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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who’ thing of the day: two-parter 2011 series to feature midseason “game-changing cliffhanger”

I suppose Steven Moffat is always on the lookout for a new way to shake up Doctor Who, because his plans for 2011 are big. From the Guardian:

The new series of Doctor Who will be split into two for the first time, with its showrunner, Steven Moffat, promising the show’s biggest ever cliffhanger – “an earth-shattering climax”.

Next year’s 13-part series, the sixth since Doctor Who returned in 2005, will run for seven episodes and then return in the autumn for another six.

Moffat said the Easter “mid-season finale” would be a “game-changing cliffhanger”.

Commence speculation on what that game-changing cliffhanger will consist of. A negation of the Time War and the return of Gallifrey? The for-real irreversible death of a companion?

More from Moffat, quoted in the Guardian:

“What I love about this idea is that when kids see Doctor Who go off the air, they will be noticeably taller when it comes back. It’s an age for children. With an Easter series, an autumn series and a Christmas special, you are never going to be more than few months from the new series of Doctor Who.

“Tart that I am, we will now have two first nights and two finales, twice as many event episodes as we had before.”

Does that mean every episode is going to feature the Daleks and the Cybermen and every other old alien Moffat can dredge up? (I hope not. Some new aliens, please.)

Oh, and this:

Discussing his future, Moffat said he would not be leaving the show “for a while yet”.

Nicely noncommittal. As is this related “news,” from the Express:

DESPITE reports that he was set to leave Doctor Who after just one more series, Day & Night can exclusively reveal that Matt Smith is to stay on until the show’s 50th anniversary in three years.

BBC insiders now say moves are afoot to sign up the actor, 27, until 2013.

Except:

A spokeswoman for the show says: “From Matt’s point of view he’s loving playing the part and has no plans to quit. We aren’t in a position to provide a comment as to whether he’ll be playing the part in 2013.”

No news is the news when it comes to the British press and Doctor Who, it seems. *sigh*

(Thanks to readers Erika, Keith, and Steve for the links. If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)



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  • RogerBW

    While the Guardian and the Express aren’t down there with the Sun and the Mirror, they don’t have any sort of inside access to the BBC and they’re just as prone to wild speculation. Anything that isn’t explicitly sourced can pretty much be discounted, alas.

  • Fiona

    The Sun are claiming that Amy Pond is getting killed off as the mid series shocker. Seriously doubt how reliable they are but. Thought I’d share that one.

  • nyjm

    Let the wild unsubstantiated speculation begin! Commence au festival!

  • Lisa

    I think the 2 part series is an interesting idea and I
    am excited to see where he goes with it. I agree that the gap between series is too long. Are they still filming it in one go?

  • DaveTM

    I’m going with the cliffhanger having to do with the resolution of his regeneration limit that Moffat promised was coming this next year.

  • Alice

    I get a little concerned about Moffat’s game changing cliffhangers. He doesn’t seem to think there is anything that cannot be altered. Open the Tardis with a click of the fingers, why not. Erase all of time with a do-over , no problem. I know he’s an advocate of timey-wimey paradoxes, but I do wish he would give us a little more stability and references to the past 10 doctors’ cannon. But maybe I’m getting too old for this series.

  • Orangutan

    Let the wild unsubstantiated speculation begin! Commence au festival!

    *I* heard that Lindsay Lohan is slated to play the Doctor’s next companion!

  • Erika

    *I* heard that Lindsay Lohan is slated to play the Doctor’s next companion!

    I really hope that you heard this from a person who was under the influence of something, because that would be TERRIBLE. Plus, are Americans allowed to play the part, anyway?

  • Orangutan

    Psst, Erika. Look at what I quoted. ;)

  • Isobel

    Isn’t Neil Gaiman’s episode the sixth? So it must be fairly dramatic and penultimate-y?

    I too think that it must have something to with the regeneration limit, otherwise Doctor Who has a very finite lifespan and I don’t think they want that. I’ll be intrigued as to how they get around it. I do like the click of the fingers Tardis opening, though, Alice – I think it’s very Matt Smith’s Doctor.

  • NorthernStar

    Hmm, interesting.

    I have to wonder if this mid series gap is Sherlock related. It would create a nice window for Moffatt to divide his time between the two series’ scripts without getting overworked.

    And I’m for anything that’ll gets Sherlock back on our screens.

    It will also be a great way to keep Dr Who fresh and exciting.

  • Barb

    I’m still lukewarm with Matt Smith and still do not like Amy (but Rory I’m good with). The split season is similar to what USA Network and SYFY do with their shows and it gets annoying waiting for the last couple of shows of the season to air in the second half.

    They’ve already indicated that shooting hasn’t even started for the next series until September which is far later than usual. I guess what they are trying to do is stay away from the Doctor-lite shows as in the past because of the shooting constraints. Who knows.

    They are also talking about Matt being on for the next several years. Well, that is old news since that was announced (I guess unofficially) soon after he took on the role.

    The only positive thing to look forward to is the international BBC i-player so we may be able to view it shortly after broadcast along with other shows which never make it to the States.

  • Lisa

    I’m still lukewarm with Matt Smith and still do not like Amy (but Rory I’m good with).

    Me too Barb – He seemed nice when I met him too – he can handle the really obnoxious fans.

    I keep hearing game changing finale but the show is always going to be about a guy who travels around time and space in a Tardis with a human companion he likes showing off to.

  • Matthew

    Isn’t Neil Gaiman’s episode the sixth? So it must be fairly dramatic and penultimate-y?

    As it stands it’s third, with the possibility of moving (in the past, some episodes have moved, but most haven’t). The doing the read-through today (Tuesday)* and will probably start filming it tomorrow.

    It’s looking like the first of the next series to be shot – only the Christmas special has been done so far.

    *actually, they’ve probably finished by now.

  • I still don’t understand all the Amy Pond hate. She’s no more annoying than Billie Piper.

  • Lisa

    Billie has an earthy warmth to her. She’s pretty but in a touchable girl next door – you and I could go out Saturday and have loads of fun type of way. She always looks like she’d be a laugh. She;s giggly and bubbly. I’m saying this is her public persona. Everyone loves a comeback. Plus David likes her and said she was cool with him when he started on Who.

  • I don’t mind splitting up the season because I’m rather on board with the idea of shorter gaps between new doses of Dr Who even if it means the doses are smaller.

    And I seriously doubt that the big cliffhanger will be the death of Amy Pond or any other character simply because they kinda burnt out the shock value of “Big Character Death” by killing off Rory TWICE in the last season and then bringing him back. So killing off someone has a distinct “here we go again” feel to it even if they promise they won’t bring them back.

    What I actually fear it might be is one of the companions turning Evil. That would really be shocking. And while it would be much more shocking for Amy to turn rather than Rory, I’m not sure they’d do that. I’m not dissing Karen Gillan, but as yet, I haven’t seen anything that makes me think she could be convincingly menacing. But Arthur Darvill apparently was praised by critics for his portrayal of a murderer in the stage play Terre Haute, so I can see Moffat and Co seizing the opportunity to use that side of his acting range.

    And that does really scare me because I adore Rory as a character and would be heartbroken if he went all Darth Vader or something.

    So, this is me with my fingers crossed that I’m WRONG in this speculation.

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