Friday, 2 October 2015

New Doctor Who Spin-off Alert!

In a surprise announcement, the BBC have revealed that a new Doctor Who spin-off is in the works titled Class and set at Coal Hill School 

The show will air on BBC Three and will run for 8 45-minute episodes. The writer of the series is a new name to telly Doctor Who* - celebrated YA novellist Patrick Ness. The spin-off looks set to focus on a new team of students. Steven Moffat describes it as "growing up in modern Britain - but with monsters!"

As fans will know, Coal Hill School is something of the ancestral home of Doctor Who - the series' first ever episode was set there. It then reappeared in the show's 25th anniversary year (when it was invaded by the Daleks!) and the 50th anniversary special 'The Day of the Doctor' before becoming a recurring presence in Series Eight, when it was the workplace of Clara and Danny.

Opinion time! 

This whole piece of news is so bizarre, I'm half-convinced this a practical joke to launch the newly-minted October Fool's Day. Quite apart from anything, BBC Three is meant to be closing down so it seems odd that a spin-off of the BBC's flagship drama is being launched on it. Likewise, to put the series in the hands of a novellist new to screenwriting is a brave choice and flies in the face of what Moffat has said in the past about picking Who writers based on their experience writing for television. Ness' background seems to have leaked into the press package for the series which strangely describes it as having "all the action, heart and adrenalin of the best YA fiction" and then cites its influences as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Hunger Games.

In terms of the show's content, the series looks set to be the first Who spin-off not to feature an already-familiar character - unless the leads include Series Eight's Courtney or the 'In the Forest of the Night' gang. Of all the mooted spin-off series, this does seem an odd one for them to pick. Shows featuring the likes of Missy, River Song, the Paternoster Gang, the Eighth/War Doctor would all suggest themselves before one about Coal Hill. And, if we're getting spin-offs written by novellists now, can I put in a request for a Neil Gaiman series about the Corsair?

Perhaps this is a new initiative to have a different spin-off series each year. The first is Class, with its focus on Coal Hill, and then the following year will chose a different Whoniverse setting and group of characters. Otherwise this seems like an unlikely idea for a new long-running series - after all, with a bunch of teenagers fighting aliens in London it is somewhat treading on the toes of The Sarah Jane Adventires (but without the winning presence of Elisabeth Sladen). Only time will tell if Class gets full marks or is sent home for bad behaviour.

It has been confirmed that Clara will not appear in the series.
* Patrick Ness' previous contribution to Who is a short story that is actually something of a pilot for this show. Although it features the Fifth Doctor in a supporting role, it is really about a group of kids encountering aliens themselves. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...