'Doctor Who' update: 1st image from Season 7 set, guest stars & guesswork


  • Arthur Darvill (from left), Matt Smith and Karen Gillan on the set of "Doctor Who" in Cardiff, Wales.
Arthur Darvill (from left), Matt Smith and Karen Gillan on the set of "Doctor… (BBC America )
February 22, 2012|By Curt Wagner | RedEye

Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill and the entire "Doctor Who" gang began filming the upcoming Season 7 in Cardiff, Wales, this week, and BBC America just released the first photo from the set.

Darvill, Smith and Gillan, shown with the show's fourth lead, the TARDIS, appear happy to be back on set. They're smiling, but it's kind of bittersweet, as fans will have to say good-bye to companions Amy and Rory at the end of the season.

"This season will see the last days of the Ponds, with Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill returning for their final rollercoaster voyage with The Doctor," says the BBC America press release. "Amy (Gillan) and Rory (Darvill) have been at the Doctor's side for more than two seasons, but what will he do after their heartbreaking departure?"

What more can showrunner Steven Moffat do to poor Rory!? We'll find out probably this fall when the season premieres with "14 big, blockbuster-movie episodes." The season likely will be split in two like they did last season, with half the episodes airing this fall, a holiday airing of the Christmas special, and the second half of the season beginning in Spring 2013 to celebrate the series' 50th anniversary. (This is Season 7 since the 2002 revival of "Who.")

"Series 7 will then see a dramatic turn of events when The Doctor meets a new friend," the release states. "Prepare yourselves for thrills, adventures and dramatic surprises as the show builds towards its enormous, climactic 50th anniversary year."

The release also confirms that Mark Williams and David Bradley from the "Harry Potter" films, along with Rupert Graves of Moffat's "Sherlock" will guest star. Although not officially confirmed, rumor has it Alex Kingston will be back as River Song and John Barrowman may appear as Captain Jack Harkness. (There will be no new "Torchwood" this year, so Jack's free.) Both of the rumored guest spots seem fitting for the 50th anniversary.

Saul Metzstein ("Upstairs Downstairs") is directing at least the first episode. Writers for the season include Moffat, Toby Whithouse ("Being Human" and "Who" episodes Who episodes "School Reunion," "The Vampires of Venice" and "The God Complex") and Chris Chibnall ("Torchwood" and "Who" episode "42"). Moffat is executive producer, and is joined by new exec producer Caroline Skinner ("The Fades") and producer Marcus Wilson ("Whitechapel").

So that's all the news from the release, but I want to break down the language and see what hidden messages I can glean from it. What follows is strictly conjecture:

  • "Last days of the Ponds" and "their heartbreaking departure:" Does Moffat plan to, gulp, kill them off? I hope not.
  • "The Doctor meets a new friend:" Obviously, he's got to have a companion. But who will it be?
  • "Blockbuster-movie episodes:" Will each of the 14 episodes be super-sized and run longer than an hour?
  • "New monsters:" Always fun to see the creepy new monsters Moffat creates.
  • "Some familiar foes as you've never seen them before:" This implies the possibility that a classic "Doctor Who" villain will resurface, an idea I much prefer over simply bringing back foes from the Moffat generation--not that I didn't like them as well. Of the classic foes, I think Moffat could have some real fun with the Celestial Toymaker, who liked screwing with the Doctor's head, and the Rani, who messed with his heart.
What villain would you like to see challenge the Doctor in Season 7?

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