Since Doctor Who was revived in 2005, the eponymous Time Lord’s expansive world has grown even bigger thanks to additional spinoffs. First there was Torchwood, a more mature series featuring a team of alien hunters starring Arrow’s John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness. Then there was The Sarah Jane Adventures, starring Elisabeth Sladen as the former companion of the Third and Fourth Doctors. Now it’s been announced that a third live action spinoff series is heading our way next year. Titled Class, this series will primarily be geared towards a young adult audience.
Set in contemporary times, Class will delve into the dangers breaking through the walls of time and space at and around Coal Hill School, a location that’s familiar to Doctor Who fans. Class comes from the mind of young adult writer Patrick Ness (who will serve as showrunner), and Doctor Who’s Steven Moffat will be an executive producer. The series is described as having “all the action, heart and adrenaline of the best YA fiction,” like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Hunger Games. The first season (‘series’ for U.K. folks) will consist of eight 45-minute episodes, and will air on BBC Three in the U.K. Details weren’t provided on where this series will air in the United States, but like its parent show, it may find a home on BBC America.
Coal Hill School was introduced in the first Doctor Who episode (“An Unearthly Child”) back in 1963. The Doctor’s granddaughter Susan briefly attended the school, and her teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright discovered the TARDIS in that episode, along with Susan’s eccentric grandfather. Although Ian and Barbara became The First Doctor’s first companions, Coal Hill School itself wasn’t seen again until the 1988 story “Remembrance of the Daleks.” The school was brought back in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor” as the place Clara Oswald was teaching following Season 7. The school reappeared several times last year during Season 8, most notably in the episode “The Caretaker.”
Although no characters were revealed in the announcement, Ness alluded that the majority of the show’s protagonists will be students at Coal Hill School. As he put it:
I can't wait for people to meet the heroes of Class, to meet the all-new villains and aliens, to remember that the horrors of the darkest corners of existence are just about on par with having to pass your A-Levels.
Doctor Who has been going solo ever since Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures both concluded in 2011, so no doubt Class will be a welcome addition to the canon for the young adult demographic to take in. If Class does well, there’s also the possibility it could have an official crossover with its parent show, or at minimum have certain Doctor Who characters guest star.
Class won’t air in the U.K. until sometime next year - filming will begin in spring 2016 - but in the meantime, U.S. viewers can watch Doctor Who Season 9 Saturdays at 9 p.m. EST on BBC America.