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Surprise! Jodie Whittaker isn't finished with Doctor Who just yet. In addition to her final, on-air specials this year, the actress will reprise the Time Lord role for a 10-episode podcast from BBC Sounds entitled Doctor Who: Redacted. Scheduled to coincide with the Legend of the Sea Devils special this Easter, the audio drama is said to take place in the periphery of Whittaker's TARDIS adventures thus far.
The narrative is nested within the fictional Blue Box Files podcast, hosted by three broke college dropouts: Cleo Proctor (Charlie Craggs), Abby McPhail (Lois Chimimba), and Shawna Thompson (Holly Quin-Ankrah). Their goal is to explore the conspiracy theory of a mysterious blue police box that has continued to crop up throughout history. Three guesses as to what it might be...
All too soon, the co-hosts learn that anyone who has ever met the Doctor is mysteriously disappearing (aka "being redacted," according to the official synopsis) from reality. It gets personal when Cleo's brother, Jordan (comedian Jacob Hawley), suddenly vanishes. Cleo must also contend with a mother who kicked her out of the house when she was 16 upon learning that her daughter was trans.
"As the series unfolds we find Abby — the resident believer and Shawna — the skeptic, grapple with their own tribulations on the edge of a will-they, won’t-they romance, despite Abby’s controlling boyfriend," continues the synopsis.
Doon Mackichan (Madame Vastra), Sarah Thom (Monica Proctor), Alasdair Beckett-King (The Floater), Anjili Mohindra (Rani Chandra, a character from the Doctor Who spinoff, The Sarah Jane Adventures), Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart), Ingrid Oliver (Petronella Osgood), Ambika Mod, Kieran Hodgson, Natasha Hodgson, Siena Kelly, Clare Perkins, Ken Cheng, Juno Dawson, Pip Gladwin, and Karim Kronfli also lend their voices to the project.
Redacted hails from best-selling author, Juno Dawson (This Book is Gay, Clean), and "a host of new and experienced writing talent, with a strong emphasis on diversity and regionality." That writing team includes: Catherine Brinkworth (Episode 4), Sasha Sienna (Episode 5) Ken Cheng (Episode 6), Àjoké Ibironke (Episode 7), Doris V. Sutherland (Episode 8), and David K. Barnes (Episode 9).
"Doctor Who was my first love, and it's an absolute thrill to add to the ever-expanding mythology in podcast form for the first time ever," Dawson (who wrote Episodes 1, 2, 3 & 10) remarked in a statement. "What a total privilege to write for something so beloved, and put my own little flag on the landscape."
"I loved meeting Charlie and Juno — their energy is ace, the writing is brilliant," Whittaker said during a Q&A with the BBC website. "It was wonderful to be a part of and great for me to revisit the character, having not really done anything apart from ADR since October. I think for Doctor Who fans they’ll really love the adventure, it’s ace!"
She added that newcomers to the franchise can still enjoy the podcast without having seen a single episode of the wider TV show. "I think that’s the joy of Doctor Who, with each world that we visit whether in a podcast, an escape room, the TV show, audio book, or anything like that — it's got enough for everyone in it. It’s got enough for Whovians but it’s also got enough for people visiting it for the first time. It never loses that wonderful Doctor Who identity which makes it unique, but it also never excludes."
Legend of the Sea Devils lands on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Sunday, April 17. Episode 1 of Doctor Who: Redacted drops right after, with subsequent installments premiering on a weekly basis.
A third and final televised special (in which the next Time Lord will be revealed) is slated for later this year, though no specific premiere date has been announced. Russell T. Davies — the writer who rebooted the property for the 21st century — is returning as showrunner for Season 14.