So did you stay up for the big announcement? Were you one of the bleary-eyed fans who delayed their bedtime on a weeknight to find out what the big deal was? And more importantly, what did you think of the news when it was finally revealed on Twitter at 11pm UK time on Thursday?
You’ll surely be aware by now that Doctor Who is to have another spin-off show, Class, set in Coal Hill School where incredible dangers will be breaking through to threaten the earth. Aimed at a young adult audience, the show will air next year on BBC3 and will be overseen by best-selling author Patrick Ness.
The danger with pre-announcing that a major piece of news is on its way is that some people are inevitably going to be disappointed when it doesn’t turn out to be what they were hoping for. Prior to the announcement some fans worked themselves up into a frenzy speculating that this could only mean a new companion, missing adventures found, online Eighth Doctor adventures, a movie in 2016 or any other longed-for project.
It’s probably fair to say that the reaction on Twitter was one of ‘anticipointment’ – that rather underwhelming feeling when something eagerly awaited just doesn’t live up to the hype. Although not universal, it seemed that the prospect of a YA series set in a comprehensive school really didn’t fill fans with unbridled joy.
It’s always a mistake, of course, to think that the voices on Twitter are in any way representative of the wider population. And it would surely be unfair to dismiss Class (is it me or does that feel like a working title?) before a single episode has been shot, let alone transmitted.
The most intriguing element of the news is surely the involvement of Patrick Ness, a hugely successful author who didn’t need to sign up for this new project to advance his writing career. The safe option would have been to hand the gig to someone who already has a few Doctor Who episodes under their belt rather than go with a writer new to television. Details are scarce so far as to the show’s format (eight 45 minute episodes are planned) but although Ness will be working with Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin as Executive Producers it’s probably safe to assume that Class will be very much his vision.
Views are divided as to the benefits of the new show having its home on BBC3, by then likely to be an online-only channel if the BBC Trust approves the corporation’s plans to save money by taking it off-air. Will the programme go unnoticed in the crowded ether of the Internet? Or will the channel moving online (and the prospect of repeat screenings for Class on BBC1) mean there could be more resources available?
Time will tell.
If nothing else the news demonstrates continued faith in Doctor Who among the BBC’s senior management which, for anyone feeling twitchy after a couple of weeks of headlines about massive falls in ratings, has to be welcome news.
So what do you think? How excited are you about enrolling in Class in 2016? Vote in our poll and let us have your comments below!