Incoming Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall will lead the BBC’s search for the 13th Doctor when he begins work on the sci-fi show later this year.
Chibnall, who takes over the reins from Steven Moffat, will oversee the eleventh series in time for a broadcast next year and will have the ultimate say on who the new Doctor is, say BBC insiders, although his decision has to be rubber-stamped by BBC director of content Charlotte Moore and head of drama Piers Wenger.
According to BBC sources, Chibnall is expected to begin leading the team searching for the new candidate in the middle of this year when he starts to become more directly involved in the series.
The future showrunner (pictured below) told RadioTimes.com on Monday night that he has not yet been able to fully dedicate himself to Doctor Who.
Chibnall said he “hadn’t started yet” on the show and that all his energies were currently focused on season three of his ITV crime drama Broadchurch (which stars former Doctor Who David Tennant). The series has been shot but Chibnall said he is still working on the editing of the eight-part story which sees Tennant and Olivia Colman’s detectives investigate a violent rape.
It is also understood that Chibnall is keen to leave Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi as much freedom as possible to make their final series of Doctor Who “unhindered", according to key figures on the show.
Chibnall added that after Broadchurch airs he plans to take a holiday before beginning work in earnest on Doctor Who.
According to sources, the search for a new Doctor will be completed in the autumn and the new Time Lord will appear in an on-screen regeneration when Capaldi leaves the role in the 2017 Christmas special.
The new 12-part series begins on BBC1 on 15th April after a year's break and will be Steven Moffat’s last in charge.
Chibnall’s series is slated to begin filming early next year with a likely broadcast in the autumn of 2018, according to sources.
Capaldi made the decision to announce his departure on the Jo Whiley show on Monday night.
The move had been planned for a long time and he is understood to have chosen to give Whiley the scoop on the news because of their friendship.
He told her: "One of the greatest privileges of being Doctor Who is to see the world at its best.
"From our brilliant crew and creative team working for the best broadcaster on the planet, to the viewers and fans whose endless creativity, generosity and inclusiveness points to a brighter future ahead. I can't thank everyone enough. It's been cosmic."
Following his announcement, the BBC issued a prepared statement which quoted Moffat as saying “For years before I ever imagined being involved in Doctor Who, or had ever met the man, I wanted to work with Peter Capaldi.
"I could not have imagined that one day we’d be standing on the TARDIS together. Like Peter, I’m facing up to leaving the best job I’ll ever have, but knowing I do so in the company of the best, and kindest and cleverest of men, makes the saddest of endings a little sweeter.
“But hey, it’s a long way from over. Peter's amazing, fiery, turbulent Doctor is still fighting the good fight, and his greatest adventures are yet to come. Monsters of the universe, be on your guard – Capaldi’s not done with you yet!”
Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content, paid tribute to Capaldi, saying "He has been a tremendous Doctor who has brought his own unique wisdom and charisma to the role."
Who should replace Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who? Read the early rumours here...