Doctor Who (series 13)

Last updated

Doctor Who
Series 13
Doctor Who Series 13.jpg
DVD box set cover art
Starring
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of stories1
No. of episodes6
Release
Original network BBC One
Original release31 October (2021-10-31) 
5 December 2021 (2021-12-05)
Series chronology
 Previous
Series 12
Next 
2022 specials
List of episodes

The thirteenth series of the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who , subtitled Flux, was broadcast from 31 October to 5 December 2021. The series is the third and last to be led by Chris Chibnall as head writer and executive producer. It is the thirteenth to air following the programme's revival in 2005, and the thirty-ninth season overall. The series, initially announced in November 2019, was broadcast on Sunday nights, continuing the trend set by the previous two series. It was followed by three associated specials, all of which aired in 2022.

Contents

Jodie Whittaker returns for her third and final series as the Thirteenth Doctor, an incarnation of the Doctor, an alien Time Lord who travels through time and space in her ship, the TARDIS, which externally assumes the appearance of a British police box. The thirteenth series also stars Mandip Gill and John Bishop as the Doctor's travelling companions, playing Yasmin Khan and Dan Lewis, respectively. The series follows the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions as they navigate a universe-ending anomaly called the "Flux", while dealing with enemies and secrets from the Doctor's past.

The series consists of six episodes, which form a single story across the series. The six episodes were directed by Jamie Magnus Stone and Azhur Saleem; Stone returned from directing for the previous series, with Saleem directing as a new contributor. Chibnall wrote all six episodes of the series, co-writing one episode with Maxine Alderton, who also returned after writing for the previous series. Filming commenced in November 2020, and was completed by August 2021. The series has received generally positive reviews from critics.

Episodes

For the first time since The Trial of a Time Lord (1986), and the third time in the programme's history, the series tells one complete story across its entirety, rather than self-contained episodic stories. [1] [2] It is the second time where all episodes are encompassed by a single story number; The Key to Time (1978–79) maintained separate serial designations. [2]

No.
story
No. in
series
Title [lower-alpha 1] Directed byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [3]
AI [3]
297a1"The Halloween Apocalypse" Jamie Magnus Stone Chris Chibnall 31 October 2021 (2021-10-31)5.8176
The Doctor and Yaz pursue Karvanista, of the Lupari species, to Liverpool, where he kidnaps tradesman Dan Lewis. The Doctor experiences a psychic vision of the mysterious Swarm, who claims to share a history with her, escaping from his imprisonment by the Time Lord Division. Before leaving Liverpool the Doctor and Yaz meet Claire, a woman from their future. Shortly after, a Weeping Angel sends Claire to 1965. On Karvanista’s ship, Yaz rescues Dan while the Doctor confronts Karvanista over his connection to the Division, before addressing the Lupari’s apparent invasion plan. Karvanista tells them the Lupari are actually saving humanity from Earth’s destruction by the Flux, an unknown, all-consuming phenomenon that defies all laws of space and time. The Flux causes Vinder, the sole occupant of a remote space outpost, to evacuate, and catches the attention of the Sontarans. Following another psychic interaction between the Doctor and Swarm, the Flux accelerates its attack on Earth. The Doctor has Karvanista form a defensive shield with the other Lupari ships, protecting Earth from the Flux. Unable to transport behind the shield, the TARDIS is overtaken by the Flux, with the Doctor, Yaz and Dan inside.
297b2"War of the Sontarans"Jamie Magnus StoneChris Chibnall7 November 2021 (2021-11-07)5.1377
The Doctor, Yaz and Dan wake up in Crimean War-era Sevastopol, where the Sontarans have replaced the Russians throughout history, and meet Mary Seacole and General Logan. The Flux's effects send Dan back to 2021 Liverpool, and Yaz to a damaged temple full of dying priests, beside Joseph Williamson and Vinder. The Doctor deduces that the Sontarans slipped past the Lupari's defences. Dan infiltrates the Sontarans' shipyard. Swarm arrives at the temple and reveals it to be on the planet Time, killing the priests and taking Yaz and Vinder hostage. The Doctor enlists Seacole to gather intelligence on the Sontaran camp, then summons the Sontarans to negotiate a retreat, only to be arrested by Logan's soldiers, who later fight a disastrous battle with them. The Doctor regroups with Seacole and Logan's men, and they disrupt the Sontarans' supplies, but Logan reneges and bombs the camp. The Sontarans discover Dan, but Karvanista rescues him before destroying the shipyard, which resets the timeline. The Doctor manages to recover the TARDIS and collect Dan, but it is hijacked and brought to the temple, where they are forced to watch as Swarm is about to kill Yaz and Vinder.
297c3"Once, Upon Time"Azhur SaleemChris Chibnall14 November 2021 (2021-11-14)4.7075
The Doctor jumps into the temple's time storm and stalls Swarm by hiding Dan, Yaz and Vinder in their pasts, albeit with many details changed. Vinder reluctantly relives his time assisting the dictatorial Grand Serpent, and his demotion upon revealing the Serpent's misdeeds. Bel, a survivor of the Flux, travels through its ruins in a Lupari ship, evading Daleks, Sontarans and Cybermen. The Doctor jumps into her own timestream and recovers memories of her past incarnation, the Fugitive Doctor, and her time in the Division. It is revealed that she and Karvanista had previously raided the temple to defeat Swarm and rescue the priests. The present Doctor finds the priests and encourages them to return to the temple, but they separate her from her past to protect her. A mysterious old entity reprimands the Doctor. Bel is revealed to be searching for Vinder as his paramour, and is carrying his child. The Doctor returns Yaz, Dan and Vinder to the present and fixes the timestreams. She returns Vinder to his Flux-ravaged home planet, after which a Weeping Angel that had been stalking Yaz intercepts the TARDIS.
297d4"Village of the Angels"Jamie Magnus StoneChris Chibnall and Maxine Alderton 21 November 2021 (2021-11-21)4.5779
The Doctor reboots the TARDIS, forcing the Angel out and stranding them in the English village of Medderton, 1967. Former soldier Professor Jericho conducts psychic experiments on Claire, who been sent back in time by the same Angel that had hijacked the TARDIS. An Angel sends Yaz and Dan back to Medderton in 1901, where they find a missing girl named Peggy. They discover a barrier to 1967 and Peggy's future self, who had to live out the rest of her life until then. The Doctor, Claire, and Jericho barricade themselves in his basement as the Angels close in. Claire reveals she is having visions of becoming an Angel, having one that has taken residence in her mind. Connecting to the Angel telepathically, the Doctor discovers the Angel is hiding from the other Angels, who are after it as apart of the Division. The Doctor and Claire escape through a tunnel surrounded by Angels, whilst Jericho is sent to 1901. The Doctor learns the Angels have taken the village out of time to capture the rogue Angel, who reveals it has offered the Doctor to the Angels for its own safety. The Doctor is turned into an Angel and transported to the Division, stranding the others in 1901. Bel arrives on Puzano and sees Swarm's accomplice Azure tricking survivors into being harvested for energy. She saves a local from falling into their trap and leaves a message for Vinder.
297e5"Survivors of the Flux"Azhur SaleemChris Chibnall28 November 2021 (2021-11-28)4.8377
The Weeping Angels transport the Doctor to the Division where she meets the entity that had previously chastised her, revealed to be her adoptive mother, Tecteun. She reveals that the Division orchestrated the Flux to kill the Doctor for interfering with their plans, and that they have knowledge of the multiverse. In 1904, Yaz, Dan, and Jericho search the world for artifacts and psychics to decipher when the world will end. They meet Williamson, who had discovered several doorways that led to various other places while excavating tunnels under Liverpool. Over many decades, the Grand Serpent infiltrates UNIT as an officer, eliminating those who pose a threat to him. After being threatened by Kate Stewart, he deactivates all UNIT defences, allowing the Sontarans to enter Earth. Vinder discovers Swarm harvesting energy from Flux survivors, but he is caught and trapped in a Passenger where he meets Dan's friend Diane, who had been kidnapped earlier by Swarm and Azure. The Doctor watches helplessly as Swarm arrives, disintegrating Tecteun and threatening to do the same to her.
297f6"The Vanquishers"Azhur SaleemChris Chibnall5 December 2021 (2021-12-05)4.6476
The Doctor is split into three copies due to time distortion, as Azure reveals that her and Swarm plan to engineer the Flux into a vehicle of constant universal destruction. Yaz, Dan, Jericho, and Williamson travel to 2021 and meet Kate Stewart and the second copy, who gives Claire and Jericho to the Sontarans and takes her TARDIS from Kate. The third crashes Bel's ship into the Sontaran command. The Sontarans remove the third copy, whom the second rescues, and commit genocide against the Lupari. They offer an alliance with the Cybermen and Daleks, a ruse to sacrifice them to the Flux while the Lupari shield ensconces the Sontarans. Claire escapes the Sontarans; Jericho cannot. The two copies rescue Vinder and Diane, and reform the Lupari shield behind the Sontarans, leaving the Flux to consume the Sontarans, Jericho, Daleks and Cybermen, and be absorbed by the Passenger. Azure and Swarm bring the first copy to Atropos to sacrifice her to Time, but Time destroys the duo and reunifies the Doctor, telling her to beware of the forces that mass against her, and their master. Using the tunnel doors, Kate and Vinder maroon the Serpent on a small asteroid. Vinder and Bel decide to travel with Karvanista. Diane refuses Dan's date offer, as the Doctor invites Dan to join her and Yaz. She deposits her lost memories deep into the TARDIS interior, deciding to live without them.

Casting

The series is the third to feature Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. [4] [5] [6] Mandip Gill also returns as Yasmin Khan. [7] [8] Following the departures of Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole in "Revolution of the Daleks" (2021), [9] John Bishop joined the cast for the series as Dan Lewis. [10]

Jacob Anderson appears in a recurring role as Vinder. [11] [12] Jo Martin returned as the Fugitive Doctor in "Once, Upon Time", having last appeared in the twelfth series episodes "Fugitive of the Judoon" and "The Timeless Children" (2020). [13] Jemma Redgrave also reprises her role as Kate Stewart, a recurring character alongside the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors, who was last seen in "The Zygon Invasion" / "The Zygon Inversion" (2015). [14] Also appearing in recurring roles throughout the series are Thaddea Graham as Vinder's paramour Bel, Craige Els as the Lupari Karvanista, Rochenda Sandall and Sam Spruell as the villainous Ravagers Azure and Swarm, Annabel Scholey as Claire, and Kevin McNally as Professor Jericho. [15] [16]

Other guest actors in the series include Craig Parkinson as the Grand Serpent, Sara Powell as Mary Seacole, Gerald Kyd as General Logan, Penelope Ann McGhie as Mrs Hayward, Steve Oram as Joseph Williamson, Nadia Albina as Diane, Jonathan Watson as Commander Riskaw and Skaak, and Paul Broughton as Neville. [15] [16]

Production

Development

In May 2017, it was announced that due to the terms of a deal between BBC Worldwide and SMG Pictures in China, the company has first right of refusal on the purchase for the Chinese market of future series of the programme until and including Series 15. [17] [18] In October 2019, a deal was made between HBO Max and BBC for an additional two series of Doctor Who, including the thirteenth and fourteenth series. [19]

The thirteenth series was announced by showrunner Chris Chibnall to be in development in November 2019, before the twelfth series premiered; Chibnall returns as the series' showrunner, having been in the role since the eleventh series. [4]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on television, the series' production included only eight episodes, reduced from the previous eleven. [6] This was later announced to be shown as six episodes as part of the thirteenth series and two specials slated to air in 2022, with an additional special ordered for later that year as part of the BBC's centenary celebrations. The last episode would be Whittaker and Chibnall's last as star and executive producer respectively. [20] The six-episode series also tells one complete narrative across its entirety, rather than episodic stories; this format was last used in The Trial of a Time Lord (1986). [21] [2] Chibnall stated, "Before we started making it, there were times when we thought we were going to be unable to do the show under Covid conditions this year… there were two ways you could go. You could go 'let's do lots of tiny little episodes in one room, with no monsters,' or we could throw down the gauntlet and do the biggest story we've ever done." [1] Chibnall considered the latter approach more suitable, and said that it is "definitely the most ambitious thing we've done since we've been on the series." [1]

In July 2021, near the end of filming, both Whittaker and Chibnall announced their intention to leave the programme following the series and three associated specials, to air by 2022. [22] Chibnall explained that he and Whittaker had agreed to a "three series and out" pact, and that "now our shift is done, and we’re handing back the Tardis keys". [23] In the BBC press release, Chibnall is quoted as saying: “I wish our successors - whoever the BBC and BBC Studios choose - as much fun as we’ve had. They’re in for a treat!” [20]

Writing

Maxine Alderton, writer of the twelfth series episode "The Haunting of Villa Diodati", was listed on her CV as a "core writer" for the thirteenth series. [24] In April 2020, Chibnall confirmed that writing for the series had commenced and continued remotely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. [25] Chibnall wrote all six episodes of the series, co-writing the fourth episode with Alderton. [26] [27]

Ed Hime, who wrote "It Takes You Away" (2018) and "Orphan 55" (2020) from the two past series, listed on his CV that he was set to write an episode for the series, [28] as was Pete McTighe; [29] however, Chibnall later stated in October 2021: "We had some other really great writers scheduled, but a lot of our plans had to be altered. Partly because the new series is a serial, partly because there are less episodes and partly because of the turnaround." [26]

The story features some of Doctor Who's recurring aliens, including the Cybermen, Daleks, Ood, Sontarans, and Weeping Angels. [15] [30]

Filming

According to production executive Tracie Simpson, pre-production for the thirteenth series was set to begin in June 2020, with filming originally set for September 2020. [31] Filming eventually commenced in November 2020, and ran for ten months. [6] [32] Filming was still ongoing in July 2021 as confirmed at the San Diego Comic Con. [1] Jamie Magnus Stone and Azhur Saleem directed episodes of the series, with Stone directing the first, second and fourth episodes, and Saleem directing the third, fifth and sixth episodes. [33] [27] Filming for the six episodes of the series, along with two of the 2022 specials, had concluded by August 2021. [33]

Production blocks were arranged as follows: [33] [26] [ failed verification ]

BlockEpisodesDirectorWriter(s)Producer
1"The Halloween Apocalypse" Jamie Magnus Stone Chris Chibnall Nikki Wilson
"War of the Sontarans"
"Village of the Angels"Chris Chibnall and Maxine Alderton
2"Once, Upon Time"Azhur SaleemChris ChibnallPete Levy
"Survivors of the Flux"
"The Vanquishers"

Music

Segun Akinola returned to compose for the thirteenth series. [34]

Release

Promotion

The series was first promoted at San Diego Comic Con on 25 July 2021, where the first teaser trailer was released. [1] Throughout October 2021, a Sontaran ship was projected over Liverpool, [35] and the Doctor's "phone number" was released in a promotional message. [36] On 8 October 2021, the social media accounts for Doctor Who went offline. [37] Whittaker appeared in an episode of The Graham Norton Show on 15 October 2021 during which a second trailer was released. [38]

Broadcast

The series premiered on 31 October 2021 on BBC One, [39] and aired through 5 December 2021. [40] The six-episode series is collectively referred to under the subtitle Flux. [41] [42] In the United States the series aired the same day on BBC America [43] where the streaming service AMC+ carried the streaming video on demand rights to new episodes. [44] In Australia episodes are released same-day on ABC iview and broadcast on ABC TV Plus. [45]

Home media

SeriesEpisode nameNumber and duration
of episodes
R2/B release dateR4/B release dateR1/A release date
13Doctor Who – Flux: The Complete Thirteenth Series3 x 50 min.
1 × 55 min.
2 x 60 min.
24 January 2022
(D,B) [46]
16 March 2022
(D,B) [47]
15 February 2022
(D,B) [48]

Reception

Ratings

No.TitleAir dateOvernight ratingsConsolidated ratingsTotal
viewers
(millions)
28-day
viewers
(millions)
AI Ref(s)
Viewers
(millions)
Viewers
(millions)
Rank
1"The Halloween Apocalypse"31 October 20214.431.3885.8136.38676 [3] [49] [50]
2"War of the Sontarans"7 November 20213.961.17135.1275.50477 [3] [49] [51]
3"Once, Upon Time"14 November 20213.760.94194.6965.23075 [3] [49] [52]
4"Village of the Angels"21 November 20213.451.12184.5725.01479 [3] [49] [53]
5"Survivors of the Flux"28 November 20213.821.01214.8335.32077 [3] [49] [54]
6"The Vanquishers"5 December 20213.581.06234.6375.14076 [3] [49] [55]

Critical reception

Doctor Who's thirteenth series has received positive reviews from critics. Series 13 holds an 80% critic approval rating on online review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 6/10, based on 46 critic reviews. [56] Metacritic calculated a weighted average score of 68 out of 100 from six reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [57]

Doctor Who (series 13): Critical reception by episode

Series 13 (2021): Percentage of positive critics' reviews tracked by the website Rotten Tomatoes [56]

Awards and nominations

YearAwardCategoryNominee(s)ResultRef(s)
2022Critics Choice Super AwardsBest Actress in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Series Jodie Whittaker Nominated [58]
Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Series: Network or Cable Doctor WhoNominated [59]
TV Quick AwardsBest Family DramaDoctor WhoNominated [60]

Soundtrack

30 selected pieces of score from this series as composed by Segun Akinola was released on digital music platforms on 30 September 2022 by Silva Screen Records, and was released on a 3-CD set on 11 November 2022. [61] The physical release of the soundtrack includes twelve selected pieces of score from "Revolution of the Daleks" as the third disc, which were originally released on digital music platforms on 2 January 2021. [62] [61]

Doctor Who: Series 13 – Flux
Soundtrack album by
Released30 September 2022 (2022-09-30)(digital release)
11 November 2022 (2022-11-11)(CD release)
Recorded2022
Genre Soundtrack
Length218:38
Label Silva Screen Records
Producer Segun Akinola
Doctor Who soundtrack chronology
Doctor Who: Series 12 – Revolution of the Daleks
(2021)
Doctor Who: Series 13 – Flux
(2022)
Doctor Who: Series 13 – The Specials
(2022)
Disc 1
No.TitleEpisodeLength
1."Series 13 Opening Titles"Various episodes0:41
2."A Little Skirmish""The Halloween Apocalypse"3:21
3."What Lies Ahead" 3:33
4."Renewed at Last" 5:00
5."Must Not Blink" 1:51
6."Dancing Across Space and Time" 8:51
7."I Know Where We Are""War of the Sontarans"3:24
8."I Will Find You" 4:48
9."Parlay" 8:42
10."Short-Term Repair" 8:17
11."The Other Things""Once, Upon Time"2:04
12."When Is This?" 7:45
13."There Is No Greater Battle" 4:19
14."All Is Ending" 8:45
15."I’m Not Giving Up" 5:29
Total length:76:50
Disc 2
No.TitleEpisodeLength
1."Rapid Response Unit""Village of the Angels"8:50
2."You Are Recalled" 7:29
3."Village of The Angels End Credits" 0:43
4."On My Way" 3:15
5."We Are Conversion""Survivors of the Flux"4:39
6."An Incredible Stroke of Luck" 4:04
7."Where Are We?" 6:42
8."Fetch Your Dog" 6:59
9."We Have Everything We Need""The Vanquishers"4:14
10."I Can Rend Them All to Dust" 2:41
11."And Then We Will Play" 7:15
12."The Ultimate Betrayal" 7:22
13."Nothing Is Forever" 3:03
14."Where Would Earth Be Without You?" 6:31
15."Series 13 End Credits"Various episodes0:51
Total length:74:38
Disc 3 [lower-alpha 2]
No.TitleEpisodeLength
1."367 Minutes""Revolution of the Daleks"1:58
2."A Cuppa" 1:15
3."Something Revolutionary" 6:48
4."Breakout Ball" 6:54
5."The Clone" 6:28
6."The Production Line" 8:48
7."Stability and Security" 3:48
8."Thank You for Being My Friend" 3:52
9."Activate" 5:51
10."The Death Squad" 5:59
11."Bad Boys" 8:10
12."Bye Fam" 7:19
Total length:67:10

Notes

  1. These titles are normally prefixed with their respective "Chapter" number, or with the overall serial title "Flux".
  2. CD release only

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References

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