A new description of the upcoming series of Doctor Who has revealed that the first episode of the run will have a duration of 65 minutes.
It’s no great shock, of course: we knew that the debut story would be “a feature-length hour”, with the following 9 episodes running to 50 minutes each, so this revelation is merely an added 5 minutes to the expected run-time. The description of the series is part of the 2018 BBC Worldwide Showcase (which happens later this month in Liverpool), and reads:
Doctor Who 9 x 50′ & 1 x 65’
Already highly anticipated, Series 11 heralds a brand-new era for Doctor Who with a world-class team at the helm. Incoming lead writer Chris Chibnall has a fresh and inclusive vision for the series. Bigger and bolder than ever, this series marks the arrival of Jodie Whittaker, the 13th Doctor – a super-smart force of nature, alongside a team of new and delightful characters. The show will be full of action and adventure, humour and thrills. An unmissable high-end drama everyone will enjoy.
We’re not going to wax lyrical by saying “ooh, the Thirteenth Doctor will be a super smart force of nature!” because that could really describe any Doctor. Yes, even the quieter Fifth Doctor: argue with the Time Lord at your peril! We’re not going to enthuse at the promise of “action and adventure, humour and thrills” either because that’s Doctor Who. This is a description that does what it sets out to do: hype up the series while revealing absolutely nothing.
(However, we’re sure many will fume at the BBC calling Chibnall’s vision “inclusive” – partly because it implies other eras of the show weren’t inclusive; partly because it implies the first female Doctor makes this an inclusive show; and partly because it has excluded many fans already. In fact, it’s this sort of rhetoric that’s splitting fandom. Nonetheless, we shouldn’t let this cloud our judgement of Chibnall or Whittaker: they likely had little to no input into this summary, which is merely a means of BBC Worldwide causing a stir in order to generate sales.)
This is all corporate-speak, but at least we’ve confirmation that, when Doctor Who comes back in the Autumn, we’ll have an extra-long first episode.
Jodie Whittaker will make her full debut as the Thirteenth Doctor later this year, alongside companions played by Mandip Gill, Bradley Walsh, and Tosin Cole.