Doctor Who Series 7

As far as I can see, the most detailed information that we currently have about the broadcast dates of series 7 of Doctor Who is in this tweet from @bbcdoctorwho.

There will be 6 episodes this year, including the Xmas Special. Then 8 next year. Jenna’s character will first be seen at Xmas.

But it seems that people are taking that information and constructing the most bizarre theories about the forthcoming broadcasts. There are two particular theories that I want to address. One that I’m almost certain is wrong and one that there’s just no evidence to support.

The first of these is summed up in the title of this article – “Liam Cunningham To Star In ‘Doctor Who’ 50th Anniversary Series”. Some people seem to assume that the second half of series 7 will be the only Doctor Who that we’re getting in 2013 and that, therefore, it will contain the 50th anniversary celebrations. I think that this is very unlikely.

When it was announced that series 7 would be moved to the autumn (rather than starting in spring as it has done every year since 2005) Steven Moffat was quick to explain that this was because he saw the show as best suited to winter. In Doctor Who Magazine he wrote this:

Doctor Who in the summer? All that running down tunnels, with torches, and the sunlight streaming through your windows and bleaching out the screen? All those barbecues and children playing outside, while on the telly there are green monsters seething in their CGI-enhanced lairs? It’s just not right is it? Be honest.

For me, as a kid, when the afternoon got darker and there was a thrill of cold in the air, I knew that even though summer was over, the TARDIS was coming back!

I’m the same age as Moffat, so I remember Doctor Who as a winter show and I completely understand his reasons for wanting to move it.

If we see Doctor Who as a winter show (at least until the next showrunner wants to move it) then it’s obvious that we’ll be getting more Doctor Who later in 2013. It’s very likely that season 8 will be broadcast in late 2013 and early 2014. And that will be the obvious place for most of the 50th anniversary celebrations. Doctor Who was first broadcast on 23rd November 1963. And guess what? 23rd November 2013 will be a Saturday. I’d be astonished if an episode of series 8 wasn’t broadcast on that date.

Oh, and that’s another point. There has been some news over the last few days of various past Doctors saying that they haven ‘t been invited to take part in the 50th anniversary celebrations. Well, that’s probably because Moffat and his team haven’t started detailed planning for series 8 yet – they’re still working on series 7. There’s still plenty of time for people to be invited to take part. Or perhaps they won’t be. I trust Moffat to give us a great anniversary whether or not it includes previous Doctors.

So that’s the first error. Series 7 will not be the 50th anniversary series. That’s not to say that it won’t contain pointers to the anniversary – but the main event will be in the first half of series 8.

The other question I’ve seen people discussing is whether series 7 will be split in the same way that series 6 was. Doctor Who TV (an unofficial news site) says ” it looks like this format will be continued once again into Series 7″. But I can’t see any evidence for this.

Ok, I can find one piece of evidence for this. Another piece from Doctor Who TV says:

The BBC has confirmed rumours that Doctor Who Series 7 will be split over two years. They will only air six episodes in 2012, the remainder in 2013.

But that turns out to be paraphrasing Steven Moffat who says “six of them will come out this year, including the Christmas special and then eight in the next year”. That’s a split, I suppose, as the series is being broadcast over two years, but it’s not necessarily a split in the same way that series 6 was split.

In 2011 there were almost three months between the two sections of series 6. “A Good Man Goes To War” was broadcast on 4th June and “Let’s Kill Hitler” was broadcast on 27th August. I don’t think there’s any evidence that there will be a similar split in series 7. It’s possible for all fourteen episodes to be broadcast weekly and still fit in with the information we already have. If the first episode is broadcast on 24th November then episode 5 would be on 22nd December. Assuming the Christmas special is on 25th December as it always is, the next episode could be as soon as 5th January.

To be honest, I don’t know if that’s the plan. It’s possible that the first part of the series could start sooner than that and that the second part could start later. I just wanted to demonstrate that the series could be broadcast without a split and still fit all the information we currently have.

It’s likely that even the BBC don’t know for sure. I’m sure that they have rough plans for the schedules around the end of the year, but things aren’t likely to get confirmed until much closer to the actual broadcast times.

This is all speculation, of course. I’m happy to admit that it is. But so are the stories that I’ve linked to (and many others like them). The people writing these stories don’t have any more information than we do. They’re just extrapolating from a few facts. And in many cases they extrapolate wildly and end up in completely the wrong place.

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