Doctor Who s10: Everything you need to know

Morgan Jeffery
Photo credit: BBC

From Digital Spy

Especially without a TARDIS, it's been a long 12 months. But after no new series of Doctor Who in 2016, we've finally rejoined the Doctor on his travels...

Series 10 – Peter Capaldi's last as The Doctor – is officially underway, and right here is everything you need to know about the new episodes, from filming to air-dates to Jenna Coleman's replacement.

Doctor Who series 10, episode 1: What happened in 'The Pilot'?

Residing on Earth - where he's posing as a university professor and guarding a mysterious Vault - the Doctor takes an interest in dinner lady Bill Potts, deciding to become her personal tutor.

Photo credit: BBC

A budding romance for Bill takes a dark twist when Heather (Stephanie Hyam) is transformed by sentient space oil.

After their encounter with Heather, the Doctor invites Bill to join him aboard the TARDIS - leaving the Vault behind, for now...

Related: Doctor Who series 10, episode 1: 10 HUGE questions and theories after watching 'The Pilot'

Doctor Who series 10, episode 2: What happened in 'Smile'?

The Doctor and Bill land on an alien planet overrun by malfunctioning robots - dedicated to maintaining the happiness of the human colonists, they begin stamping out grief using extreme (read: lethal) means.

Photo credit: Simon Ridgway / BBC

The 'bots - who've since become sentient - are eventually rebooted, with our heroes leaving them to form a new civilization alongside the human race.

Meanwhile, we learn a little more about the Doctor's pledge to guard the Vault. "A long time ago," he says. "...a thing happened. As a result of the thing, I made a promise. As a result of the promise, I have to stay on Earth."

Related: Doctor Who series 10, episode 2: 9 HUGE questions and theories after watching 'Smile'

Doctor Who series 10, episode 3: What happened in 'Thin Ice'?

Travelling back in time to the last great Frost Fair of 1814, the Doctor and Bill thwarted a cruel Lord who was exploiting a giant sea monster to make a powerful new form of fuel.

Photo credit: BBC

Our heroes were briefly divided when Bill grilled the Doctor on how many people he's seen die, and how many he's caused to die, but our Time Lord hero ultimately proved to his friend how much he cares about every living being - even the monsters.

Back in the present day and Nardole was still minding the Vault, with something inside starting to knock - 3 times. "I'm still here," Nardole replied. "And as long as I'm still here, you are going nowhere!"

Related: Doctor Who series 10, episode 3: 9 HUGE questions and theories after watching 'Thin Ice'

Doctor Who series 10, episode 4: What happened in 'Knock Knock'?

Bill decides to find somewhere new to live with five friends, only for a peculiar Landlord (David Suchet) to offer up a grand old manor at a surprisingly cheap price.

As the Landlord's tragic tale unfolds, we learn that he's been feeding human tenants to the alien Dryads - cockroaches from space - in order to keep his sickly mother Eliza (Mariah Gale) alive.

Eventually, mother and son end up together... in the afterlife.

Photo credit: BBC

As for whoever's trapped inside the Vault, it's clearly someone the Doctor has affection for. Not only did he give the occupant a gift in the form of a piano, but our Time Lord's eager to spend time, and share a takeaway meal, with them.

There are also indications that whoever's inside was once a fellow traveller in time-and-space. "I know you miss it all," the Doctor says. "But I'm stuck here too. We're both prisoners."

That doesn't mean that whoever's inside the Vault is a nice person, though – they seem thrilled by the idea of "young people [getting] eaten", which is concerning to say the least.

Related: Doctor Who series 10, episode 4: 8 HUGE questions and theories after watching 'Knock Knock'

Doctor Who series 10, episode 5: What happened in 'Oxygen'?

Photo credit: BBC

Battling a horde of futuristic zombies - corpses in robotic suits, controlled remotely by a sinister organisation - the Doctor was exposed to the cold vaccum of space.

The traumatic experience left him blind... and though he insisted the effects were temporary, it was revealed in a shock cliffhanger that he's apparently lost his sight for good.

It's a secret he's keen to keep from Bill, and from whoever is luring inside the Vault...

Related: Doctor Who series 10, episode 5: 8 HUGE questions and theories after watching 'Oxygen'

Doctor Who series 10, episode 6: What happened in 'Extremis'?

Photo credit: BBC

We finally found out what's in the Vault. Spoilers... it's Missy!

Yes, after being recruited by a race of expert executioners to put an end to his old frenemy once and for all, the Doctor instead saved Missy but opted to lock her away in the Vault, vowing to guard her prison for 1000 years.

While this all unfolded in flashback, the Doctor, Bill and Nardole investigated a string of mysterious suicides linked to the Veritas - an ancient text written in a dead language.

Photo credit: BBC

In the end, it revealed that none of what we'd witnessed (bar those flashbacks) was real - everything had taken place in a virtual world, and the Veritas contained the truth.

This 'fake Earth' was constructed by a race of malevolent alien Monks, on which to practice their plans of world domination. But the virtual Doctor was able to figure it all out and send a warning to his real-life counterpart.

The Monks are coming...

Related: Doctor Who series 10, episode 6: 8 HUGE questions and theories after watching 'Extremis'

Doctor Who series 10, episode 7: What happened in 'The Pyramid at the End of the World'?

Photo credit: BBC

Back in the real world, the Monks landed their ship - disguised as a pyramid - in the middle of a warzone. They urged the human race to surrender – insisting that they needed mankind's "consent" and "love" to rule the Earth effectively.

The Monks had picked this particular place and time because humanity was at its weakest, with a deadly biohazard set to rip across the globe. The Doctor was able to halt an ecological disaster – but only after Bill begged the Monks to give her friend his eyesight back, surrounding Earth in the process.

Now, the Doctor can see again - but the Monks have total control over the planet...

Related: Doctor Who series 10, episode 7: 8 HUGE questions and theories after 'The Pyramid at the End of the World'

Doctor Who series 10, episode 8: What happened in 'The Lie of the Land'?

Photo credit: BBC

The Monks are the masters of Earth... and they've always been here.

Bill is one of the few human beings able to resist the power of the Monks' "myth machine" - which fools mankind into believing the monsters have always been a part of their society and history.

The Doctor appears to have joined the Monks, sending out propaganda messages on their behalf - but his betrayal, and subsequent regeneration when he's 'shot' by Bill, are all revealed to be a ruse.

Bill is able to plug her own brain into the myth machine, using an image of her late mother to break the Monks' hold over humanity. (Yeah, we're not entirely sure how, either.)

Related: Doctor Who series 10, episode 8: 8 HUGE questions and theories after 'The Lie of the Land'

Doctor Who series 10, episode 9: What happened in 'Empress of Mars'?

Photo credit: BBC

Landing on Mars in the Victorian age, the Doctor helped avert interplanetary war between green Martians and red coats on the Red Planet. Even old friend Alpha Centauri showed up to help guarantee a peace!

Nardole missed all the action after a haywire TARDIS flung him to Earth, then refused to respond to commands. Desperate, he had only one place to turn...

Missy helped pilot the TARDIS to Mars, to pick up the Doctor and Bill – expressing what seemed like genuine concern for the Doctor's well-being.

But is she on the level?

Related: Doctor Who series 10, episode 9: 8 HUGE questions and theories after 'Empress of Mars'

Doctor Who series 10, episode 10: What happened in 'The Eaters of Light'?

Photo credit: BBC

Travelling back in time to 2nd century Aberdeen, the Doctor and Bill convinced two warring factions - the Romans and the Scottish - to join forces to battle a vicious race of light-eating space locusts.

We also learnt that the Doctor has let Missy out of the Vault, allowing her to enact repairs to the TARDIS while still keeping her under close supervision.

"Maybe you're trying to impress me," the Doctor muses of her newly empathetic behaviour, but he's clearly tempted by the idea that she might really be reformed. "That's the trouble with hope," he admits. "It's hard to resist."

Missy's still insisting hard that this isn't all "some devious plan" – could her face-heel turn be genuine?

Related: Doctor Who series 10, episode 10: 8 HUGE questions and theories after 'The Eaters of Light'

Doctor Who series 10, episode 11: What happened in 'World Enough and Time'?

Photo credit: BBC

Arriving on a colony ship lurking dangerously close to a black hole, the Doctor discovers that time on the craft has been severely warped by the extreme gravity.

Time at the bottom of the ship moves much faster than at the top. And the bad news? The ship is from Mondas - and the very first Mondasian Cybermen have evolved in the ship's grimy bowels.

In a heartbreaking twist, Bill is converted into a Cybermen. If that weren't bad enough, The Master (John Simm) returns, apparently corrupting the reformed Missy in the process.

Oh – and a flashforward to future events shows us the Doctor regenerating. What the heck is going to happen next?

Related: Doctor Who series 10, episode 11: 9 HUGE questions and theories after 'World Enough and Time'

Here's a Next Time trailer and longer BBC trailer for series 10's finale, 'The Doctor Falls' - who will survive the final climactic battle against the Cybermen?

There's another spectacular new trailer

A new trailer for series 10 put Capaldi's Doctor front and centre while new companion Bill - more on her below - narrates her adventures with "the most dangerous man in the universe".

It follows an earlier trailer that gave us our first look proper at series 10, as well as a detailed introduction to Bill herself.

It features threats old (the Daleks) and new (Emoji robots(!)) and we also get a glimpse of what appears to be The Movellans, robotic rivals of the Daleks last featured on the show way back in 1979.

Photo credit: BBC

It won't air til spring 2017

Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC One, opted to push series 10 to early 2017 – making it the first time in six years that a full series run of Doctor Who has launched in the spring.

The first episode will go out on Saturday, April 15 at 7.20pm on BBC One- and it'll also be screening in cinemas in the US.

Partly the spring launch is down to scheduling - filming on the new episodes didn't kick off June 20, so the earliest the show could return would've been late 2016.

It's Steven Moffat's final series as showrunner

Photo credit: John Lamparski / Getty Images

After seven years at the helm, Moffat will bow out next year. Series 10 will be his victory lap, with 2017's Christmas special marking his ultimate farewell.

He'll then hand the TARDIS key over to Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall in 2018. Who, as a regular Who writer of several episodes already, promises to be a safe pair of hands.

But don't expect some grand finale to the end of the Moffat era, with the outgoing boss insisting his final episodes will be all about "pushing forward" - not bringing anything to a close.

And it will be Peter Capaldi's last year in the TARDIS, too

Photo credit: BBC

This will be Capaldi's third and final series as the Doctor - equalling (give-or-take) the length of time both Matt Smith and David Tennant spent in the part.

"This could be my final year – it's terrifying," he acknowledged in late 2015. "I love Doctor Who, but it can be quite an insular world and I do want to do other things."

Peter later confirmed that he had been asked to take part in series 11: "I've been asked to stay on, which is lovely - and I think Chris Chibnall's fantastic and a wonderful choice [but] I haven't made my mind up."

And in December 2016, while promoting the Christmas special, he gave us another glimmer of hope, saying that he wanted to stick with Who "for a long time".

Moffat's also insisted that he's not "writing out a Doctor" when he bids farewell to the series, though he has been known to tell fibs. Y'know, every now and then.

But in the New Year, Peter made his decision, confirming he will play Twelve for the last time in the 2017 Christmas special.

Photo credit: BBC

"One of the greatest privileges of being Doctor Who is to see the world at its best, from our brilliant crew and creative team working for the best broadcaster on the planet, to the viewers and fans whose endless creativity, generosity and inclusiveness points to a brighter future ahead," he said.

"I can't thank everyone enough. It's been cosmic."

And expect to discover new and different shades to this Doctor in his final year, as Peter explained: "You've seen him go through all those different colours and all those different places, so where he goes now – in series 10 - I don't know, but he's been put through the mill."

The Doctor... might be regenerating early?

Despite confirmation that Capaldi will exit at Christmas, a trailer for series 10 - released before the festive special had been filmed - appeared to show his Doctor regenerating?

Speaking in April - again, before he'd filmed Christmas - Capaldi also seemed to imply that he'd already shot his final scenes: "It was explosive," he said. "He goes out a fighter."

But it is it all one big swizz? This could be David Tennant's regeneration fake-out all over again...

Related: Peter Capaldi says his Doctor Who regeneration will be "more complicated" than usual

Jenna Coleman won't be back as Clara

In June 2016, Capaldi appeared to let slip that Coleman might've filmed something for series 10: "I'm not sure how successfully Clara was able to wipe his mind," he said: "I just shot something that Clara was still there in!"

Could Clara possibly be returning as a figment of the Doctor's imagination? Possibly - though Jenna later insisted that she's not returning to Doctor Who and would rule out even a cameo "for a good while".

There will be a new companion - and her name is Pearl Mackie!

Relative TV newcomer Pearl Mackie will be stepping into Jenna Coleman's shoes as the Doctor's "funny and geeky" new companion.

Bill Potts was introduced to the world in a quick teaser titled 'A Friend from the Future', revealed during an episode of Match of the Day (yes, really), which saw her questioning the Doctor on all things Dalek while the pair were hiding in the middle of an attack.

Mackie describes her character - who swaps life as a dinner lady for TARDIS travels - as "cool, strong, sharp, a little bit vulnerable with a bit of geekiness thrown in" and Capaldi is pretty pleased with his new companion too.

Photo credit: Ray Burmiston / BBC

Bill is also the first openly gay lead Doctor Who companion. "It shouldn't be a big deal in the 21st Century," Mackie told the BBC. "It's about time isn't it?"

"It is a genuine delight to welcome Pearl Mackie to Doctor Who," he said. "A fine, fine actress with a wonderful zest and charm, she's a refreshing addition to the TARDIS and will bring a universe of exciting new possibilities to The Doctor's adventures."

Mackie's previous credits include a role in Years & Years' video for 'Real', a small part in British indie film Svengali, and a guest role on BBC's daytime soap Doctors.

"Because we're going with a new companion for the new series, it sort of reboots Doctor Who back to its simplest, purest form, where it's mad adventures with your nutty uncle from space," Moffat's suggested.

Missy is coming back

Michelle Gomez has stated twice this year - first in May and again in October - that when Doctor Who returns to our screens, Missy will also be back to haunt the Doctor... and her return was 100% confirmed by a new on-set clip released in February 2017.

John Simm will return as The Master

Photo credit: BBC

That's right, two Masters! Simm will return to Doctor Who for the first time in seven years to face off with Capaldi... and his successor Gomez.

"I can confirm that it's true, thanks to the power of time travel I'm back," Simm said. "It's always a pleasure to work with this great team of people and I can't wait for you all to see what The Master gets up to in the next series."

Related: How is John Simm returning to Doctor Who as The Master?

Nardole is jumping on board the TARDIS

Photo credit: BBC

We'll admit it, we didn't see this one coming. But Matt Lucas will be a permanent fixture on Doctor Who next year after debuting as bumbling Nardole in 2015's Christmas special 'The Husbands of River Song'.

He took up his new role as the Doctor's comic sidekick and butler in 2016's festive episode, 'The Return of Doctor Mysterio' - and quite how he came to board the TARDIS after his apparent demise at the hands of Hydroflax will be explored in series 10.

"[Matt] was contracted for certain episodes [of the 2017 series], and he's crept into far more of them," Moffat's said. "I think he's going to end up being in all of them, in fact, because we love him."

There's apparently more to Nardole than than his "bumbling oaf" persona, too, with Moffat hinting: "He's slyer, more devious, more useful and he has a very shady past."

But Matt Smith definitely isn't

Despite some tabloid gubbins insisting that Doctor Who was going to travel back in time and re-hire Smith, the man himself later dismissed the rumours.

"It's Peter [Capaldi]'s TARDIS now," he said. "I love what he does, so I watch as a fan."

The original Cybermen are returning

Photo credit: BBC

Yes, the original ones. From the planet Mondas. As featured in their debut adventure, 'The Tenth Planet', over 50 years ago.

Capaldi has long spoken of his desire to go up against the "Mondasian Cybermen" who look authentically low-tech, with spooky cloth faces and human hands... just like in 1966. They'll appear in the final two episodes of Doctor Who series 10.

There'll be 12 episodes in the series

"I know that what I've signed on to do is 13 more episodes of Doctor Who - including a Christmas special," Moffat revealed - before the news broke of his 'retirement'.

He then added an intriguing addendum: "I'm trying to argue for slightly more than that, but we'll see."

Could there be a special or two in the offing after series 10? Perhaps for Moffat's grand farewell... and Capaldi's?

Photo credit: BBC

One thing we know: episode two of the new series will have an international flavour, with scenes shot at the City of Arts and Science Museum in Spain.

You can expect the Doctor, Bill and Nardole to encounter "Romans", "robots" and "serpents" on their travels too.

The format could change again, with a move away from 2-parters

"Each year, we try to do something different – almost out of perversity, to make things more difficult for ourselves," Moffat joked.

"I was very happy to get rid of two-parters when I did, and [in series nine I was] very happy to bring them back. Something else will happen [in series 10]."

There's some big-name guest stars on board

Photo credit: BBC Pictures

Poirot himself, David Suchet, will be appeared on Doctor Who as a character known only as 'The Landlord' - could he be a Time Lord with a particularly underwhelming moniker?

Ralf Little is also confirmed to be hopping aboard the TARDIS for a guest stint, even if he's been cheekily denying all knowledge...

But speaking exclusively to Digital Spy, Little did reveal that he'll appear in episode two of the new series, written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

Mina Anwar is expected to pop up in the same episode, while Stephanie Hyam - late of ITV's own Doctor Who-inspired Jekyll & Hyde - is appearing in episode one.

There'll be episodes from writers old and new

Here's the complete series 10 episode line-up:

'The Pilot' - by Steven Moffat

'Smile' - by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

'Thin Ice' - by Sarah Dollard

'Knock Knock' - by Mike Bartlett

'Oxygen' - by Jamie Mathieson

'Extremis' - by Steven Moffat and Peter Harness

'The Pyramid at the End of the World' - by Steven Moffat and Peter Harness

'The Lie of the Land' - by Toby Whithouse

'The Empress of Mars' - by Mark Gatiss

'The Eaters of Light' - by Rona Munro

'World Enough and Time' - by Steven Moffat

'The Doctor Falls' - by Steven Moffat

Series 10 finale 'The Doctor Falls' has been called "a bloodbath" (eep!) - with Capaldi's final special in December "a tale of redemption and hope."

Moffat promised back in December 2015 that two "brilliant, prominent and amazing writers" would join the show in 2017, hinting that the new signings are a pretty big deal: "If I told you their names, your brain would explode."

One name he was teasing was presumably Bartlett - acclaimed playwright and creator of the hit series Doctor Foster - who's written an episode titled 'Knock Knock'.

No word on what happened to the other newbie, though interestingly a veteran Who scribe is also on board, with playwright Rona Munro - author of the show's original 1989 swansong 'Survival' - returning to write episode 10, 'The Eaters of Light'.

Writers of more recent Who returning this year will be Cottrell-Boyce ('In The Forest of the Night'), Sarah Dollard ('Face the Raven'), Jamie Mathieson ('Flatline') Toby Whithouse for ('Under the Lake / Before the Flood') and...

Mark Gatiss is writing an episode - but it won't be a sequel to 'Sleep No More'

Photo credit: BBC

Gatiss has definitely written a script for series 10 - and while reaction to his 2015 tale of eye-booger horror was mixed, but Gatiss has already voiced hopes of writing a follow-up revisiting the sinister Sandmen.

"I suppose you'd have to think... where else would they go?" he said. "But the Doctor loses in this episode and that's an unusual place to be, so it sort of needs some closure."

However, in a Twitter post some months later, Gatiss implied that his next episode would not reintroduce the 'Sleep No More' villains after all.

The Ice Warriors are coming back - with a twist

Photo credit: BBC

Gatiss's new episode is actually set on Mars and will feature enduring Who foes The Ice Warriors in a "kind of Jules Verne / Edgar Rice Burroughs story of derring-do".

The episode- as yet untitled - will also introduce "a new kind of Ice Warrior" - interessssssssting! Given that the episode's called 'The Empress of Mars', could we be seeing a female Ice Warrior?

The three-parter is making a comeback

Three episodes in the series - 6, 7 and 8 - are linked, with new threat 'The Monks' expected to appear across the trilogy.

Chris Chibnall will write series 10's final moments

Moffat has confirmed that he'll leave the introduction of Capaldi's replacement to his own successor, just as Moffat took over from Russell T Davies to write the closing scene of David Tennant's swansong, 'The End of Time - Part 2'.

Peter Jackson isn't directing an episode after all

Moffat's been attempting to lure the Lord of the Rings filmmaker - and self-professed Doctor Who fan - to Cardiff for yonks. But despite a fun skit last year in which Capaldi interrupted Jackson while he was... erm... polishing his Oscar, this remains a real long shot.

"I'm not quite sure what a movie director who can do anything he likes gets out of our budget and our schedule," Moffat has acknowledged. "Because the skillset required is pretending you're Peter Jackson, without a budget."

Photo credit: Ray Burmiston / BBC Pictures

Here's who is directing episodes of the next series: Poldark's Ed Bazalgette (helming the 2016 Christmas special), Misfits's Lawrence Gough (episodes one and two), Mr Selfridge's Bill Anderson (three and four),

Also on board are Charles Palmer (director of some of David Tennant's best episodes - including 'Human Nature / The Family of Blood' - tackling episodes five and ten), Daniel Nettheim (who previously helmed series nine's Zygon two-parter and will take on episodes six and seven) and Wayne Yip (who worked on Class and is handling episodes eight and nine).

Rachel Talalay will helm the concluding two episodes - having previously taken charge of both the series eight and series nine finales.

Beyond series 10, there are grand plans for Doctor Who

With Chibnall in place as the show's new head writer and executive producer, the BBC is said to have big plans in place for the future of Doctor Who.

"It is definitely going to last five more years," Moffat said in 2015. "I've seen the business plan. It's not going anywhere. And I think we can go past that. It's television's own legend. It will just keep going."

You Might Also Like