Note: Doctor Who Series 7 // Jenna Coleman Peabody 2013 // Doctor Who 2012 logo
The seventh series marked Matt Smith's third and final full series as the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor. Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, who portray Amy Pond and Rory Williams respectively, departed the programme in the fifth episode. The circumstances in which the pair leave was a mutual decision from Gillan and showrunner Steven Moffat. The actress previously stated that she did not want to make return cameos to the show.
On 21 March 2012, it was announced that Jenna Coleman would replace Gillan and Darvill as the next companion. She auditioned for the role in secrecy, pretending it was for something called Men on Waves, an anagram for "Woman Seven". Moffat chose her for the role because she worked the best alongside Smith and could talk faster than him. He stated that her character will be different from previous companions, though he attempted to keep the details of her character a secret until she debuted in the Christmas special. In "Asylum of the Daleks", Coleman appears as the character Oswin Oswald, a secret which was kept from the public before transmission. Coleman was originally given the role of a Victorian governess named Jasmine, and then for the second audition she was given both the characters of Oswin and Clara. She originally thought that the producers were looking for the right character, but later realised it was part of Moffat's "soft mystery" plan.
Guest stars include David Gyasi, Rupert Graves, David Bradley, Riann Steele as Queen Nefertiti in episode 2, Ben Browder, Adrian Scarborough, Garrick Hagon, Steven Berkoff, Ruthie Henshall, Jemma Redgrave, Michael McShane. Dougray Scott, Jessica Raine, David Warner and Liam Cunningham in episode 8, Rachael Stirling and her mother Dame Diana Rigg in episode 11, and Warwick Davis in episode 12. Mark Williams appears in the second and fourth episodes as Rory's father. Alex Kingston returned to the series as her character River Song for Amy and Rory's final episode and the series finale. Richard E. Grant and Tom Ward were cast in the 2012 Christmas special, together with young actor Cameron Strefford playing a younger version of Grant's character. Ian McKellen also appears in the Christmas special, providing the original voice of the Great Intelligence. Grant later returned in the mid-series premiere and the series finale, portraying the Great Intelligence.
Writing and development
The BBC commissioned the fourteen-episode seventh series on 8 June 2011. "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe" was executive produced by Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger and Caroline Skinner. Beth Willis left the BBC and stepped down as executive producer after series 6 and Wenger also departed following the Christmas special, leaving Moffat and Skinner as executive producers for series 7. Marcus Wilson remained as series producer, with Denise Paul producing "The Bells of Saint John", "The Rings of Akhaten", "Nightmare in Silver" and "The Name of the Doctor". Production of Doctor Who relocated to the new Roath Lock studios in Cardiff midway through production of the series on 12 March 2012; the first episode to be filmed there is the Christmas special in Block Four, with the debut of Coleman's character; however it was reported that a later episode written by Neil Cross was the first Coleman filmed. Moffat has stated that the introduction of the new companion will "[reboot] the show a little bit" and "make you look at the Doctor differently".
Moffat has stated that the seventh series would be the opposite of the arc-driven nature of the sixth, consisting of mainly stand-alone stories. This was inspired by fan reactions to the title of "Let's Kill Hitler" when it was revealed at the end of "A Good Man Goes to War" with no plot details; he told the writers of the seventh series to "slut it up" with "big, huge, mad ideas" and "write it like a movie poster". Toby Whithouse, writer of the Wild West-themed third episode, stated that each episode would have more of a specific genre, and his was developed from a one-line pitch from Moffat. The stand-alone nature meant that there were no two-part episodes or series-long story arcs. According to Dan Martin of The Guardian, Moffat stated that the goal of the series was "compressed storytelling"; Martin remarked that "Asylum of the Daleks" told more than some of the four-parters in the classic series.
In keeping with the blockbuster theme, the title sequence for the first part of the series (up to and including "The Snowmen") features a different look to the titles and logo in the title sequence to reflect the concept of the episode. The Time Vortex in the title sequence has also been tinted blue and green. The interior of the TARDIS is redesigned starting with the Christmas special, which also features a new title sequence that, for the first time since the end of Season 26 in 1989, shows the Doctor's face, together with a new orchestration of the theme tune. Moffat had noticed that the TARDIS' design was getting "progressively whimsical" and resembled more of a "magical place" rather than a machine. The set was designed by series production designer Michael Pickwood, who stated that the new interior was also supposed to be "darker and moodier" and provide an easier access to the "gallery" of the ship when shooting. The new design allowed the entrance to be more central, and also returned the console to the look of the designs in the classic series.
In the Christmas special the Doctor sports a new costume, tying into the purple colour scheme, which Smith described as "a bit Artful Dodger meets the Doctor". Moffat described the new outfit as a "progression" as the Doctor was in "a different phase of his life now" and felt more "grown-up" and fatherlike. In the second half of the series, Moffat intended to show the Doctor not dressing exactly the same way each time, similar to the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), who did not wear exactly the same clothes but retained a common "look".
The seventh series began shooting on 20 February 2012. Episodes 2 and 3 were the first to enter production, directed by Saul Metzstein. Much of the Wild West episode was filmed in March 2012 in the desert area of Almería, Spain, an area which contains Wild-West style streets that have been used in the making of many Western-set films. Filming the episode in Spain was cheaper than constructing a set in the UK. The fifth episode, Amy and Rory's last, was filmed in Central Park in New York City in April 2012, as well as at Cardiff University and a cemetery in Llanelli. The fourth episode was then filmed next; the only episode in the third block of production. Doctor Who Magazine reported that the Christmas special would be produced by itself in Block Four. In late May 2012, Coleman was spotted at a manor in the Vale of Glamorgan, filming what was reported to be the Christmas special. However, Neil Cross's episode, reportedly the first Coleman shot, was partially filmed in Margam Country Park, South Wales around the same time; and it was reported that the manor location was also for that episode, and that Moffat was still writing the Christmas special. "Cold War" and "The Crimson Horror" were filmed in July 2012. The Christmas special began filming the week of 6 August. "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" finished filming in September 2012. "The Bells of Saint John" was filmed in London from 8–16 October 2012.. "The Rings of Akhaten" became the 100th episode produced since the series returned in 2005, although "The Crimson Horror" was the 100th aired. Scenes for "Nightmare in Silver" were filmed in early November 2012, showing a new design for the Cybermen.
Production blocks were arranged as follows:
|X||"The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe"||Farren Blackburn||Steven Moffat||Marcus Wilson|
|1|| "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"|
"A Town Called Mercy"
|Saul Metzstein|| Chris Chibnall|
|2|| "Asylum of the Daleks"|
"The Angels Take Manhattan"
|Nick Hurran||Steven Moffat||Marcus Wilson|
|3||"The Power of Three"||Douglas Mackinnon||Chris Chibnall||Marcus Wilson|
| Jamie Payne|
| Neil Cross|
|5|| "The Crimson Horror"|
|Saul Metzstein|| Mark Gatiss|
|6||"Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS"||Mat King||Stephen Thompson||Marcus Wilson|
|7||"The Bells of Saint John"|
"The Rings of Akhaten"
| Colm McCarthy|
| Steven Moffat|
|8|| "Nightmare in Silver"|
"The Name of the Doctor"
| Stephen Woolfenden|
| Neil Gaiman|
Smith, Gillan, Darvill, Moffat, and Skinner all promoted the series at the official Doctor Who convention in Cardiff in March 2012. At the convention the first trailer for the series premiered. Three promotional images of Smith and Coleman were released on 8 June, 11 June, and 13 June. New footage was shown at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International on 15 July, consisting of clips from the second and third episodes. The second trailer for the series aired on the BBC on 2 August, as part of the coverage of the London Olympics. The 90-second trailer and a promotional image were first made available online in the morning of 2 August. "Asylum of the Daleks" was screened at BFI Southbank on 14 August, and at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival during 23–25 August. On 25 August it was also screened in New York City. Following the BFI screening, around twenty high-resolution images from the first five episodes were released on the BBC's Doctor Who website. A teaser trailer for "Asylum of the Daleks" was released on 18 August 2012, with a longer version released on 25 August. On 29 August at midnight, the BBC released poster-style artwork for episodes 2–5.
A trailer for the second half of the series first appeared at the end of "The Snowmen". The second was released 16 March 2013. A first picture and the title of "The Bells of Saint John" was released by the BBC on 1 March 2013. "The Bells of Saint John" was first screened to the press on 15 March, though the press was not allowed to release information until 18 March. On 18 March, the BBC released poster-style artwork for episodes 7–10. The prologue and trailer for "The Bells of Saint John" were released on 23 March 2013, and another picture was released on 26 March 2013. On 18 April 2013, the BBC released more poster-style artwork for episodes 11–13. On 19 April 2013, the title and poster for "The Name of the Doctor" were released. The prologue to the finale, "She Said, He Said" was released on 11 May 2013 on BBC Red Button and on-line. Viewers using Red Button were able to access the prologue between 7:40 until midnight every evening, until "The Name of the Doctor" aired on 18 May 2013.