SciFi Weekend: Scheduling for Doctor Who and Spin Off Shows

Last week’s news that Doctor Who had been renewed for fourteen episodes in 2012 turned out to be far less straight forward than initially believed. Word came from the BBC that many of the episodes will be held back until 2013, sparking a lot of rumors and speculation with no definite answer.

The current season will conclude in the fall of 2011, but it is not clear what will happen after that. Initially there was speculation that episodes would be held back in order to have around twenty episodes in 2013 for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.

My suspicion is that this move might be to shift the entire series back for future seasons, beginning in the fall as opposed to the spring. They might stick to the same pattern with two half seasons along with a Christmas episode, except we would have to go longer without episodes in the spring of 2012. In that case there would be fewer episodes airing in 2012 while returning to the usual number in 2013.

Yet another possibility is that the regular season might be an episode or two shorter in order to have specials before the fall of 2012 to break up the hiatus.

Steven Moffat has denied initial claims from the BBC that the schedule for Sherlock has anything to do with delaying Doctor Who. Beyond this, he has been vague regarding future plans, recently tweeting: “Dr Who: misquotes and misunderstandings. But I’m not being bounced into announcing the cool stuff before we’re ready. Hush, and patience.”

Meanwhile, Torchwood: Miracle Day begins in the United States on July 8 and in Canada on July 9. After years of being behind the U.K. on several shows, reportedly Torchwood will be aired on the BBC after the United States. The exact date has not yet been announced.

The final three episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures filmed before the death of Elisabeth Sladen will air this fall on CBBC. There are no plans, despite some rumors, to continue the show with a different star.