On October 18, 1922, the British Broadcasting Corporation will turn 100 years old. As the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcaster globally by the number of employees, the BBC is known worldwide. It is famously funded by a royal charter. It operates under an agreement with the secretary of state for digital, culture, media, and sport, a situation that began in 1927, five years after launch. With the top two longest-running shows in the history of television and ten in the Top 25, this anniversary plans to bring out the big guns in programming to help celebrate, including Doctor Who, the 60th anniversary of which is in 2023.
The big celebration for Doctor Who is in November of next year and will kick off a new era of the show, now under the guidance of Sony and Bad Wolf, with Russell T. Davies back at the helm and a new (as yet unknown) Doctor in the lead role. But that doesn't mean that the BBC's centennial celebration will be given short shrift, even if it's only 59 years for the program itself. After all, there's an outgoing Doctor to celebrate, a departing showrunner to leave his mark, and a couple of companions to see off. And the first trailer for it makes it look like an unexpected thrill ride.
The trailer also revealed a surprise pair of guest stars joining Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor, along with companions Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Dan (John Bishop). Showrunner Chris Chibnall is bringing back a pair of companions from the Classic Doctor Who era. Janet Fielding's Tegan Jovanka, one of the Fifth Doctor's companions, and Sophie Aldred's Ace, who was the Seventh Doctor's main companion and the last one of the Classic Who era, are both reprising their characters. Like any good revival, there's no pretending the time hasn't passed; they'll be joining in the fun after having not seen the Doctor in 30-40 years.
Sacha Dhawan returns for the feature-length episode as this iteration's version of The Master (the hottest, campiest version to date) and will probably also be exiting the series along with Whittaker. (It is an unspoken tradition that the Master actor changes when the Doctor actor changes, though the incoming regime could decide to break that rule.) It is also currently assumed Gill and Bishop will be saying their farewells along with Whittaker. Though companions have crossed over from Doctor to Doctor since the reboot, that's only when the Doctor changes under the same showrunner who wants continuity. So far, when the showrunner exits, it comes with a complete cast change.
According to Deadline, Davies' choice for his new Doctor is expected to arrive in the coming weeks. The last two casting announcements were made in the summer, with Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor announced in August 2013 and Whittaker in July 2018. It remains to be seen if the BBC and Bad Wolf are planning to hold the announcement that long or if fans will have a new Doctor announcement in hand by the summer solstice.
Doctor Who's next special is currently referred to simply as "The Thirteenth Doctor's Final Adventure," though it's uncertain if that is the finalized title or merely a placeholder. Either way, there's no confirmed debut date for the special, other than it will arrive as part of the BBC 100 celebrations in Autumn 2022, along with specials from Strictly Come Dancing, Top Gear, MasterChef, and Antiques Roadshow.