In four weeks time, it will be the eve of the new Doctor Who spin-off, Class. At last, the BBC today announced the show, written by Patrick Ness, will premiere on Saturday 22nd October. When the production Class was first announced back in late 2015, we knew very little about it. To be honest, not a lot has changed since then. We know the cast, we know it’ll be set at Coal Hill Academy and we know there will be eight episodes, each lasting forty-five minutes. However we still don’t know what sort of tone Ness will try to create. Will it be family friendly? Will it be as dark and gruesome as Torchwood? Will it link to series 10 or past adventures we’ve seen from the Doctor Who universe. You’d suspect there will be ties to previous storylines, after all the setting of Coal Hill Academy would be a pointless feature if the series didn’t link with Doctor Who. I’ve spoken to Christopher Bryant and the Gallifrey Stands Podcast to find out what they think the new spin-off might be like.
Firstly I asked them what they expected from the show.
Christopher: I’m hoping it will be as good as The Sarah Jane Adventures. Realistically, I think it might be a bit like Wizards vs Aliens but hopefully more engaging as I lost interest in that series. I am looking forward to it and will be watching. I couldn’t believe the negativity when it was announced.
Gallifrey Stands Podcast: I’m of course going to watch Class, there isn’t a Who spin off I wouldn’t try. I feel like it needs to justify where it deserves to exist. The Sarah Jane Adventures & Torchwood both had their own angle to come from. I’m really excited to see how & if they can do that.
How do you think Class will compare to the Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood?
Christopher: I’ll be happy if it is comparable. It needs to find its own identity.
Gallifrey Stands Podcast: I think the Sarah Jane Adventures found what it was straight away & I felt Torchwood found its feet after the first series & just got better. I don’t think Class will be or should be similar. It needs to find its own corner of the sky & give us a reason for loving it.
Should the Doctor appear in Class? If he doesn’t should Class feature in Doctor Who “Journey’s End” style?
Christopher: It really doesn’t matter. I guess some crossover is inevitable and probably necessary even if only in dialogue. The two Sarah Jane Adventures episodes when the Doctor guest starred were amongst the best, but it’s hardly compulsory. Certainly let’s leave the series separate for season one.
Gallifrey Stands Podcast: I really want the Doctor to appear. The times he did in the Sarah Jane Adventures, the writers were really clever and made him work within the story without taking the focus away from the regular cast. It would also be good for them to mix in classic enemies from the Whoniverse & some new monsters of their own. A crossover into the Doctor Who episode would be fun, that’s what spin-offs are all about.
It’s been rumoured one of the main characters will be an alien. What are your thoughts on this?
Christopher: Well, the plot needs to come from somewhere. Will they be like Luke Smith? Or Alien Nation? District 9? There’s certainly lots of potential.
Gallifrey Stands Podcast: Sure, why not! I think a mistake made by the main writers of Doctor Who is that we haven’t had an alien companion since the reboot. They don’t believe that we could handle it & still have empathy.
Finally, if Class is a success, should Patrick Ness be given the opportunity to write for Doctor Who, or should he stick to spin-offs?
Christopher: Patrick Ness is a very successful novelist. If Class works, why wouldn’t he be used on Doctor Who? If Frank C. Boyce can be invited back, all bets are off.
Gallifrey Stands Podcast: Patrick Ness could maybe help write a crossover event? At the end of the day any good writers should be open to the whole Doctor Who universe.
Thank you to Christopher and the Gallifrey Stands Podcast for contributing. If you’d like to hear more from them, their twitter handles are below. Are you looking forward to Class? What are your thoughts on the new series?
Gallifrey Stands Podcast: @DoctorSquee