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1/19/2012 12:52:00 pm - Reported by John Bowman

As full production gets nearer, here is a roundup of current information known about the forthcoming seventh new series of Doctor Who.

Production

January 3rd saw producer Marcus Wilson announce a start to the new year on Twitter: "Back in Cardiff. Series 7 Production office open for business - here we go again." He also observed: "Just worked out this year we're making the hundredth ep of DW since the series returned. Nice milestone. There should be a cake!"

As far as the Series 7 writers are concerned, Mark Gatiss intimates in the Production Notes of the latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine that he is penning an episode. Previously, we reported that Torchwood scribe John Fay had been commissioned to write for the upcoming series, and his agency, Culverhouse & James Ltd, has updated its website entry on him to state that he has written for the show.

Filming for the series is expected to begin in February.

Series schedule

An interview with Steven Moffat that was published by The Scotsman shortly before the Christmas special aired tackled the thorny issue of Series 7's scheduling and how many episodes will be shown this year and next. Asked to shed light on it, he said: "I can clarify that we start shooting in mid-February, but I can't tell you what the schedule is. What headlines are you planning for that time of year? I’ve only just found out what the transmission schedule is for Sherlock, and I've finished making that. I've barely started writing Doctor Who. Loads of things are in flux, all for good reasons actually."

Where 2013 and the show's 50th anniversary are concerned, Moffat gave a strong hint that fans may get more than one special episode. "Why talk in the singular? Again, genuinely, the plans are at an early stage, but we have some very clear ideas about some of the things we're doing, and I think Doctor Who fans and kids will think it's the best thing ever. We've got a load of very big plans – the mere fact that we're talking about this two years before the event should tell you how seriously we're taking it."

During a video interview at this year's Radio Times covers party, which was uploaded yesterday, Moffat said of the show's 50th anniversary: "I promise you, for so many reasons I can't talk about yet, there will never be a better time to be a Doctor Who fan, I absolutely promise that."

He also said the series would be returning this year on an unspecified date in the autumn "for a long run" but he wouldn't be pinned down on its length. However, he stated that it would comprise at least 14 episodes, as it would include a Christmas special. "We always do 14 because we do the Christmas special as well and obviously we start in the autumn with the Christmas special as part of the run, so it'll be at least 14," he said.

Sidekicks

As we await an official announcement regarding Amy and Rory's replacement aboard the TARDIS following their upcoming departure, speculation continues in the press. After an enigmatic tweet by showrunner Steven Moffat, the Daily Star reckons Sophia Myles could be the one. What doesn't help the Star in the credibility stakes, though, is the photo it is currently using to accompany the article - the caption states that it depicts Myles but it is actually of Karen Gillan as Jean Shrimpton in We'll Take Manhattan, to be shown next Thursday on BBC Four at 9pm.

Meanwhile, in an interview for Radio Times in its new edition, which features her on the cover, Gillan talks about leaving the programme. "It was a completely mutual agreement," she insists. "Steven Moffat and I decided when would be the best time for Amy to go." Gillan might know when she's going but she doesn’t know how - only that Moffat has promised it will be heartbreaking. "I'd like to see her go out in flames of glory," she says.

One name that has resurfaced as potential companion material is that of Miranda Hart. It was widely reported last summer that she had been offered a role in the show by Steven Moffat but had been stopped from accepting it by BBC One controller Danny Cohen, who wanted her to focus on her comedy. Now it seems that her name is being bandied about again. Please note, though, that it is pure conjecture and may not even relate to a companion role. Last month we reported how Ladbrokes was offering odds of 4/1 for Jessica Brown Findlay as the new companion, with Lily Cole at 6/1, Daisy Lowe at 10/1, and Chelsee Healey at 12/1.