It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for: the complete line-up of writers and directors for Doctor Who Series 11 has been confirmed.
Joining Chris Chibnall on writing duties are: Malorie Blackman, Joy Wilkinson, Ed Hime, Peter McTighe, and Vinay Patel.
Remarkably, this is the first time since Series 1 where there are no returning writers except the showrunner. Chibnall, whose previous episodes include 42, The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood, and The Power of Three, says:
“We have a team of writers who’ve been working quietly and secretly for a long time now, crafting characters, worlds and stories to excite and move you. A set of directors who stood those scripts up on their feet, bringing those ideas, visuals and emotions into existence with bravura and fun.
“Hailing from a range of backgrounds, tastes, and styles, here’s what unites them: they are awesome people as well as brilliant at their job. (It matters!) They love Doctor Who. And they’ve all worked above and beyond the call of duty in an effort to bring audiences something special, later this year.”
Former Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman has written over 60 books for children and young adults, notably the award-winning series, Noughts and Crosses. She also wrote the short story, The Ripple Effect starring the Seventh Doctor, for the show’s 50th anniversary anthology set.
“I’ve always loved Doctor Who. Getting the chance to write for this series has definitely been a dream come true.”
Playwright and screenwriter, Vinay Patel’s television debut, Murdered By My Father, won the 2016 Royal Television Society Award for Best Single Drama and was nominated for three BAFTAs. He recalls:
“I grew up watching shows like Star Trek and Quantum Leap on the edge of my dad’s bed, and I loved how they managed to capture the imagination of a kid like me as well as acting as a moral compass. I never imagined that I’d get to write for Doctor Who – I was pretty thrilled.”
Surprisingly, Blackman and Patel are the first black people to write for the show – although before anyone goes on about “diversity” and “inclusivity”, let’s not forget the role Waris Hussein played int he show’s foundations, alongside Verity Lambert, the BBC’s first female producer. Doctor Who has always been a diverse series.
Joy Wilkinson was selected as a Screen International Star of Tomorrow. Her TV scripts include the critically-acclaimed BBC five-parter, The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby, while her theatre work has won plaudits like the Verity Bargate Award. She says:
“I loved the show and felt like it might be a good fit for me, but I knew it was really hard to get onto. So quite frankly I’m still pinching myself to be here!”
Pete McTighe is the originating writer of Wentworth, the female prison drama that has sold to over 150 countries; he’s also been nominated for five Writers Guild Awards. He enthuses:
“My entire television career has quite literally been an elaborate plan to get to write Doctor Who – and no one is more shocked than me that it paid off. I’ve been having the time of my life working with Chris, and writing for Jodie [Whittaker, the Thirteenth Doctor] and the new team, and can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve been up to.”
Ed Hime was nominated for a Craft BAFTA for his first episode of Skins, and won the Prix Italia for his radio play, The Incomplete Recorded Works of a Dead Body. He says:
“Writing for this series comes down to the adventure really, and telling emotionally engaging stories to bring everyone along with you.”
Honestly, it won’t be a shock if you’ve only ever heard of Blackman, but that’s probably a good thing – bringing new voices to the show.
We’ve previously covered the directing team, but if you want to find out more… well, you’re in luck!
Sallie Aprahamian’s critically acclaimed shows include The Lakes, Teachers, and This Life.
Sallie’s memories of Doctor Who go right back to the 1960s, so she recalls:
“I watched the First Doctor from behind the sofa through my fingers, frightened and exhilarated. I was really delighted, as a fan and as a director, to be invited to work on the first female Doctor’s series. What a brilliant time to be on the show!”
Jamie Childs, who directed Jodie Whittaker’s reveal as the Doctor, returns for the opening episode of the new series. He says:
“We tend to avoid making many shows in Britain that really allow the audience to properly escape, and Doctor Who has been doing this for decades. So yes, sign me up – I’ve always wanted to be part of that! There really aren’t many shows made over here that allow the viewer to travel to another universe.”
Since finishing Doctor Who, Jennifer Perrott has worked on Gentleman Jack, a forthcoming BBC One/HBO historical drama series created by Sally Wainwright (Last Tango in Halifax/ Happy Valley). Jennifer says:
“Doctor Who is an iconic show and one I’d loved as a child, especially when Tom Baker was the Doctor. Space travel has become more a part of modern life and this has opened the door for more human stories to be told amidst the escapist fantasy of saving the world from alien invasion. The aliens are now as emotionally complex as the humans, and I was really excited by that.”
Mark Tonderai directed the full season of The Five, Lucifer, and the thriller, House at the End of the Street starring Jennifer Lawrence. He says:
“What was really crucial in my decision to direct the show was Chris Chibnall. I’m a huge fan of his and I like the way he sees the world. He has this ability to entertain and also deliver truths – questions, too – about who we are. And he does it all with a hint of a smile.”
Everything old is new again…
Doctor Who Series 11 is expected to begin by the end of September 2018 on BBC1 and BBC America.