We still don’t know too much about what Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor will be getting up to in the next series of Doctor Who, but now we at least know who’ll bring those stories to life – because today, the series’ writing staff and directors have been confirmed.
“We’re thrilled that Doctor Who continues to attract some of the most exciting and dynamic talent working in television,” head writer Chris Chibnall said in a release.
“Along with our returning faces, we’re excited to welcome new members to the Doctor Who family. The Doctor Who team is crammed with British television’s brightest writers and directors: we’ve adored working with them, and can’t wait to show you the explosive stuff they’ve created!”
Joining Chibnall in writing the new series are a few familiar faces from last year, with Vinay Patel (who wrote Demons of the Punjab for series 11) returning alongside It Takes You Away’s Ed Hime and Kerblam!’s Pete McTighe.
Given that all three of these writers wrote fan-favourite episodes last year, we’re sure many will be glad to see them return – and there are also some new faces in the writing team.
— Amy Stratton (@AmyYokoStratton) December 16, 2016
Nina Metivier (left in tweet), who co-created BBC iPlayer series The A List, is one of these new faces, though she’s actually been working on the series for a while, having previously script-edited episodes like The Woman Who Fell to Earth and It Takes You Away.
She’s also script-edited series like Big and Small, The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby, Leonardo and Dinopaws, and has written for Dinopaws and Dixi alongside The A List.
My writing software remembers all our characters past and present. So the question is, when the hell did we have a speaking Aardvark??? pic.twitter.com/vhbhoJCXqa
— Maxine Alderton (@MaxineAlderton) January 28, 2018
Also joining the writing staff this year is Maxine Alderton, best known as one of Emmerdale’s lead writers since 2013 (winning a Yorkshire RTS award for a dementia storyline) who has also worked on BBC children’s series The Worst Witch.
And rounding out the team is award-winning playwright Charlene James, best known for her critically acclaimed 2014 play Cuttin’ It (which focused on the practice of female genital mutilation in the UK, and won several awards) and other stage works like Dad(die), Tweet Tweet and Bricks and Pieces.
On-screen, she’s written for Sky One fantasy A Discovery of Witches and BBC monologue series Snatches, and has other projects (including dramas called Grace and Saviour and a screen adaptation of Cuttin’ It) in development.
Notably, the writing staff excludes two contributors to the last series – iconic YA author Malorie Blackman, whose civil rights-themed episode Rosa was named as a series highlight ,and The Witchfinders’ Joy Wilkinson – though it could be that the busy schedules of both precluded them from contributing this year.
And of course, it’s not just new writers freshening up the team, with four new directors – Emma Sullivan, Nida Manzoor, Jamie Magnus Stone and Lee Haven Jones – also joining the TARDIS gang.
Emma Sullivan has previously worked on Call the Midwife, Doctors and Silent Witness, while Nida Manzoor is probably best known for her time directing BBC comedy-drama Enterprice. Looking ahead, she’s currently writing and directing a new Channel 4 comedy series called Lady Parts. Previous writing work includes Dixi, Jamillah and Aladdin and short film Arcade.
Director and animator Jamie Magnus Stone, meanwhile, has some Doctor Who previous – he worked uncredited on a 2013 short called Clara and the TARDIS – and has also directed other sci-fi and fantasy projects like Tripped, The Last Dragonslayer, Orbit Ever After and spy drama X Company.
And finally there’s Lee Haven Jones, a former Welsh-language actor in series like Caerdydd and Gwaith/Cartref who has turned director and worked on dramas including Casualty, The Bay, Shetland, Vera, Waterloo road, Wizards vs Aliens, The Indian Doctor, Pobol y Cwm and 35 Diwrnod.
So far, it’s not confirmed which episodes these writers or directors are working on (though it’s rumoured Stone has directed four episodes of the series including the first, and Jones the second and third), but however it’s divvied up it definitely looks like an interesting and varied behind-the-scenes line-up for the Thirteenth Doctor’s sophomore series.
Now, all we have to do is wait to see how they did…
Doctor Who will return to BBC One in early 2020