Doctor Who may be seeing the end of the reign of showrunner Steven Moffat, so we’ve come up with a list of people who are likely to be on the shortlist to take over.
Steven Moffat recently announced during an interview with The Radio Times that he was “actively engaged in a search for a new showrunner.” Being the Doctor Who showrunner is a tall order, but there are certain names who are likely to surface as Moffat’s replacement. As much fun as our Doctor Who April Fools joke was, we don’t think John Barrowman will make the cut.
Here, in no particular order, are the top four candidates for the job as we see it.
Rachel Talalay directed four episodes of Doctor Who over the past two years: “Hell Bent,” “Heaven Sent,” “Death in Heaven,” and “Dark Water.” Each was acclaimed by both fans and critics. Talalay is a fan of the show, who seems to enjoy the character-centric and relationship aspects of the show. She doesn’t get all caught up in the explosion and high tech effects, and losing the heart of the plot in a bit of flashy, “Oh look what we can do.”
Talalay’s resumé is immense, and sci-fi is very much in her wheelhouse. She is detail oriented, logical, and driven. She has the utter respect of Peter Capaldi and the crew. She directed the beautiful goodbye episodes for Clara and Danny Pink. She made us cry, think, and wonder. In short, she accomplished what Doctor Who is all about.
If you wanted to pick the person who has all the qualifications to be showrunner and then some, it’s easily Chris Chibnall. He has written five Doctor Who episodes starring a variety of Doctors: “The Power of Three,” “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship,” “Cold Blood,” “The Hungry Earth,” and “42.” On top of that, he wrote eight episodes of Torchwood where he served double duty as a producer. Just about all of these episodes could be called fan favorites including the tear jerker, “Exit Wounds.”
Chibnall also is the writer, producer, and creator of the ITV sensation known as Broadchurch, so he clearly knows what it takes to mount a successful TV series. Broadchurch will likely wrap after its third series, so that would leave him wide open to take over as Doctor Who showrunner.
Toby Whithouse has done both Doctor Who standalone episodes and two-parters. He has also managed to write futuristic, historical, and present day episodes. His credits include being the writer on “Before the Flood,” “Under the Lake,” “The Making of the Gunslinger,” “A Town Called Mercy,” “The God Complex,” “The Vampires of Venice,” and “School Reunion.”
Whithouse is also no stranger to what it takes to produce decent fantasy/sci-fi in the long haul. He was the producer of the BBC hit Being Human for over three seasons.
Sarah Dollard is a relative newbie to the Doctor Who universe as a writer, but she is a long-time fan of the show. There’s a lot that can go wrong when writing an episode like “Face the Raven,” but Sarah Dollard managed to pull off one of the most poignant Doctor Who episodes, with a beautifully crafted final monologue for Clara.
Dollard’s passion for Doctor Who as well as her experience as a writer and producer on Neighbors and Cara Fi sets her up as a potential showrunner.