Chris Chibnall will be leaving Doctor Who imminently, with his last episode to air next year, but unlike his predecessors, he won’t get a say in who will be the new showrunner.
Fans will probably remember that, when Russell T Davies left Doctor Who, Steven Moffat was the obvious replacement, all his episodes being critically acclaimed; then when Moffat left, there were numerous contenders, and it seemed that it was down to the BBC to cement Chibnall as the new showrunner, though he’d written for the show under Moffat’s time, and Steven tailored his last scripts to segue into Chris’ era.
So what’s changed this time?
“The big change that happened during our tenure has been Doctor Who being produced through BBC Studios, rather than the BBC’s in-house Drama Department. It’s a difference which won’t really have affected how you view the show, but it affects the process by which the programme is made, managed and planned strategically. The appointment of a new showrunner is a commercially sensitive decision (way above the pay grade of an incumbent showrunner) so it’ll be a joint decision between BBC Studios and the top decision makers at the BBC.”
The Head Honchos at the BBC have, of course, been involved in previous appointments, but perhaps were more guided by the then-showrunners than they are this time? Yet surely Chibnall would’ve suggested people? Because you’d think that a creative angle would be as important as a commercial one.
Presumably Director for Drama at the BBC, Piers Wenger will be a part of this decision — which arguably doesn’t bode too well considering he admitted that he doesn’t have a plan for the show.
Then again, maybe a new showrunner is already in place. Let’s hope we find out sooner rather than later…