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Chris Chibnall Discusses Taking Over Doctor Who

Handing over Doctor Who to new Show Runner Chris Chibnall must have been like handing over your child to a new parent for former show runner and writer Steven Moffat. Chibnall has recently shared the experience with readers of Doctor Who Magazine in his first column as show runner, and what words Moffat had for him as he asked him to take on this epic new task.

Chris Chibnall is a 47 year old writer and producer from North West England with a first class honours degree in Drama and an MA in Theatre and Film. He has since gained many accomplishments in his career including his work with Broadchurch, which won him 2 awards and several nominations. The writer is no stranger to the world of Doctor Who having written for 8 episodes of Torchwood (Day One; Cyberwoman; Countrycide; End of Days; Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang; Adrift; Fragments; Exit Wounds) and 6 episodes of Doctor Who (42; The Hungry Earth / Cold Blood; Pond Life; Dinosaurs on a Spaceship; The power of Three; P.S) in the past.

The new show runner has been pretty secretive over the direction of series 11 and plans to keep everything very hush hush until the new series airs in Autumn of this year. He seems to be trying to avoid fan and paparazzi spoiler photos flooding the internet like we saw for series 10. However, there was one thing the new man in charge was willing to share with everyone, and that was the words Steven Moffat used when he asked Chibnall to take over what he refers to as “the greatest show on television”.

“He [Steven Moffat] said: “I’m sorry, but I’m about to derail your life.” As opening gambits go, it’s a good one. And, as it turns out, true.

Now, you’re probably either excited or worried about the future – maybe both. I think that may be the natural state of being a fan of something, whether in sport or culture: you love this thing so much, like we all do, and you’re worried what’s going to happen.

If it’s any consolation, that combination of excitement and concern is also the natural state of making the show: excited about what you’re planning, concerned about how you’ll achieve it.” – Chris Chibnall (Doctor Who Magazine #521)

 Filming for series 11 has already begun and aside from knowing who is going to be in it, we don’t really know much about the story arch or episode details. What we do know is that Chibnall is trying to embrace the idea of change within Doctor Who while still maintaining its ability to remain the same show. This is something Chibnall thinks is just “extraordinary”. However, in a show about constant change the question always seems to be “What’s next?”

“That’s our challenge, and we’re loving it. It is so much fun. It’s not sure I fully realised how much fun this was going to be. And it’s been part of my brief to everyone who’s joined: enjoy it, on behalf of every fan, every viewer, every child and every adult who would love to be working on this show. We know how lucky we are. And we’re going to relish every moment.” – Chris Chibnall (Doctor Who magazine #521)

Chibnall explains that working for Doctor Who is “equal parts thrill, privilege and responsibility”. Let us all hope that this recent derailment has put Chibnall exactly where he needs to be. So far it certainly sounds like he has a lot of work on his plate, and a lot of exciting, scary and wonderful times ahead.