UPDATED: New Doctor Who spin-off: Pond Life

News Louisa Mellor 23 Aug 2012 - 10:06

Catch up with the Ponds before the series 7 season premiere in a series of five Pond Life mini-webisodes…

There are plenty of ways to pass the remaining days until the new series of Doctor Who arrives on September the 1st. You could Sellotape pictures of your favourite Sontarans into eight holes of an old advent calendar, incrementally burn your way down a candle in the shape of Matt Smith’s chin, or develop a menu of Who-themed snacks for opening night (nOodles, Dalek bread, Dav-rosti, Galli-Fray Bentos Steak & Kidney pies etc). The possibilities are endless.

Helpfully, the BBC has come up with its own suggestion and seeing as it only involves the one bad pun, it’s far superior to any of ours. Their idea? Pond Life, a new five-part mini-series spin-off focusing on the lives of Amy and Rory, with one webisode available every day next week at midday.

The new mini-episodes will be available to watch on the official Doctor Who website (and hopefully, here too) and BBC One YouTube Channel between Monday the 27th and Friday the 31st of August, and then again in one big lump (or omnibus, for fans of Latin) available on the BBC’s Red Button prior to the series opener on September the 1st.

We’ll let Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill explain further:

UPDATE: Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner introduce their reasons for producing Pond Life: 

The miniseries’ scripts come courtesy of Torchwood’s Chris Chibnall, who, as we know, has also penned episodes two and four in the forthcoming Who series, Dinosaurs On A Spaceship and The Power Of Three. Chibnall explains:

Pond Life provides us with a lovely opportunity to catch-up with Amy and Rory since we saw them at the end of the last series. It opens with the Ponds at home and gives us an insight in to just what happens when the Doctor drops in and out of their lives. Travelling with the Doctor is one of the greatest things you can do, but it's fun to spend a few moments looking at the chaos he can also bring.”

Saul Metzstein (who’s also directed four of the new Who episodes: Dinosaurs On A Spaceship, A Town Called Mercy, The Crimson Horror and the as-yet untitled episode 7.6) is behind the camera on the webisodes, which will feature Matt Smith alongside Gillan and Darvill, as well as “…some unexpected surprises!”, according to the press release.

Who executive producer Caroline Skinner describes the story as “...beautiful, heartfelt and wickedly funny,” “…a truly heart-warming piece about our best-loved companions and their madcap relationship with their raggedy Doctor.”

As fans are well aware, Pond Life is the latest in a long history of Doctor Who spin-offs, most notably TV's Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, but also a number of novels, comics, Big Finish's long-running series of audio plays, the BBC 7 radio stories, the P.R.O.B.E VHS adventures, animated CBBC show The Infinite Quest, and recently, the non-BBC K-9 live action/CGI children’s series.

And those are just the spin-offs that made it on air, read about those that didn’t, here.


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Maye he's able to deliver scripts that aren't all in Caps?

Has 'The Crimson Horror' been confirmed as an episode title?

I wouldn't be surprised if the script for Cyberwoman had been written in crayon, let alone all caps.

Clever if slightly unfortunate title. Reminiscent of the TARDISodes that accompanied the early episodes of the revived series?

Surely "best-loved companions" is overstating it a bit?

Scripts, save the dialogue, ARE written in CAPS. Chibnall couldn't write a decent, ORIGINAL script to save his life.

Haha that's hilarious. I read that as TARDisodes!! Yes yes, i am juvenile but hey ho

LOL! (and props to an awesome name)

First thing I said when I heard this news: "for f---'s sake".

Heh heh, thank you. I'm sure we all agree Lady is the real star of Adventure Time. ;)

Don't know about anyone else, but when the BBC gives us an extra couple of hours with Karen Gillan, the last thing I want to do is complain :)

I'm sorry, but the first series of Torchwood is enough that someone should never be allowed to work in any field, anywhere, ever again. And the second, come to think of it. The last ten minutes of Exit Wounds don't change the fact that the rest of the series (the rest of Exit Wounds especially) was wank.

Most definitely! Although I am partial to Marceline. :)

Well, who isn't?

lol, you're awesome.

Aw, sounds like fun, looking forward to seeing these!!

Caps or no caps, the man is horrifically incompetent.
At least Gatiss has moments of inspiration, and has done good work in other shows, and McRae and Whithouse show real promise... but I am SERIOUSLY worried that the absolute worst repeat writer is being lined up to take over the show when Moffat leaves.
I don't know who Chibnall is banging to keep getting work, but whoever it is needs to realize how it's not worth it.

Moffat is convinced that everybody is in love with Amy and will be devastated to see her go. The truth is, nobody gives a flyer.

Miss Amy...yes, miss Rory? Hell ya! :)

I care :( Certainly care a LOT more than about any of the previous NuWho companions.

What was the second thing you said? The first thing was pretty broad and open to interpretation.

*No full-time internet Doctor Who grouches give a flyer.

I tried to up-rate three times, but it just went to eight, back to seven, and back to eight again. This comment rating system clearly wasn't designed with Chris Chibnall slams in mind.

lol... something to the effect of, "While I love Amy, she don't need a spinoff" and "the spinoff I'd LIKE to see is how Martha and Mickey hooked up".

No, it's all you....

You mean since 2005 or since 1962....cuz there's a big difference...

Are you 'effing kidding me? Since when did DW turn into a soap opera. Next up the doctor hosts a cooking show....

Really, let me help you out, the work rhymes with pluck.

I said NuWho, so that's 2005 onwards. I really like Amy and Rory, but there's a lot of competition from the classic series; Jamie and Zoe, Romana II, Ace, and I'll always have a huge soft spot for the original 1963 TARDIS crew... and Peri, but for different reasons.

1962? You must be thinking of Inspector SpaceTime!

Can't wait for Amy and Rory to leave. If I read another article saying how Karen Gillan found it heartbreaking to read the script my heads going to explode. Most irritating companions since Bonnie Langford.

I can't wait for them to leave either, mainly because I want to see the series move on and have the Doctor as it's main focus for a change.

I do think that Moffat has kind of indulged his pet companions a bit too much in terms of the amount of story time they've had whereas the Doctor has suffered in comparison and just been left to solve all the companions problems rather than the companions causing problems for him.

As long as this half draws a line under Amy and Rory's time and ties up most of the loose threads that still remain then I will be happy. I'm ready for a fresh start with the new companion.

Please do not let it be Chibnall who takes over! I was hoping for either Whithouse or Gatiss out of the current crop.

This looks like it will be an interesting 5 parter.

NO they are NOT. You use caps to introduce a new character to make it clear and then occasionally for emphasis.

I think they're just using spin off to sound all sexy but really it's just a little extra mini episode.

Its like if they keep telling us that (*spits*) Chibnall is writing stuff we'll suddenly forget what a hopeless chancer he is.


I was hoping for McRae or Whithouse. I like Gatiss, but don't think he's the man for the job. That said *most* UK show runners only handle 6 episodes a year, maybe they could split the show into two halves between two showrunners?

Amy and Rory rule! If you have a problem with them, your real problem is Moffat. I also have a problem with Moffat, but mostly for giving all his time to Sherlock, and for the hiatus.

Amy and Rory rule! Clearly, they're not as good as Rose, but no one will ever live up to Rose Tyler.

Perhaps... Rose is the BEST loved, but Rory certainly does beat Mickey (though not Captain Jack)

Gatiss did at least do The League of Gentlemen, so I always have a certain amount of goodwill for him that makes me WANT him to succeed even though, in Doctor Who terms, he rarely does. There was a lot of Night Terrors that I liked, even if the end result was pretty bland.

McRae is one to watch as I loved The Girl Who Waited. Wasn't so keen on his Cyber episodes but I'm not sure to what extent they're his (in hindsight, they do seem to have RTD's handprints all over them). Whithouse too, I've never seen Being Human but have enjoyed all his Who scripts to a certain extent.

My choice would be Gareth Roberts. I'm in the minority that considered Closing Time the highlight of Series 6 and a rather powerful look at the Doctor's character beneath all of the mucking about. His Who scripts have all shown a certain joie de vivre that is really at home with the show, and he's got a real gift for dialogue. His Sarah Jane scripts also demonstrate that when he tries his hand at serious subject matter he's even better (Whatever Happened? especially). And he's a truly passionate fan on top of all that.

Anyone but Chibnall! Bring back Helen Raynor if you must, just don't thrust Chibnall upon us! *shudders*

Sarah-Jane is the best loved, surely? I don't think any companion team has quite reached the lovableness of her, Tom and Harry.

Rory does beat Captain Jack, especially after his "WHERE. IS. MY. WIFE" speech. Jack has always made me uncomfortable though, as I find him to be a pretty offensive stereotype of a promiscuous LGBT character - this guy is the most prominent LGBT figure in the entire show!

Ian and Barbara... massive respect. I miss them, yes I miss them. Stupid old fusspots.

Chibnall's scripts so far have been irremediably terrible! Surely this is one thing that the entire Who community can agree on!? It's not just that the characters and dialogue that have been cringe inducing but they've lacked any good ideas. I hope he's just getting to write more episodes because Moffat is saving the good writers for the anniversary season. Surely no one would consider him as a show runner after the after the horror of Camelot?

NO NO NO. I adore Amy and Rory but this is too much.

Nooooooooooooooo NOT HELEN RAYNOR! Not Evolution of the Daleks woman

I used her to demonstrate to what extent I dislike Chibnall. But I agree she'd be horrible.

sorry just wondering what time does pond life start? REALLY dont want to miss it!!!!!

It's on the BBC website. It's less than a minute and nothing that exciting.

You mean you wouldn't watch Matt Smith's Doctor in charge of a cookery show!? :P

This will be an unpopular opinion, but I like Helen Raynor. Evolution of the Daleks had lots of potential and I like the way she has more than one enemy (ie. Sontarons and Martha Clones, Daleks and Pig men). Chris Chibnall . . . just, argh! No, please no! Whithouse would be a good successor as he has experience with his own show.

Don't ever, EVER use the pig men as a positive.

Just watched it. Wasn't that bad. Probably because we only had a few seconds of Amy and Rory.

Fair comment about Gatiss's Who output so far.

As a showrunner though, I think he or Whithouse would have the chops to keep giving us the darker side of the Doctor either in his own character or through his villains. and we know from experience they can write characters and dialogue as well as plot.

You can have too much of a good thing. Keeping the same companion for too long starts to limit the types of stories you can do. Whereas new companion = new personality and something new for the Doctor to bounce off and show more of himself.

If Amy and Rory are so popular then please let Pond Life be the beginning of their own spin off series whilst I carry on with the Doctor.

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