A spin off of long running British science fiction programme Doctor Who has been announced. In a blog post on the BBC website, it was announced that the new series will be titled Class and will air eight forty five minute episodes on BBC Three in 2016. The programme will follow students at Coal Hill School, a recurring location in the adventures of Peter Capaldi’s (The Thick of It, World War Z) twelfth Doctor and is apparently trying to capture the spirit of acclaimed young adult fiction like The Hunger Games and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. To that end, the BBC has hired young adult author Patrick Ness (the Chaos Walking series, A Monster Calls) to develop the show.
Current Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat approves of the choice, saying “No one has documented the dark and exhilarating world of the teenager like Patrick Ness, and now we’re bringing his brilliant story-telling into Doctor Who. This is growing up in modern Britain – but with monsters!”
Ness himself is enthusiastic about the opportunity, saying “I’m astounded and thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe, which is as vast as time and space itself. There’s so much room there for all kinds of amazing stories, and to work with Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin to find a place to tell one of my own has been an absolute joy. I can’t wait for people to meet the heroes of Class, to meet the all-new villains and aliens, to remember that the horrors of the darkest corners of existence are just about on par with having to pass your A-Levels.”
Damian Kavanagh, the Controller of BBC Three said, “We’re excited to give Patrick Ness this opportunity to work with us at BBC Three and the Doctor Who family. Patrick understands young audiences and I’m delighted he will use his incredible skills as a storyteller to delight audiences on BBC Three. BBC Three will always innovate and offer opportunities for brilliant new talent,” while Polly Hill the Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning added “I am thrilled that Patrick Ness is writing his first drama series for BBC Three. The combination of Patrick and Steven Moffat, is an exciting partnership that has created a brilliant Doctor Who spin off for our BBC Three audience.”
Moffat and Ness will serve as executive producers on the show along with Doctor Who producer Brian Minchin. While no plans for any crossover episodes with Doctor Who were discussed, it certainly seems like a probability. Previous Doctor Who spin offs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures crossed over with the flagship series multiple times during their runs, with Torchwood characters playing prominent roles in the third and fourth series finales of the 2005 Doctor Who revival, and characters from The Sarah Jane Adventures also appearing in the latter of the two. Tenth Doctor David Tennant (Broadchurch, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith (Terminator: Genisys, Moses Jones) also made guest appearances on The Sarah Jane Adventures so a crossover between Doctor Who and the latest spin off seems not only possible, but likely.
The Doctor Who franchise has achieved remarkable success since it’s 2005 revival. The main series has already been renewed through 2020, encompassing another five series of the programme at least, while the more adult themed spin off Torchwood enjoyed a four series run before creator Russell T. Davies put the show on hiatus indefinitely for personal reasons. The Sarah Jane Adventures also enjoyed a great deal of popularity, before the show came to an end with it’s fifth series as a result of the untimely death of series lead Elisabeth Sladen. The franchise celebrated it’s fiftieth anniversary in 2013.