Speaking at the Church & Media Conference, Danny Cohen (the Controller of BBC1) confirmed that Doctor Who won't be returning for a full series in 2012, although a "special run" is planned for 2013 to mark the show's 50th anniversary.
It's not yet known what this means exactly. Will Series 7 be truncated next year? Will they air "specials" throughout 2012, echoing what happened in 2009 when David Tennant took some time off? And what does a "special run" for 2013 mean exactly? Will we be getting more episodes than usual then, or does it mean they intend to have fun with the show's long history—by perhaps doing a multiple-Doctor episode involving some of the surviving actors. That's always felt like the ideal way to celebrate the show's half-centenary. Hey, I'd be happy just to have a two-Doctor scenario with Paul McGann.
Anyway, no doubt this news will be clarified in the weeks to come. It's also confusing because the BBC appeared to confirm 14 episodes have been ordered for 2012 just last week. But, as of right now, it looks like fans will have to brace themselves for a drought of Doctor Who next year. On the plus side, maybe Steven Moffat will have time to dedicate to Sherlock and we'll get more than three episodes in 2012?