Doctor Who: Redacted becomes new BBC spin-off audio drama 

Juno Dawson, Jodie Whittaker, and Charlie Craggs

Doctor Who: Redacted becomes a new audio drama for the fictional serial exclusive to BBC Sounds.

Doctor Who: Redacted launches exclusively on BBC Sounds with a 10-part weekly series beginning 17 April to continue after the broadcast episode Legend of the Sea Devils.

Doctor Who: Redacted will tell the tale of three friends, Cleo, Abbey and Shawna, who bond over a conspiracy podcast ‘The Blue Box Files’, where everyone who has encountered a mysterious individual known only by the alias The Doctor has gone missing, with all references to them redacted from history.

Cleo Proctor, played by Charlie Craggs, will become the second transgender companion in the show’s history, the first being Tania Bell, featured in the Big Finish Production audio stories.

Written by bestselling author Juno Dawson, who is also an activist for trans rights, Doctor Who: Redacted will be the first time the BBC has introduced a trans companion to the show’s main narrative.

An official synopsis for the series reads: “What if this random police public call box was actually an alien ship?

“They don’t know who the Doctor is, or if aliens are real, but soon find themselves caught in a supernatural conspiracy as they learn that everyone who’s ever met the Doctor is disappearing and being forgotten.

“Essentially, they’re being redacted from reality. The Blue Box Files is so unsuccessful that our heroes are the last ones to be affected by the redaction, making Cleo, Abby and Shawna the world’s only hope. Now it’s a race against time to uncover the truth.”

Similar to writer Dawson, actress Craggs is a vocal activist for transgender inclusivity having founded Nail Transphobia, a campaign where the actress travels across the country giving manicures and educating on how to be inclusive and respectful.

The lead role for Craggs is her debut acting credit, having previously been an active campaigner and award-winning author.

When asked about her first acting role, Craggs revealed that “I was thrown in the deep end, really having to pretend I’m fighting these monsters and saving the world.” and jokingly added that she will probably “go for an easier role next time.”

Additionally, the monumental achievement Craggs has as being the first BBC official transgender lead character for Doctor Who didn’t go amiss on the actress either, as she admitted, “There are no words to express how huge it is, and how grateful I am.

“Being a trans actress playing the lead role in something so special, but more so how significant the fact that my character is trans, and the lead role, too. This is a huge step for the trans community, and I’m so honoured to be part of this moment.”

Jodie Whittaker and Charlie Craggs
Jodie Whittaker and Charlie Craggs. Picture by BBC Sounds.

Craggs will be accompanied by Lois Chimimba, playing Abbey McPhail, who returns to Doctor Who after starring in the 2018 episode The Tsuranga Conundrum, and Shawna Thompson who plays Holly Quin-Ankrah, though listeners may be familiar from her appearances in Coronation Street, Death in Paradise and Shameless.

Alongside these three new characters, audiences will be delighted when they discover the series will reference voice cameos and previous characters from the television series, including The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave), Madame Vastra (Doon Mackichan), and Rani Chandra (Anjli Mohindra) from The Sarah Jane Adventures set to feature in the series.

Speaking about the series, Whittaker said, “It was absolutely brilliant, I loved meeting Charlie (Craggs) and Juno (Dawson), their energy is ace, the writing is brilliant.

“It was wonderful to be a part of and great for me to revisit the character, having not really done anything apart from ADR since October. I think Doctor Who fans they’ll really love the adventure, it’s ace!”

Whittaker also says that due to the wonders of the global appeal of the show, audiences regardless of their knowledge, will be able to fall in love with the new audio show, “It’s got enough for Whovians but it’s also got enough for people visiting it for the first time.

“It never loses that wonderful Doctor Who identity which makes it unique, but it also never excludes.”

Holly Quin-Ankrah, Lois Chimimba and Charlie Craggs
Holly Quin-Ankrah, Lois Chimimba and Charlie Craggs. Picture by BBC Sounds.

Most interestingly, Whittaker also commented on how she has become familiar with acting under showrunner Chris Chibnall and how that differed under series writer Dawson.

Whittaker, who has already filmed her regeneration scene ahead of leaving the TARDIS later this year, said, “I think (Juno) wrote me really brilliantly, I’m used to Chris’ voice being across everything I’ve done as the Doctor, so it was really interesting to have someone else’s version of my Doctor and it felt completely natural.”

Chris Chibnall had been showrunner for Whittaker throughout her entire tenure, with the pair agreeing a pact that they would both perform three series of the show before jointly leaving after forming a close friendship on the TV serial Broadchurch that Chibnall previously wrote.

With bestselling author Juno Dawson taking the helm as lead writer, the show will tell the personal stories of each of our characters intertwining audiences with their lives, whilst telling the wider story of The Doctor and the conspiracy of the Universal redaction.

Speaking about her role as lead writer, Dawson revealed that “Doctor Who was my first love, and it’s an absolute thrill to add to the ever-expanding mythology in podcast form for the first time ever. 

“What a total privilege to write for something so beloved, and put my own little flag on the landscape.”

Doctor Who: Redacted marks the second time the BBC has used audio as a creative storytelling device, first tested with their use of 3D binaural sound in the broadcast episode Knock Knock starring Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, and David Suchet.

Doctor Who: Redacted is available exclusively on BBC Sounds, commencing 17 April after the newest episode, Legend of the Sea Devils airs on BBC One, Sunday at 19:10 with subsequent episodes airing weekly.

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