Rejoice Whovians! The future of Doctor Who is secure for at least the next three years. OK, we don't have a great deal on screen this year, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what Class brings, and maybe, just maybe Peter Jackson will be involved in this year's Christmas special. Now that really would be worth the wait. But then we have series ten in 2017 and the following year we will most definitely be getting series eleven. New Who all the way through 2018. Have we ever had an official confirmation like that before?
Go on social media, pretty much anywhere at anytime over the last decade and you'll find large voices proclaiming the BBC is cancelling the show because of poor ratings/RTD has ruined it/it's dumbed down and the fans don't like it/Tennant is off so the show dies with him/declining ratings/Moffat has ruined it/Smith is too young and people don't like it/it's too complicated and the casual viewers don't like it/plumeting ratings/but mainly it's Moffat's writing/Smith is off and the show dies with him/it costs too much to make/Capaldi is too old and people don't like it/worst ratings since 1989/reality shows are cheaper and get more viewers/really though, it's all Moffat's fault/etc etc etc
Of course, it's all a load of steaming horse poo. People like to proclaim these things because.. well I don't know why really, maybe it makes them feel important? It's as if their personal opinion is the correct one and so we should all bow down to their knowledge of Whovian ins and outs, regardless of the fact that they have absolutely no involvement in the production of Doctor Who or any exclusive knowledge of the inner workings of the BBC.
But with that off my chest, rejoice Whovians! Not only do we have a bounty of guaranteed new Who coming to our screens, but for the next couple of years the fearmongers and spreaders of doom will have to find something else to do with their time.
Rejoice Whovians! And let us look towards the future with nothing less than excitement and anticipation. Rejoice! And let me share my hopes of things I'd love to see in the upcoming 2017 series of Doctor Who. (Full disclosure - I, William 'Fromage' Fielding, have absolutely no involvement in the production of Doctor Who or any exclusive knowledge of the inner working of the BBC.)
We only briefly touched upon the rediscovery of Gallifrey in the series nine finale, and at the time I was a bit frustrated by this as we'd waited so long for Gallfrey's return. In retrospect, it was probably the right thing to do for Hell Bent, but I do want more, and I really hope that series ten features the Doctor's home planet.
Let's see more of the inner workings of Gallifrey, let's see more of Rassilon, let's meet more Time Lords, let's see the repercussions of both theirs and the Doctor's actions.
9. A Fixed Time Slot
"What time is Doctor Who on this week?" (puts fingers in ears) LALALALALALA No, shut up! I don't want to hear that question ever again. It shouldn't even need to be asked.
BBC! Stop it!! Stop moving Who around the schedules!
In the space of a year we had episodes starting as early as 5:15pm and as late as 8:30pm. Who can keep up with that? You ask yourself why the live ratings are so poor, here's your answer.
Stop moving Who to make way for stupid people singing badly and desperate people dancing badly. Give Who a regular time slot. 7pm, 8pm, I do not mind, but just give it the same time week after week. Hell, if you must move Who from Saturday nights and put it on Sunday nights, but just at the same time each and every Sunday. Sunday worked for Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, it's working now for War and Peace. It could work very well for Doctor Who too.
Seriously, this is something that really pisses me off. Do the BBC move EastEnders? Nope. Same time slot all the time. I know a lot of people watch online or record the show but Doctor Who deserves a fixed time slot. It makes huge amounts of money for the BBC and yet they treat it so poorly when it comes to scheduling. Sort it out!
(Once again, I fully admit that I have absolutely no exclusive knowledge of the inner working of the BBC, so they may have their reasons. Buggered if they make sense to me though!)
8. New Monsters
Moffat gave us the Weeping Angels, arguably the very best new monster created since Who returned in 2005, but before he leaves Who behind I'd love for him to come up with another killer idea like the Angels. He's had a few goes at it, the Clockwork Droids and the Silence were both great and I really liked the idea of those Hand Mines (imagine a planet of them), to name but three of his creations, but I don't think he's ever topped the Angels.
Give us a monster who will be scaring children for decades to come and one which will be mentioned in the same breath as the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Weeping Angels. I know that the creation of a foe like this is far, far easier said than done, but I also know if anyone can do it then Moffat can. What have you got in your bag of tricks Moff? It's time for you to go out with a lasting bang.
7. New Writers
What was it Moffat said?...
"I had meetings today with two writers who’ve never written Doctor Who before. Brilliant, prominent and amazing writers"Appreciating that it doesn't take much to make my head explode in one big fangasm, the mind boggles at who these two amazing writers could be. There's the unlikely names like Joss Whedon and JK Rowling doing the rounds, but I think they're both very long shots. Instead how about Anthony Horowitz, Edgar Wright or Charlie Brooker? Or maybe even, whilst Capaldi is still there, Armando Iannucci?
If I told you their names, your brain would explode."
I know technically he's written for Doctor Who before, but I'd love to see Nicholas Briggs make his TV script debut. He's responsible for nearly 4 million Big Finish stories, or thereabouts, and certainly knows how to turn in a decent story. Surely it's about time he got the chance to write one for television?
6. Old Favourites
I'm not talking about the Daleks or the Cybermen, although it's more than likely they'll feature somewhere, rather I'd like to see the return of a former companion or two. I was re-watching School Reunion the other day and it was so much fun to see Sarah Jane again. Can you believe that episode was ten years ago? It's about time we had another like that.
Ace would be top of my list. Of all the classic companions I think she's got a lot of story to catch up on, and it would be very easy for her character to still be relevant to the show today. I'd also like to see gobby Tegan, she was sorta my Sarah-Jane as she was the main companion when I was just getting into Doctor Who.
Then there's another old favourite who has criminally never made it to the screen. Everyone's favourite shapeshifting Whifferdill, Frobisher. (I'm not giving up on this happening).
Also, being that Moffat created the character and he's yet to bring him back whilst he's been showrunner, what about Captain Jack? Surely Arrow could give him a fortnight off?
5. One Long Story
Although I don't hold out a lot of hope for this, and I'm quite sure most people will disagree with me (that's cool, I'm a big boy), it's something I've long thought could work well on Doctor Who.
We've had regular Who seasons, we've had seasons with only individual stories, we've had movie of the week style seasons, and last year we had lots of two-part stories, but I've always thought it would be interesting to have one long single epic story split over the twelve installments. I know we've had The Key To Time and The Trial Of A Timelord, but really they were still comprised of multiple individual stories that, with a few minor snips, could be viewed as a standalone tale.
I know Moffat's great with story arcs (he is, don't even go there haters) but I'd like to see a proper 12-part adventure. Possibly a bad example, but think of Torchwood: Miracle Day (OK, you can stop thinking of it now. Sorry), and shows like Homeland and 24. One single serialised story featuring lots of adventures along the way. With Moffat's desire to mix up the format once again, this could be a very interesting direction for him to bow out with.
And it would give us eleven cliffhangers. Bonus!
4. New Theme Music
I put this so high up the list because I hate the current rendition of the Doctor Who theme. Strong words, I know, but I think I might just prefer the Delaware version over it - and that's shit!
It's ironic really as visually the titles are superb, the best they've been since 2005, but the arrangement is the worst. Ever! I say, bring back the rock theme we had for one glorious week at the start of Before The Flood. After all, Capalid is our rock-n-roll guitar-playing tank-riding Doctor, so shouldn't he have a kick-ass arrangement like that instead of some tinny Bontempi-plastic-keyboard sounding assault on the ears?
Oh Missy, you're so fine. Once again, haters gonna hate but I think Missy is brilliant. She had herself "a brilliant idea" when we last saw her at the end of The Witch's Familiar, so let's find out what it was.
That's really all I have to say on this. Michelle Gomez rocks, and with the knowledge that one day she will no longer be the Master, let's enjoy more of her why we can.
Now, I know we've been told we're getting a new companion, and it'll be no-one we've seen before. A brand new person. But Moffat lies. That's the truth. And with filming for series ten starting much later in the year than usual could Jenna Coleman's departure have all been a smokescreen? The gap in schedule would've given Coleman time to film the Queen Victoria drama, and potentially other separate projects, before she returns to Doctor Who to resume the role of Clara Oswald.
I, for one, would love to see series ten open with Capaldi traveling alone, maybe even for the majority of the series. He was brilliant by himself in Hell Bent and we could always have multiple characters filling the role of companion in single episodes (think Lady Christina de Souza in Planet of the Dead, or Adelaide Brooke in The Waters of Mars). Then, as the Doctor's memories of Clara slowly return he could finally track her down.
The ongoing story of a girl who is living between her final heartbeats could be an appealing one for Moffat to tell, and with the Doctor's duty of care wouldn't he do absolutely everything he could to save her? Even giving up some of his own regeneration energy in the final episode of the series, which might lead to something I really, REALLY don't want to happen...
1. ABSOLUTELY NO REGENERATION
The one thing I hope more than anything is that series ten DOES NOT bring a regeneration.
Right here, right now, I propose a hashtag. #ifcapaldiregeneratesweriot
Sadly, if you were a betting man then the odds would be stacked against Capaldi staying on after series ten. Of course, his tenure length is nothing but pure speculation at the moment, but by the end of his next series he would've done three years, which seems to be the preferred stretch for several of his predecessors. Still, as much as Doctor Who is a show that thrives on change I can't come to terms with losing Capaldi just yet.
David Tennant left at the same time as RTD. The change was immense. New showrunner, new direction, new Doctor, new companion. It was like a totally new relaunch for the show less than 5 years after it had just been relaunched very successfully. Maybe this is something the BBC are planning to do once again (please, please don't) in a hope to attract new viewers who are not familiar with Doctor Who (apparently there are some, who knew?), but I really hope Capaldi stays on longer. Let's see what Chirs Chibnall can do with one of the greatest British actors currently working today shall we?
You know it makes sense Chiby. After all #ifcapaldiregeneratesweriot
Geek. Lover. Fighter. Dwarf. Follow Wil on Twitter.