There are countless sci-fi fans out there who grew up watching Doctor Who, but according to showrunner Russell T Davies, the upcoming specials celebrating the franchise's 60th anniversary aren't necessarily going to be suitable for younger viewers.
While kids will almost certainly tune in, Davies issued the warning during a recent interview with The Telegraph.
"We do very scary stuff. Some stuff is quite violent. It’s not for children, it’s about children," he explains. "It’s not a children’s show but at the heart of it is an eight-year-old watching."
Oddly, Davies would go on to somewhat contradict himself by saying the first special, "The Star Beast," is "like a great big Pixar family film, like a bank holiday film - all the family watching, lots of laughs, a funny monster."
"The second one, Wild Blue Yonder, is darker. Not scary - it’s genuinely weird," he continued, adding that the third episode, titled "The Giggle," is "scary, nuts, completely mad, frightening. That one will scare you."
In the same interview, Davies talked about casting Yasmin Finney, a transgender actress, as Rose, the daughter of Donna Noble. "It’s not just a Doctor Who thing - it’s something I and a lot of other writers are very keen to do, to be progressive and reflect more of society," he says. "I think she does the most amazing job and it’s an absolute privilege to work with her and get her on screen."
Beyond what's shaping up to be an impressive cast, there's a huge amount of excitement surrounding Doctor Who's return, particularly as a cash injection from Disney+ is going to give the series a much-needed big-budget feel. However, the streamer has turned to Davies for guidance when it comes to understanding the quirky franchise.
"Sometimes you have to explain things to them. They will say, 'What’s this?' and 'What’s that?' But they love it," the showrunner reveals. "There is one episode that references Blink [a 2007 episode considered to be one of Doctor Who’s best] and they had never watched Blink. They’d never watched Blink! So they went and watched it and said, 'Oh my god, that’s a great episode.'"
How excited are you for Davies' Doctor Who return?
The three Doctor Who specials, titled "The Star Beast" (November 25), "Wild Blue Yonder" (December 2) and "The Giggle "(December 9) will reunite the Fourteenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Temple-Noble (Catherine Tate) as they come face-to-face with their most "terrifying" villain yet: the Toymaker (played by Neil Patrick Harris in his Doctor Who debut).
Other confirmed cast members include Yasmin Finney as Rose Temple-Noble, Miriam Margolyes as the voice of the Meep and Ruth Madeley as Shirley Anne Bingham, as well as returning characters Jacqueline King as Sylvia Noble, Karl Collins as Shaun Temple, and Jemma Redgrave as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart.
The 60th-anniversary specials are written by Russell T. Davies and directed by Rachel Talalay, Tom Kingsley, and Chanya Button, respectively.
Ncuti Gatwa takes control of the TARDIS as the Fifteenth Doctor over the festive period and the new season of Doctor Who will stream globally in 2024 on Disney+ and on the BBC in the UK and Ireland.