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Doctor Who: Looking Back at Chibnall's The Power of The Doctor Script

The BBC has made Chris Chibnall's final script for Doctor Who, "The Power of the Doctor", as a free download to anyone who wants it on the BBC Writer's Room website. The BBC makes scripts for their scripted dramas and comedies, both TV and radio, available as an educational resource for students who want to learn how to write scripts for television. It's part of their remit to educate and inform. There is an entire page devoted to Doctor Who, featuring interviews with Chibnall and former showrunners and writers like Russell T. Davies, Steven Moffat and Toby Whithouse offering advice for fledgling writers as well as a library of scripts from the show.

Jodie Whittaker as The Thirteenth Doctor in
Still from "Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor," BBC

Chibnall has said that he planned and wrote "The Power of the Doctor" way in advance. He said he'd planned the Thirteenth Doctor's (Jodie Whittaker) ending a long time ago, possibly before "Flux." You can download the script to Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor here.

This is your chance to see how the sausage is made at Doctor Who, starting with the script, which is where it all starts. It's clearly an early draft of the script. There are little changes and cuts made to the final cut with lines and some order, but it's otherwise "The Power of the Doctor" as broadcast.

David Tennant Was Not Originally in Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor

David Tennant's Doctor does not appear in the final scene in the script. It ends with a "TO BE CONTINUED." Chibnall didn't know if Doctor Who would even be renewed after he and Whittaker left the show. He certainly didn't know that Russell T. Davies would return to take over the show or that David Tennant would show up in lieu of Ncuti Gatwa, who might be busy filming another season of Sex Education for Netflix before he could take over the show.

Doctor Who: A Look at Chibnall's Script for The Power of The DoctorDoctor Who: A Look at Chibnall's Script for The Power of The Doctor

Whittaker's final scene, her regeneration, was shot months before Davies came on board and Tennant agreed to come back. She literally never met whoever was replacing her on the set because no one was there. Davies and Moffat established a tradition where the new showrunner would take over the script post-regeneration after their predecessor officially stepped off the job, along with the previous Doctor. Moffat stepped in and wrote Matt Smith's first lines as the 10th Doctor after Tennant finished. Chibnall stepped in and wrote Jodie Whittaker's first line after Peter Capaldi completed his regeneration scene. Thus, Tennant's first lines were written by Davies and shot months after Whittaker left the set. Both were shot with the TARDIS on a green screen, so no need for the cast and crew to travel to a cliff location.

For decades, the writers and makers of Doctor Who have always been transparent about how the show is made, long before news outlets made it routine to interview the cast and makers of TV shows about how the show is made. The transparency of Doctor Who and the BBC has encouraged many kids to become scientists, doctors, mathematicians, and, yes, screenwriters, FX specialists, production crewmembers, and directors. The only other TV show that was this inspirational is Star Trek. The BBC Writer's Room is an invaluable resource for students of screenwriting, and it's part of the BBC's remit to educate. No Hollywood movie studio or production company is this open to making its scripts available to anyone who wants to read them, whether for fun or for learning how to write scripts. This is an invaluable service that is creating future writers and filmmakers.

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Adi TantimedhAbout Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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