Doctor Who Series 12 Trailer: Full Breakdown

Before we get started, just a quick reminder that my latest novella, Hollow, is now available for purchase! If you're only here for the Doctor Who content and don't care about my writing, that's fine…however, just so you know, my Afterverse books are very Doctor-Who-ish. 😀 Plus, selling books is how I keep this blog going so that I can keep bringing you reviews and other good stuff. Your support is appreciated!

The first full trailer for Doctor Who Series 12 is FINALLY. HERE. I mean, honestly, what was the point of all these months of near-radio-silence from the BBC? Sorry, I digress…

Anyway, I was pretty apprehensive about the trailer, but I gotta say…it's good. Very, very good. Time will tell whether the actual TV episodes live up to the marketing, but given the shoddy marketing we got last year, I'm feeling a lot more encouraged right now. I liked basically everything about the trailer…barring one small criticism I will save for the end of this breakdown.

Let's dig in and see what nuggets of information we can find. Credit where credit is due: the photos used for this breakdown come from the excellent Whovian news site Doctor Who TV. Visit their blog to see a full gallery of pics from the trailer. Sorry if the images here are blurry; I'm having some trouble with my graphics optimizer but the issue should resolve itself in time.

SPOILER WARNING: This breakdown includes spoilers for Series 10 of Doctor Who.

Ooh, nice place. I'd vacation here. (It's probably someplace famous, but I don't recognize it. Feel free to call me a Philistine in the comments. Wouldn't be the first time.)

“The name's Doctor. THE Doctor.”

Not bothering with the psychic paper, I see. Also, the TARDIS wardrobe apparently has some fancy tuxes. Either that, or the Doctor rented them from someplace that wants them back three thousand years from now.

“The security of this entire planet is at stake.”

Looks like a pod of some kind hitting Earth's upper atmosphere…

BEHIND YOU, DOCTOR. Of course, that may just be one of the companions.

Aaaand giant space lasers. Earth can't catch a break.

Can't see this thing very clearly, but those look like huge teeth, so I'm going to go with “not friendly.”

Brainy goggles or sonic goggles? Either way, they look fantastic.

“Can we rely upon you?” An echo of what Doctor Who fans are asking Chris Chibnall this year…

Stephen Fry finally shows up on Doctor Who–apparently not playing himself, so sadly, I don't think we'll get any jokes about his marriage to River Song. I'm guessing he's the Prime Minister or some other figure of authority. I do love this, since the Doctor and her companions being called in by the UK government to assist with an alien menace is refreshingly old-school…but where is UNIT??? If Kate Stewart and her team don't show up in this episode (which is the series premiere, by the way) I'll be very disappointed. (But I'll probably still enjoy it so long as the writing is good.)

“I'm not where I wanted to be, but I can work with this.”

Love the humor here. This moment feels very Eleventh-Doctor, and not just because of the bow tie. Looks like the Doctor and some poor woman she's probably roped into helping her are trapped under floorboards. Can't wait to find out how that happened.

A spaceship…leaving a cloudy atmosphere or navigating a really dense starfield? I'm not quite sure which.


Inside someplace futuristic…maybe the same spaceship from the previous shot, maybe not.

“FRO! JO! KO!”

YES. Judoon. Finally, the old monsters are returning. I'm particularly interested to find out what role the Judoon's masters, the Shadow Proclamation, play in this story. Since they're the peacekeepers of the universe by default after the disappearance of the Time Lords, what are they up to these days? We haven't actually heard from them since “The Magician's Apprentice,” and that was a very brief appearance. All we know is that they're still allies of the Doctor…or are they?

“What?” Graham and Yaz, someplace Earth-y…

The Doctor, someplace possibly less Earth-y (though it's hard to tell. I think I see something shiny and futuristic in the background.).


Despite superficial similarities, this scary lady is NOT a Racnoss. She is, however, Anjli Mohindra, best known to Who fans as Rani (no, not that Rani) from the Sarah Jane Adventures. She's also done some work for Big Finish Productions in Doctor Who audio dramas, playing different characters.

I'm guessing this shot is from the Mary Shelley/Cybermen episode (though I could be wrong about that). Perhaps the woman is Mary Shelley? Which could make the man her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Now, I'll admit that I'm not particularly pleased about the TV series treading on territory that's already been covered by the audio dramas–Big Finish made a quite excellent Eighth Doctor story featuring Mary Shelley and Cybermen several years ago. However, given that this trailer looks very strong overall, I'm willing to consider forgiving this retcon if the episode is good. (Plus, it's Doctor Who; what does continuity really matter anyway?)

“I don't suppose you've seen anything weird around here?”

I love it when Thirteen goes steampunk. Looks as if this shot is from the Mary Shelley episode as well. Also, someone or something shoots at the Doctor right after she speaks, so I'm assuming the question was ironic.

Big domey thing. Alien planet, I'm guessing.

“You believe this is alien?” Keep up, mate.

This guy's accent sounds American, so I may actually be wrong both about him being Percy Shelley and these shots being from the Shelley episode. (It could be Scottish, but I don't think so; plus I'm fairly sure Shelley didn't have a Scots accent.) Maybe the Doctor and her friends are in 1800's New York, or something, which would make this a completely different story.

Accident-prone robot spider. Still scary, though. Also, great effects in this shot. Once again, I'm not sure which episode it's from…not enough clues on the poster in the background for me to be sure if it's America or the UK.

“What's the plan?” Since this is the Doctor we're talking about, I'll be shocked if there actually is one.

“You trust me, don't you?” Um…no. Definitely not.

There's no foot pushing the gas pedal down in this scene. Not a good sign for the passengers…


Yeah, that's probably what I'd be saying if I was stuck in a car being driven by either an insane computer, an invisible alien, or a ghost. (Glad to see Tosin Cole getting a comedic moment; he's not the strongest companion actor I've ever seen thus far, but he's pretty good at comedy.)

“Have I got to answer that?”

Oh, Graham…never change. And never die, please, if you can possibly help it. Poor guy, what has the Doctor attached to his head???

Thirteen on a motorcycle. I approve.

Lenny Henry, the second celebrity guest star appearing in the opener. Seems very pleased to be shooting at somebody. Is he a hero or a villain?

“Where are we?” Still having trouble with the TARDIS navigation, Doctor?

“Paris, 1943.” Initially, I thought the question and the answer were cut together from two separate episodes. However, the next shot confirms that the Paris scenes are from the premiere, since the Doctor's still wearing her tuxedo. (Actually, I'm not 100% certain that the tuxedo scenes are from the premiere, since the Doctor's got her regular costume on when she meets with Stephen Fry, but I have a feeling they are, since I know those scenes were shot very early in filming this year.) So that means the Doctor must have traveled back from the present day to 1943 Paris during the premiere episode. There are rumors that this premiere will be a two-parter, consisting of a New Year's Special and a second part on January 4th, followed by the rest of the series. No confirmation of that yet, though.

“Oh, no.”

The Doctor's apparently not happy about her arrival in wartime Paris. The question is, why? World War II would be the obvious answer, but what if there's another reason?

“Something's coming for me.”

This is where things start to get very dark, and very interesting. I'll be very surprised if this line and the pictured scene are not directly connected to an overall arc for Series 12. Who or what is hunting the Doctor? Also, she appears to be looking at the back of her hand or wrist in this shot; why?

LOVE the battered, rusty look of the Cyberman here. Much creepier than the shiny ones we usually see. These shots must be from the Mary Shelley story.

“I can feel it.”

If I was to go by what the trailer seems to be indicating here, I'd assume that the Cybermen are what's coming for the Doctor. However, trailers are frequently misleading, so I'm not too sure about that. It would be very interesting if that were the case, though. First of all, the Doctor lost a companion and a regeneration when she last faced the Cybermen, but dealt a lot of damage to them as well. Is this Cyberman out for revenge? Could it be a survivor from the Cyber-ship in “World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls”? Also, speaking of survivors, Missy's body was last seen on that same Cyber-ship…and Missy is not in the habit of staying dead. Could she be the one coming for the Doctor; perhaps in a new incarnation? I know the John Simm Master said she couldn't regenerate, but he's the one who came back from a pile of ashes. People who live in glass coffins shouldn't shoot lasers.

Yes, I'm aware that made absolutely no sense. Moving on.

Ryan: “Let it come.”

Yaz: “‘Cause we're your mates.”

Graham: “Family.”

Awwww…you're all gonna die. I hope not…but nobody survives for long after saying stuff like that to the Doctor.

The Doctor looks really intense in this scene. I hope this signals a darker character arc for her in Series 12.

Something's chewing up the scenery.

The outlines of these creatures look a little like 1980's Cybermen, but that's probably not what they are.

“Get away from them!” Possibly not referring to the same creatures from the previous shot.

Yeah, you know what happens now…here it comes…”Are you my mummy?” Sorry. It was inevitable. Cool guns; definitely alien.

Initially, I thought this shot was inside the TARDIS, but now I'm pretty sure it's not. More likely an alien planet or spaceship, which is getting shot up by someone or something.

Yaz: “I didn't know anything could get into the TARDIS.”

The outline of this ghostly creature looks very similar to the possibly-but-probably-not-Cybermen in the earlier shot.

Something bad is going down inside the TARDIS. Whatever the fam is dealing with here must be pretty powerful.

“Neither did I.” Come on, Doctor; don't fib. Donna would be very disappointed in you.

“What have you brought here, Doctor?” (I think it's Graham speaking, but I'm not sure.)

Thirteen running very fast on a beach…

Things get very Alfred-Hitchcock for the TARDIS on the same beach.

An explosion in what appears to be some dystopian, futuristic landscape.

The Doctor: “I don't know.”

Yaz is crying, and Ryan doesn't look too happy either. Another ominous sign.

The last time the Doctor went on a plane trip at night, the plane got attacked by Cybermen and he ended up plummeting to Earth. I wonder if it will go any better this time?

Graham's in trouble, though it's hard to tell exactly what kind. What did I just say, Graham? DON'T DIE.

Yaz, apparently screaming in agony. Yikes.

The Doctor, looking very distraught in what may be the same desolate landscape from the explosion shot earlier. A very dark and foreboding coda to the trailer.

And here's where my only real criticism comes in…early 2020?? Seriously? I'm sure the BBC knows when Series 12 will air, so why be coy about it now? It's November, for pity's sake.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, the rumors say we can expect Series 12 to begin on New Year's Day. I've also heard that it will be going back to its usual Saturday slot, and that there will finally be a Christmas special again next year. All great news, if it's true.

On the whole, this is an excellent trailer, and a huge improvement on the promos for Series 11. The energy, action, and apparently high stakes make this feel like something from the Tenth-Doctor era. I don't know yet whether Series 12 will turn out better than the deeply-flawed season we got last year, but this trailer definitely gives me hope. Don't disappoint me, Chibnall.

What are your thoughts on this trailer? Share them with me in the comments below! And keep watching this blog for more thoughts on Series 12 as further news comes out. I plan to post weekly reviews of the episodes once they start airing.

Comments (4)

I always look forward to your reviews; I love the thoroughness, pictures and wit that you present.
I’m very excited for this new season of Doctor Who. I like the more serious tone that this trailer had and I’m hopeful that this means a return to the more “classic” eras of Tennant and Smith, because, frankly, I loved those seasons.
The monsters look properly scary and I like the balance of old and new baddies.
On a less Doctor Who note, I just ordered the paperback of Hollow off of Amazon. I’m in the seat of anxiously awaiting it’s arrival both because I’m excited to read it and scared of what I’ll find when I do.

Thank you! I appreciate it!

I enjoyed this breakdown; thanks for doing it and sharing it with us all!! 😊
Also, I added Hollow to my kindle last night, and I’m both very excited and very scared to read it. Yaaay. 😶

I’ve said it several times before and I’ll say it again: I really, REALLY hope we see UNIT before this series is over!! If the government is calling in the Doctor to help with a threat, that’s a good sign… maybe Thirteen can put in a word for the restoration of UNIT, at the very least.

I hope we see some connectivity to The Doctor Falls when Thirteen faces the Cybermen… but I’m not getting my hopes up too much. A reference to Bill or regeneration, perhaps, but I don’t see Chibnall doing much with Missy’s fate. Of course, I’d LOVE to be wrong… and some of the “expanded material” (specifically a moment in The Thirteenth Doctor comic) has implied that the Doctor doesn’t know what happened to Missy after she left to escape the Cyber-Ship with the Master.

I’m getting concerned about the “Fam” now. I don’t *think* they’ll be killed off this soon… but then again, who knows? Yaz looking so upset absolutely worries me – even with a lack of good writing for her so far, she’s generally known as “the level-headed one” who is cool under pressure and helps keep some actual sense in the messes the Doctor finds herself in. So whatever has her upset has to be big.

I’m curious to see if the arc for series 12, or any future storylines for Thirteen, are going to somehow connect to the discussion between Aaron and Ryan in the New Year’s special. I found some of Aaron’s lines there very interesting because they sound like a direct echo of what the Doctor has done throughout her past (accidentally hurt people and instead of trying to fix things, run out of fear and shame).

Alrighty, this has become a very long comment, I’m done now 😂

Thank you! Ha ha, no worries, I love long comments. XD Yeah, I don’t think Chibnall is going to do anything with Missy anytime soon, because that’s a really obvious route to take…I have a feeling we won’t see a new version of her until either late in Chibnall’s run or until the next showrunner comes along. But I do think he’s bringing *something* from the past back; I’m just not sure what. There are a few threads in S11 that could lead to something bigger, not just the Timeless Child but also those initials on the bag in Rosa (can’t even remember what they were now).

I agree, Yaz being that shaken is a big deal. I’m really curious to know what that moment is all about, though I suspect it will shred my feels. I am really attached to the Fam, despite the fact that they aren’t yet my favorite team of companions. That may come in time, however…and it will probably come right before they are cruelly ripped away from us, LOL.

I never thought about the conversation in Resolution that way; that’s a great point! Chibnall always played the long game with emotional payoff and subtle character arcs in Broadchurch, so it’s very plausible that he’s doing the same thing here. I suspect that maybe, just maybe, we’ll someday look back more fondly on Series 11 with the knowledge that some of the stuff which seemed boring in it at the time was actually worthwhile setup for stuff that came later. That may not be the case, but it’s possible. I hope so, at any rate.

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