And we have lift-off - well, sort of. While Series 7 of Doctor Who doesn't begin filming until the 20th of February, it does start production on the 13th and spoilers are already leaking for the upcoming year.
The BBC have released this press statement ...
It's almost time. New monsters are becoming real, old friends are returning to Cardiff and somewhere in Wales, a tweed jacket is being taken from its hanger and lovingly dusted off. It can only mean one thing... Filming on the new series of Doctor Who begins on 20 February, 2012! The first director to shout 'action' will be the award-winning Saul Metzstein whose previous credits include Micro Men (starring Alexander Armstrong and Martin Freeman), the critically acclaimed Late Night Shopping and BBC Wales' Upstairs Downstairs. For the very first time, Doctor Who will be produced at the new BBC Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff, which officially open in March. The production team includes Steven Moffat (Executive Producer and lead writer), Caroline Skinner (Executive Producer) and Marcus Wilson (Producer). The new series will see Matt Smith return as the Doctor in what Steven Moffat has described as 'the biggest, the best and the most ambitious season we've ever made'. Karen Gillan (Amy) and Arthur Darvill (Rory) are both back, for what will be their final voyage with the Doctor - a thrilling rollercoaster ride which will culminate in a heart-breaking farewell to the Ponds. But there will be more shocks, surprises and adventures to come when the Doctor meets a new friend, in the last very place he could ever have expected... And yes! We've been promised the return of some old monsters, but some new and terrifying ones lie in wait for the Doctor.
I'm not sure what old monsters are exactly returning but I did hear rumours of the Yeti, which would be excellent in a Christmas special, as would the Ice Warriors come to think of it and surely, we're due another Master story. I mean, he's been absent for two full seasons at this point. As for Amy and Rory's heartbreaking exit - surely River is going to factor into this somehow? Looking forward to the new person but I guess we'll have to wait another two or three months before the casting's been announced.
In terms of writers for the seventh series, Moffat will be penning five episodes out of the fourteen scheduled, Mark Gatiss will be submitting another script, John Fay has been rumoured and DWM 444 has confirmed that both Toby Whithouse and Chris Chibnall will be penning episodes as well for the upcoming year. Whithouse's script will be the third one of the season and Chibnall's will feature one of the biggest sets the show's ever used. I'm a huge fan of the former's work and a bit cautious of the latter but I'm hoping for a new writer thrown into the mix as well.
Series 7 begins filming on February 20th with transmission pegged for Autumn 2012.