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'Doctor Who' cut to eight episodes for next series due to coronavirus troubles

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2-min read
Jodie Whittaker in 'Doctor Who'. (Credit: BBC/James Pardon)
Jodie Whittaker in 'Doctor Who'. (Credit: BBC/James Pardon)

The upcoming thirteenth series of Doctor Who will run to just eight episodes, as a result of coronavirus disruption to the production schedule.

Showrunner Chris Chibnall told the Mirror that the “complexity” of shooting in the era of COVID-19 means that work on each episode will take longer than usual.

Jodie Whittaker will return for her third series as the Doctor, with rumours suggesting that Mandip Gill’s Yaz may be her only companion as Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole leave the show.

Read more: Who is the best Doctor of all time?

“In this strangest of years, the Doctor Who production team have worked wonders to get the show back into production,” said Chibnall.

He added: “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.”

Watch: Doctor Who stars discuss show’s place in pop culture

Doctor Who is set to return over the festive period with new special Revolution of the Daleks, in which the Doctor has been imprisoned in a high-security space prison.

With the Doctor out of commission, her friends must deal with the threat posed by a lone Dalek all by themselves.

Recent festive specials have aired on New Year’s Day, but no date has been confirmed for this one as yet.

Read more: Christopher Eccleston returning for Doctor Who audio series

Meanwhile, the cast and crew of the show have returned to set to begin filming on the truncated 13th run.

Executive producer Matt Strevens said he was “thrilled” that everyone is able to return to work and teased “plenty of surprises” for fans.

Whittaker admitted recently that she worried she had “done it wrong” when she first took up the mantle as the show’s first female lead.

She added: “They said ‘no, this is the point’ like: ‘You know, you aren’t supposed to be doing what someone else did.’”

Read more: Chibnall wants to bring back Amy Pond and Rory

While the show has been on a production hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic, Whittaker has delivered a number of messages to fans in character, urging the show’s young viewers to “be kind” and look after each other.

Watch: Doctor Who superfan reveals mammoth merch collection