It looks like new Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall is set to shake up the long-running sci-fi drama when he takes over at the end of the year.
In an interview with Television, the in-house magazine of the Royal Television Society, Chiball says that all options are on the table for the programme, including a whole-series storyline of the kind he pursued on three series of Broadchurch.
Asked if this approach were possible, he replied “yes”, adding that “what the BBC was after was risk and boldness” when they approached him for the job.
Admitting that he resisted accepting the role “for a very long time”, Chibnall said the BBC had agreed with his ideas for the show – somewhat to his surprise.
“I had ideas about what I wanted to do with it,” he said. “When I went to them and said, ‘This is what I would do’, I actually expected them to say, ‘Ooh, let’s talk about that’, but they said: ‘Great!’”
Interviewer Mark Lawson writes in the same piece: “Chibnall’s general tone suggests that there may be a radical revamp of Doctor Who, which will please those who have suggested the show needs a kick up the Tardis.”
Chibnall’s friend and collaborator, the director James Strong is also quoted in the same piece as saying: “Well, my own completely personal view is that it does. It used to be – and I stress this is my personal opinion – at the heart of the schedule, an unmissable family show and, for some reason, it’s slipped a bit from the national consciousness.
“For me, when it goes towards storylines that are a little bit more for the fans, I think you can lose that general appeal. I think Chris is going to offer a slightly different take on what the show should be.
“I know what a big fan of the show he is and I know how much he feels he has a vision for it,” added Strong. “It’s a five-year project. That was a huge decision. He’s in his absolute prime and could have done whatever he wanted, writing-wise. It’s an absolutely wonderful result for Doctor Who. I think Chris, essentially, writes emotional thrillers, and that’s perfect for that show.”
Chibnall is currently involved in the search for a new Doctor, who is likely to appear in an on-screen regeneration when incumbent Time Lord Peter Capaldi leaves the role in the 2017 Christmas special.
Chibnall’s series is slated to begin filming early next year with a likely broadcast in the autumn of 2018, according to sources.
These quotes are from an article written by Mark Lawson which features in the June issue of RTS members magazine Television