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Doctor Who boss teases 'action movie' New Year's Day episode

Dcotor Who New Year's Dat 2020
(Image credit: BBC)

The showrunner says the timelord will return in an action-packed adventure filled with famous guest stars...

Doctor Who returns to our screens on New Year's Day and showrunner Chris Chibnall says it will be an episode to remember!

Plot details are being kept tightly under wraps, but we do know the opening instalment of the 12th series will be the first chapter of a two-part story, with Lenny Henry and Stephen Fry among the guest stars.

"The opener is action-packed and probably our biggest ever episode," says Chris. "It’s a global thriller filmed all around the world, so it’s a big old rollercoaster event!"

Dcotor Who New Year's Day

New Year's Day Doctor Who is a 'global thriller' teases Chris (Image credit: BBC)


As the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) battles to save the day, there will be plenty of action for fans to enjoy...

"Jodie’s first ever episode back in 2018 had a massive stunt when she jumped from one crane to another," explains Chris. "We wanted to go up another level from that, so there are car chases and bike chases and all kinds of stuff. We wanted to know if it was possible to do a Doctor Who action movie basically!"

The showrunner, who described recent rumours that he was set to leave Doctor Who next year as 'b******t', also says 2020's series will see Ryan (Tosin Cole), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh) begin asking questions of the mysterious Time Lord.

"Last year they were living their lives and the Doctor scooped them up and took them on an adventure around the universe," he says. "This year they have some experience of travelling in the TARDIS and they’re starting to ask some questions. Who is the Doctor? There was no point in the last series where she said the word ‘Time Lord’ or ‘Gallifrey’. We have some profound challenges for her this year – she’s going to need them!"

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Jodie's debut series proved a hit with viewers, yet Chris accepts he can't please everyone in the show's enormous fanbase.

"One of the great pieces of advice Steven Moffat gave to me when he took over was that I could never go online again," he says.

"The one truth is that when each series comes out, some people like it and some people don’t and that’s about as deep as you can go into that. You don’t want to get caught up in immediate reactions, because reactions change over time and you know Doctor Who will be around for a long time.

"I came into this with a plan, we’re doing that plan… we’ll continue to do that plan, you just have to tell the stories you want to tell and hope that enough people like them!"

Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on New Year's Day at 6.55 pm.

Sean Marland
Sean Marland

Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.