Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker reprises her role as the Thirteenth Doctor in the upcoming spin-off audio drama, Doctor Who: Redacted.
The BBC launches a new Doctor Who spin-off audio drama starring Jodie Whittaker herself as the Thirteenth Doctor. Doctor Who has always embraced the potential of transmedia; there was a time when popular Target novelizations were the only way for viewers to relive classic adventures. The TV series is now at the heart of a growing transmedia empire, with the Doctor’s adventures continuing in novels, comics and audiobooks. This culminated in the transmedia epic “Time Lord Victorious” which unfolded in 2020 and 2021, bringing together so many different mediums into one overarching narrative.
Jodie Whittaker’s tenure as the Thirteenth Doctor is coming to an end, with the actress only appearing in two more specials this year. Production of Doctor Who season 13 was severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, leading to its reduction to just six episodes; and its story ends in stand-alone specials, meaning there’s unfortunately not much room for the various plot threads to tie together. Doctor Who seems to be using other mediums to fill the void, with a next Doctor Who Origins comic exploring major rewrites of series lore that were introduced during the Thirteenth Doctor’s era. Now it seems Doctor Who embrace transmedia in another way in the future.
The BBC has announced a new ten-episode spin-off audio drama, Doctor Who: redacted, which will launch on BBC Sounds alongside the upcoming Spring Special. Written by Experienced Doctor Who novelist Juno Dawson, it will star Charlie Craggs, Lois Chimimba (Vigil, That’s why I wrote to you) and Holly Quin-Ankrah (Coronation Street, Barn Hill); they’ll play three broke college dropouts who have become obsessed with a conspiracy theory revolving around a mysterious “blue boxwhich appears throughout the story. Unfortunately, they soon learn that everyone who has ever known the Doctor is erased from time. Upon learning the truth, they will meet a number of key characters from Doctor Who traditions; the Doctor herself, her former Silurian ally Madame Vastra, and UNIT patron Kate Stewart.
The time of Doctor Who: redacted is particularly interesting, launched alongside the Spring Special; this raises the possibility that this story is designed to lead from this story to the upcoming Centennial Special, in which Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor will regenerate. Current showrunner Chris Chibnall’s plans have no doubt been cut short due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus, and this would be a smart way to fill in essential story details. It is important to note that in the past, Doctor Whothe BBC’s full adoption of transmedia had been limited by the BBC license, which required that further purchases were not necessary to understand the public service broadcaster’s story; that was why the Doctor Who The TV series missed “Time Lord Victorious”, for example. A free audiobook broadcast on BBC Sounds would certainly circumvent this problem.
With a bit of luck Doctor Who: redacted sets a major precedent for the future – not only in terms of transmedia content, but also with the plot itself. According to the BBC, the audiobook will dive deep into the lives of its original characters, exploring boyfriend control, romance and the trans experience. That should make it a really worthy addition. Doctor Who lore, and essential listening for fans.
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