'Doctor Who': Release date, cast and plot for Jodie Whittaker's final episode
Watch: Doctor Who - The Power of the Doctor trailer
2022 has been one of Doctor Who’s occasional 'Specials' years, rounding out the era of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor, Mandip Gill as her faithful companion Yasmin 'Yaz' Khan, and, behind the scenes, Chris Chibnall as head writer and executive producer.
Following the New Year special Eve Of The Daleks and the Easter episode Legend Of The Sea Devils, the third and final special, The Power Of The Doctor sees a host of returning friends and foes to see the current incarnation of the Time Lord to her inevitable regeneration.
Read more: Everything we know about the upcoming Doctor Who specials
Like most of the Thirteenth Doctor's adventures, it's written by Chibnall and directed by another regular of this era, Jamie Magnus Stone. And as expected, the big plot details and surprises are locked up behind the TARDIS doors until transmission.
But beyond the knowledge that our hero dies at the end of this feature-length special, here’s everything you need to know about The Power Of The Doctor…
When is The Power Of The Doctor on TV?
The Power Of The Doctor will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK on Sunday 23 October 2022 at 7:30 p.m. As usual, the episode’s premiere will also be simulcast by broadcasters in some territories, including BBC America in the USA.
With a 90-minute runtime, The Power Of The Doctor is the longest single episode of Doctor Who since the American-produced 1996 TV movie that saw Sylvester McCoy regenerate into Paul McGann at the turn of the millennium.
That film was designed as a pilot for a US-backed McGann series that never came to pass, whereas this seems rather more climactic.
This final special was commissioned as part of a season of shows celebrating 100 years of the BBC, following the centenary on 18 October.
Chibnall has hinted in interviews that there will be some tributes to the broadcaster in the episode proper, but frankly, that might be the stacked cast of returning characters from the show’s history.
Who’s in The Power Of The Doctor?
As in Series 13 and its accompanying specials, Team TARDIS comprises the Doctor, Yaz, and their new friend and long-haired lubber from Liverpool, Dan Lewis. So, Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, and John Bishop will presumably be top billed again.
It’s the guest cast that’s markedly different, starting with returning baddies Sacha Dhawan as the Master and Patrick O’Kane as Ashad the Lone Cybermen. Nicholas Briggs will also return as the voice of the Daleks and the Cybermen, a role he’s fulfilled in the TV show since their first new-series appearances in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
Most excitingly for fans of Doctor Who‘s original run, the special stars some former companions we haven’t seen on TV since the 1980s – Sophie Aldred as Ace and Janet Fielding as Tegan.
Also on the Doctor’s side, Kate Stewart is back as UNIT head Kate Stewart, and Jacob Anderson reprises his role as space pilot Inston-Vee Vinder.
In the run-up to the premiere, rumours abound about other returning regulars, which wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for the Doctor’s swansong.
We’d also expect to glimpse the next Doctor, played by Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa, in the customary post-regeneration cameo.
What happens in The Power Of The Doctor?
This section contains potential spoilers and speculation about The Power Of The Doctor.
Regeneration or no regeneration, you don’t get 90 minutes to tell a small story, and The Power Of The Doctor should be a suitably grand finale. According to the BBC’s official synopsis:
“In this feature-length special to mark her last adventure, Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor must fight for her very existence, against her deadliest enemies: the Daleks, the Cybermen and her arch-nemesis, the Master.”
Like last year’s sprawling season-long serial, Flux, this story will traverse a lot of time and space too.
Read more: Jodie Whittaker's emotional last scene on Doctor Who
The trailers and marketing have suggested that we’ll see a bullet train in space, a gallery where history’s greatest paintings are being stolen or defaced, and the Russian court in 1916, where Rasputin holds Tsar Nicholas in thrall.
Other lingering storylines from this era include Dan's home life, Yaz's unfulfilled romantic interest in the Doctor, and our hero's newly discovered pre-history as a mercenary for the Time Lords.
That’s a lot to get through when the Daleks, the Cybermen, and the Master are all on the go as well. But given how Flux and the three 2022 specials all had to contend with the same COVID guidelines that have affected other TV and film productions from 2020 onwards, there’s no faulting Chibnall’s ambition in bringing this era to a close.
Whatever The Power Of The Doctor has in store, it’s gonna be big…
Doctor Who - The Power of the Doctor will air at 7:30pm on Sunday, 23 October on BBC One.