The unlikely way for the BBC to handle the 2023 holiday special after Whittakers exit

; Date: Thu Nov 18 2021

Tags: Doctor Who

It's been announced that Jodi Whittaker's final episode is in the Fall of 2022, and Russell T. Davies first episode is the 60th Anniversary in November 2023. If there is to be a holiday special on January 1, 2023, there is an extremely unlikely way to handle this which would be extremely interesting.

In the Big Finish world, one of the series is called The Companion Chronicles. These stories feature folks who were Companions of The Doctor, having their own adventure without accompanying The Doctor. For example, after they leave The Doctor, then what?

To set the scene, let's suggest a possible scenario for Whittaker's final episode. The BBC promises this will be a blow out special, fighting evil across the universe, but of course the BBC isn't saying who will be the villain. So... let's suggest that it will be The Master. This could serve as a counter-point to the Timeless Child revelation from the last time we saw The Master, and could be Chibnall's last chance to channel the Cartmel Master Plan.

The Master could finally get his/her wish fulfillment, of "killing" The Doctor, but have it be bittersweet when The Doctor does something that sends The Master careening off into the far end of the Universe.

The Doctor then stumbles into the TARDIS alone, with no Companions in the TARDIS.

That leaves the Companions perhaps running towards the TARDIS because the Doctor needs their help or something. But, they're too late, and the TARDIS disappears before they reach it. That's the end of Whittaker's final episode, the TARDIS disappears, the Companions alone somewhere that has just been ravaged by a final blowout battle.

The next step to this is January 1, 2023, a holiday special. Is Chibnall going to relinquish Doctor Who's spot on January 1? That would be a crime against Doctor Who, so let's assume that somehow there is another episode. BUT --- if RTD isn't yet the Show Runner, and Chibnall is not the Show Runner, who would handle production etc for this special? Y'know what, this is an extremely unlikely fantasy - so let's not solve that problem, and just head into what the show would be.

Namely... Companions, on their own, with The Doctor gone to who knows where. The Companions might not know anything about Regeneration, and might not know that The Doctor is dying. But they're on their own, somewhere.

That "somewhere" could be a far-off planet, or it could be modern-day Liverpool/Sheffield.

Say it's modern day Earth, and they say - okay, we're here, we're home, The Doctor is gone, let's go back to our lives. They return to their respective homes, they stay in touch, or try to stay in touch, except a couple months later some event comes up, and they're thrown back into contact, needing to take care of this thing, and there's no Doctor to rely on.

The Big Finish Companion Chronicles cover this idea well, the Companion working on their own to handle a situation.

It could be very interesting for televised Doctor Who to have an episode where The Companions are on their own like this.

Of course, whatever happens in the episode has to then lead to whatever is going to happen with the November 23, 2023 60th Anniversary show.

That episode needs to start with the ending of the January 1 special. Whatever happens at the end of that episode will have concluded, and the Companions are hugging each other that they survived this thing, without relying on The Doctor, ... and then all of a sudden The TARDIS materializes, and a new actor emerges and says "Hi, I'm The Doctor, how have y'all been"?

The whole regeneration sequence will have happened off-camera. Maybe the Companions have not been made aware of Regeneration, and are confused how this different person could possibly be The Doctor. They might be suspicious, just like Ben and Polly were when the First Doctor regenerated into The Second Doctor.

This sets up a tension in the story, where The New Doctor is trying to prove him/herself to the Companions. And of course at the same time there would be a new adventure for that episode. Like, maybe a Dalek Battle Cruiser floats into the sky?

About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.