In the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, showrunner Chris Chibnall describes the meticulous preparations to reveal Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor in the original trailer. Despite all the secret plotting, the plan nearly came off the tracks when their cover was in danger of being blown by a wedding and a Velothon…
In the exclusive article, Chris recalls his anxiety:
In my mind I’m thinking: are we really doing this? A secret shoot, with only nine people involved? Will this work? Can we reveal the new Doctor this way? Are the BBC really going to put it out during the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final? Is it crazy? Will people even watch or notice? (Turns out, the answer to all those questions is yes).
Somewhere on a train, Jodie Whittaker is making her way towards us, having told people she’s off to make a low budget Scandinavian film this weekend.
Recce done, we hole up in a hotel. Some of us are checked in under fake names, I can’t work out whether that’s for security, or because we’re all enjoying the cloak and dagger. When I go to check in, I forget my fake name. I’m not very good at this.
The hotel is quiet. Great. As we walk across reception we notice lots of champagne glasses. The staff explain: preparations for the massive wedding reception that’s going to be happening tonight. Right. Uh-oh.
To get to the car tomorrow, Jodie will have to walk through this big reception, where the hungover wedding guests will be checking out in the morning. How do we get the new Doctor from her room to the car park, in the costume she’s wearing for the shoot, without anyone spotting? We’re just going to have to style it out.
Sunday morning. Jo Pearce (Social and Digital genius) has gone out early, done a dry run driving from the hotel to the location checking the route. And she comes back alarmed: there’s a Velothon on the route! Some of the roads are closed! Her brilliantly planned shortest possible route from hotel to location won’t work. What’s more, the car will be passing hundreds of cyclists. What if we have to stop at traffic lights? What if somebody looks in and sees the new Doctor? Hopefully Velothon cyclists will have other things to think about. We manage to smuggle the new Doctor into the back of Jo’s car. Hood up in the back, like she’s cosplaying The Matrix, sandwiched between two others.
The week rolls towards the Wimbledon final. Calls are made. Who needs to know the identity of the new Doctor before the rest of the world? Most importantly, Peter Capaldi. We set a time, I call him…
The full story revealing more details about the secrecy that went on, how the shoot happened and who else received those all-important calls is in the new issue of DWM.
Other highlights of issue 528 include:
- A visit to the archive of Doctor Who writer and script editor Douglas Adams
- Peter Purves answers questions from the TARDIS tin
- The untold story of Sky Ray ice lollies and Doctor Who, with images of rare 1960s memorabilia
- Behind the scenes on IDW’s distinctive range of American Doctor Who comics
- Graphic designer Lee Binding reveals what went into the packaging for the Season 12 Blu-ray box set
- The Time Team tackles three of Doctor Who’s most controversial episodes
- The Fact of Fiction explores the 2017 story Empress of Mars
- Seventh Doctor cosplay with Jamie Lenman
- Part Five of The Clockwise War, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Doctor and Bill
- Previews, audio reviews, news, The Blogs of Doom, prize-winning competitions and much more!
Doctor Who Magazine 528 is on sale Thursday 26 July, price £5.99.
With thanks to those kind folks at DWM