Doctor Who: Anticipating the Chibnall Era

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Nick Brent is eagerly anticipating the Chibnall era of Doctor Who...


Well that was unexpected!

We knew this day would eventually come; Steven Moffat was on record for saying that he was looking for a successor and that The Husbands of River Song was written as if it were his last, but despite all this I’m still quite shocked by the recent news. And for a short while I was confused as to why Chris Chibnall was chosen as Moffat’s replacement; he hasn’t written for the show since 2012! But now having thought about it, I think Chibnall is a great choice!

Now, I’m not ashamed to admit I will miss Moffat. Sure, he has made mistakes and there have been episodes and storylines I haven’t particularly liked but I can’t deny that I have ultimately enjoyed his era very much. In fact, Series 5 is my favourite of the revived show, closely followed by Series 9. However, as I thought at the time Russell T. Davies was coming to the end of his tenure, I do think the show is ready for a change and Chibnall is the right person to help bring the series into a new era.

Stepping into the TARDIS for one last adventure?

To start with I was a bit miffed at Chibnall’s appointment, especially when we’ve recently had phenomenal stories written by the likes of Peter Harness, Jamie Mathieson and Toby Whithouse, and not to mention Mark Gatiss who is a close friend of Moffats and has been writing for the series for as long as him. But when it comes down to it, Chris Chibnall probably has the most show running experience of them all. Just look at Broadchurch for example.

Interesting casting for Series 11

Broadchurch is arguably one of the best things to come out of ITV and despite what many will say about it’s second series, I didn't think it was bad at all. It was certainly weaker and the ending was quite irritating after everything that was set up in the first series but I still enjoyed it and Chibnall clearly did a great job at writing and running it, and I am rather excited for Series 3. It does show that Doctor Who is in safe hands and I do think it’d be cool to see the show pick up the tone and atmosphere of Broadchurch… it would make it very different indeed. Some friends of mine who have given up with the show during the Moffat era have expressed how pleased they are that the writer behind Broadchurch is going to be taking the reins.

Chris Chibnall’s episodes of Doctor Who are often the lighter stories of a series, and I think that we could expect a mix of that and Broadchurch style story telling in his era. Since the announcement I have seen a few comments from people saying that Chibnall’s Doctor Who episodes aren’t good but I am inclined to disagree. They aren’t the best stories, but they are by no means the worst and nor are they at all bad.


If we take a look at 42, Chibnall’s first Doctor Who outing, we have a pretty good, solid episode which utilised the real time concept really well. His Series 5 two-parter The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood, which although it could have been done in one episode and is probably the weakest in the amazing series, was still a nice enough story which nicely reintroduced the Silurians and ended with the shock death of Rory. Then came Dinosaurs on a Spaceship which was a lot of fun and actually quite dark in places with the Doctor sending Solomon to his death. His final Doctor Who script to date was the The Power of Three, which again was a fun, fast paced and intriguing story, the only problem with it is the ending, and unlike the Silurian story, it would have benefited from being a two-parter.

Let’s not forget that he also wrote P.S. which was the touching goodbye from Rory to his Dad, Brian, which Moffat never addressed. Such a shame that was never filmed.



I feel that with Chibnall as showrunner, he will be able to expand on his ideas more, so whilst his episodes under other show runners might not have been the strongest, they could get better when he is in charge and has a bit more free reign.

We can't talk about Chris Chibnall without mentioning Torchwood. His episodes have been hit and miss (I’m looking at you Cyberwoman) but when they’re good, they’re really good!


Countrycide for example is some of the most amazingly gruesome television episodes I’ve ever seen. Adrift is a very strong and powerful story which I am actually watching as I type. Fragments is a brilliant story which focuses heavily on the character’s backstories (character development is something that Chibnall is particularly good at) and Exit Wounds it potentially one of the saddest episodes of TV I’ve ever seen. Don’t judge.

Characterisation and back story is something we can probably expect to see a lot of in Chibnall’s era, and also more focus on the companion’s family. Broadchurch has shown that Chibnall is superb at writing families.

I’m not sure if this is bad or not but the big thing I am looking forward to with this new era of the show is the inevitable re-brand that will come with it - a new logo, title sequence and theme song is always something to look forward to. Hopefully Peter Capaldi will stay for at least the first series of Chibnall’s run - I’d like to see him under a new showrunner, it would also allow for a much smoother transition and will lend some familiarity for Series 11, unlike the complete ‘regeneration’ of Series 5.


But we have got two years to go yet and one last hurrah for Moffat. No Doctor Who this year though, but I’m okay about that. The extended break before filming will allow writers to hopefully produce a great and fitting end to what has been a brilliant era, and allow Chris Chibnall to prepare properly for a brand new one. I wonder if Chibnall will be contributing a script for the upcoming series…?

Chris Chibnall has some big shoes to fill, but I do not doubt for one moment that he will struggle to fill them.

2017 and 2018 are going to be a blast!

Nick is a 2000 year old alien who travels through time and space, saving the good and conquering the evil... or so he likes to think.

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