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The Big Gossip About Doctor Who – Will We See The Next Doctor This Christmas? Will Chris Chibnall Be Showrunner?


Welcome to a Lying In The Gallifrey special… a look at some of the better placed rumours regarding the current and future state of Doctor Who, handily fuelled by the loose lips of actors, directors and at least one disgruntled American marketing executive. Take it with the requisite salt it deserves…

As it stands, the named favourite to take over from Steven Moffat as showrunner on Doctor Who at BBC Wales is Chris Chibnall. Longtime Doctor Who fan, original head writer of Torchwood and writer of a number of episodes of Doctor Who, he was the subject of heavy fan criticism at the time of broadcast. A couple of years ago he was seen as an easy "get" after Camelot failed.But his success creating the phenomenally successful drama Broadchurch for ITV and even the less prominent US translation Gracepoint, have transformed him in the eyes of many. And with the third series of Broadchurch wrapping next year, he would come free at just the right time for the rumoured planned departure of Steven Moffat.

It hasn't been an easy journey though. I have been told that Mark Gatiss, though very interested in the showrunner position, was turned down. And the much favoured Toby Whithouse of Being Human was made an offer he declined – to cover the show as deputy showrunner for a year while Moffat took a break. But Whithouse's decison to move his spy drama The Game from BBC Wales to BBC London after many delays, caused considerable ill feeling.

Equally Atlantis and Misfits'Howard Overman isn't being considered. This may stem from one libacious media industry night when Moffat repeatedly asked Overman when he would write an episode of Doctor Who. Eventually Overman asked if Moffat would write an episode of Misfits in return, which didn't go over well, kicked off a torrent of abuse…. and some time later Overman found Atlantis moved into a less than ideal slot on Sunday evenings. Don't mess with the Moff.

So if Chibnall is coming, possibly with a new Doctor in tow, will the moment have been prepared for? Rumours are that the actor to follow Peter Capaldi as the Doctor has been cast and will appear in this year's Christmas Special. The announcement that this character is actually the next regeneration of the Doctor will then follow, and then 2016 will be spent, with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, sans Jenna Coleman as Clara, preparing for the transformation to come. Basically, the David Morrissey plot from a previous Christmas episode The Next Doctor done without an escape hatch…

As for Clara's absence, much it seems has been made of her contract which gave her first refusal to remain on the show, which means a lot of writing and rewriting while she decided whether to do previous seasons or not. And when she decided she was back in, suddenly there were a lot of new scenes to write… which made the less inclined to keep her around after that contract finished.

Keep your eyes out this Christmas! All hail the Chibnall! And watch for the moment that Peter Capaldi is asked by Graham Norton if Maisie Williams will be the next companion on the show…

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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