After news that the 12th series of Doctor Who wouldn't be gracing our TV screens until sometime in 2020, fans were fully prepared to endure a lengthy hiatus. However, if recent reports turn out to be accurate, Whovians may have something special to look forward to, because Doctor Who could be returning with an extra episode sooner than expected — and I'm already seriously excited for the next instalment of the hit sci-fi series.
According to the Radio Times, show-makers are planning to release a standalone Doctor Who episode before the show's highly-anticipated 12th season gets underway. Because a special edition of the legendary BBC series has aired at some point during every festive period since 2005, it could be assumed that the upcoming episode will be broadcast on either Christmas or New Year’s Day. However, as the Radio Times reports, the standalone episode might be left off the 2019 Christmas TV schedule, and instead air in a much less competitive slot.
Bustle reached out to a rep at the BBC about the speculation around this standalone episode, but they declined to comment.
Over the years, previous one-off Doctor Who specials have seen the famous Time Lord take on robot Santas, deadly snowmen, and the ever-menacing Daleks. However, according to the Daily Star, speculation that the Doctor could this time be forced to battle The Judoon has gone into overdrive, following confirmation that they will be returning in series 12.
According to the Metro, The Judoon hail from the planet Judoonia, and are frequently employed as a mercenary police force. The extraterrestrial species were last featured on the BBC series back in 2007, during David Tennant's reign as the iconic character. Speaking in his Doctor Who magazine column, show-runner Chris Chibnall discussed the return of The Judoon — and revealed why he decided to leak news of their arrival in the new season. He said:
"Knowing that we’d be filming in broad daylight with Judoon on the streets of Gloucester, we made a plan to release an official photo with the Doctor (oof, she looks cross, why would she be looking cross?) the night before."
Chibnall went onto reveal that the physicality of the species will be "slightly updated," and praised the "geniuses" of the Doctor Who special effects department who used impressive "animatronic tech" throughout the show's filming process.
According to the Radio Times, the BBC director of Content Charlotte Moor has previously teased "a whole new set of exciting adventures" to be included throughout the show's upcoming series, and the BBC Director-General Tony Hall also confirmed that Doctor Who season 12 would air "very early" in 2020.
Actor Jodie Whittaker is set to return to her role as the 13th Time Lord, reports the Radio Times, whilst her team of sidekicks — including Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill, and Bradley Walsh — are also expected to reprise their roles in the next series. So, we might have a fair amount of time to wait before Doctor Who's next outing, but knowing a potential one-off special is also on the way, certainly makes the wait a whole lot easier. Bring it on.