Series eight of Doctor Who is almost upon us, and we’ll soon get to find out if Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor is a good man.
The BBC, as usual, are being very secretive about anything but guest stars and writers, with info slowly being drip-fed in anticipation of a big launch in August. One thing that remains shrouded in mystery, however, is the actual number of episodes we’ll be seeing this year.
Since 2005, the norm has traditionally been fourteen a year, albeit sometimes split into two shorter runs across the year. In series seven the usual fourteen episodes were joined by two more specials, but split across two years.
Back in October Steven Moffat stated that there would be “at least thirteen episodes” this year. However, it’s unknown whether this includes a Christmas Special or not.
When details of Matt Smith’s exit were leaked early by e-mail last year, the number of episodes for this year was stated as a slightly reduced twelve.
Another interesting factor is the announcement of ‘feature length’ opener Deep Breath. Feature length can mean something the length of The Day of The Doctor (75 minutes), but it could mean longer, perhaps a double-length episode to act as a big tentpole intro for Capaldi?
What is known, is that filming on the two-part finale is underway, bringing the total filmed for this year to eleven. It could be just secrecy, as the production team are playing it closer to their chests this year, particularly after some of last year’s problems with leaks, but, if you pick through what we have been told, no mention has actually been made of any further episodes yet to film. A lot of the round-ups going round at the moment online are more fan supposition based on filming photos and scant information, than cold fact. The truth is, there’s nothing firm been said.
There could be an episode or more yet to go before the cameras, from earlier in the series. Some round-ups suggest an episode ten, written and directed by TBA and TBA. If there is, we know nothing about it; who is writing, directing, who is in it…….it could be a Neil Cross episode that’s been mooted, or, less likely, a Neil Gaiman one. Or one by Frank Cottrell Boyce. If all three, then there’s your fourteen, and that’s presumably not including any Christmas special, as Moffat writes those….
Anyway, before I get carried away, until we hear it from the production team, it’s just conjecture.
So, if there is , say, one other episode to come, that makes twelve.
If a Christmas Special is to follow, then we’re up to thirteen. Does Deep Breath‘s ‘feature length’ status, mean that we will get the same run-time as fourteen episodes spread over thirteen?
Some fans argue that if there is a shorter run, we might see a leaner, more focused series. I’m on the fence about the benefits of that, but it’s also possible that we might have a season the same length as usual, but in a different format.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be exciting finding out. Who keeps count when you’re having fun, anyway?