The Radio Times episode guide has become a Doctor Who tradition. The Tuesday before the series lands has always heralded the new showrunner outlining the episodes, teasing details and revealing titles from the upcoming series.
Previously showrunners Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat have enthused over aspects appearing throughout the series. Russell T Davies describing the episode elements he’d give to his writers, whether they were pigs in astronaut suits or the whole backdrop of Pompei. Steven Moffat meanwhile was more lyrical in his approach. There would often be a line of dialogue taken out of context to keep you guessing what it meant. This would also be the occasion you’d find out which writers were writing certain episodes. Obviously, the showrunner would have the opener and the finale, but who had a crazy romp midway through the series, who was doing the creepy, horror-tinged episode, who had the celebrity historical.
The New Series
So far, Chibnall has kept his cards close to his chest regarding details on the new series. We know the first two episode titles, The Woman Who Fell to Earth and The Ghost Monument. We know that he is the writer of those two episodes. And that’s about it.
With the publication of the Radio Times, complete with gorgeous Doctor Who cover, we awaited with baited breath as to what will be revealed in the episode guide. What journeys this series will take us on. We’ve learnt this series will feature standalone stories, but where, when, who?
But, it is no surprise that the Chibnall era continues to protect its secrets and there is no episode guide in the Radio Times. Instead, we are treated to an interview with Jodie Whittaker by Emma Freud and a feature on the anatomy of her costume.
Anatomy of a Costume
Jodie discusses choosing her costume with costume designer Ray Holman. How elements are based on an old black and white photo she found and Coldplay album covers. Jodies says about choosing the costume “We could create every detail from scratch and gives things a meaning or a purpose. One day, I might be able to tell you what it all means, but for now everything is a secret between me and Ray, so I’m not allowed to say.” Although she does reveal a subtle secret regarding the 13th Doctor’s coat. She informs us that “Ray had the idea of my coat representing the sky – so the exterior is day but the lining is dark blue for space.”
Who is Jodie?
The interview is an insightful piece and focuses upon her school days where Jodie considered herself “emotionally bright, but not necessarily academic.” She says she coped in school by “enjoying life through make-believe. As a kid, I could sit, and play, and be, in a world I imagined.” Sounds perfect for the mind of the Doctor. She worried about being intelligent enough to play the Doctor. But as she describes her audition all worries of this are blown out of the water as she says “I want to play the joy, the discovery, the fear and the curiosity. I have a short attention span, bound on set and my brain jumps from subject to subject. It turns out that is the Doctor in so many ways.”
It looks like for the next 10 weeks we’re in good hands, but can you be sure when there is no map, no episode guide leading us, no hint at monsters, aliens, times or places. We’re flying blind and that’s either a scary break from tradition or incredibly exciting. You decide!