BBC bosses want Doctor Who to feel like “a brand new show” under incoming boss Chris Chibnall… so we can expect a whole new line-up in 2018.
Insiders say the Broadchurch writer will have a “clean slate” to start afresh for his first series – rather bad news for actress Pearl Mackie, who plays new assistant Bill in Steven Moffat’s last run, currently filming for next year.
Pearl, 29, yet to be seen by viewers, is said to have been signed on a one-year contract and is expected to depart with Peter Capaldi, 58, and Moffat after 2017’s Christmas special.
The replacement Time Lord is likely to be played by a younger actor in a bid to help boost the flagging sales of dolls, books, DVDs and toys.
Our source says: “BBC management wants a return to the format from the David Tennant era, when you had a dashing male lead and young female companion.
“Merchandising has dropped off sharply in recent years and there is a strong desire to boost the show’s popularity among kids.”
One way to do that, of course, is by returning to its traditional tea-time slot, rather than the post-Strictly position it languished in last year.
Next year’s show is expected to air in spring rather than autumn, to avoid the Saturday clash with Strictly.