Doctor Who forced to axe episodes from series 13 amid coronavirus chaos – making it the shortest in the show's history

DOCTOR Who's 13th series will be its shortest to date as the global coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll on TV production.

The BBC sci-fi hit released its 12th batch of episodes almost a year ago- so while the wait has been long, fans will no doubt take solace in knowing that season 13 is officially underway.

However, there will be just 8 episodes in total, rather than the usual 11.

Jodie Whittaker will return as The Doctor for her third series in the role.

Bosses stressed that the set will be entirely COVID-19 compliant with testing and social distancing to ensure the cast and crew are safe at all times.

Talking about the new series, Showrunner Chris Chibnall said: “In this strangest of years, the Doctor Who production team have worked wonders to get the show back into production.

"We’re thrilled to be back making the show. Given the complexity of making Doctor Who, and with new and rigorous COVID working protocols, it’s going to take us a little longer to film each episode, meaning we expect to end up with eight episodes, rather than the usual eleven.

"But rest assured, the ambition, humour, fun and scares you expect from Doctor Who will all still be firmly in place. For everyone around the world, this is a challenging period — but the Doctor never shirks from a challenge!”

Matt Strevens, Executive Producer BBC Studios, added: “We are so thrilled to have unlocked the TARDIS, dusted down the sonic and be able to start filming again for the next series of Doctor Who.

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"The amazing production team, crew and cast have worked wonders to get us shooting again in these challenging times. It’s going to be as fun filled and action packed as ever – with plenty of surprises.”

Piers Wenger, Controller BBC Drama, said: “We are thrilled that filming series 13 of Doctor Who is now underway. The team have gone to great lengths to safely bring the TARDIS back to BBC One.

"We are all looking forward to seeing what adventures are in store for the Doctor but whilst we await her return, we can all look forward to the festive special.”

Fans will remember how in the dramatic series 12 finale the fate of the Doctor was seemingly left hanging in the balance after she was locked away in an eternal prison.

In the upcoming festive special, titled Revolution of the Daleks, the Doctor’s best friends Yaz (played by Mandip Gill), Ryan (played by Tosin Cole) and Graham (played by Bradley Walsh) have to pick up their lives without her.

However they soon discover a disturbing plan forming involving one of the Doctor’s biggest and most feared enemies – the Daleks.

Doctor Who is available to stream now on BBC iPlayer now.

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