New Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall caused a stir earlier this year when he told the crowd of San Diego Comic Con that there would be no Daleks in Jodie Whittaker’s first series of Doctor Who. Instead, he said, his show would feature, “new villains, lots of new monsters, lots of new characters for you to fall in love with.” Of course, some Doctor Who fans weren’t buying it.
The writer has since been barraged with questions about the decision to omit the Doctor’s most famous enemy, and has faced accusations that he is in fact being coy, and that the Daleks will indeed return when viewers least expect it. This, he tells RadioTimes.com, for the final and last time, is simply not the case – and he is fed up of repeating himself.
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“There are no [Daleks]!” he says. “I don’t know how many times I need to say it. There are no old monsters this series. OK? I think, you can’t as a showrunner coming in, you can’t really define it against the past. Like, that’s what [the press] will do, but it’s actually not for me to come in and go ‘Where am I going to place this in relation to the Hartnell era, or the Hinchcliff era, or Peter Davison. It’s not about that. It’s about going ‘Ah, what stories do I want to tell? What’s happening in the world? What’s happening in film and television? And how does Doctor Who sit at the forefront of that? I just wanted us to feel like we were moving forward.”
Chibnall explains that part of the reason why he decided to favour the future rather than the past is that Doctor Who now has to stay relevant against the programming of Netflix, and superhero shows like Arrow and Supergirl that are coming out of The CW network in America.
“This is Doctor Who in an era of Netflix – you’ve got to keep up,” he says. “You’ve got to keep up with Black Mirror, you’ve got to keep up with all the DC shows in the US. So it’s just making sure it’s fit for purpose. I think you tell great stories with great actors. And you tell stories that feel resonant to people’s lives. I mean, Doctor Who is the single greatest idea anybody’s ever had in the history of television, so just make that, really, and make it to the best of your ability.”
Doctor Who series 11 premieres on BBC1 on October 7