According to a BBC announcement, the new Doctor Who, and first female Doctor (played by Jodie Whittaker) will be joined by new friends.
Chris Chibnall, the show's new head writer and executive producer has confirmed Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill and Sharon D Clarke will make their debut journeys through time and space in the long-running series next year.
Whittaker will be the 13th Time Lord, taking over the role from Peter Capaldi, who will officially depart in the up-coming Doctor Who Christmas Special. The next ten-episode series of 50-minute episodes will get underway with an hour-long show in 2018.
Chibnall, best known for his work on the smash-hit series Broadchurch, is credited with Whittaker’s casting as the first female Doctor.
“The new Doctor is going to need new friends,” he said. “We’re thrilled to welcome Mandip, Tosin, and Bradley to the Doctor Who family. They’re three of Britain’s brightest talents and we can’t wait to see them dive into brand new adventures with Jodie’s Doctor. Alongside them, we’re delighted that Sharon D Clarke is also joining the show.”
Walsh claims to remember watching William Hartnell as the first Doctor, “Black and white made it very scary for a youngster like myself”.
“I was petrified, but even though I’d watch most of it from behind the sofa through my fingers, I became a fan,” he said. “I then queued up for ages to get into the Carlton picture house in Watford to watch the great Peter Cushing appear as the Doctor in a full-length feature film made in glorious colour. Am I thrilled to be part of this whole ground breaking new dawn for the Doctor? Oh yes!”
Gill was equally effusive, saying “I am over the moon to be joining the Doctor Who family”.
“This is an iconic show with an amazing fan base and I look forward to everything that brings,” she said. “Certain roles seem unattainable and this is one of those, so much so I didn’t believe it to be true for the first few weeks. To be working alongside the likes of Jodie, Bradley and my old friend Tosin is thrilling. This show is worlds away from the work I’ve done previously and that’s the part that excites me the most.”
Cole said he is “grateful and excited to be a part of this journey with the team. I’m looking forward to jumping in this Doctor Who universe”.
In other news, Australian Whovians can look forward to getting their first look at at the completed 1970s story, Doctor Who: Shada featuring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, on the big screen.
For the first time ever, BBC Worldwide ANZ and Sharmill Films will present the completed story which combines original live-action footage with hand-drawn animation, in cinemas as a limited-run, premiering on 24 November.
In 1979, Doctor Who: Shada was set to be the celebratory end to the seventeenth series of Doctor Who. Critically acclaimed writer, Douglas Adams had completed the script, Tom Baker’s Doctor was at the height of his popularity, and the series had bigger audiences than ever before, however strike action at the BBC meant the studio scenes were never completed and the adventure was abandoned. The story became legendary among fans.
In the new feature-length production, the Doctor is in Cambridge working alongside companion, Romana, and retired Time Lord, Professor Chronotis, to defeat the evil alien Skagra who is attempting to steal the secrets to the prison planet, Shada.
Now, 38 years later, Shada has finally been completed, combining the original, remastered footage, with brand new colour animation to complete the story. The animation will feature the newly-recorded voices of the original cast, including Tom Baker as the Doctor and Lalla Ward as Romana, performing the original script.
“Shada was one of my favourite Doctor Who stories." Baker said. "I have many fond memories of shooting the location scenes in Cambridge, and it was disappointing not to finish the story in studio. I’m so glad that BBC Worldwide have found a way to bring fans a complete visual version.”
The team behind the highly successful, critically-acclaimed animation of lost Doctor Who episode, The Power of the Daleks, and the lost Dad’s Army episode, A Stripe For Frazer, have breathed new life into Shada thanks to access to nearly seven hours of raw footage from the original 1979 shoot.
The new production of the episodehas been edited the from scratch, with all the original film negatives re-scanned in full HD and digitally remastered.
“Fans loved The Power of the Daleks, so we’re delighted to be able to complete and bring them another lost Doctor Who classic," Paul Hembury, BBC Worldwide executive producer said.
Information on participating cinemas and purchasing tickets for Doctor Who: Shada can be found at www.sharmillfilms.com.au.