‘Doctor Who’ Universe Expanding With Young-Adult Spinoff Series ‘Class’

BBC America will premiere a young-adult Doctor Who spinoff series, titled Class, that will debut at some point in 2016. The news was confirmed at the recent TCA press tour panel. The series marks the fourth officially commissioned BBC Doctor Who TV production, with the former three being K9 and Company (1981), Torchwood (2006), and The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007).

Helmed by bestselling author Patrick Ness, Class is set in contemporary London and will shoot in Wales. BBC-3 will air the eight-episode Doctor Who spinoff overseas before its American premiere. Screencrush shared the official description for Class.

“Class is a YA series set in contemporary London. Incredible dangers are breaking through the walls of time and space, and with darkness coming, London is unprotected. With all the action, heart and adrenalin of the best YA fiction (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Hunger Games), this is Coal Hill School and Doctor Who like you’ve never seen them before.”

The series is exec produced by Ness and Doctor Who executive producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin.

“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!” said Moffat, who recently revealed that he is actively looking for his replacement on Britain’s staple sci-fi adventure series.

Class is the first TV series for Ness, who wrote the six bestselling and critically acclaimed young-adult novels. He also penned the screenplay for the adaptation of his kids’ fantasy novel A Monster Calls, which is slated for a 2016 release and stars Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, and Felicity Jones, per Variety.

“I’m astounded and thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe, which is as vast as time and space itself,” said Ness. “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.”

Class was commissioned by BBC 3 controller Damian Kavanagh and Polly Hill, controller of BBC Drama Commissioning. The distinction between officially licensed productions of Doctor Who and “other productions” is that the “latter will generally contain a monster or element of Doctor Who (licensed from the original holder) and then produced without BBC licensed elements.”

“We’re excited to give Patrick Ness this opportunity to work with us at BBC Three and the ‘Doctor Who’ family,” said Kavanagh. “Patrick understands young audiences and I’m delighted he will use his incredible skills as a storyteller to delight audiences on BBC Three. BBC Three will always innovate and offer opportunities for brilliant new talent.”

BBC America president Sarah Barnett announced in a statement, “We aim to cut through the noise and provide the innovation and originality our fans have come to love and celebrate. We’re excited about a fresh twist on the Doctor Who universe, an unconventional take on the crime drama that keeps you guessing at every turn.”

Shortly after the release of the original Doctor Who series, which ran from 1963 to 1989, at least three stage plays were created. Following the success of the 2005 reboot of the series, the 13-episode spinoff Torchwood debuted the following year. It aired four series between 2006-2011, which were geared for an older audience. During its run, the show explored a number of controversial themes, including existentialism and homosexual and bisexual relationships. Since its end, fans have called for a reboot of Torchwood, and there have been whispers that it could make a return, but BBC has yet to make an official announcement. However, series star John Barrowman has confirmed that Torchwood will return in the form of several BBC radio plays that could lead to a Series 5 TV return.

While Class will have a short run — only eight 45-minute episodes — Peter Capaldi is expected to reprise his role as the 12th Doctor in the series.

Are you excited about this “fresh twist” on the Doctor Who universe?

[Image via BBC]