On 21 June, 2021, a casting agency typically tasked with providing extras for various productions put out a call for Chinese men to play pirates for “an exciting BBC programme” on Instagram.
The post has since been deleted but a saved screen shot contains a photo of an Asian man with the words, “CASTING CALL” and “Chinese Men!”
The text of the post read, “We are looking for MEN OF SOUTH EAST ASIAN DESCENT to play PIRATES for an exciting BBC programme! Age 18+.”
Along with a “Covid Test Date” and a “Fitting Date” in June, the post lists the location as “Cardiff” and “Shooting Dates: 1st, 5th, 6th July.”
In addition to the casting agency’s post, there is another post on Facebook which seems to be directly quoting an urgent casting call which came from the Doctor Who production office on 29 June, 2021. The casting call is posted on a Facebook page called British Chinese Network. This time, the casting call was for men to play sailors and men and women to play villagers on 5 and 6 July. The additional casting call suggests the production needed five more men in addition to the ones they had already cast.
The reason for the urgency is likely due to the number of extras required and perhaps competition from a Netflix production which is also seeking extras of similar ethnicity for filming in Cardiff.
The required roles and the size of the cast suggests an extensive set build at Roath Lock Studios with a village and Chinese sailing ships.
Stars Jodi Whittaker and Mandip Gill were spotted!https://t.co/n62g3hlGwJ
— BarryNubNews (@BarryNubNews) June 25, 2021
Eight episodes are planned for Doctor Who Series 13 with the filming continuing into July. The clip which introduced John Bishop as companion Dan revealed the series is scheduled to air sometime in 2021, likely late autumn.