Our regularly-updated round-up of everything we know about the next set of stories.
Welcome to the unique SFX Doctor Who News Accumulator, where we gather together all the reliable information we know about the latest series of the nation’s favourite television show. New information is written in red. New season finale pic and a few info snippets.
Here’s what we definitely know as to how the series is shaping up…
Writer: Steven Moffat Director: Colm McCarthy (The Tudors, The Deep, Spooks)
BBC synopsis: The Doctor’s search for Clara Oswald brings him to modern day London, where Wi-Fi is everywhere. Humanity lives in a Wi-Fi soup. But something dangerous is lurking in the signals, picking off minds and imprisoning them. As Clara becomes the target of this insidious menace, the Doctor races to save her and the world from an ancient enemy.
Set in London against the backdrop of new and old iconic landmarks, The Shard and Westminster Bridge, “The Bells of St John” will also establish a new nemesis, the Spoonheads, who will battle the Doctor as he discovers something sinister is lurking in the Wi-Fi.
Filming has been completed on this episode, some of which took place at London’s South Bank and in various Westminster streets, with Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman on a motorbike! Some pick-ups were also shot in Cardiff.
Episode Seven “The Rings Of Akhaten”
Writer: Neil Cross Director: Farren Blackburn
In the new Radio Times: Moffat says, “When Clara Oswald looks back on her time in the TARDIS, this might be the place she remembers.”
BBC synopsis: Clara wants to see something awesome, so the Doctor whisks her off to the inhabited rings of the planet Akhaten, where the Festival of Offerings is in full swing. Clara meets the young Queen of Years as the pilgrims and natives ready for the ceremony. But something is stirring in the pyramid, and a sacrifice will be demanded.
Episode Eight “Cold War”
Writer: Mark Gatiss Director: Douglas Mackinnon (“The Sontaran Stratagem”/”The Poison Sky”)
Guest cast: David Warner, Liam Cunningham
In the new Radio Times: Moffat says Mark Gatiss told him an idea, “that made my hair stand on end”, and claims it’s one of his favourite episodes of the eight.
BBC synopsis: The Doctor and Clara land on a damaged Russian Submarine in 1983 as it spirals out of control into the ocean depths. An alien creature is loose on board, having escaped from a block of Arctic ice. With tempers flaring and a cargo of nuclear weapons on board, it’s not just the crew but the whole of humanity at stake!
As exclusively revealed by SFX the Ice Warriors will be returning in this story. “They’ve got really scary voices as well,” executive producer Caro Skinner told us. “I spent quite a lot of time on set trying to hiss like an Ice Warrior…”
Filmed in July. Douglas Mackinnon told Doctor Who Magazine that it’s a base-under-siege story with a difference, and that part of the episode “involves huge amounts of water in a TV studio”. There also sounds like there’s a new monster involved: “It was interesting to see the terror on the execs’ faces when the creature was revealed. It looks fantastic. We’ll be adding CG elements to it as well.”
Episode Nine: “Hide”
Writer: Neil Cross Director: Jamie Payne (Ashes To Ashes, Primeval, Call The Midwife)
Guest cast: Dougray Scott, Jessica Raine
In the new Radio Times: Moffat reveals this was the first episode Neil Cross wrote for the show, and “is properly scary Doctor Who, full of surprises and twists, and – unexpectedly – a rather gorgeous love story. Or two, maybe…”
BBC synopsis: Clara and the Doctor arrive at Caliburn House, a haunted mansion sat alone on a desolate moor. Within its walls, a ghost hunting Professor and a gifted psychic are searching for the Witch of the Well. Her apparition appears throughout the history of the building, but is she really a ghost? And what is chasing her?
The first episode that Jenna-Louise Coleman recorded.
Episode Ten: “Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS”
Writer: Stephen Thompson Director: Mat King
Guest cast: Ashley Walters (Urban Gothic, Speed Racer)
In the new Radio Times: Moffat again: “As a little boy, I’d watch the Doctor running about the TARDIS control room, and every time he headed into the depths of his time machine, through that tantalising interior door, I’d be craning to see more. What was in there? What wonders? If you’ve ever done the same, the wait is over!”
In the new Radio Times: Vastra, Jenny and Strax are confirmed to return in this one, and Moffat says, “I thought it was time to start a story from their point of view – to see them tackle a case of their own, and stumble across the Doctor’s path, quite accidentally.”
Filmed in the summer.
Real-life mother and daughter Rigg and Stirling play “a mother and daughter with a dark secret”. Judging by the on-set photos from a rainy Butetown, this is set in Victorian times and sees the return of some familiar faces. Last Thursday saw some pick-ups filmed by Barry Pump House.
Episode Twelve: “Nightmare In Silver”
Writer: Neil Gaiman Director: Stephen Wolfenden
The BBC synopsis: Hedgewick’s World of Wonders was once the greatest theme park in the galaxy, but it’s now the dilapidated home to a shabby showman, a chess-playing dwarf and a dysfunctional army platoon.
When the Doctor, Clara, Artie and Angie arrive, the last thing they expect is the re-emergence of one of the Doctor’s oldest foes. The Cybermen are back!
Note that the title is no longer “The Last Cyberman”. Seems we’re going back to “silver” associations that Russell T Davies sought to dispel. Moffat writes in the Radio Times: “As I type, I’m watching one of the effects shots for this show – a realisation of one of Neil’s creepiest ideas ever. It’s good to know what you’ll all be having nightmares about very, very soon!”
Neil Gaiman has told themusic.com, “I’ve written [one] that broadcasts in May. It guest stars Warwick Davis, Tamzin Outhwaite and Jason Watkins. The episode is called ‘The Last Cyberman’. It’s about identity, it’s about responsibility and it’s about porridge.” (Apparently Warwick Davis’s character is called Porridge…) Gaiman has since tweeted that this title may change because he has a “better one”.
According to the official BBC Doctor Who site: “We can confirm that the Cybermen will be menacing the universe once again.The iconic enemies will feature in an adventure directed by Stephen Woolfenden and written by the acclaimed Neil Gaiman.
“The episode co-stars Warwick Davis (Life’s Too Short and Harry Potter), Tamzin Outhwaite (EastEnders and Hotel Babylon) and Jason Watkins (Being Human and Lark Rise To Candleford) as a band of misfits on a mysterious planet…
“Steven Moffat, Lead Writer and executive producer, told us, ‘Cybermen were always the monsters that scared me the most! Not just because they were an awesome military force, but because sometimes they could be sleek and silver and right behind you without you even knowing… And with one of the all-time classic monsters returning, and a script from one of our finest novelists, it’s no surprise we have attracted such stellar names as Tamzin, Jason and Warwick.’”
The Cybermen are also sporting another new look – they’re worse than David Beckham, that lot!
On his blog, before the readthrough on Halloween, Gaiman said: “In case you are wondering: I’m really a bit nervous: the table read of my episode of Doctor Who is next week. Think good thoughts at us.”
Episode Thirteen: “The Name Of The Doctor”
Writer: Steven Moffat Director: Saul Metzstein
A few other tasty bits and pieces we’ve picked up on: Richard E Grant returns as the Great Intelligence; not everyone gets out alive; we WILL learn Clara’s true identity, and we MIGHT learn the Doctor’s greatest secret!
“His secret revealed” proclaims the poster. We shall see…
The BBC synopsis reads: “Someone is kidnapping the Doctor’s friends, leading him towards the one place in all of time and space that he should never go.”
In the new Radio Times: Moffat says the title won’t be revealed just yet, and “there’s going to be a revelation. You’re about to learn something about the Doctor you never knew before.” It’s confirmed that new monsters the Whispermen will feature, along with River Song, Vastra, Jenny and Strax once again.
Steven Moffat is promising amazing things for this one… Shooting has now been completed.