So you’ve all heard the news. Moffat’s going, Chibnall’s the replacement and Capaldi probably won’t be there either for series 11. When Davies left Moffat was the obvious/only choice to replace him. This time there wasn’t one. But is Chibnall the best pick? Here’s my look at the options:
The Main Contenders
Pros: Style isn’t too dissimilar to Moffat’s, which might ease the transition. Shown to excel at horror (The Crimson Horror) and isn’t bad at finales (The Great Game from Sherlock). Written more episodes than anyone save Moffat and Davies for the modern show.
Cons: Has a tendency to write average (Sleep No More/Victory of the Daleks) or good but unremarkable stories (Idiot’s Lantern/Robot of Sherwood). Been a bit lacklustre with his past few efforts for Sherlock and Who. Too similar to Moffat to appease THAT part of the fanbase that doesn’t like him.
Pros: Experienced as showrunner for other programmes (Being Human). Written for multiple Doctors and companions and Torchwood. Highlights include Greeks baring Gifts (Torchwood series 1 highlight) School Reunion (OTT but fun), A Town Called Mercy (strong moral undercurrent) and Under the Lake/Before the Flood. Clearly a versatile writer.
Cons: Few average efforts (Vampires of Venice, The God Complex) and tends to write straightforward, uncomplicated stories (which might alienate Moffat’s biggest fans).
Desirability: 4.5/5 (My personal favourite option)
Pros: Experienced as showrunner and lead writer for Torchwood and critically acclaimed Broadchurch. Closer to Russell T. Davies style for fans who miss that.
Cons: His record on Who and Torchwood isn’t great. Numerous flops on Torchwood (Day One – the sex alien one, Cyberwoman, Countrycide) and the very lacklustre Power of Three for who. His best efforts are Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and 42 (both good, neither classics) yet to prove he can match either Davies or Moffat.
Desirability: 3 out of 5. (Hopefully Broadchurch has improved him as a writer since his efforts on Torchwood).
Pros: Writer of some damn good episodes in series 8 (Mummy on the Orient Express, Flatline) shown to be good at coming up with interesting concepts.
Cons: The Girl Who Died was a bit of a let down. Not experienced or proven enough yet to be showrunner, but shows promise!
Pros: Wrote the amazing Zygon two parter. Clearly a sci-fi specialist.
Cons: Wrote the divisive Kill the Moon (which was a good episode that just was based around some truly awful science – hardly the first time that’s happened). Needs a few more knockout hits to win over the fans he alienated with that episode.
Pros: Proven as a writer on Sherlock.
Cons: Hit and Miss with his Who episodes (Journey to the Centre of the Tardis was good, Time Heist average, Curse of the Black Spot wasn’t great).
Pros: Very experienced with Who. Good at standalone episodes (The Lodger, The Unicorn and the Wasp, The Shakespeare Code) and humour.
Cons: Didn’t write for series 9, only proven with filler episodes, not ones of any real importance.
Russell T. Davies: He isn’t coming back guys. He’s moved on. Moffat asked several times, but no. Tennant fanboys need to get over the pair of them, this is a show that has to look forward, not back.
Steven Moffat: I wish he’d stay. But I know a lot of fans don’t. And he’s being running it long enough. Hopefully he’ll still write the odd episode for it. Plus some more Sherlock!
Neil Gaiman: Been a fan wish since he wrote the Doctor’s Wife, but the guys just too busy.
In short, Chibnall wouldn’t have been my pick. But i’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now (hopefully he’ll write a few episodes for series 10 so we have a bit more to go on). But if he doesn’t work, there’s clearly other options waiting.