“Fancy a trip in the box?” asks Doctor Who, played by Jodie Whittaker, in a trailer for the upcoming 12th season of the cult favorite BBC America show, premiering Jan. 1.
“Doctor Who” returns with the first female regeneration of the time-traveling badass, who in the one-minute teaser declares, “Crisis. Big crisis. Serious crisis. Big, serious crisis,” as her motorcycle-riding and TARDIS-hopping exploits clearly show her in peril.
“Something’s coming for me,” she tells her colleagues — Ryan (Tosin Cole), Yasmin (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh) — as Graham informs her, “We’ll be right here, by your side.”
The season return, set for 8 p.m. New Year’s Day, will be a two-part episode entitled “Spyfall” and will introduce “terrifying new monsters alongside the return of some familiar, but not-so-friendly, faces,” according to a press release about the return.
The series’ regular time slot will be at 8 p.m. on Sundays starting Jan. 5. Guest stars for the season will include Stephen Fry, Goran Višnjić (“ER”) and Robert Glenister.
BBC America and BBC Studios will also partner with Fathom Events for a one-day event on Jan. 5 — featuring the season premiere and the second episode — at more than 600 movie theaters in the US. The program will also include a live Q&A with Whittaker, Cole and Gill from the Paley Center for Media in New York. Tickets go on sale Friday.
Whittaker, 37, previously said she found her controversial casting both “nerve-wracking” and “liberating” when she first took it on, following in the footsteps of actors including Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi.
“You can bring everything new, everything from the previous … you can make it your own and stay loyal to it,” she said at San Diego Comic-Con. “Casting a woman won’t change it, but I’m quite nervous.”
After she was cast in 2017, “Doctor Who” showrunner Steven Moffat claimed that, despite evidence to the contrary, there was no backlash in bringing on the first female doctor, even telling journalists to “shut the hell up” about it.
The BBC, though, acknowledged that some viewers were “unhappy” with Whittaker’s casting while backing up their decision in the name of creativity.
“Since the first Doctor regenerated back in 1966, the concept of the Doctor as a constantly evolving being has been central to the program. The continual input of fresh ideas and new voices across the cast and the writing and production teams has been key to the longevity of the series,” the BBC said. “The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and it has been established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender.”
By Eric Hegedus