Just a few days ago, we heard a rumor that Doctor Who might be heading to the U.S. for the first time ever to film an episode from next year's series six. Today, we learned not only that the rumors were true, but also the location of the filming, the storyline and which character is set to make a return!
In a press release issued today, the BBC revealed that filming for the ''spectacular two-parter'' that will open the series (making that episodes 1 and 2) is going to take place in Utah in mid-November with Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy) and Arthur Darvill (Rory).
In the same breath, they also revealed that River Song, played by Alex Kingston, would make her return. Since the Powers That Be decided that the series would be split in two (one part airing in the spring and the other in the fall), it's great to know we won't have to wait until the fall to see her again; Moffat promised answers about her—so we hope they will come sooner rather than later.
Here's the BBC Press release:
DOCTOR WHO TO FILM IN THE U.S. FOR THE FIRST TIME
Upcoming season's first two episodes to be set in the U.S.
The BBC announced today that season six of Doctor Who, which delivered record ratings for BBC AMERICA earlier this year, will open with a spectacular two-parter set in the U.S. and penned by 'Who supremo' Steven Moffat.
In the special two-parter co-produced with BBC AMERICA, key scenes will be filmed in Utah for a story set in the late '60s in which the Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves on a secret summons that takes them on an adventure from the desert in Utah—right to the Oval Office itself.
Production on episodes one and two of the new season starts in Cardiff this month and Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill will then travel to America in mid November to shoot pivotal scenes. They will also be joined by Alex Kingston who reprises her role as River Song.
Showrunner and lead writer, Steven Moffat, said: "The Doctor has visited every weird and wonderful planet you can imagine, so he was bound get round to America eventually! And of course every Doctor Who fan will be jumping up and down and saying he's been in America before. But not for real, not on location—and not with a story like this one! Oh, you wait!"
Piers Wenger, Head of Drama BBC Wales and Executive Producer, added: "Steven's scripts generally inspire us to go that extra mile - this time we're going that extra four thousand. Thanks to our friends at BBC AMERICA and to the continuing ambition of our lead writer and production team, the first two episodes of Matt Smith's second season as the Doctor are going global and look set to become Doctor Who's most action-packed and ambitious season opener yet".
The new season follows on from the Doctor Who Christmas special guest starring Katherine Jenkins and Michael Gambon which is due to premiere at Christmas. Season six will start airing on BBC AMERICA in spring 2011 and has been split into two blocks, with the second block airing in autumn 2011. By splitting the series Moffat plans to give viewers one of the most exciting Doctor Who cliffhangers and plot twists ever, leaving them waiting, on the edge of their seats, until the autumn to find out what happens.
2010 has been a breakthrough year for the Doctor Who franchise across all platforms since BBC AMERICA became the official home of the series. The series reached the number one spot on the "Top TV Seasons" chart on iTunes and now Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Season hits stores on Blu-ray and DVD on November 9.
Doctor Who was co-commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning for BBC One and Jay Hunt, Controller of BBC One and will be produced by Marcus Wilson (Life on Mars) and Sanne Wohlenberg (Margaret). Steven Moffat is Lead Writer and Executive Producer (Sherlock Holmes) with Piers Wenger, Head of Drama, BBC Wales and Beth Willis (Ashes to Ashes), also Executive Producing.
Filming is taking place in Cardiff until March 2011.
Though this is the first time the sci-fi series will actually film in the U.S. with both cast and crew, it's not the first time that a Doctor Who story was set in America. In 1996, Doctor Who: The Movie (which featured one-time Eighth Doctor Paul McGann) took place in San Francisco but was filmed in Canada. More recently, series three saw the two-parter Daleks in Manhattan and Evolution of the Daleks take place in 1930s New York City, and while some exterior shots were filmed on location (to show Central Park, the Empire State Building and the the Statue of Liberty), all the scenes with the actors were actually filmed in Wales. (The production team found a wall that matched the base of the Statue of Liberty.)
The fact that we have actual location filming, that Steven Moffat is penning the opening two-parter and that River Song is coming back has us anxiously looking forward to the return of Doctor Who in 2011. In the meanwhile, we'll at least have the Christmas Special to keep us warm.
What do you think about this news? Were you expecting River Song to return so early in series six?
(via BBC America)