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Doctor Who has gone through a variety of changes since it was revived in 2005, both on camera and behind the scenes. One thing that has stayed relatively consistent is each season's helping of the infamous Time Lord and his TARDIS. Each new season of the new Doctor Who series has been comprised of 12-13 episodes (not counting Christmas specials), but there’s now word that Season 10 may get much less than that when it eventually airs.
In an effort to accommodate Peter Capaldi’s desire to work on other projects, Doctor Who Season 10 will have its episode order significantly reduced. The Mirror uses the word “halved” in the headline, so if taken literally, this means the season may only be comprised of six or seven episodes max. Like other seasons, there would also be a Christmas special attached, but those aren’t anything new. Take note that the BBC hasn’t officially confirmed this information, but if it’s eventually verified, then fans will see a lot less of the Twelfth Doctor come next year. In a way, this would echo what the show went through in 2009 when only a few Tenth Doctor specials were spread out over the year, as well as Seasons 6 and 7 in the Matt Smith era being split in half.
Last month, Capaldi mentioned how the Doctor Who production schedule is exhausting, so despite the network having pushed for expanded seasons, that idea was quickly swept aside. Capaldi is reportedly set to direct a movie based on his time in the punk band The Dreamboys (a group that included Craig Ferguson), as well as two episodes of the HBO series Veep. With his current Doctor Who workload, it’s hard to imagine how he could take on these extra projects, but a reduced episode order would certainly open up his schedule.
On top of all this, there have been rumors about showrunner Steven Moffat’s commitment to Sherlock preventing him from doing a “full series” of Doctor Who in 2016. On the one hand this could mean simply that Season 10 may not be seen until 2017, but on the other hand, it may actually fit with this reduced episode report. Perhaps like with Seasons 6 and 7, fans will get a few episodes in 2016, followed by the remainder of Season 10 sometime in 2017. Whatever happens with Season 10, Twelfth Doctor fans can take comfort knowing that Capaldi is staying on Doctor Who for the foreseeable future, and as for the show itself, it will continue to air until at least 2020 regardless of any changes to season formats.
Season 10 is still a long time away from hitting the air no matter how you cut it, but in the meantime, United States viewers can watch Doctor Who Season 9 unfold Saturdays at 9 p.m. EST on BBC America.