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SYFY WIRE Doctor Who

Doctor Who promises longer story arcs for Season 12; unveils clip from premiere

By James Comtois & Josh Weiss
Doctor Who

With the 12th season of Doctor Who about to begin in mere weeks, fans have been given a taste of what to expect for the Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her friends. Not only has showrunner Chris Chibnall let folks know the slightly new direction the upcoming season is taking in terms of its storytelling, but the BBC has also released a new clip teasing the premiere episode.

While the previous season of Doctor Who was all about the new (new Doctor, new companions, new villains, new showrunner), and all about smaller, standalone stories (countering previous showrunner Steven Moffat’s preference for writing epic, season-long arcs), Chibnall reveals in an interview with the AV Club that this time around they’re doing “more two-part stories” and “a little bit more of a serial arc threading through.” He added that this season opens “with a big two-part, two-hour event story.”

“We had a very clear strategy for the first season, in terms of ten standalone stories — very much a jumping-on point for new audiences,” Chibnall said. “I think this season is a different proposition. Even structurally, we had a very clear strategy for this season; there are more two-part stories, there is a little bit more of a serial arc threading through.”

Now, Chibnall believes “for the people who joined last year” it’s time to go “deeper into the characters of Graham and Ryan and Yaz and the Thirteenth Doctor,” while for “longer-term fans, there’s some great returning monsters” (as we saw the appearance of the Cybermen and Judoon from the first trailer).

And to help get us all excited for the 12th season of Doctor Who, the BBC has released a short clip from the premiere episode: "Spyfall." In it, Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) pretend to be journalists in order to get a one-on-one meeting with a big-shot businessman played by Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch).

Henry's character, who must be some sort of shady dude, is clearly dubious of his two visitors and makes sure they're legit by looking them up online. What he doesn't realize is that Yaz and Ryan are sporting high-tech spy equipment disguised as a voice recorder and camera.

Watch below:


The big question on our minds is: Where is the good Doctor? Clearly, she’s being saved for the premiere, but it’ll be interesting to see how she factors into this espionage operation, which includes scanning the mogul’s DNA. The mysteries keep mounting!

Season 12 of Doctor Who premieres on the BBC Wednesday January 1 (aka New Year's Day). "Spyfall" is a two-parter whose second installment will air four days later, on Sunday, January 5.