It seems the TARDIS missed its 2019 landing mark.
Ahead of the season finale on Sunday, the BBC formally announced Doctor Who will return for a 12th Season. Sadly for fans, that season will not debut until 2020.
The series, which now stars Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor, Tosin Cole as Ryan, Mandip Gill as Yaz and Bradley Walsh as Graham, reinvented itself in the 11th season by featuring the first female Doctor and abandoning many of the modern series tropes in favor of standalone adventures. The changes to the format worked with the series posting favorable ratings in the US. BBC America, now listed as co-producer of the series, must be thrilled with the show’s performance even as it must accept the year-long pause.
Unlike American television, which has a more rigid season structure, British programs are commissioned and released in a more fluid way. While the Classic Series traditionally ran on Saturdays in the winter, it was known to shifts nights, start dates and even airtimes over its 26-year history. The New Series began as dependable Spring Saturday night staple, but began moving around the calendar in 2009; when a BBC budget shortfall delayed the fifth season in favor of four specials doled out across the year. Since then, Doctor Who‘s production and transmission schedule has varied wildly with season 7 split across two years and large hiatus between seasons 9, 10, their Christmas episodes, and Season 11.
For long time fans, confirmation the series will eventually return is always good news. The show was put on a hiatus after its 1989 season and would remain so for 14 years. That gap, now called the Wilderness Years, saw the one-off Doctor Who TV movie and a lot of wishful thinking until the 2005 revival was announced. As a result, fans will also accept the delay after some initial gnashing of teeth.
In the meantime, Doctor Who will appear once in 2019 for the New Year’s Day special, “Resolution” on January 1st, 2019.