Chris Chibnall’s Bold New Ideas for Doctor Who

You might think that there’s not much to consider in the 0.85 seconds between being asked ‘Would you like to run Doctor Who?’ and screaming ‘Yes. Oh God yes. Plus Yes!’ but apparently, reality doesn’t work that way and it took some persuading for Chris Chibnall to agree to take over as show runner once Steven Moffat departs.

In fact, the man himself says that he had to be ‘wooed’ to the role by the BBC before deciding whether to devote himself to the Doctor on a full-time basis.

The former Broadchurch writer tells the June issue of The Royal Television Society’s magazine Television (via Radio Times):

“I finally said yes because I love the show to my bones. I resisted it for a very long time, and [the BBC] really had to woo me.”

Speaking to Mark Lawson in the June Issue of Television, Chibnall also gave some indication as to the direction the show would head in once he climbs into the hot seat.

“What the BBC was after was risk and boldness,” he says, later adding: “I had ideas about what I wanted to do with it. When I went to them and said, ‘This is what I would do’, I actually expected them to say, ‘Ooh, let’s talk about that’, but they said: ‘Great!’”

Sounds like he has a clear vision and that vision seems to chime with what the Beeb want, which seems to suggest a turn back towards the more populist vision of the Russell T. Davies era – with Doctor Who back as the Saturday night ratings behemoth once again.

If BBC sources are to be believed, Chibnall’s debut series is due to begin filming early next year with a likely broadcast in the autumn of 2018.


  • FrancoPabloDiablo

    He had to be “wooed”? Because he is too good for the job? Remember that Chris when you are creating your first series. Don’t think hard-core fans like myself have forgotten you tearing into Pip and Jane Baker when under the circumstances they did just about as well as anybody could expect! And your track record so far leaves a lot to be desired (though you have a few good Torchwood stories under your belt).

    • James Lomond

      Which of Chibs’ Torchwood would you recommend? Curious about where we might be heading…

      • daft

        Well, he was effective showrunner for TW S2

        • James Lomond

          Ah OK. Any specific stand-out episodes? I have a LOT of anime and RuPaul’s drag race to werk through and was put off by the self-conscious *swearing* #OMG, sex-alien and Cyber-fetish suit with high-heels in S1…

          • daft

            Well, he’s listed as the writer of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Adrift, Fragments & Exit Wounds. From memory, Adrift is probably the best (adult) of those, and rather touching, actually. S2 overall avoids many of the immature OMG! moments of S1,. thank god, although Kiss, Kiss is a throwback – RTD primarily dictated it and passed onto this story to Chibnall for script implementation. S3 three is obviously the best series, but S2 does the anthology style show quite well and thoughtfully.

          • James Lomond

            Thanks Dadt! Will have a look

          • Philip

            Ooh yeah Adrift is good – watch that. Not written by Chibbers, but I’d also recommend To The Last Man, and From Out of the Rain. The latter in particular is wonderful.

    • daft
  • The Red Womble

    Big bold ideas? *shudders*

  • reTARDISed

    Time will tell if Chibnall recreates a “ratings behemoth” — Saturday nights in autumn are not ideal for non-light-ent shows. Despite what the Moffitt/Moffett/Mofat/[anything but the real spelling]-haters assert, the majority of the viewing public is not obsessed with who runs or writes a programme. They make judgments based on lead actors, and having heard vague stories about Capaldi being too angry/Scottish/too complicated in the media, they’re waiting (if at all) for a new Doctor. Chibnall must secretly be rather glad he can start with a new Doctor; what would he have done if his new “emotional thrillers” (are those just thrillers, then?) with Capaldi leading had performed no differently from the most recent seasons? Still, if he can write non-clunky dialogue for once, I’ll give him a chance.

  • The Red Womble

    Time will tell. It always does aboard the TARDIS.

  • Rick714

    The jury’s still out on Chibnall. I’ve actively disliked the vast majority of his work–YET–he did write Dinosaurs on a spaceship, one of my favorite Smith stories. As for the ages old panel show where he said disparaging things about Pip and Jane—I went back and watched that again. It wasn’t nearly as brutal as I remembered. In fact, young Chibnall made maybe one comment about it being silly and not very good. Sure, you’re inclined to slap him upside the head for speaking in such a manner to two professionals, but at the same time, he was rather polite about it *and* he was asked directly by the moderator, who had obviously never even seen the show.

    And to be perfectly honest, those episodes they wrote were horrible, the absolute worst DW ever. Frankly, watching again, I was more horrified looking at the different, extreme dye jobs in the Baker’s hairstyles. Bottom line, in that particular instance, I don’t really come down that hard on the kid for those comments.

    As for big ratings and populists vision…I can in no way say the RTD era was better than the Moffat era. they both have had their ups and downs—it’s a wash. Also a bit unequal, considering RTD oversaw/wrote 2 Doctors in 4 series in 5 years and the Moff oversaw/wrote 2 doctors in 6 series in 8 years. And Moffat had the bonus of simply writing every year during the RTD era as well. so there’s a lot more Moff to either love or pick apart.

    Any way you look at it, Chibnall has *massive* shoes to fill. Frankly, I have no idea whatsoever if he’s even up to it. We’ll see.

    • The Red Womble

      Does Fish n Chibs have massive shoes to fill because Mr Moff is a clown? 😉

      • Rick714

        I think the grass will always be greener over in the *other* showrunner’s yard. 🙂

        • The Red Womble

          But I am not a “grass is always greener” kind of Womble. I just saw the chance for a cheap crack 😉

          • daft

            Well, considering Gatiss was probably the only other name in the frame, at least Chibnall won’t give us a Pertwee tribute show with Alpha Centari as the new companion. 😉 Seriously though, he’s proven himself as a showrunner now, something that Gatiss you suspect really hasn’t yet – you *know* who runs Sherlock.

          • Jason Z

            Surely Toby Whithouse was also worth consideration, having show-run Being Human?

          • daft

            He never really got mentioned, I think from memory at the time the new showrunner discussion came up he still had hopes of his spy series The Game going to S2, so perhaps he essentially ruled himself out.

  • The Red Womble

    Please tell me “risk and boldness” doesn’t involve the Master/Missy turning out to have been the Doctor all along.

    • daft

      I’ve thought it all series, I hope I’m wrong on that score. Of course, Matt Lucas could theoretically be revealed as the (new) Doctor too. *ducks*

  • Dr. Moo (lit up cow)

    “Bold” and “risk” are just media buzzwords and the jury on Chibs is still out. We shall see.

    • daft

      Well, considering his career up to date has been solely “Average” and “Safe”, it would seem a stretch.

    • ThePurpleFrockCoat

      Not much of a fan of his Who work but will give him a chance as a showrunner.