It’s the news many fans of Doctor Who have been waiting for, and the news that many have also been dreading. Yes, Steven Moffat is officially departing the BBC flagship show after one final series as the man in charge.
The tenth series, Moffat’s sixth, will air in spring of 2017, rather than the autumn of 2016 as originally thought. This will be preempted by a Christmas special in 2016. It’s currently not known whether this special will see the introduction of the new companion or not, but series 10 will definitely have said companion in place at its beginning.
Replacing Steven Moffat is Chris Chibnall, a name that will undoubtedly be familiar with fans of Doctor Who, Torchwood and Broadchurch.
On leaving his role, Steven Moffat said: ‘[It] feels odd to be talking about leaving when I’m just starting work on the scripts for season 10, but the fact is my timey-wimey is running out. While Chris is doing his last run of Broadchurch, I’ll be finishing up on the best job in the universe and keeping the TARDIS warm for him. It took a lot of gin and tonic to talk him into this, but I am beyond delighted that one of the true stars of British Television drama will be taking the Time Lord even further into the future. At the start of season 11, Chris Chibnall will become the new showrunner of Doctor Who. And I will be thrown in a skip.’
Chris Chibnall and series 11
Chibnall’s first series, the eleventh since the resurrection of Doctor Who, will air in 2018. The induction of a new showrunner will undoubtedly squash the claims that Doctor Who is in risk of being cancelled all together.
Chris Chibnall first began working in the ‘Whoniverse’ in 2006, as the head writer and co-producer of Torchwood. He worked on this show for its first two series, writing a total of eight episodes which includes the terrifying ‘Cyberwoman’ and ‘Countrycide’, and the critically acclaimed ‘Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang’, and ‘Exit Wounds’. During his tenure he wrote two series finales, and one series premier, all of which were critically acclaimed. No doubt he knows his way around an opener and a closer, so no worries there.
Chibnall has written a total of five episodes and two shorts for Doctor Who between 2007 and 2012. Whilst his Doctor Who efforts have been less well received, he has shown a panache for rejuvenating old monsters (‘The Hungry Earth’ and ‘Cold Blood’), has the ability to write episodes that are serious (’42’) and comedic (‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’), and has a track record in developing mythology (‘The Power of Three’).
The regeneration of UNIT under the helm of Kate Stewart was heralded in ‘The Power of Three’, as was Time Lord myth the Shakri. I wouldn’t at all be surprised (and pleased) to see UNIT continue under his reign, as well as further development of the Shakri.
Chibnall has also created the sensational Broadchurch, which has been confirmed in the press release of Chibnall’s induction to Doctor Who to be ending after its third series. Broadchurch was always conceived of as a trilogy, so this should come as no surprise.
All in all, I think it’s safe to say Doctor Who is in pretty safe hands. Some will no doubt complain, but some people like to complain regardless.
Join Vada next week as we take an in-depth look at what Chibnall’s appointment could mean for the future of Doctor Who. Hint: good things indeed.
The Christmas special and Class
Doctor Who will return on Christmas day (most likely) with the 2016 Christmas special, whilst its recently announced spinoff Class will air on BBC Three at some point in 2016.
With series 10 of Doctor Who being pushed back until 2017, I have a hunch Class may find a quick new home on BBC Two or BBC One, just to keep appetites sated.
Whilst Peter Capaldi has previously expressed a desire to appear in Class, I think it’s pretty safe to assume he will now pop up somewhere along the line – an entire year is a long wait indeed for another fix of the Doctor.