Sandwiched between the two halves of the FIFA World Cup Final, came an all too brief tease of the next series of Doctor Who. So what can we conclude from it?
After a cringe-worthy ‘Knock Knock’ joke between Gary Linekar and Alan Shearer viewers were treated to a brief, 40 seconds is pretty brief, tease of upcoming adventures.
Instead of the new incarnation of The Doctor taking centre stage, it is her friends who are the focus. First we see Tosin Cole as Ryan, having breakfast in a cafe. Next we see Mandip Gill as Yasmin hanging out with her friends. Finally, the familiar face of Bradley Walsh as Graham is seen reading a newspaper in a Fish ‘n’ Chip shop. Throughout these shots we see flashes and sparks of electricity. Tantalising glimpses of a long coat wafting.
All three seem to be normal, present-day human people on Earth. They also don’t yet seem to know each other. How will their paths will collide? It strikes me how ordinary each of them seem. Watching the football in a cafe. At home sharing a pizza with friends. In a fish and chip shop reading the newspaper. It brings back memories of Rose Tyler or Donna Noble, who had very normal lives before The Doctor turned their world upside down.
The only common thread in the teaser seemed to be food. Ryan was seen in a cafe. Yasmin was tucking into a pizza. Graham was waiting in a Fish ‘n’ Chips shop. Will this be relevant? We all remember the Eleventh Doctor post-regeneration needing food and striking on the combo of fish fingers and custard? Similarly, the Tenth Doctor needed a cup of tea to help his synapses unit. Might the Thirteenth Doctor also be feeling a post-regenerative need for calorific intake?
It was only the final frames where Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor is seen in all her glory. Appearing at the very end is a nice callback to Jodie’s announcement clip seen last year during the Men’s Final at Wimbledon. She steps forward and smiles. At this point Jodie Whittaker doesn’t need dialogue. Her mere presence as the Thirteenth Doctor on BBC One is enough to trigger excitement. The first female Doctor might not be a popular move to some but more importantly it points to a change in the dynamic of the show. After 13 years of modern Who, there was a need to freshen it up and nothing says that more as Jodie in the lead.
There is a sense of The Doctor adding a bit of magic into everyday life, making food reappear, or turning a newspaper into an old Beano comic. Incidentally that Beano comic, the 1981 Summer Special, was the same as the Eleventh Doctor was seen reading in ‘The Rings of Akhaten’. Another nod to the past or just the same item found in the prop stores in Cardiff?