Jodie Whittaker (centre), John Bishop (left), Mandip Gill (right) in Doctor Who: Flux Credit: BBC

Get the lowdown on Doctor Who Series 13 ahead of its Halloween release

By Mélissa M Azombo

As the 13th series of Doctor Who materialises on British screens tonight, from casting to plotlines, here’s everything you need to know about what’s to come.

Doctor What?

“It’s coming. Be ready.” This is what The Doctor tells us about The Flux in a BBC ident. Just what is the flux? We don’t know exactly. We are aware that it involves a SWARM of creatures from Sontarans to Weeping Angels, Cybermen and Ravagers. New set photos have even been released to confirm this.

Otherwise, all we know in terms of the storyline (which is quite special already) is the first two episode titles. Episode 1 titled “Chapter One: The Halloween Apocalypse” will launch the series this Halloween. The following episode called “War of The Sontarans” will air Sunday 7 November. It’s safe to say this episode will feature the return of Sontarans, not seen since Doctor Who series 8, right? Their return has been confirmed since their appearance in the latest Doctor Who trailer.

The trailer also reveals an Ood and a new monster named Karvanista.

Doctor Who?

Although the writers confirmed for Doctor Who: FLUX are limited to a total of 2 – Chris Chibnall himself and Maxine Alderton (Doctor Who: Series 12: the Haunting of Villa Diodati) – a growing list of further casting details has been released. Of course, Jodiie Whittaker will be featuring in her last series in the role of The 13th Doctor. The Yorkshire-born actress made history when she was announced as the first woman to play The Doctor (within continuity) back in July 2017. Alongside her, will be Mandip Gill continuing her role as Yasmin Khan. Both will be joined by new TARDIS arrival Dan Lewis, played by John Bishop.

As announced during the last Doctor Who Comic Con at Home Panel, Game of Thrones’ Jacob Anderson will be starring as series regular, Vinder. Talking about playing his character during the panel, Anderson revealed “Not only did I get to go on the TARDIS & press all the buttons & levers but I got my own ship.” His own ship? Is Vinder a Time Lord? Only time will tell.

Featuring alongside the principal four, an array of guest cast throughout the six-part story. Robert Bathurst and Kevin McNally of Downton Abbey, The Irregulars’ Thaddea Graham, Blake Harrison from World On Fire and Craig Parkinson (Line of Duty) will all enter the world of Doctor Who throughout the following six weeks. Although full character details have yet to be confirmed, some interesting character images have been released. In the mean time, it’s a waiting game to find out who will be played by Sara Powell (Unforgotten), Britannia’s Annabel Scholey & Gerald Kyd, Penelope Ann McGhie (Harry Potter), Rochenda Sandall (Line Of Duty), Sam Spruell (The North Water), Craige Els (Ripper Street), Steve Oram (The End of the F-ing World), Nadia Albina (The One), Jonathan Watson (Two Doors Down), Sue Jenkins (Coronation Street) and Paul Broughton (Brookside).

All cast have been directed by Jamie Magnus Stone (Doctor Who: Series 12: Spyfall) on episodes one, two and four with the remaining episodes directed by Azhur Saleem and produced by Pete Levy. Azhur Saleem’s directing venture on Muse made the Official Sci-Fi London Film Festival Selection.

As in series 12, Doctor Who: FLUX had Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens as executive producers, while being co-produced by series producer Nikki Wilson.

Doctor When?

The hit sci-fi TV show returns for its 13th series tonight, Sunday 31 October at 18h25 GMT (UK). Doctor Who: FLUX will be available for streaming from Monday 1 November at 6h20 AEDT and broadcast at 19h30 AEDT (Australia). To American audiences, the show will air on Sunday 31st October at 20h00 EDT (USA). The series continues with Chapter Two: War of the Sontarans the following week.

Doctor Where?

Doctor Who will be broadcast in the UK on BBCOne, in Australia on ABC iview and ABC TV Plus and in the USA on BBC America. Details for other countries are yet to be confirmed.

Doctor How?

The series will be broadcast over six one-hour episodes, which will also be available to watch on the BBC’s catch-up streaming service BBC iPlayer.

Doctor Why?

The return of Doctor Who tonight brings an end to the 10-months hiatus Whovians have endured since the New Year’s Day special Revolution of the Daleks aired on 1 January 2021. Although past Doctor Who seasons under the current Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall have been known to have fewer episodes than their predcessors, Doctor Who: Flux suffers an even more dramatic episode count cut from Chinall’s standard 10 to just 6. He confirmed during SDCC’s Comic-Con at Home 2021 Panel in July this year that pandemic filming influenced the story telling.

“You could go we’re just gonna do lots of tiny episodes, in one room, with no monsters, or we could throw down the gauntlet and go we’re gonna do the biggest story we’ve ever done and we’re going to all kinds of different places, have all kinds of different characters and monsters, and it’s all gonna be part of a bigger whole,” Chibnall explained. Doctor Who: FLUX, set to be one epic six-part story, will be Jodie Whittaker’s last series in the coveted role of The Doctor, although she will also feature in 3 more specials across 2022: The New Year’s Day Special airing on 1 January 2022, an Easter special airing early 2022 and the BBC’s centenary special set to air in Autumn 2022, which will be Jodie Whittaker’s final episode as the 13th Doctor.

Chris Chibnall will join Jodie Whittaker and exit his role as showrunner after the BBC Centenary Special. Previous showrunner Russell T Davies will reprise this former position and succeed Chibnall as showrunner for at least the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary and series 14.

Russell-T-Davies Doctor Who Flux Everything We Know So Far Time Made of Strawberries

Stellar return: Award-winning writer Russell T Davies from It’s A Sin will take the role of Showrunner from Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary onwards

Meanwhile, this is John Bishop’s first series, which he joins as Dan Lewis alongside Yaz (Mandip Gill) and The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker).


DOCTOR WHO FLUX AIRS 31.10.2021 ON BBC ONE Time Made Of Strawberries
Image credit: BBC, BBC Studios

Inside the tensest 24 hours in Doctor Who fandom as fans ask #WhereIsDoctorWho?

By Mélissa M Azombo

Last Friday evening, the official Doctor Who website and social media accounts disappeared from cyberspace in what proved to be the greatest marketing stunt of the century.

On Friday 8 October at 18h00, Doctor Who fans asked #WhereIsDoctorWho as they noticed the hit sci-fi TV show was nowhere to be found online. With the series in the midst of a hiatus with an unknown release date, Whovians had grown accustomed to asking “when is Doctor Who?”. This was the day it got replaced as the most popular question in the fandom. One by one, reports came in of the show’s official Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube accounts being inaccessible. Soon, the same was shown to be true for their website.

While the official Doctor Who Tumblr page run by BBC America reportedly remained active, all social media accounts managed by BBC Studios through Falcon Social Media stayed inactive well into the night. It was unclear how long this would go on for or if Doctor Who would ever return to the internet at all. Their last tweet: “CAN YOU HEAR ME?” gave no clues.

By the morning of the following day, Doctor Who remained offline and those who had previously wondered if it was just a technical issue began to wonder if it was actually a marketing strategy instead – in which case, many questionned it.

It was on Saturday 9 October that the show’s lead character, The Doctor, seemed to make a breakthrough in communications via none other than the Telegram app, where she explained she had been banned from the internet. Yikes!

The Doctor Telegram Doctor Who Flux Time Made Of Strawberries
Official or Unofficial? The Doctor seems to be reaching out via Telegram amidst Doctor Who social media blackout on Saturday 9 October.

Clearly The Doctor was in some sort of trouble, struggling to get through. So, she did what she does best – called on humans to stay vigilant and let her know if we’d seen anything suspicious. Liverpudlians were invited to call the phone number 0800 678 3110 displayed on electronic billboards. Phoning led to The Doctor’s answerphone (she’s a busy woman!) where fans were encouraged to leave a voicemail if they had seen anything suspicious.

Well, they didn’t disappoint, though how many phone calls and voicemails came into the line within just the first hour, by the end of Saturday and to date, is anyone’s guess. Time Made Of Strawberries has contacted the BBC Press Office for further information on this but the Doctor Who team has not responded at the time of writing. An update will be posted as soon as it’s available. Regardless, the excitement was alive on Twitter as fans posted recordings of The Doctor’s voicemail greeting. The phone line is no longer active but it was all the buzz when it was. 

If anything, this shows the hype that going offline generated for Doctor Who. So, it was time to complete the marketing strategy and make the much-awaited comeback to cyberspace that fans had been eagerly waiting for.

The official Doctor Who social media accounts returned in style. With a darker, more autumnal shade of orange in their logo and a “DOCTOR WHO: FLUX” header and name change, they graced fans with a teaser of the upcoming series.

Doctor Who: Flux will be the thirteenth series of Doctor Who. Starring Jodie Whittaker in her last adventure as The Doctor, alongside Mandip Gill (Yaz), John Bishop (Dan) and Game Of Thrones’ Jacob Anderson (Vinder), it will feature 6 one-hour weekly episodes.

All episodes are written by Chris Chibnall except for one, which is co-written by Maxine Alderton (Doctor Who: Series12: The Haunting Of Villa Diodati).

This will also be Chibnall’s last season as Doctor Who Showrunner, with alum Russel T Davies announced to be reprising this role for at least the 60th anniversary and series 14.

Taylor Swift may have invented clearing your social media for a new era but Doctor Who just stepped it up one level and invented completely disappearing for another era.

The new era of Doctor Who starts with “Chapter One: The Halloween Apocalypse” on Halloween (31.10.2021) on BBC One at 18h25 GMT/ 19H25 CET. The following episode’s title has been confirmed to be “Chapter Two: The Sontaran War”.

Check out the trailer of what’s to come, originally premiered on The Graham Norton Show on Friday 15 October 2021 with Jodie Whittaker.