Just as it’s the natural order of things that night follows day, main course follows starter, and The Twin Dilemma follows The Caves of Androzani, it’s equally an entirely normal part of our existence that news of a major departure from Doctor Who must surely be followed by speculation as to who will come next.
We’re dealing with not one but two significant exits now, of course, following the announcement that Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall will both be spinning off into the vortex following completion of the next set of episodes.
So, inevitably, our attention must turn to the matter of who will be their successors. You can expect to hear plenty more from the DWC team on these matters, but it seems that one significant name can be ruled out. Neil Gaiman, one of the world’s leading fantasy authors has already removed himself from the list of runners and riders for showrunner.
Anyone who had been reading Gaiman’s blog in the days leading up to the big Doctor Who news would have known that the writer of The Doctor’s Wife and Nightmare in Silver was going to have more than enough on for the foreseeable future, with his announcement that, along with the already confirmed second series of Good Omens, he’s also working on a screen adaptation of his 2005 novel Anansi Boys, also for Amazon Prime.
Even without this exciting news for fans of Gaiman’s work, it’s no great surprise that the prospect of overseeing Doctor Who wouldn’t appeal to him. As his tweet implies, it’s one thing to be able to dip into an established series by penning the odd episode, but being responsible for the whole lot of ’em is another kettle of fish altogether. Someone in Gaiman’s position will surely always prefer to focus on developing their own fictional worlds, no matter how much they love a classic property created and owned by others.
Gaiman’s Anansi Boys news would also appear to rule out another potential candidate for Doctor Who supremo, with Douglas Mackinnon, director of eight episodes between 2008 and 2015, set to join him as co-showrunner. “I would trust Douglas with my life,” says Gaiman in the kind of endorsement that will surely appear in a frame on the Mackinnon mantelpiece before the week is out.
Douglas sportingly played along with the notion of a Gaiman/Mackinnon Doctor Who dream ticket on Twitter, but don’t go putting your money on it. Especially not now Simon Cowell’s free after binning The X Factor – but you’ll just have to wait for the DWC’s in-depth analysis of that shocking news…