Here’s What To Expect From This Week’s Doctor Who Premiere

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It’s been a wait. The most recent episode of Doctor Who—the finale of Thirteen’s debut season—aired way back in December of 2018, making 2019 a year with no new Who (other than January 2019’s New Year’s Day special).

The drought, however, is about to end. On January 1, Doctor Who will return with the first half of a two-part episode (something we didn’t see at all last season) and the second part will be available to watch just four days later on January 5, as Who slides into its regular time-slot on Sunday nights.

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The Whovian double header, written by showrunner Chris Chibnall, is called “Spyfall”—an obvious hat tip to the great British spy movie tradition with a special nod to the 2012 James Bond film, Skyfall. The BBC’s official synopsis reveals this about the premiere’s plot: “Intelligence agents around the world are under attack from alien forces. MI6 turns to the only people who can help: The Doctor and friends. As they travel the globe for answers, attacks come from all sides. Earth’s security rests on the team’s shoulders, but where will this planet-threatening conspiracy lead them?”

Filming for the upcoming season started all the way back in January of 2019, meaning that between shooting, airing, and promoting Jodie Whittaker’s first season as the Doctor, the cast and crew had barely a moment’s rest. The entire busy Who crew is back for this new season: Whittaker and her Doctor’s three new companions played by Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill return. We’re also expecting some special guest stars for this season premiere: British actor Stephen Fry and comedian Lenny Henry.

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But these won’t be the only familiar faces to appear on screen later this week. Following last season’s ‘all new monsters and villains’ mantra, the trailer for this new season has promised a reunion with some more familiar foes. Think Cybermen, the Judoon, and (eventually) the Daleks, who were spotted filming on England’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge last October. 

“I think we’ve got some amazing monsters,” says Chibnall. “It’s probably a bit scarier. We’ve definitely got some bigger action set pieces. We’ve got some old monsters coming back. We’ve got some really brilliant new monsters. And there’s a little thread trickling through. It’s not the same [as last season]. We’re developing the story for the Thirteenth Doctor and this gang.”

The Doctor Who Season 12 premiere hits CTV Sci-Fi Channel this New Year’s Day at 8/5p. Check out the most recent season trailer below.