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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. CO
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:02 pm

    my first thought was “well, at least it’s not Gattis.” Who knows? Maybe CC will rise to the occasion. Or we’re in for a stretch of serious mediocrity. All best to the guy, though.

    seems like it could be Capaldi’s last year as well? wouldn’t be shocked.


    • Skaro
      January 24, 2016 @ 4:21 am

      I think that Broadchurch is the better indication of quality than his actual episodes, which seemed marred by the time constraints (I’m aware the two-parter from him was bad, but that was mostly due to the crappy supporting characters. His Smith, Gillan and Darvill were impeccable). With a well thought-out plan and some time, I have confidence he’ll do well. Not as good as Moffat, maybe, but that’s a hell of a hole to fill.


  2. Evan Forman
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:02 pm

    Richard Curtis was robbed.


  3. halcoromosone
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:04 pm

    This mostly makes me excited for whatever new Moffat show we’re going to be getting.


  4. Jack F
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:04 pm

    He’s definitely qualified, but there’s very little about him taking over that makes me excited about the future of Doctor Who.

    Hopefully he rises to the occasion and gets the most out of himself and his excellent writers. Still a long time off though!


  5. TinMachineII
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:12 pm


    My first thought is that I am really disappointed, but it wasn’t unexpected. But I do get it, I do. In every way he was the obvious candidate, his CV outside the show, being a showrunner of an acclaimed show.

    The fly in the ointment is that he’s never delivered a good episode of the show he’s taking over. I’d be minded to accept the episodes being a draft away from excellence if, like, he actually did the drafts….

    Considering the writing stable is strong as it’s ever been, it’s weird how the likely candidates for showrunner all had massive, potentially show-ruining weaknesses… Chibnall, Whithouse, Gaitiss…

    I’d have hoped for a punt on someone new, and not necessarily obvious. I’d have gone with Abi Morgan, not that she’d accept.


  6. Max Curtis
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:14 pm

    If Chibnall keeps on Harness, Mathieson, and Dollard, then I’ll be… satisfied.

    Hopefully he won’t stay on as long as Moffat has. That’s really all I can say.


  7. Bakuraptor
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:14 pm

    Well, in my head this will be Chibnall leading into one of the less currently-qualified but more future-promising writers (Harness, Mathieson, Dollard, perhaps?), but this is definitely not the worst decision either. That said, I’m not actually a huge fan of Broadchurch as a series (beyond its amusing capacity to recast practically half the Doctor Who cast at various points); like you say, neither the worst nor the best possible world here.


  8. Tom Marshall
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:14 pm

    I’ll be sad to see Moffat go, but it’s about the right time. I just hope Capaldi stays on for Chibnall (and I’d guess the BBC might too – everything switching over at once rocks the boat. They’ll probably want the new companion debuting in spring 2017 to stay on at the very least).


  9. Sean Dillon
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:21 pm

    At least it isn’t Whitehouse.

    (I liked the first season of Broadchurch, but I don’t recall much about his Who work (though I haven’t revisited his episodes since High School, so who knows)).


  10. Sean Dillon
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:22 pm

    At least it isn’t Whitehouse.

    (I liked the first season of Broadchurch, but I don’t recall much about his Who work (though I haven’t revisited his episodes since High School, so who knows)).


    • William McCormick
      January 23, 2016 @ 2:15 am

      At least get his name right. It’s Whithouse.


      • Wafflehaus
        January 23, 2016 @ 3:57 am



        • Jarl
          January 23, 2016 @ 5:00 am

          He’s called Susan. And he wants you to respect his life choices.


      • Jarl
        January 23, 2016 @ 5:01 am



    • EvilBug
      January 24, 2016 @ 5:02 pm

      What do you have against Whithouse over Chibnall?


  11. Eric Rosenfield
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:26 pm

    I’m a little trepidatious about the guy who wrote Cyberwoman and the Power of Three taking over the show. But we’ll see.


    • Doctor Memory
      January 22, 2016 @ 11:50 pm

      This. A million times.

      It’s really under-selling the case to say that Chibnall hasn’t delivered a great episode of the show. In face he’s written several abysmally bad ones, and if we’re going to count Torchwood episodes then we have to deal with “Cyberwoman” which at a minimum was the clear worst episode of Torchwood’s generally-awful first season and which for my money counts as one of the two or three worst episodes of Doctor Who and related series TV aired in the contemporary era.

      This does not bode well. At all.


      • John
        January 23, 2016 @ 2:53 am

        Not counting Torchwood, which was indeed mostly a disaster, I don’t think any of Chibnall’s Who episodes were, strictly speaking, “abysmally bad.” 42 is fine; the Silurian two parter is plodding and by the numbers; I think “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” is a fun romp; “The Power of Three” I’d need to watch again, but I remember it being a dumb story with decent character stuff. None of them great, none of them awful, I’d say.


      • James Taylor
        January 23, 2016 @ 5:20 am

        In fairness to him, while he did write the absolute worst episode of Torchwood, he also wrote the best episodes (IMO) of the first two series, so it’s not all bad.

        With regard to Who, 42 was fine, if fairly forgettable, likewise the Silurian two parter. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was rolicking fun, and Power of Three would have been a good episode if it weren’t for the half arsed handwavium ending.

        So he’s a writer that can turn out a solid script, or a pile of crap, depending on how the weather is that day. Not really any different from almost every working writer today.

        I’m not excited, but I’m not horrified either. Maybe he’ll surprise us and knock it out of the park.


        • Alan
          January 24, 2016 @ 6:45 am

          I’d have to go back and watch Cyberwoman again to be certain (and I really don’t want to) but my recollection is that the episode wasn’t /that/ bad from a writing perspective. I mean, was it really his fault that the titular character was fitted with big honking cyber-breasts? I’d assumed that blame for that went to the director and/or producers.


  12. Nezumi
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:26 pm

    He’s not the strongest choice, but I have hopes he’s going to be better than Moffat has been, and he did a few good Who and a number of good Torchwood episodes.


  13. Chris
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:31 pm

    I’m so excited to have 4+ episodes from him a year, that’ll definitely improve his hit rate.


  14. Daibhid Ceannaideach
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:41 pm

    It’s weird; I don’t have a high opinion of Chibnall, but reading the Twitter consensus that he’s a worse choice than Baron Grade makes me determined to be optimistic just out of contrariness.


  15. BuckTwenty
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:43 pm

    Bracing myself for my first stretch of Who ran by someone I’m not sure is up to it. Hope I’m wrong, of course, and I wish him well.

    I did quite enjoy Broadchurch, though, so that’s promising.


  16. MDavison
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:53 pm

    Chibnall Must Go!

    (It’s never too early)

    Seriously, I strangely enough don’t have much of a feeling about this, other than relief that Moffat is finally stepping down as eight years is really too long for any one showrunner and it is past time for a fresh new voice to be in charge. I only hope he doesn’t try and out-Moffat Moffat, but figures out what his own unique take on the show will be.

    Shame we only get one episode in 2016. As I presume Moffat will end his association another year after that, for the Christmas 2017 special, it is going to be a long time before we finally get to see what Chibnall has planned.

    I’d say that there is a 40% likelihood that Capaldi will be persuaded to stay on into Series 11. As I imagine that there may be an interest in not doing a complete overhaul for that series.


    • thesmilingstallioninn
      January 23, 2016 @ 4:38 am

      I agree that it might be good if Capaldi can stay on through 2017 and even 2018, but a thought crossed my mind and I had to check-He will turn 60 in 2018. That’s not a deal-breaker, maybe it might be Hartnell-esque in that they get an action-oriented companion who will do stunts, or they might have more CGI Doctor by then to do stunts.

      (Weird thing-I was just Googling Capaldi to check age, and Google listed Maleficent as one of his prominent movies. He’s not in there! I checked IMDb even, he’s not listed in the cast.)


  17. ScarvesandCelery
    January 22, 2016 @ 10:53 pm

    I think Chibnall will be good for the show, at least in terms of keeping it popular and successful – his success with Broadchurch suggests he can do a similar job to RTD in terms of making Doctor Who a big, populist ratings hit. I don’t think he’ll have as interesting a vision for the show as Davies, but I’m willing to be proved wrong – certainly my general sense of his scripts is that they have improved over the years – I agree with Phil’s claim that he has yet to write a great script for Doctor Who, but I rather loved “The Power of Three”. I also think he writes a really good TARDIS team – I think the Doctor and the Ponds are all well served in each of his series seven scripts, and actually in “The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood” as well. So I definitely see the potential for Chibnall to provide a solid backbone for an era of Doctor Who. On top of that, he’s inheriting a really strong set of potential returning writers in Mathieson, Harness, Treganna, and Dollard, most of whom could be potential future show runners in five or six years’ time. So the next era of Doctor Who has the potential to be a good, even though I suspect I won’t love it as much as I loved the Moffat era (and, for that matter, the RTD era).

    With that said, let’s not start writing eulogies for the Moffat era yet. This was inevitable, particularly after his admission that he considered leaving after “Husbands of River Song”, but it’ll be at least a year and half till this era is truly finished. We’ve got a Christmas special and another series of episodes to look forward to yet (as well as Class, which I hope is a massive success). And I hope late 2016 to spring 2017 is a really good time for Doctor Who. Moffat deserves to go out with a bang.


    January 22, 2016 @ 10:55 pm

    sooooo, s10 will be Capaldi’s last, then?


  19. Bennett
    January 22, 2016 @ 11:07 pm

    As disheartening as it is to wake up to your favourite era of your favourite show getting an expiration date, like others here I do think it’s the right time and am excited for Moffat’s next project. If anyone’s taking orders, I’ll have a sitcom based on the showrunner phase of his life please.

    On his replacement, well it puts me in mind of something Moffat once said in an interview. To paraphrase it badly, he said that people second-guessing the casting of Matt Smith was a good thing as it made room for his performance to blow everyone away. I really hope to be blown away, though right now I can’t help thinking I’d prefer the show to be run by 80s Pip and Jane.


  20. Nicholas Caluda
    January 22, 2016 @ 11:11 pm

    The idealist in me was still pulling for Harness or Mathieson. The realist in me recognizes they don’t have good enough resumes yet. The pessimist in me fears for Doctor Who’s future.

    The optimist in me thinks “Well, it could have been Whithouse…”

    So I don’t know what to think. My initial reaction was that most unpleasant of words, but I think that’s more that the inevitable has come to pass – one of the best writers the show’s ever had is leaving, and one of a number of pleasant but unremarkable people is taking over.


    • baillache
      January 23, 2016 @ 3:28 am

      i’m surprised at everyone’s suggestion that harness hasn’t done enough. hasn’t he effectively showrun a few series of wallander, which is certainly a big bbc series? maybe i’m getting confused, but i thought it was more that he isn’t interested in moving to the uk.


      • Nicholas Caluda
        January 23, 2016 @ 7:44 am

        I know he’s done Wallander, but I’m not sure it’s on the same level. I’m no expert, though – you may be right in that his current residence is the issue.


  21. dm
    January 22, 2016 @ 11:26 pm

    At least it’s generally understood that he sucks. If we got Whithouse there’d be some mandate for him to do “Whithouse Stories”, which, for whatever sick reasons, have their fans.

    But, really, I genuinely hope it only limps on for one more season before cancelation. This is an incredibly undignified death.

    I’ve been a fairly massive Moffatt basher who has come around a bit in recent years. Say what you will about the man, at least he was competent. I’ve never, ever seen a modicum of competence in Chibnall’s Who episodes or in Broadchurch.


    • dm
      January 22, 2016 @ 11:29 pm

      God this is very doom and gloom, isn’t it. I sound like Gallifrey Base.

      I’ll add that I hope to be surprised. And I hope Mathieson ends up writing the lion’s share of the episodes for whatever reason.


    • dm
      January 22, 2016 @ 11:31 pm

      Oh god what a Gallifrey Base comment. Sorry. I do hope to be pleasantly surprised. If Mathieson isn’t writing at least 2 stories in S10, though, I’ll be very upset.


  22. William McCormick
    January 22, 2016 @ 11:42 pm

    He wrote the single best episode of Doctor Who ever, so I’m pretty happy. I would have been happy with either Chibnall or Gatiss, so I was really blessed for choice.

    I really can’t see him not returning to people like Gatiss, Dollard and Harness for his first series, especially if Moffat is pretty judicious about his scripts next season.

    I look forward to the Chibnall hatedom starting up soon. It should be entertaining before it becomes the same Misogynistic shit-storm that the Moffat hatedom has.


    • halcoromosone
      January 23, 2016 @ 12:07 am

      Which of his episodes are you talking about?


      • William McCormick
        January 23, 2016 @ 1:01 am

        Dinosaurs on a Spaceship of course.


        • Doctor Memory
          January 23, 2016 @ 2:05 am

          Fry squint


          • William McCormick
            January 23, 2016 @ 2:12 am

            No Joke. I think it’s true to the show’s ethos, it’s fun, got creatures it moves, it’s funny and touching and has a smashing cast. It has my favorite shot ever in Doctor Who (Brian Eating his sack lunch) and could only be on this show. I think it’s utterly brilliant.

    • Riggio
      January 23, 2016 @ 11:19 pm

      I too am a lover of Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. Of any story in the Smith era, it’s probably the best pure romp. It’s a gorgeous piece of comedy spectacle with wonderful moments of pathos and character. His two episodes featuring Brian Williams make him, in a mere two hours, a creative new take on the companion model Davies built with Wilfred Mott.

      I hope Chibnall writes a script or two for the 2017 season so we can see how he handles Capaldi’s Doctor. But I liked Broadchurch too, and I think he’ll be a good steward for the show.

      We probably won’t see the kind of detailed and complicated story arcs of the Moffat era. But that’s okay, because the complicated story arc is a feature peculiar to Moffat, so I wouldn’t want someone else to try to do the same thing. Honestly, I find he’s progressed a great deal as a writer since the plodding superficiality of 42 and the gagging disaster of Cyberwoman. I could see him taking Doctor Who in the direction of upbeat adventures and mystery stories, which would be a cool thing to see. Especially stories that put the Doctor in a detective mode.

      Chibnall is a writer who’s improved and progressed, and most importantly, learned from his mistakes. I’d like to see Capaldi stick around for Chibnall’s first year as creative producer, then see them cast the first female Doctor. We’ll see what the new companion concept and actor for the 2017 season turns out to be. But I’m quite hopeful for the future.


  23. Janine
    January 22, 2016 @ 11:47 pm

    Well, as you say, not my first choice, and this was the guy who wrote Cyberwoman. Equally, this was the guy who wrote Adrift, which I would consider to be a classic, and Broadchurch and Law & Order UK were both, as far as I can remember, very solid shows. On top of that, a female Doctor still seems like a possibility.

    One of the most striking things about Chibnall is that he’s got quite a RTD-style approach to the show, I think, but with enough deviation not to feel like a re-hash. So I’m confident, if not overly excited.


    • Alex M
      January 23, 2016 @ 8:17 pm

      On top of that, a female Doctor still seems like a possibility.

      Is that based on something Chibnall’s said, or just a general impression you’ve got? I ask because I’ve compiled a list of people involved with Doctor Who that supported the idea of a female Doctor, but I could never find anything Chibnall said on the matter. If you know of a quote or anything, that’d be really helpful.


      • Janine
        January 25, 2016 @ 4:33 pm

        Yeah, sorry, it was just a gut reaction. He’s someone I see as a lot more progressive with his politics than the likes of Whithouse, and I imagine it was probably something Moffat looked for in a successor. But maybe not. Maybe I’m just being optimistic.


  24. BenJ
    January 22, 2016 @ 11:58 pm

    Quite aware that I’m swimming against the tide in this setting, but I was rooting right up till the end for Whithouse. He strikes me as the most go-for-broke member of NuWho’s rough staff of writers.

    As for Chibnall, I just hope he doesn’t copy RTD too slavishly. “The Power of Three” seemed like a time-skip back to 2006 or so.

    It definitely makes sense that Moffat is leaving, much as I’ve enjoyed his run. The history of classic Who shows how much the fans will turn on a producer who outstays their welcome, a process that had already started for Steve.


  25. Kate Orman
    January 23, 2016 @ 12:00 am

    Looking forward to innumerable scenes of torment and torture. thumbs up


    • Ike
      January 23, 2016 @ 3:36 am

      Good to see you’re still around, Kate.

      You have more talent in one of your little toes than Chibnall has in his whole body, based on his DW entries so far.

      So, your toe for showrunner!

      (Wait, have you ever written a TV script before?! Maybe I should rethink this.

      Nah, you’d still be better than Chibnall. Or at least pleasantly weirder. Chibnall’s stuff is too normal for this show.)


      • Kate
        January 24, 2016 @ 4:53 am

        Very flattered, but very, very unqualified for the job. 🙂


        • Ike
          January 27, 2016 @ 2:01 am

          That’s what I figured. My comment was probably more about wishing for more rad and less trad for the future of Doctor Who, and “The Left-Handed Hummingbird” was pretty excellently rad, after all. I suppose they don’t even hire experienced non-Brits to script British shows anyway (?), much less inexperienced non-Brits.

          OTOH after the ghastly X-Files revival premiere, Chibnall isn’t looking quite so terrible in comparison to Chris Carter!

          Good luck and Glob-speed with your work; hope to see one of those original (non-tie-in) novels from you eventually.


  26. Richard Pugree
    January 23, 2016 @ 12:14 am

    This means we get Brian as the companion right? Right?


  27. Chicanery
    January 23, 2016 @ 1:32 am

    Please no, not the Chibnall. Every episode he has written is a low point. This is the worst choice that could’ve been made.


    • Ike
      January 23, 2016 @ 3:37 am

      Gatiss probably would’ve been even worse, but yeah, this is pretty appalling. What a downer.


      • Chicanery
        January 23, 2016 @ 11:40 am

        Gattis was never going to accept the job, Chilmark was the worst realistic possibility


        • John
          January 23, 2016 @ 1:13 pm

          The realistic possibilities were Chibnall and Whithouse, and I don’t really think Whithouse is any better.


  28. Matt
    January 23, 2016 @ 1:53 am

    Broadchurch season 1 was a competently written series raised by excellent direction & acting. Broadchurch season 2 was a cliche-ridden mess.

    Chris Chibnall’s strength is writing relatable characters. As noted by others, like RTD, he’s a writer from the soap tradition (in a way that Moffat is not). I doubt his ability to write anything particularly innovative but am happy to be persuaded otherwise.


  29. Dadalama
    January 23, 2016 @ 2:36 am

    I hope Moffat comes back to write an episode or two after a short break. I always wonder what his writing would look like under different show runners. While I wasn’t particularly thrilled about his tenure as the showrunner I do think he is a talented writer.


  30. Alex
    January 23, 2016 @ 3:39 am

    Bring back RTD and David Tennant!!

    Would be nice to have a handful of specials though, like Easter and… November.


  31. encyclops
    January 23, 2016 @ 5:29 am

    Not only has Chibnall never written an outstanding Who episode, but I have a hard time picturing him doing a charismatic, daring, innovative job promoting and orchestrating the series as a showrunner. So I’m in the disappointed camp.

    Apart from “Hungry Earth”/”Cold Blood,” though, I haven’t actively hated any of his stories, and so to make a dutiful effort at optimism, I ponder the question of what point of view is Chibnall Who likely to take.

    To be reductive about it, I think you can extrapolate from “Rose,” as though it were a piece of fairy cake in the Total Perspective Vortex, almost everything you need to know about the RTD era. Or, if you don’t buy that, pick “Bad Wolf / Parting of the Ways,” which folds in the rest of the important stuff about gods and hubris and too much power along with the pop culture and the beauty of the ordinary. Similarly, you can take one of Moffat’s early episodes — I think “Girl in the Fireplace” has it pretty well covered — and extrapolate lots of the key elements, concerns, motifs, and themes of the Moffat era. You can see from his individual episodes what his era would be about, generally speaking.

    So what does Chibnall’s work on Who have in common? I’m cheating a bit by thinking of his Torchwood episodes and Broadchurch as well, but if there’s any thread at all, it’s something about past wounds causing a savage (over)reaction in the present. Revenge and retaliation are all over “42,” “Hungry Earth / Cold Blood,” and “Dinosaurs.” The recurrence of past friends as present enemies is there in “Cyberwoman” and the Captain John Hart character. I couldn’t tell you exactly how, but the unearthing of past trauma in “Adrift” and even Broadchurch series 1 seems connected to this. It’s a stab in the dark, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this (gothic?) mode ended up dominating Chibnall’s Who. It’s not the worst approach to Who ever — arguably it has a lot in common with the Hinchcliffe/Holmes era — but also arguably we’ve already had it, with evil Rassilon and the ripples of the Time War.

    I didn’t think the RTD and Moffat eras were perfect, but they were of such a high quality, and with such heart underpinning them, that it’s hard to imagine this will be a patch on them. The one silver lining I see is that — and I don’t know why I give him this kind of credit — I can imagine Chibnall casting a female Doctor and/or a Doctor of color. I can’t quite see any of the other prospective showrunners doing that.

    (The CAPTCHA still hates me. 🙁 )


    • ScarvesandCelery
      January 23, 2016 @ 9:37 am

      Interesting points about Chibnall’s recurring themes – I’ll be intrigued to see if/how they fit into his version of Doctor Who.

      Agreed entirely with your last paragraph. I don’t think there’s been a single point in Doctor Who’s history where it’s had two consecutive showrunners/ head writers/ producers as good as RTD and Moffat. I would have been amazed if they’d pulled off a third in a row. Chibnall may yet surprise me (and I hope he does) but even if he doesn’t, I think he’ll be a solid pair of hands until someone else I’m hugely excited for – possibly Dollard, Mathieson, Harness, or even someone else entirely – comes along.


    • BenJ
      January 24, 2016 @ 3:01 am

      I tend to think that any successor that Moffat had a hand in picking would be open to opening up the lead to female and nonwhite actors, given that it’s under Moffat that the sexual fluidity of Time Lords in regeneration has been confirmed. If the Beeb had brought in someone from the outside they might have wanted to pare back all the Moffat era innovations, including that one.

      If Chibnall wants to do it and can sell his bosses on the idea of a sex or ethnicity change for the Doctor, I do think he may have some good candidates in mind.

      (CAPTCHA hates me too, since I keep trying what looks to be the right combination and failing.)


    • Matt
      January 25, 2016 @ 3:42 am

      Human responses to trauma and loss definitely. I’m less convinced about the Hinchcliffe/Holmes gothic thing as I think he’s more interested in grief than repression per se (not that the two can’t be intertwined).

      So it’s Olivia Colman for Dr Who then?


  32. Jane Campbell
    January 23, 2016 @ 5:51 am

    I’m okay with this.

    No, it’s not the exciting fresh talent that’s recently emerged, but it’s going to be awfully difficult to follow RTD and Moffat, and this gives the fresh talent more time to build experience. I think Chibnall’s got a fairly populist angle on the show, unlike, say, Gatiss, whose taste is a bit more esoteric. And Chibnall certainly isn’t as problematic as Whithouse — though obviously all three of the predictable candidates aren’t exactly as progressive in their politics as we’d like.

    Thinking about his recent CV: Yes, Broadchurch was elevated by great acting and directing. But surely Chibnall gets some credit for that, being the showrunner? He’s got showrunning skills to pull off that. And his stuff on Who, while not brilliant like Moffat’s was during the RTD era, is actually demonstrably broad. 42 has an interesting SF premise. Dinosaurs as the populist romp. Po3 as the character piece that’s also a critique of mythology (Po3 is deeply underrated in my opinion). And even the Silurian two-parter had potential, but was severely hampered by Ashley Way’s bland direction and Murray Gold’s uninspired score.

    Yeah, the Chibnall era might be a lull for us, but I don’t think the show is going to tank or anything dreadful like that. To me it feels like a steady hand holding down the fort until something wonderful is truly ready to arrive.


    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      January 23, 2016 @ 8:10 am

      That’s pretty much where I am, thinking more about it. I suspect Moffat is best followed by someone more trad, even if that’s not what I want. The counter-reformation always happens. That’s Doctor Who’s history.

      And they’re sure going to have a lot of good choices in 2022 or so.


      • Daru
        January 23, 2016 @ 1:58 pm

        I think I’m more in agreement with both you and Jane Phil about Chibnall being hired won’t be such a bad thing, even if many of us here would feel he’d be pretty Trad.

        The show having someone who will hit the populist nerve maybe won’t do it much wrong for a while. As you say, there has always been that tension in the show’s history and having something to push against in a few years might be good for the creativity and freshness when the time comes. And at least Chibnall is able to work within a wide variety of idea types.


  33. merrival
    January 23, 2016 @ 8:22 am

    I think Gatiss would have been an infinitely better choice than Chibnall…and Gatiss would have been very low on my list of preferred candidates. Chibnall is a very bland writer. A predictable disaster.


  34. merrival
    January 23, 2016 @ 8:38 am

    I wonder how much Moffat had to do with the final decision? Somehow I can’t imagine it was dropped into a casual email like the last time…


    • Harlequin
      January 23, 2016 @ 11:32 pm

      While his decision would probably have had to go through a higher approval process, Moffat’s earlier statements suggested he was personally choosing his successor.


      • thesmilingstallioninn
        January 24, 2016 @ 3:15 am

        Now I wonder how Gatiss feels about not being chosen, if Moffat had some involvement. The two of them have been writing partners, after all, on Sherlock.


        • Harlequin
          January 24, 2016 @ 10:20 am

          Andrew earlier mentioned an interview in which Gatiss suggested he wouldn’t be able to handle the abuse that DW showrunners get.


  35. Mewiet
    January 23, 2016 @ 8:44 am

    I dreaded when a Chibnall or Gatiss episode was coming up, so the idea of having to suffer through three or four episodes of theirs, not to mention their influence over everyone else’s episodes, is an absolute nightmare. I knew they were priming Chibnall back in S7 by giving him a webseries and asking him to write an unprecedented three episodes but I hoped that after being gone for two seasons he wouldn’t be in the showrunner running anymore. This is the first time since I watched “Rose” that I have felt resistant towards the idea of an entire season. I hope he can turn it around as showrunner, but right now I am gutted by this news.


  36. Paul Smith
    January 23, 2016 @ 10:26 am

    For those raising the spectre of ‘Cyberwoman’, I think it’s fair to keep in mind that was written some 10 years ago, and Chibnall has been busy ever since so it may not be reflective of his current abilities.

    I think another key factor is the exec producer he’ll be paired with. We don’t know yet if Brian Minchin is staying on for Series 10 (I’d guess likely) let alone Series 11.


  37. John M
    January 23, 2016 @ 10:53 am

    “Nightmare Scenario”…

    Bowie, Rickman, Moffat-Who… All this loss cuts too deeply at the start of the new year!

    Are we one step closer, or further from a female Doctor?


    • Harlequin
      January 23, 2016 @ 11:54 pm

      It only struck me a couple of days ago that, given the close links between Bowie’s career and ‘Doctor Who’, the end of the former could bode badly for the latter. Then I discover there’s to be no DW series in the year of Bowie’s death.

      I’m afraid I think a female Doctor could limit story possibilities far more than a non-white one, especially for stories set in Earth’s past. OTOH, such a choice could produce very interesting results.

      I agree that Chibnall might be the right choice for the long term future of the series, even if fans might think his tenure relatively dull. I rather hope he employs co-writers for season premiers and finales, though.

      I also hope Chibnall keeps Capaldi for at least Series Eleven. I suspect Capaldi has similar hopes.


  38. Andrew
    January 23, 2016 @ 11:17 am

    Regardless of his largely uninteresting Dr. Who episodes to date, I think Chibnall is probably a safe choice for the BBC. He is, after all, an easy sell to the public. He’s very easy to hang a label on, as the “guy who made Broadchurch (or Gracepoint)”, which was a massive popular hit.

    Gatiss would be the only other easy sell, I think (because of Sherlock).


    • Aylwin
      January 23, 2016 @ 1:07 pm

      And I think that’s critical – my expectation was always that the BBC would be in safe-pair-of-hands mode, given Doctor Who’s increased commercial importance to a financially-menaced Corporation and the recent decline in ratings (for all that that may be primarily attributable to scheduling), though of course the considerations affecting the decision would depend on when it was actually made. Proven ability to put bums on seats was bound to be more of an issue than it might have been under sunnier circumstances.


      • Andrew
        January 23, 2016 @ 1:54 pm

        Well quite. Dr. Who fans seem to be treating this like we’re looking at the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama or something.

        In reality, the show-runner needs to be someone who can act as an extroverted ‘face’ of the show for marketing purposes (can’t quite imagine Peter Harness doing this with glee); and have enough of a proven track record (and a thick skin) to survive endless scrutiny and a barrage of THIS SHOWRUNNER MUST GO! on social media (Gatiss, in an interview, alluded to not being able to cope with the sheer volume of abuse that RTD and Moffat have had).

        Oh, and from a TV production viewpoint, the showrunner also has to produce decent-enough Saturday-evening drama. For the majority of viewers, I’m afraid “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” is probably a lot more accessible than “Listen”.


      • Andrew
        January 23, 2016 @ 1:54 pm

        Well quite. Dr. Who fans seem to be treating this like we’re looking at the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama or something.

        In reality, the show-runner needs to be someone who can act as an extroverted ‘face’ of the show for marketing purposes (can’t quite imagine Peter Harness doing this with glee); and have enough of a proven track record (and a thick skin) to survive endless scrutiny and a barrage of THIS SHOWRUNNER MUST GO! on social media (Gatiss, in an interview, alluded to not being able to cope with the sheer volume of abuse that RTD and Moffat have had).

        Oh, and they also have to produce decent-enough Dr Who. For the majority of viewers, I’m afraid “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” is probably a lot more accessible than “Listen”.


  39. Lambda
    January 23, 2016 @ 11:29 am

    Well, we pretty much knew we wouldn’t be getting anyone good. I don’t think I saw much to choose between the three candidates, although Gatiss had been looking better recently.

    The big question here which we’ll have to wait for the answer to is what happens to 21st century Who when it doesn’t have a genius at the helm? But we were going to get such a situation sooner or later.


  40. Wood
    January 23, 2016 @ 12:50 pm

    See, everyone goes on about Chibnall having written Cyberwoman, which is bad, but no one mentions Countrycide, which was staggeringly offensive, the perpetuation of any number of harmful stereotypes about rural Wales. I remember being by turns incredibly angry about it, and then stunned that this sort of thing could be made in the twenty-first century without comment. It is, as an inhabitant of Wales, one of the most hideous things I’ve seen on TV since the turn of the century.

    I mean, look, this is a site curated by people who recognise that the yellowface in Talons of Weng Chiang is more of a problem than the glove puppet rat. Surely someone noticed how horrendous it was?

    Having said that, that was nearly ten years ago now and there is a case to be made for Chibnall’s Who scripts having steadily, gradually improved. He’s won awards for Broadchurch, which a lot of people liked and he’s got form as a show runner and a writer. He was the most obvious, logical choice. I don’t think it’s fair to write him off just yet.

    As long as he doesn’t perpetrate another hate crime like Countrycide.


    • Anton B
      January 24, 2016 @ 9:40 am

      I would add his stunningly anti-Semitic character of Solomon in Dinosaurs in a Spaceship but it was handwaved here at the time and I don’t expect it will be considered any more of an issue now. Personally, no amount of CGI dinosaurs can make me watch the episode because I personally find the ethnic stereotyping too disturbing.


    • John Wirenius
      January 25, 2016 @ 10:48 pm

      Not to dismiss the miserable treatment of rural Wales in “Countrycide,” but that was the episode that revealed to me why I just plain disliked Torchwood: It was mean, dirt mean, in its world view, gratuitously nasty in its portrayal of all the characters, to the point of wild inconsistencies just to shock (Gwen, for one, but also note how Jack is grim and drab in Torchwood, recovers his spark when guesting on DW in the same time framer, and then resumes his ever-increasing grimness on his own program).

      Torchwood renminds me of what Mark Twain said about Fenimore Cooper’s novels: “The reader of The Deerslayer tale dislikes the good people in it, is indifferent to the rest, and wishes they would all get drowned together.”

      Still, there is Broadchurch….and the hope that Capaldi will stay on a while.


  41. Kapitano
    January 23, 2016 @ 3:49 pm

    Chibnall, who can do suspense and pacing but not plot or dialogue, replaces Moffat, who can set up mysteries but not resolve them.

    Oh well, there’s usually some good guest writers.


  42. Dadalama
    January 23, 2016 @ 4:48 pm

    maybe he will even take a more hands off approach. Letting individual script writers shine outside of some grand plan the show runner cooked up.

    Has he ever done a series as episodic as Doctor Who?


  43. TommyR01D
    January 23, 2016 @ 7:08 pm

    I don’t really know enough about Chibnall to comment on his appointment, but I’m glad that Moffat is finally leaving.

    I am concerned, though, that this changeover will likely coincide with the retirement of Peter Capaldi from the show. This, combined with The End of Time could very well entrench a precedent for the revived series whereby the departure of the executive producer requires everything else about the show to simultaneously reset, resembling a Demise of the Crown in pre-Victorian times.

    Perhaps it is time to end the idea of a “showrunner” for Doctor Who. Certainly I don’t think it’s wise to continue giving the head man the level of power that Moffat has had since 2010. My hope is that Chibnall will keep a bit more distance and allow individual writers to make good quality standalone episodes, rather than micromanaging everything to fit a multi-seasonal arc in the manner of his predecessor.


  44. Matt
    January 24, 2016 @ 11:13 am

    90 mins of Chris Chibnall: http://dannystack.com/chris-chibnall-interview/

    One thing that comes out is his desire to push the boundaries of what you can do with popular entertainment without it ceasing to be popular.


  45. Tim B.
    January 24, 2016 @ 6:12 pm

    It’s something new and change is what Who does so my base response is of cautious optimism. Tend to think that someone populist is what the show could do with post Moffat, less of a puzzle-box feel to the show.

    Have to say that whilst I enjoyed Broadchurch season 1, season 2 was an excruciating trudge of courtroom cliches, so hopefully he’s learnt from it and will go for a more straight forward episodic approach.

    I;ve enjoyed Capaldi’s run so far, but don’t really have an opinion on whether he brings in a new Doctor at the start of his run, can think up arguments for and against, but not really into backyard showrunning/BBC management navigation such a decision would surely be, particularly if there’s the possibility of changing ethnicity or gender.


  46. Al Martorano
    January 25, 2016 @ 3:40 pm

    Matt, thanks for that link. Really good interview and maybe an indicator of what we can expect going forward.

    I’m actually really surprised Gatiss didn’t get the job. Was Chibnall the first choice? Also, forget a female Doctor, how about another female showrunner? I think there was one once in Who…what was her name…

    Ignore me though, I’ve always thought Gareth Roberts would be a great choice to take over the helm…


    • Matt
      January 26, 2016 @ 9:27 am

      Maybe Gatiss was offered it. I suspect that regardless of their views of his talents, BBC execs would be reluctant to overload the other major writer of Sherlock. Where as Broadchurch is shown on ITV (“the other side”).

      As for Gareth Roberts, I have a soft spot for him too. But I’m not sure how he’d cope with running a show rather than merely contributing to it. And I have some doubts about his tonal range. He thrives in comedy – he’d also have to master visceral horror and high drama.


  47. Matt
    January 26, 2016 @ 9:18 am

    More Chibnall: http://nerdist.com/nerdist-writers-panel-162-broadchurch-and-gracepoints-chris-chibnall/

    He talks a lot about Torchwood. Working with RTD. And being a Dr Who fan as a teenager but leaving it behind.

    N.B. Cyberwoman was written (almost literally) during the birth of his youngest child.

    His natural instincts will be explore the emotional consequences of being a Dr Who character. And to take a more serialised vs episodic approach. Which is not out of line with the approaches that RTD and Moffat have taken. How he does this will be interesting. I suspect we’re going to see stronger story arcs in place.

    However I suspect he has little interest in callbacks to classic series Dr Who (the Silurians were put to him by Moffat apparently). So there won’t be any Macra or Great Intelligence. I’be often wondered what the new series would look like if it was run by a television professional is not a massive fan of the original show. We might be about to find out.


  48. UrsulaL
    January 27, 2016 @ 4:57 am

    On a positive note, Chibnall’s work for Who seems to have consistently improved with experience.

    And looking at his episodes list, it seems that his work was at the heart of what led to my idea of the Eleventh Doctor taking on the role of “Household God” for the Ponds. The Silurian episodes are the first ones where Rory gets to be openly heroic, and not just the butt of the joke. “Pond Life”, “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”, “The Power of Three” and “P.S” give a coherent arc that is the story of the Ponds, as a family, coping with the complexities of their travel.

    So he has the potential to take characterization of the Doctor in new directions. And to take the idea of companions in new directions, as well. The Doctor as the Ponds’ household god and protector, and the Ponds’ as his devotees, and the complexities of that relationship, shows potential for some interesting new takes on the show.


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