BBC Three announced today a new show from current "Doctor Who" and "Sherlock" showrunner Steven Moffat and young adult writer Patrick Ness called "Class." Based in the same Coal Hill School where Clara Oswald currently teaches, Moffat promised it will focus on students' adventures "growing up in modern Britain - but with monsters!" and will draw heavily upon other similar ideas, such as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Said co-showrunner Patrick Ness, "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." Yup. High school is murder.
The series will have 8 hour-long episodes in its season, begin filming in the spring of 2016 and air later that year. It will join previous spinoff series like "Torchwood" and "The Sarah Jane Adventures."
While Moffat is a known quantity for Whovians (and you likely either hate him or really hate him), Patrick Ness is likely lesser known. So who is he? Born in America, degree from USC, he moved to Britain in 2005, where he is now married to his partner and a dual British/American citizen. Ness won back to back Carnegie Medals for his books Monsters of Men and A Monster Calls in 2011 and 2012, awarded by the British Librarians association for the best childrens/YA book published in Britain for the year. He is one of only seven writers to win two medals -- and no one has won three. He shares the distinction of winning consecutive medals with Peter Dickinson, who won in 1979 and 1980.
The second of the two books he won for, "A Monster Calls", is currently being filmed for release next year, with Liam Neeson playing the eponymous monster, who visits a young boy's room every night at 12:07 to tell him stories to comfort him about his mother's fight with terminal cancer. Ness also wrote the adapted screenplay, and someone must have liked it very much to give him the reins to work in the Whoniverse.
Ness is also no stranger to Doctor Who, having contributed the novella e-book "Tip of the Tongue" featuring the adventures of the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa to a collection of stories celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.
It will be interesting to continue to watch the rest of Season 9 and see what breadcrumbs Moffat leaves behind to tease the premiere of "Class." Also, the fact that the show is set in Clara's school but Jenna Coleman is not in the show leads us to believe that her ending is going to be oh-so-tragic. Perhaps this is what precipitates the events of "Class"? We'll have to wait and see.
For more analysis and news about the upcoming show and Season 9 reviews of Doctor Who, keep watching here at Big Shiny Robot! and also listen to the Who Virgin Podcast, brought to you by Big Shiny Robot, chronicling my first journey through Doctor Who (I'm finally caught up now! Yay!) Next week's episode we promise to bring you lots of analysis over "Class" from an actual young adult librarian, one of my co-hosts for the show. See you then.