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Paul Cornell Won’t Write for Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor: “I’ve Retired From Doctor Who”

Paul Cornell won’t return for the next era of Doctor Who, underlining the fact that he “retired from Doctor Who many years ago, because I’ve done everything”.

The writer, who scripted Father’s Day and Human Nature/ The Family of Blood, two of the most popular stories in the Ninth and Tenth Doctors’ eras, says he’s nonetheless very excited by what former- and new-showrunner, Russell T Davies, is doing. He enthuses:

“I’m delighted by what Russell’s doing. I think we are going to get an even more radical, even more progressive Doctor Who. I think this is always Russell’s way. He is nothing if not confrontational with the audience, and he manages to confront the audience and have them love him for it. I thought his PR dance in announcing each of these beats of the new stuff was amazing. So far he has not put a foot wrong. I think we are lucky to have RTD — or give him his full name, ‘Retweeted’ — on the show. He’s always going to be somebody who is both a great artistic TV writer and also somebody with a great grasp of popular drama. My goodness, that’s the combo you need on Doctor Who.”

Davies will be returning as showrunner after previously leaving the show with 2009/10’s The End of Time, and is working not only on the 60th anniversary celebrations (starring David Tennant, Catherine Tate, and “many other” surprise cameos) but also with Ncuti Gatwa as the next Doctor.

That Cornell has retired from Doctor Who doesn’t come as a great shock — indeed, he’s noted this numerous times in the past — although he has continued to contribute to the franchise’s mythos now and then, including Titan Comics’ The Heralds of Destruction (2016-17), a Target adaptation of Twice Upon A Time (2018), and the free Thirteenth Doctor short story, The Shadow Passes (2020).

Right now, Cornell is promoting his new graphic novel, Three Little Wishes, a rom-com in which a pernickety lawyer is granted three wishes by Oberon, king of the fairies; only, she intends to hash out wishes that will make the world a better place without all those nasty side-effects such wishes normally entail…

As for Doctor Who, yes, it’s always good to get fresh voices, but equally, we wouldn’t mind a few of the older hands coming back too. We never got bored of Terrance Dicks, Robert Holmes, or David Whitaker; why would we with Rona Munro, Toby Whithouse, or Robert Shearman?

Philip Bates

Editor and co-founder of the Doctor Who Companion. When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. Writer of The Black Archive: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, The Silver Archive: The Stone Tape, and 100 Objects of Doctor Who.

Paul Cornell Won’t Write for Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor: “I’ve Retired From Doctor Who”

by Philip Bates time to read: 2 min
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