Doctor Who fans will probably be excited but a little frustrated after this year’s SDCC@Home Doctor Who panel, as the stars didn’t give much away about the new series.
The panel featured showrunner Chris Chibnall, the Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, and Doctor Who’s newest cast member John Bishop.
Chris Chibnall remained very tight-lipped about what fans can expect from the new series of Doctor Who, other than confirming that there will be one big story arc across all the episodes, with lots of cliffhangers. When asked what he could tell fans about the new series, Jodie Whittaker started to laugh and Chibnall quipped, “She’s laughing already – she’s like ‘he’s not going to tell you anything.’”
He did go on to elaborate slightly, but the panel host, Melanie McFarland, was unable to get a lot out of him.
“I can tell you that we pick it up with the Doctor and Yas, who’ve been traveling together for some time,” Chibnall explained. “We come and meet them mid-adventure, then they stumble across a man called Dan Lewis. That’s all I’m going to tell you.”
One thing that Chris Chibnall was prepared to confirm was a guest appearance by Jacob Anderson, otherwise known as Grey Worm from Game of Thrones, who dropped in to talk about his experience of playing a new character, Vinder. Anderson spoke of his excitement of being part of a TV show he’d watched since he was a child, saying that one of the first things he did on set was to walk through the TARDIS doors.
“I felt like I was 14 again, watching Doctor Who for the first time,” said Anderson. “And everything’s real, I touched every single button on the TARDIS.”
He also revealed that his character Vinder has his own ship, with a whole bank of its own buttons and levers for him to play with.
The cast had nothing but good things to say about Jacob Anderson, with Chris Chibnall saying that the actor, “makes you root for him and breaks your heart.”
One big change that we do know about is that after the departure of Graham and Ryan at the end of the last series, the Doctor is about to meet a new companion. The new guy is Dan Lewis, played by stand-up comedian John Bishop, who will be a familiar face for British viewers. Commenting on one of the new images released, featuring him with the Doctor and Yas, Bishop joked, “Jodie and Mandip look epic and I look like the bloke who plays darts with your uncle.”
Bishop explained how a stand-up comedian with little acting experience ended up in the TARDIS.
“It was an interesting process because Chris met me pre-pandemic and said, ‘we have a character I think you might be good for, would you be interested?’ and I was very keen, but I’d already committed to doing a tour so we just couldn’t make the dates work,” Bishop said. “I, unfortunately, had to say no, but then fate and a global pandemic intervened.”
Due to the live comedy shows being shelved while the UK went into lockdown, Bishop was able to go through the audition process and take his place in the TARDIS. It seems John Bishop was just as starstruck by the TARDIS as Jacob Anderson.
“It’s strange because it is so iconic. Who doesn’t know about the TARDIS? Who hasn’t got a vision of it? There’s an actual door that you go into on the set in Cardiff and you’re in it, you’re in that place that you’ve seen before,” Bishop enthused.
And if you think that after two seasons Jodie Whittaker is any less passionate about being on the iconic show, you’d be wrong.
“You are in something that’s so precious to us as an individual. You are that five-year-old every day because this is a privilege,” said Whittaker. “You see how it affects people and how it reaches people. We have that now. We’re the fans, we’re the Whovians.”
They may be Whovians, but they have an advantage over the rest of us, in that they know what the Doctor will be getting up to on what will probably be Whittaker’s last outing as the iconic Time Lord. The rest of us will have to wait until later this year to find out.
Watch the whole panel here: