David Tennant gave a pep talk to Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who writers on the set of Broadchurch

Showrunner Chris Chibnall had a secret writers' room while working on the ITV drama

David Tennant and Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who (BBC, HF)

There’s no-one better to inspire a new team of Doctor Who writers than the Doctor himself – or at least that’s the lesson we’ve learned from David Tennant, who has revealed that during the writing process for Jodie Whittaker’s first series he visited the writers to offer some words of encouragement.

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“[Showrunner Chris Chibnall] started work on Doctor Who while we were still shooting the final series of Broadchurch,” Tennant explained, with writer Chibnall deciding to slip in a bit of Who planning while finishing up with Tennant’s DI Hardy.

“Because he was in Dorset they came to him. So he had a kind of writers’ room workshop in the hotel where we were all staying.”

And with a bona fide former Doctor just around the corner, it’s easy to see why Chibnall eventually asked Tennant if he’d pop round to offer some encouragement.

“I think I was at filming one morning and he said ‘Come and meet these people.’” Tennant said.

“And that’s what they were all doing, doing a kind of brainstorming session to get the new scripts in order.”

Apparently, Tennant had some encouraging words for the team – in the final series the named writers were Malorie Blackman, Pete McTighe, Joy Wilkinson, Ed Hime and Vinay Patel, though RadioTimes.com understands more were involved in the early writers’ room stage – though he baulked at actually offering advice.

“Oh God no,” Tennant laughed. “What would I say? What would I say to a writer? ‘Thank goodness you’re better at your job than I would be.’ ‘Make sure your pens work!’”

In the end, though, we’re sure whatever he said put a spring in the step of the new Who writers, many of whom are rumoured to return for Doctor Who’s upcoming twelfth series.

And in the meantime, Tennant has managed to slip a few Doctor Who references into his latest project, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman adaptation Good Omens.

“There is a Doctor Who reference that you can catch on screen,” Tennant said. “You might need to use your pause button but it’s definitely in there.

“It was something that I think [director] Douglas MacKinnon got on set. It’s in Crowley’s apartment. There’s a little reference.

“Oh and there’s the numberplate on the car as well,” he added. “But no Daleks!”

That’s the Doctor for you – always on call, even after a few years away from the Tardis.

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Good Omens is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now