Toby Whithouse has secured a new high-profile assignment with the BBC as lead writer on the adaptation of Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman’s novel for young adults which takes place in an alternate history where black people, having formerly enslaved white people, retain technological and social superiority.
Whithouse may be unlikely to add to his list of Doctor Who credits in the near future with a new team of writers rumoured to have been signed up for the next series, but will nonetheless be kept busy bringing the dystopian novel to the screen. The news marks another significant entry on the CV of the Being Human creator on a project which has been in development for some time.
Noughts and Crosses was first announced by the BBC back in 2016 with writers, Levi David Addai and Matthew Graham (who wrote the episodes Fear Her and The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People) attached. With Addai and Graham having moved on, it falls to Whithouse to oversee scripting of Blackman’s highly regarded book which was published in 2001. The novel tells the story of the relationship between two friends, Sephy and Callum, against a backdrop of distrust and oppression and was the first in a series of books. Malorie Blackman, who was Children’s Laureate from 2013 to 2015, has had a brush with Doctor Who herself, having written the Seventh Doctor short story The Ripple Effect for a 50th anniversary series in 2013.
Toby Whithouse has written seven episodes of Doctor Who, debuting with School Reunion in 2006. He later became one of the mainstays of the Moffat era with The Vampires of Venice (2010), The God Complex (2011), and A Town Called Mercy (2012) for Matt Smith’s Doctor, followed by two-parter Under the Lake/Before the Flood (2015) and The Lie of the Land (2017) for the Twelfth Doctor. He also has the distinction of being one of the few people to have both written for and acted in Doctor Who, having had a small role as a German soldier in Peter Capaldi’s swansong, Twice Upon a Time (2017).
He has also created two successful ongoing series – nursing drama No Angels, which ran on Channel 4 from 2004 to 2006, and the quirky ghost/vampire/werewolf house-share fantasy Being Human, a big hit for BBC3 in 2008-13. Viewers of his BBC2 spy drama The Game (2014) were disappointed when a second series wasn’t commissioned.
Noughts and Crosses has had a long (and, it would seem, somewhat troubled) gestation period in development with no word yet on when the six-part series is likely to be shown, but fans of the book, and of Whithouse’s work, will undoubtedly be looking out for it when it makes its appearance on BBC1.