News broke last night that BBC Three have commissioned a new Doctor Who spin-off called ‘Class‘ based at Coal Hill School. It’ll be 8 x 45min episodes written by the ‘young adult’ author Patrick Ness, best know for his Chaos Walking trilogy and A Monster Calls. The writer said “I’m astounded and thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe, which is as vast as time and space itself. There’s so much room there for all kinds of amazing stories, and to work with Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin to find a place to tell one of my own has been an absolute joy. I can’t wait for people to meet the heroes of Class, to meet the all-new villains and aliens, to remember that the horrors of the darkest corners of existence are just about on par with having to pass your A-Levels.”
Set in contemporary London, the show is said to be about “incredible dangers are breaking through the walls of time and space, and with darkness coming, London is unprotected…” It does raise a few interesting questions. Clara teaches at Coal Hill, but we know she’s leaving Who this year to play Queen Victoria on ITV, which would probably write her out of the new series. But why wouldn’t she go back to teaching if she’s leaving the Doctor? That possibly doesn’t bode well for the Impossible Girl… Speaking of companions, it was referenced that former companion Ian Chesterton is Chairman of the Governors at Coal Hill. Could it be we’ll see more of him in this spin-off?
The new show will, of course, be exec produced by Who head honcho Steven Moffat, along with Patrick Ness and Who exec producer Brian Minchin. Moffat is a fan of Ness, and said of the new show “No one has documented the dark and exhilarating world of the teenager like Patrick Ness, and now we’re bringing his brilliant storytelling into Doctor Who. This is growing up in modern Britain – but with monsters!”
Class will be filmed in Wales in Spring 2016, and premiere on BBC Three later in the year (presumably that will be after the channel has moved online if all goes to plan), and then be repeated on BBC1 at a later date.