on 2nd August 2013, two days prior. Capaldi’s departure was announced 30th January 2017, between 2016 Christmas special The Return of Doctor Mysterio and Series 10 premiere A Star in Her Eyes.
Regardless of when we’ll know the Thirteenth Doctor’s identity, if the track record is anything to go by, we won’t be told the date until a few days before, if there even is to be a live reveal at all.
Radio Times is now reporting some new exclusive information about “The Dawn of the Thirteenth” – some obvious, and others less so.
Firstly, it reports that the Thirteenth Doctor will be cast by incoming Showrunner Chris Chibnall – which makes sense, given that the Thirteenth Doctor will be making their debut with Chibnall’s first season, just as Smith debuted in Steven Moffat’s first season and was thus cast by Moffat despite former Showrunner Russell T. Davies’ final episodes with Tenth Doctor David Tennant yet to air.
Secondly, it reports that Chibnall’s decision will require approval from BBC Content Director Charlotte Moore and Drama Head Piers Wenger (who co-cast Smith with Moffat).
According to Radio Times’ report, the casting of the Thirteenth Doctor (which I’m calling “Operation Thirteenth”) will be led by Chibnall, who’ll have first selection, and will be given full reign to proceed in his own methods.
This means that Chibnall will either directly meet with a specific actor or a group of actors, or that he will himself put Casting Director Andy Pryor in charge of recruitment to criteria that Chibnall will be determining.
The role to be played by Moore and Wenger in this process will be to veto Chibnall’s submissions until such an actor can be found that is approved by all three – though Moore and Wenger may simply approve of Chibnall’s first choice, however they should land it, if they trust his judgement.
It’s possible that BBC management have their own criteria, but if they do, we can’t speculation on Chibnall’s opinion of that, if he has one.
I’ll be referring to Chibnall, Moore and Wenger collectively as the Thirteenth Trio.
However, Radio Times’ report also states that Operation Thirteenth hasn’t been implemented yet, as Chibnall is focusing on the post-production for the final season of Broadchuch, which he’s also run – but that as soon as this is done, Chibnall is to take a break for a period of time in order to prepare himself for becoming Showrunner for the foreseeable future.
I like what I’m hearing so far; that Chibnall only gives his attention to one series at a time – unlike Moffat who was too busy with Sherlock to produce a Doctor Who season for a whole year (which has been rumoured to be the reason that Moffat was replaced to begin with).
As for Chibnall’s rest and relaxation period?
Chibnall wants to be in the best possible state of mind.
According to Radio Times, Chibnall’s production schedule puts Operation Thirteenth to begin mid-year, following Series 10, and in-time for production on the Christmas Special when the Twelfth Doctor’s regeneration is to happen.
This is cause for optimism: the BBC have already scheduled their plan for the next two years, including production and transmission, based on when everything will be ready to go, while still keeping with their annual release pattern (DC Films, take note).
That section of Radio Times’ report goes on to quote “sources” with a casting finalisation window of autumn – quite a bit longer than the two-month waiting period between Smith’s departure being confirmed and Capaldi’s casting being announced.
Capaldi’s departure was announced last month.
Two months from then will be March – the premiere of Series 10 and the beginning of the end for the Twelfth Doctor (“The Dusk of the Twelfth”) with the first of his final episodes being finally broadcast after four months following the trailer that premiered at the end of The Return of Doctor Mysterio.
How many episodes does Capaldi have left?