3 Hopes for Chris Chibnall
Guest contributor Dexter Romero on his hopes for the new head writer.
I’m unsure if it’s common etiquette to give three cheers to the new head writer, in addition to the three for the leaving one, but since Chris Chibnall will be the third to tackle the revived series as head writer, I thought I would offer up three hopes…
1. Keep the Gap Bridged
I love RTD. He had some amazing ideas and if it wasn’t for him Doctor Who would still have small cult following, occasionally repeated on BBC2 on Christmas Day. But one thing RTD did was create a tone that almost suggested that the Tennant-style of Doctor had always been the norm. Let me explain a little further…
First off, a lot of this is based on the overall theme of what’s said and done, he never properly confirmed anything (As writers are wise to do so in Doctor Who). However RTD changed a lot of the ethos of the show. In many ways this was good. Introducing the Time War was a stroke of genius, but in other ways this came across negatively.
So let’s take for instance, the Sonic screwdriver. Nothing unusual about that, right? Well no, until you take into account Jack’s Sonic Blaster, and the Sonic Pen from “Partners In Crime”. The overall theme is that anything sonic, gives off a blue light. This of course goes against the classic series where the sonic had no light. There were few to no references to the Doctors past pre-Time War or anything to indicate that anything had been different. By the end of Series 4 we were basically used to a standard TARDIS, standard sonic and standard Doctor which felt like it was imposing on the Doctors past.
So in comes Moffat, who gives credit back to the Doctors past, how? By changing things: Making a green sonic, a new TARDIS (And police box) and offering up nominal explanations, he bridged the gap and made the classics plausible again. Moffat also made numerous (Sometimes, let’s face it, too many) references to the classics and past of the Doctor. So one main hope for Chibnall is that he carries on with the gap bridged and doesn’t rewrite any of the Doctors past. References are great, all classic fans love them, but there’s a balance which I’m hoping Chibnall won’t swing either way.
2. At least ONE series with Capaldi
I’ll be honest, I don’t think this will happen, especially with rumours already of Capaldi leaving after his third series next year. It seems more likely that Chibnall will ‘pull a Moffat’ for Series 11 and go totally brand new. But let’s face it, it’d be more comfortable for a lot of fans if the change wasn’t so drastic. That can really blow up in your face (see the Amazing Technicolour Dream-Daleks). So it’d be nice to see Chibnall settle into the role by giving Capaldi a season in which to get the fans used to the new tone, the new kind of writing, the new themes and the new structure.
When one thing changes it can be very daunting, it’s comforting to have something there you recognise and let’s face it, Peter Capaldi is a superb actor and if he was on board, it’d make the transition a lot easier for a lot of people. That being said Moff has one big exit planned for himself, apparently, it would seem logical that a regeneration may play a part…
3. Never let people or politics get in the way of the series
What do I mean by this? Well, after any given episode I can log onto sites and read the comments and I’ll see things like “Missy was brilliant” but followed up by other people’s “Missy was terrible, why did they make the Master a woman?” The best thing for Chibnall to do is to totally avoid people’s opinions unless it’s a screaming majority. Certain people will always get annoyed, I’m sure there will be a “Bring Back Moffat” club and plenty of trolls, but none of that needs to get in the way of him going with an idea.
As for politics, I mean he shouldn’t be pressured into doing anything just because of politics. So to pick a screaming example – feel forced to make the next Doctor a female. No, I’m not sexist. I just happen to think that the 13th Doctor and any Doctor/character after that should be judged on talent, based on the sort of Doctor they want next i.e. old and grumpy, young and silly etc. Chibnall shouldn’t go in saying “We have to pick a female now” or “We have to pick an Englishman”. Yes, while a female Doctor would undoubtedly work, it’d take a lot of effort to sell it to certain people. If politics forces something into the show, it’s never going to be good. Good ideas speak for themselves, no one should put pressure on them to do anything.
Chibnall will have lots of ideas I’m sure, and it will be fantastic to see what he can offer up. So on behalf of Doctor Who TV and it’s fans, I would like to offer a warm welcome to Mr Chibnall.