Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies teases the intensity level of the upcoming specials, saying that one in particular is “not for children.”
- Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies reveals that only one of the upcoming specials is family-friendly, with the others being darker, genuinely weird, and containing scary and violent elements.
- The decision to take a dark turn in the specials is driven by nostalgia, targeting the adult audience who were viewers of the show when David Tennant originally starred in it.
- The Doctor Who specials will tap into childhood fears and draw on twisted themes out of childhood pleasures, creating a darker world that will be released at the end of the month.
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Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies says that only one of the upcoming specials is a family show. The popular series returns soon for the Doctor Who 60th-anniversary specials, with the first one releasing on November 25. The Doctor Who 60th-anniversary specials will see the return of beloved Time Lord actor David Tennant, who will play the Fourteenth Doctor before Ncuti Gatwa takes over as the Fifteenth Doctor in Doctor Who season 14.
Related: Doctor Who Season 14: Release Date Prediction, New Cast & Everything We Know
Speaking with Telegraph, Davies reveals that some of the content in the Doctor Who specials is “not for children.” According to the showrunner, only the first of the three Doctor Who specials will be fully family-friendly. The second episode will be “darker” and “genuinely weird” whereas the third episode contains some “very scary stuff” that is “quite violent.” Check out the full quote from Davies below:
We do very scary stuff. Some stuff is quite violent. It’s not for children, it’s about children. It’s not a children’s show but at the heart of it is an eight-year-old watching. It is like a great big Pixar family film, like a bank holiday film – all the family watching, lots of laughs, a funny monster. The second one, Wild Blue Yonder, is darker. Not scary – it’s genuinely weird. [The third one is] scary, nuts, completely mad, frightening. That one will scare you.
Why This Dark Turn Makes Sense for The Doctor Who Specials
The decision to take a dark path in the specials may be surprising for Doctor Who on the surface. After all, the show is rated TV-PG in the United States and generally considered suitable for families. Former Doctor Who writer and showrunner Stephen Moffat–who was behind one of the most historically terrifying episodes, “Blink”–has recently attested to the importance of Doctor Who’s monsters being “fundamentally silly,” supporting the underlying goofiness of the show.
However, the operative power of the upcoming Doctor Who specials is simple: nostalgia. It is not the new, eight-year-old viewers who are excited about Tennant and co-star Catherine Tate’s returns to the show, but those who were “an eight-year-old watching” at the time when Tennant originally starred in the show. The target audience that can be nostalgic for these times are all now adults and thus can handle more intense Doctor Who content.
The Doctor Who trailer shows that it will build on scares in a way that specifically draws on childhood fears. The Doctor Who specials see Neil Patrick Harris stepping in to play a malevolent toy-making villain. Developing twisted themes out of childhood pleasures is particularly gratifying to adults, and in this case especially so for those who are longtime Doctor Who viewers. Audiences will soon see this darker world for themselves as the Doctor Who specials release at the end of this month.
- Doctor Who Release Date: 1963-11-23 Cast: Jenna Coleman, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Kingston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi Genres: Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi Seasons: 26 Summary: As the last of the alien species known as the Time Lords, the Doctor travels through time and space in his TARDIS, a time machine thats bigger on the inside than the outside, seeking out adventures in the ancient past and unimagined future while also serving as the protector of Earth and mankind. With a human companion by his side, the Doctor meets extraordinary – and sometimes deadly – characters and creatures from across the universe. Franchise: Doctor Who Story By: Sydney Newman C. E. Webber Donald Wilson Writers: Mark Gatiss, Toby Whithouse, Neil Cross, Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall Network: BBC