'Doctor Who': Mysterious plans for the 50th anniversary season could mean fewer episodes in 2012


Image Credit: BBC

The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, the beloved British time traveler, arrives in 2013. As initially reported by io9, BBC executive Danny Cohen was quoted saying that there are already plans in place for some sort of special run of the series (which currently stars Matt Smith) in 2013. This seems to echo comments made by Who executive producer Steven Moffat, who tweeted in regards to the next season of Who: “I’ve got a plan and I’m NOT TELLING YOU WHAT IT IS” (capitals his). However, Cohen also claimed that these anniversary plans might mean that there will be less episodes of Doctor Who in 2012.

When reached by EW for comment, a BBC spokesperson pointed us to a new tweet by Moffat, apparently in response to the rumors, which states simply: “Dr Who: misquotes and misunderstandings. But I’m not being bounced into announcing the cool stuff before we’re ready. Hush, and patience.” (The BBC spokesperson also noted that American cans still have six more episodes in the current Who season coming their way on BBC America later this summer, followed by the annual Christmas special.) So what does all this mean for Who fans? It seems like a decent possibility that the BBC might be banking the vast majority of next season’s 14 episodes for the big 50th anniversary. Or perhaps there are even bigger plans in place, such as additional telefilms?

Doctor Who fans, sad to hear there might be less Who next year? What would you like to see in the 50th anniversary celebration?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

Read more:
‘Doctor Who’ exec producer and head writer Steven Moffat on the show’s return
‘Doctor Who': Matt Smith talks the season premiere’s big surprise
‘Doctor Who’: Alex Kingston talks playing River Song, and whether she’d ever pose naked with a Dalek
Elisabeth Sladen: An appreciation of the ‘Doctor Who’ actress

Comments (156 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3 5
  • Cate

    *Fewer* episodes. Come on people!

    • Lily


      • Tom Strong

        Nobody but supernerds care. This series is boring.

      • @Tom Strong

        You’re an ignorant @ss.

      • Also@Tom Strong

        Tom, sorry about the “boring” thing. You better stick with episodes of Scooby Doo. Seems that’s more your speed. KTHXBAI.

      • Tom Strong

        I have a small pe nis. I mad at world.

    • Molly

      Agreed! It’s the 50th anniversary for crying out loud! Toss in a couple more episodes.

      • Molly

        Meant to go to Brittany’s comment. Pardon my blond moment.

    • eb webster

      My FIRST thought, fewer. My second…Tenant?

      • Jen

        Would absolutely love to see more Tenant!!!! Yes, please!!!!

      • mazz cleary

        tennant all the way! it could actually happen cuz i read about possiable camieos and matts doctor runnin into davids doctor would be amazingly perfect

      • Bob

        “Dreamer, you know you are a dreamer.” As much as I loved David Tennant as The Doctor, he is done with DW. However, stranger things have happened. We already know Matt Smith is signed up for 2012. So maybe he leaves after a shortened season ‘7’. They go into 2013 without a Doctor. Then they’d be able to make a Dr. Who movie with Tennant (since he has the biggest “star power”). Then 2014 sees a new Doctor. Plausible?

      • Korey Cantrell

        yes ppl. Tennant is probabley the most recognized Dr. but Matt Smith in my mind has totally is the doctor in my mind as of the past seaseons.. He brings a youth joy 2 the character an will always be my fav. Dr… He brings the mad genious Dr. more 2 life.. if i dont get Matt smith as the Dr. for at least 3-4 seasons i will be even more dissappointed with the writers knowing that Karen Gillian will not be returning after this season.. An i am despertly hoping that i am miss informed an we will have Amy Pond for another 2 or 3 season an last through 2013.. i really didn’t think that they could ever find a nother companion as hott as billie pipper but Karen Gillan is a goddess an her an matt smith have great chemistry together… I love Dr. Who an would be left wondering if i would continue my saturday night time slot of the show if these amazing actors an actresses wouldnt return for a very long run..

      • dalek

        Get over Tennant. The Doctor has been played by 11 wonderful actors. None of them can last forever (on TV, at least.) Tennant is just the 10th guy in a very long list. Smith’s the Doctor now — enjoy him!

      • Michaela

        I’ve heard rumors that both the ninth and tenth doctors will be making an appearance for the special if there is one

      • KartofflMuter

        FEWER? May some alien kill you. Tennant? They’d never do what we all want. Grow up. Even the pretend world sucks.

    • RK

      Why can’t the British hire more writers? Every show and season is entirely too short.

      • madhatter

        It’s not because of a lack of writers. The BBC and the writers there choose to do fewer episodes of a higher quality, rather than stretching a story over Doctor Who returned in 2005 with 13 episodes to a season makes it a very long season, considering most British TV shows have 6-8 episodes a season.

      • Docrobac

        UK TV productions aren’t made in quite the same way as their US counterparts. They tend to have smaller budgets and smaller casts. Look at similar US series and on the whole they are more ensemble pieces with different characters coming to the fore each week. Personally I agree, longer seasons would be great.

      • ellenbuddle

        12 episodes a year is perfectly fine. It’s no different from most US cable series. Less is more.

    • Tomoko

      Nadia! I had no idea you were a fellow bloeggr. I love it! What a great idea to share truths about married life. You look so good pregnant! I know, you must be so over it by now, but you do look very good. As for THE question to epidural or not to epidural I’m with Amanda on this one. Take the drugs! Although, who the heck am I to give advice? Still no babies here Take care and keep on bloggin’Jess xxx

  • Brittany

    We should be rewarded with extra doctor who, not less Doctor Who! But maybe that is the plan. Moffat will tell us in time.

    • Mohamd

      Ashley – Betsy, your photos are beuatiful! You and Kara both did an amazing job capturing one of Ashley and Jon’s most memorable days. Both you and Kara’s eye for photography is amazing. Kudos to you both and Ash and Jon of course!!

  • Cameron Yarde Jnr

    There are obviously plans but this is a bit of a PR disaster. If you want to nip negative stories in the bud you stamp on them quick. Rumours and speculation are getting out of control.

    • AB

      What rumors? What speculation? Do tell :D I haven’t heard anything really, I’m dying to know!

  • Emmett

    Personally, I am amazed at the consistent quality of the writing associated with Dr. Who. Nearly every episode equals the best science fiction stories in common anthologies.
    All I ask is that they only produce as many episodes as quality demands. (Would that this meant one new episode a day!)

    • Joshua Tabor

      I must agree. I’ve only been watching Doctor Who for about a year now, but I have watched all the episodes from 2005 to present and I am amazed at the twists and turns. They never get old!

    • DT

      Actually, Series 6 has been a MAJOR step down in the quality of the show. The writing, especially at the hands of of show runner Stephen, has been VERY lacklustre this year. That and the show seems to be more purposely aimed at children now than at any time during its previous 30 odd seasons. All the edge from the RTD days is LONG gone.

      • dalekdan

        i completely disagree, this series (6) has been a fantastic step UP in quality. The episodes written by the show runner The Impossible Astronaught, Day of the Moon and A Good Man Goes to War were all amazing peices of work. Also the show is LESS aimed at children this year. Get your facts straight.

      • The Master

        I COMPLETELY AGREE that Series 6 has been LAME! Bad writing, boring episodes, and just to silly. Almost like a live action cartoon at times. The American episodes were trite and totally wasted the setting, not to mention runing the whole “Silence will fall” thing in one weak swipe. This show is going in the wrong direction under Moffat.

      • The Master

        Oh, and nothing says “grown up” like “Pirates in Space!” does it now? Less aimed at children my butt. This show is the British version of Seasame Street now.

      • Lois

        you are correct. The show’s writing has gone down in quality since Steven Moffat took over. Moffat has said that he wanted to take it back to the children’s show he remembered as a child. That has translated into the show being focused more on doing things that look “cool” but don’t necessarily make sense, and the lack of real emotions and depth in the characters and stories. So disappointing, but I do like Matt Smith as The Doctor. With better writing Smith would perfect!

      • kate

        I think those of us who were sick and tired of RTD’s heavy handed Christ metaphors and happen to like Moffat’s fun, twisty, timey-wimey story lines liked season 6, and those who were convinced that Rose was the absolute love of the 900 plus year old alien’s life didn’t. It’s less about the quality of the writing and more about the direction in which they decided to take the show. I will readily admit that Black Spot episode was a low point, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as that god awful voyage of the titanic special. Now that was just bad writing.

      • Warden

        Moffat is the best thing to happen to the Dr. in years. RTD’s DW was a step above the Stargate shows at best. He was lucky to have great actors who could make his silly episodes work.

      • bob

        Wow I cannot disagree more. Moffat has really stepped it up in storytelling and some actual character development. New villains, overarching plots, and great writing? I loved RTD, and David Tennant was my favorite, but new Who has been fantastic, and I love the story of it all.

      • chocolateislove

        I completely disagree with you, Doctor Who has never been better after Moffat became showrunner. It’s way less cheesy than RTD’s writing, and actually challenges the audience. I love how it’s become more serialized and the grand story arcs are amazingly well-written.

      • LAJackie

        Couldn’t agree more. It’s a hot mess right now.

      • SNIKT!

        Yeah, I agree, the 6th Series has been underwhelming to say the least. Even Gaiman’s episode let me down. I was hoping for something either darkly horrific or whimsical yet emotional. That “Tardis-in-a-woman’s-body” story was a bit TOO whimsical. Especially in a season of equally silly, childish stories.

        The David and Russell years were undoubtably the best. Even Moffat’s writing was better back then. It’s a shame because I too think Matt Smith is excellent in the role.

        And as bad as that “Titanic” episode was, it was infinitely better than 2010’s “Christmas Carol with Fish.” Oh gods that was horrible!

    • Rick for LA

      You can’t be serious. The Churchill episodes were poor, the vampires of venice not all there but at least my favorite episode of all time was in season 6. The Dr. Wife. They really should bring the character of the Human Tardis back as the chemistry between Matt Smith and Suranne Jones is bettern then Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, and Matt and Karen go together like Peanutbutter and jelly which should tell you how amazing Suranne was.

  • LaurieZ

    This is exactly what I came onto this page to write! I am so tired of seeing this mistake, especially in print.

    • LaurieZ

      Sorry, this was in reply to Cate’s earlier comment. (Not including my email address initially must have made EW.com upset.)

  • deedeedragons

    If lesser episodes means a bigger budget for them, fine. Less chances of getting crap like The Curse Of The Black Spot.

    • AB

      That one was a bad episode. I didn’t care for The Doctor’s Wife, either, but it wasn’t as bad as the Black Spot.
      However, the 2-part opener was really good, and A Good Man Goes to War was very well written. It also made me like River again, and she’d started to get on my nerves with her “spoilers” thing every other line.

    • mazz cleary

      honestly season 6 for me is realy confusing they kina jump into stories and im sittin there in a daze as to what just happened and im 15. they make no sence in my head! but like some ine said earlier with better writting i think matt would be an awesome doctor

      • Troy

        Don’t forget the season is only half over, the modern series has had a “season arc” since the show returned and since we have only half of the story things are bound to be jumbled. Last year many things didn’t make sense until the season finale, and I expect that’s the same story here.
        We won’t know how this all plays out until then, so until then keep an open mind.

  • Molly

    If anything, please get rid of the summer break. All of the Who fans I’ve talked to would rather have the season air all at once like it used to instead of it being split.

    • janey

      Odd, most of the ones I’ve talked to prefer the split…..

      • Molly


      • Henry

        I prefer the split.

    • Anntonio

      Still can’t log in. Have to post it here finally.Sarah LeblancVideo games are a plaasent diversion, and none more so that Sid Meyer’s flagship series, Civilization. The 5th incarnation of the series was released in mid-September of this year to much critical acclaim. It’s great fun and I’ve lost hours of my life to it. Beyond the time-sink potential, however, included in the game is an editing program, wherein the player may make custom scenarios tailored to their whims.And that’s when this project was born. Using technology already at hand in the form of the editor in Civilization 5, I would attempt to bring certain historical events to life. Our textbooks often give us descriptions of events, but it can often be difficult to visualize. In the case of the fall of Rome, for example, using the editor, I can effectively illustrate how the empire became too big to effectively manage, amongst other things, an idea which can be difficult to grasp conceptually, but the problems of a large empire become apparent when one actually is able to visualize it. Additionally, this approach may target demographic who may not be studious- this may be a way to reach them. I plan to illustrate my archive via a series of Youtube videos posted on my website, with commentary in the video and written articles to support the recreation. Hopefully this project will reach an audience that would not normally be interested in history (via the popular medium of a very popular video game), and encourage other modders to create their own historical recreations using the editor. I plan to use sources already at hand such as textbooks from other courses. I will attempt to use primary sources when appropriate and when available for the project.

  • Ari

    Didn’t we only have specials in 10? We can survive…

    • Tess

      That was 2009 – Tennant’s last year and for being specials they were not as good as any of the regular season/series episodes, imo.

    • mscisluv

      It was definitely not as good as a regular series/season! Even though this is pure speculation on EW’s part, I really hope we get as many episodes as possible! 50th Anniversary should = MORE, not less.

  • sam

    I, for one, would like to see all the surviving actors who played the doctor and/or companions on screen like what was done in the Five Doctors.

    • Liver

      This! I’ve been dreaming about getting at least 9 10 and 11 in the same scene for the longest time! It would be amazing to have those three wonderful actors work off each other!

    • Tess

      That would be awesome if they could get them all to do it. Problem is, you can already count out Eccelston since he said he’d never do it again in a recent interview with Graham Norton (his radio show, not his tv show). Who knows if any of the other doctors or any of the former companions would have commitments that might keep them from it too.

      Perhaps instead of seeing all his old selves, he could run into his future selves (or at least one possible future self…so far into his future that they wouldn’t have to concern themselves with wether that person ever actually is shown to be the doctor in the future)…Or, maybe the big anniversary ep could be some deja vu type concept where he relieves moments former versions of the doctor originally were in and he has to use his memory of those events in the past to change the future…might need some past doctors to come back for that (and companions) but wouldn’t then need all of them.

      Frankly, any way to get David Tennant on at the same time as Matt Smith would be awesome in my book so if he could wind up back in “Pete’s World” and see Rose and the Doctor Donna (or whatever he’d be calling himself at this point) that’d work for me.

    • AB

      I for one hope to never see Tennant on the show again.

      • KartofflMuter

        And why pray tell? Brain malfunction on your part? He was the best Doctor ever and a fine actor.

      • Hydrogyrine

        @ kartofflmuter couldent agree more.

  • Leftover Human

    I agree with Emmett. Make fewer episodes, if that’s what it takes to keep the quality so consistently high. Spread the budget among fewer episodes and really make it shine.
    Cameos by the previous Doctors would be made of win. :)

    • Babu

      I think the son cllaed his mom Sarah Palin and she cllaed her son communist. In the end, the communist strangled Sarah Palin while she was busy reading the scripts off her palm. Now the communist goes to jail and is going to be converted to Christianity by sexed-up priests and pastors.

  • MKS

    I would rather see more episodes than fewer overall…with more River Song along for the ride!

  • JPX

    I can honestly say that I’ve never met a human being who has seen a single episode of Doctor Who. Just sayin’

    • @JPX

      Who gives a flying f–k if you’ve never met anyone who’s seen it?
      Just sayin’.

      • Also@JPX

        JPX, I’ve seen many of your comments on this site. You’re pretty much an imbecile.

    • Chris

      Try leaving your Mom’s basement, JP. It’ll do wonders for you. Just sayin

      • KartofflMuter

        JPX can’t find the door. What a shame. Now he’ll never know if the TV dinner is ready.

  • pred3000

    Get Eccleston, Tenant, and Smith together for a special.

    • Lois


    • Chris

      Would love that but I doubt Eccleston would do it…

    • Bob

      If only. While they’re at it, get all the remaining Doctors. Then again, they did that already with The 5 Doctors. And I still don’t count the one Doctor from the failed TV movie.

      • JLC

        The show itself does, however. Whenever they do a “flashback” to previous Doctors, he’s always included right there between Sylvester McCoy and Eccleston.

      • znachki

        You should count Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor. The show does. Also, his Doctor has been a part of some excellent audio stories. I think he is very high on long-time Who fans wishlist for another televised appearance.

      • Gina Vera

        Yeah they should have the 8th doctor meet the other two that be excellent if Chris is too good to comeback. We never did see the 8th doc regenerate to the 9th so that would be cool to see!

    • Helen

      Don’t leave out McGann! Eight needs some time back on screen too.

  • Dagwood

    At least American cans will be getting more episodes soon. Face it, cans usually get the short end of the stick entertainment-wise.

    • jul

      LOL! Well played, Dagwood.
      I love typos…

  • Flip

    I want a Great Time War tv movie showing the Eighth Doctor regenerating into the Ninth Doctor, and I want another tv movie starring Rose and the half-human Tenth Doctor in Pete’s World.

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