Neil Gaiman rules himself out of Doctor Who showrunner role following Chris Chibnall exit

Good Omens writer Neil Gaiman says he's "spoken for," following suggestions that he could take over from departing Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall.

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has quashed any notion that he could be in line as the next Doctor Who showrunner, after Chris Chibnall announced he would leave the BBC sci-fi series.

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Both Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker, the Thirteenth Doctor, will depart the series in 2022, bowing out following a six-part series (set to air later in 2021), two specials (planned for 2022), and a final feature-length episode to mark the broadcaster’s centenary next year.

“I’m spoken for, I’m afraid,” Gaiman said in a tweet, responding to a suggestion that he could take on the role. “And I’d much rather write and episode of Doctor Who than showrun several seasons.”

The author and screenwriter will no doubt be kept busy with the upcoming projects The Sandman and Good Omens season two; however, director Douglas Mackinnon (who directed Good Omens), was more open to the idea of working on Doctor Who alongside Gaiman.

In a tweet responding to the suggested “dream duo,” he said that being co-showrunner on Doctor Who “would be very nice”.

In a previous statement, Chibnall said, “Jodie and I made a ‘three series and out’ pact with each other at the start of this once-in-a-lifetime blast. So now our shift is done, and we’re handing back the TARDIS keys.

“Jodie’s magnificent, iconic Doctor has exceeded all our high expectations. She’s been the gold standard leading actor, shouldering the responsibility of being the first female Doctor with style, strength, warmth, generosity and humour. She captured the public imagination and continues to inspire adoration around the world, as well as from everyone on the production. I can’t imagine working with a more inspiring Doctor – so I’m not going to!

“For me, leading this exceptional team has been unrivalled creative fun, and one of the great joys of my career. I’m so proud of the people we’ve worked with and the stories we’ve told. To finish our time on the show with an additional Special, after the pandemic changed and challenged our production plans, is a lovely bonus. It’s great that the climax of the Thirteenth Doctor’s story will be at the heart(s) of the BBC’s centenary celebrations.

“I wish our successors – whoever the BBC and BBC Studios choose – as much fun as we’ve had. They’re in for a treat!”

Whittaker, who was voted the show’s second most popular Doctor of all time in a 2020 RadioTimes.com poll, will be handing over the sonic screwdriver to the next Doctor, although there’s no word yet on who it could be.

Read more: BBC confirms announcement of “the new generation of Doctor Who” is coming soon

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Doctor Who will return to BBC One later in 2021 – visit our Sci-fi hub for more news and features or find something to watch with our TV Guide.