Chris Chibnall is taking over as the Doctor Who showrunner in 2018. The show will be in great hands, because Chibnall is exactly what the doctor ordered to ensure the show’s continued success.
Recently the BBC announced that Steven Moffat would be stepping down as the showrunner for Doctor Who. Moffat will direct the 2016 Christmas episode followed by series 10 which will air in spring of 2017. After that, Chris Chibnall takes over for 2018 with the airdates for episodes yet to be announced.
Chibnall, aside from being a talented writer, director, and producer, is a lifelong fan of Doctor Who. Back when he was a teenager in the mid 1980’s, Chibnall actually won a Doctor Who Magazine contest for Doctor Who song lyrics.
Chibnall was also a member of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society during his teen years, and was a guest on a U.K. chat show to discuss the final episode of series 23 in the classic Doctor Who timeline. During this time period, Colin Baker was the Doctor and his companions were respectively Nicola Bryant as Peri Brown, and Bonnie Langford as Mel Bush.
He is critical of Langford’s portrayal of Mel Bush as being “overly theatrical.” He also talks about the scripts of the season being “cliched…very routine running up and down corridors and silly monsters.” Chibnall’s criticisms of the writing were not an uncommon stance at the time, and in fairness were really spot on. The show went off air only a few seasons later.
Given given Chibnall’s long-term fan status and his current writing/producing credits, here are our top reasons why Doctor Who needs Chris Chibnall.
Respected by key actors
Granted actors never know when they have their next job, and it’s an uncertain life, so they jump at work when they can get it. On the other hand, when highly acclaimed actors who are in demand choose to work with a director, that says something. Veteran actors David Tennant and Oliva Coleman jumped at the chance to work on Broadchurch with Chris Chibnall. The show’s first season was a sweeping success that had audiences tuning in each week to figure out who killed Danny Latimer.
Chibnall also cast other Doctor Who and Torchwood alumni in key parts that were very different than their former Doctor Who roles. Arthur Darvil (Rory Williams) plays a reformed alcoholic vicar, and Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper) plays a hairdresser who is both repulsed and drawn to her dodgy, estranged husband.
Brings the fun factor
Doctor Who needs a variety of scripts. Some need to be serious, but often times they need to be a fun romp that solves a serious problem. Chibnall accomplished just that with his script “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.” The script incorporated historical figures who were friends of the Doctor’s, and trapped them on spaceship with Amy and Rory and dinosaurs. The episode was just pure fun from start to finish.
Understands the behind the sofa scare factor
Chibnall has written for Torchwood as well as Doctor Who. With Torchwood, Chibnall had the opportunity to do more mature scripts. One of the absolute scariest of these was “Coutryside.” Captain Jack and his team have to solve mysterious disappearances, and they end up hostages themselves in a life and death situation where the scariest thing isn’t the aliens, but members of the human race.
Wraps up loose ends
One area where Chibnall really excels is in wrapping up loose ends. After introducing the character of Brian, Rory’s father, in “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship,” and then bringing him back again in “The Power of Three,” Chibnall didn’t want Brian not to know what happened to Amy and Rory when they were sent back to the 1930’s. He then wrote an after piece that was narrated by Arthur Darvil that helped to give closure to Brian’s story.
Breaks your heart
Sometimes it’s necessary to have a good cry. Doctor Who has had its share of heartbreaking moments. One of the most heartbreaking episodes in the Doctor Who universe is the Torchwood episode “Exit Wounds.” Not only do Tosh and Owen sacrifice themselves for the team, but Jack deals with the heartbreak of who and what his brother has become. As the team packs up Owen and Tosh’s personal items, a message from Tosh appears on screen where she sums up the Torchwood experience and urges the team to move on. The entire episode was masterfully crafted by Chibnall.
Chris Chibnall is currently working on the third and final series of Broadchurch before he takes the helm of the Doctor Who franchise.