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New Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall awarded honorary doctorate

Incoming Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall was yesterday presented with the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature at a ceremony at Edge Hill University, Lancashire.

The honour saw Doctor Who gain its second doctor in as many days, following Sunday’s announcement that Chibnall has cast Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor – the first woman to take on the role in the show’s 54-year history.

Speaking to graduands at the ceremony, Chibnall joked that it had been ‘quite a weekend’, and expressed his love for the North West, which is ’embedded in his heart and soul’.

Chibnall went on to tell graduands:

“Something I wish I’d known earlier, you’re probably all wondering ‘what’s going to happen to me in the future?’ It sounds very obvious but I didn’t realise it until four years ago when I wrote Broadchurch and people started stopping me in the street to ask about it – the future is you, it’s not something that just happens. The future is there to be taken by every person graduating today.

“I wrote Broadchurch for myself and never thought anyone would want to make it, let alone watch it, but that story has gone around the world, been remade in America and France and turned into a novel. It led to me being offered what was as a child my dream job, being in charge of the TARDIS and Doctor Who – I never thought that would happen either!

“I’ve been really lucky – I’d wish everyone graduating the same amount of luck I’ve had. Your luck has already started by coming here to this extraordinary university.”

Chibnall’s honorary doctorate recognises his career as an accomplished television dramatist. As well as creating and writing the acclaimed ITV series Broadchurch, he was lead writer and co-producer of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood. He was also lead writer and executive producer on Law and Order UK and creator and executive producer on Camelot, and has also written two television films for the BBC, United and The Great Train Robbery.

Chibnall’s work for Doctor Who has seen him contribute five scripts to the show between 2007-2012, as well as the online/red button exclusive Pond Life. Last year he was announced as successor to departing Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat, and will be penning the new Doctor’s first lines as part of this year’s Christmas special before Series 11, his first in charge, airs in 2018.