The BBC announce a new Doctor Who spin-off and fans are overjoyed… not! Dr. Moo digs deeper...
On Thursday the BBC started promoting, via social media, a “huge announcement” concerning Doctor Who. Naturally the Internet got into a flutter over what it could be? Is there news about series ten? Is Moffat leaving? Is Capaldi leaving? Has Coleman’s replacement been confirmed?
No. It’s a new spin-off about Coal Hill School.
It seems that the general consensus among Whovians was "Huh? That’s disappointing". Those irritating kids from The Caretaker,
Kill The Moon and In The Forest Of The Night have been given their own
show before, say, the Paternoster Gang or River Song. And I have to be honest, after all that
hype I expected better.
Like many fans my mind immediately went to all the negatives surrounding this new show; it’s going to distract resources from Doctor Who, and it’s going to be really really patronising. I’m just waiting for the announcement about the token minority groups who will dominate the cast lineup, and to top it all off it has a really stupid name, one that I can see having a hashtag attached to it. #Class
But then I learnt that it’s coming from the pen of Patrick Ness and suddenly many of the problems I had with the idea melted away. He’s one of the best YA writers working in the world today (seriously, you MUST read the Chaos Walking trilogy) and if anyone can pull this off he can. Ness isn't entirely a stranger to the world of Who either, as he wrote the
Fifth Doctor Puffin eshort, Tip of the Tongue, to celebrate
the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.
It's early days and we have very little information. With Class, Ness could give us another Sarah Jane Adventures! Or something to fill the Torchwood-shaped hole in the BBC 3
schedule, albeit in a more youthful form. Then again, Class could turn out to be little more than one of those annoying and inferior Grange Hill clones that show up every few years.
I will continue to watch every single thing that goes out
under the Doctor Who banner, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. At
the moment my reaction boils down to “Meh, it’s better than nothing”, because I’m in two minds about this. On the one hand it’s
an extension of the most annoying aspect of recent Who to a full-blown
spin-off, on the other it’s a new Doctor Who spin-off with Patrick Ness
writing it. I think that's a very important thing to remember at this stage. We've been promised more adventures in the Doctor Who universe from an incredibly capable writer. On the strength of that information alone surely we should at least give Class a chance?
When he's not obsessing about Doctor Who whilst having I Am The
Doctor play in his head, Dr. Moo can usually be found reading up on the
latest in Quantum Physics. As you do when you're a physicist.