Anyone who’s been watching the second season of Supergirl so far knows that while it’s fun to address the elephant in the room (you know, Superman), that elephant can’t stick around forever, nor can he keep coming back.
BBC’s own Superman, you know The Doctor from Doctor Who, will make a huge appearance in the premiere of the franchise’s latest spin-off Class. And while this is planned to be only a one-time appearance, novelist-turned-showrunner Patrick Ness tells Radio Times that there’s always the chance Peter Capaldi (or whoever succeeds him) could come back.
“But it’s also part of this absolutely fantastic tapestry and universe, and that kind of hand-off and the imprimatur that The Doctor can give … it’s not quite how the Star Trek series all did it. They all started with sort of a handoff, but I just thought (it would) really say, ‘This is where we are, and this is the point of view we’re going to take.”
The Doctor’s appearance in past Doctor Who spin-offs, however, have been rare, if he even shows up at all. Both David Tennant and Matt Smith made appearances on the family-friendly The Sarah Jane Adventures, while no Doctor ever popped into the more adult-oriented Torchwood.
Both have similar premises (holes in space and time let nasty aliens through) and more “grown-up” themes (Patrick Ness comments that “we’ve introduced blood back into Doctor Who”). And both are, you know, Doctor Who spin-offs.
Yet, that’s where the similarities end. Class, which will take place at a revamped Coal Hill Academy (the school that was featured in many past Doctor Who episodes). Executive producer Brian Minchin should know, too. He was a script editor on Torchwood.
“Torchwood in the first (season) went quite far, and we haven’t done anything like ‘Countrycide’ or anything like that, because I think you can sometimes push people away.”
In case you’re trying to remember what Minchin is talking about, the 2006 Torchwood episode “Countrycide” centered on a small Welsh village where the residents were being hunted. The Torchwood team found a number of people completely stripped of their flesh and organs. Probably not what BBC Three had in mind for a young adult series.
The last episode of a Doctor Who spin-off was in 2011 when both Torchwood and Sarah Jane signed off (the latter primarily because of the passing of Sarah Jane star Elisabeth Sladen that year). BBC has considered doing more spin-offs, but the idea just had to be right, Minchin said.
“The idea of, the concept of, the idea that people wanted more than just Doctor Who has always been in our minds. But we never wanted to do it just because.
“The question was why now? Because it’s been five years? And the answer was because Patrick Ness came along and he had a great idea for a spin-off. We would never do a spin-off just because there was a want for it, or just because it would help make money or whatever. It had to be the right idea behind it.”
Class, which stars Greg Austin, Fady Elsayed, Sophie Hopkins and Vivian Oparah, premieres Oct. 22 on BBC Three in the United Kingdom. It’s expected to be shipped out to the rest of the world early next year.
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