Not even a noisy police box that can travel through time and space can avoid the impact of the coronavirus. The BBC announced recently that Doctor Who series 13 (as they call seasons in the U.K.) has begun filming, but along with that announcement came some disappointing news. This series of the show will include only eight episodes instead of the expected 11.
Current showrunner Chris Chibnall expressed the following about the production of series 13:
In this strangest of years, the Doctor Who production team have worked wonders to get the show back into production. We’re thrilled to be back making the show. Given the complexity of making Doctor Who, and with new and rigorous COVID working protocols, it’s going to take us a little longer to film each episode, meaning we expect to end up with eight episodes, rather than the usual eleven. But rest assured, the ambition, humour, fun, and scares you expect from Doctor Who will all still be firmly in place. For everyone around the world, this is a challenging period — but the Doctor never shirks from a challenge!
The reasoning behind this cutback in episodes is pretty simple: COVID-19. In order to follow the proper protocols for production in the U.K., the show ironically won’t have the time to get more episodes done. Just what is being cut down on from what was planned is unknown, but given the cliffhanger and canon-shattering events of the last season, it’s hard to imagine fewer episodes is anything but detrimental to the show. It’s also unclear if the upcoming holiday special, Revolution of the Daleks, is considered part of the eight-episode count for Doctor Who series 13.
That upcoming episode, which sees the Doctor locked away after some controversial plot reveals last season, will pick up with the “fam” separated from the Doctor, but when the Daleks return, they must find a way to fight them without her. The holiday special may also be the last time we see two of the Doctor’s companions traveling with her.