Doctor Who has had a solid run in Season 11, with its new night and Doctor drawing in audiences. Now that the season is closing out and the New Year’s special (see below) is the only scheduled new episode on the horizon, some may be wondering when Season 12 is set to arrive. BBC America has an answer, and unfortunately, Season 12 will be delayed until 2020.
This means the upcoming New Year’s Day special will be the only new episode of Doctor Who to air in 2019 as the show takes a break to return in 2020. Luckily, the program does not intend to keep audiences waiting until the fall of that year; the official announcement stated Season 12 would premiere in “early 2020,” with Jodie Whittaker confirmed to return.
In happier news, BBC America also released the official trailer for the Doctor Who New Year’s special, “Resolution,” which will premiere Tuesday, January 1 at 8/7.
According to the BBC, “Resolution” is set as the New Year begins — naturally — as a terrifying evil is stirring from across the centuries of Earth’s history. “Will the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Ryan (Tosin Cole), Graham (Bradley Walsh), and Yaz (Mandip Gill) be able to overcome this threat to Planet Earth?” Find out on New Year’s Day.
Rumors had surfaced earlier in the season that Season 12 would be delayed, as Doctor Who had yet to begin production on the upcoming season. Some were optimistic, but other insiders believed it would be very hard for the British program to deliver the season by October 2019, with little to no production completed before the year’s end. It turns out the rumors were true, and the crew won’t attempt to rush production to make the Fall 2019 release schedule.
While “early 2020” is a bit ambiguous as to when Season 12 of Doctor Who will arrive, scheduling the show to return around that time would imply the reason for the delay truly is linked to running short on time. Of course, there’s little reason to suggest otherwise, as ratings for Doctor Who Season 11 have been some of the best the series has seen in some time, despite criticism from some long-standing fans about creative decisions.
The delay will allow Doctor Who to take a proper amount of time crafting Season 12 for its audience, which has changed throughout the course of Season 11. The show is up 47% in total viewers overall, with BBC America crediting women as part of the growth. The 18-34 demographic of women has doubled in the new season, and the series is now listed in the top 15 of cable dramas for that much sought-after viewership.
It’s unknown whether the decision to make the traditional Christmas special a New Year’s special was made before or after it was clear Season 12 would be delayed. Chris Chibnall may have moved the special at the request of The BBC, to keep alive the streak of years that the network has aired an episode of Doctor Who. The BBC has aired a new episode of the series every year since its revival in 2005.