Chris Chibnall

From Tardis Wiki, the free Doctor Who reference

Christopher Antony Chibnall (born 21 March 1970[1]) was the head writer and executive producer of Doctor Who, from series 11 in 2018 to series 13 in 2021 including a series of specials in 2022.

Before taking over from Steven Moffat, Chibnall had written several episodes of Doctor Who, from series 3 in 2007 to series 7 in 2012. He was also the effective head writer of series 1 and 2 of Torchwood from 2006-08, after becoming co-producer of those first two series. This status made him a regular interviewee on Torchwood Declassified. He has also made four appearances on Doctor Who Confidential.


As a youth

In 1986, Chibnall represented the Doctor Who Appreciation Society on the BBC's public opinion show "Open Air". There he famously criticised The Trial of a Time Lord season as a specific example of the generally inconsistent quality of the series in the 1980s. The segment can be seen as a special feature on the BBC DVD of The Ultimate Foe.


Chibnall's first major piece of television was 2002's Born and Bred, a rural medical dramedy for which he was co-creator, prolific writer, consulting producer and executive producer. Originally produced by Phil Collinson, the show swiftly came to be produced by Chris Clough — ironically, the man who had directed half the episodes of Doctor Who that Chibnall had railed against in his teens.

In 2005, he wrote his first script for Life on Mars, and a script for All About George, a six part serial.

Also in 2005, Chibnall was brought into Torchwood by Russell T Davies, who would officially credit him as co-producer, but effectively make him the head writer. During this period he also wrote his first Doctor Who script, 42, and his second script for Life on Mars. Though it was largely inspired by his script of the episode Adrift, he did not participate in the third Torchwood series, Children of Earth, but instead spent the 2008 production year working on Law & Order: UK, starring Freema Agyeman and Bill Paterson. There, he wrote the majority of the episodes in the show's first series, adapting storylines from the original American scripts. RTD lamented the loss of Chibnall in his book, The Writer's Tale, pointing out how much work Chibnall had actually shouldered in the previous two Torchwood seasons. Around the end of his run on Torchwood, Chibnall also wrote the fifth episode of Spooks: Code 9, a spin-off of Spooks on which writer James Moran and actor Georgia Moffett both worked.

At some point around his time on Law & Order, Steven Moffat commissioned him to write a two-part Silurian story for Doctor Who, which became The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood.

In the 2009-2010 production season, he saw the production of his script for the tele-movie United, directed by James Strong and featuring a post-Tenth Doctor David Tennant. By 2009, Chibnall was moving on to his next big series, Camelot, an adult adaptation of the King Arthur legend. Broadcast on and co-produced by Starz, Camelot saw Chibnall return to the role of series creator and head writer. However, days before the launch of Torchwood: Miracle Day — another Starz original — the network announced that the generally well-reviewed show had been cancelled due to scheduling problems with its main actors. Chibnall was again left to find new work.

He has spoken out against Torchwood: Miracle Day, stating that the show had lost its "essence".[2]

In 2013, he wrote the ITV drama Broadchurch, which was directed by Euros Lyn, starred Jodie Whittaker, David Tennant and Olivia Colman, and also featured Arthur Darvill and David Bradley. Broadchurch went on to have three series, all written and executive produced by Chibnall.

He was interviewed in DWM 485 for the revival series' tenth anniversary. He commented that he always hoped that the show would return to TV.

As head writer

Having taken over from Steven Moffat, Chibnall decided to tone down the mythology of the show, as some might suggest its focus on lore was driving new viewers away. During his first series, audiences felt that there was a less rushed pacing in some episodes, arguably due to the added five minutes of runtime, a minor distinction from past series', or perhaps due to the more standalone nature of the stories.

In light of taking over, he went on to backtrack on his comments about Trial in his youth as part of the DWAS, deeming the words of his 16-year-old self "a load of nonsense".[3]

Having focused on a "toned down" version of the show for his Series 11, the following Series 12 would go on to become a whirlwind of huge changes to the show's long-standing narratives, some of which had been formed by the likes of Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert themselves. These changes included changing up the Doctor's species and method of becoming a Time Lord.

He reportedly plotted his era to adapt a story plan he had since he was a child.[4]

Like his predecessor, his era strove to tell diverse stories. His era notably introduced the first Muslim companion, Yasmin Khan, and Ryan Sinclair, a man with dyspraxia, which he stated had been inspired by his nephew having the condition.[5]

Chibnall’s run as head writer has proved controversial amongst fans and critics. While his run as head writer has been praised for its increased production values and special effects, it has been criticised for poor characterisation, slow pacing, and most notably, the retconning of the Doctor’s species. Chibnall’s run was also accused of being too politically correct by critics.




Executive producer

Short fiction


Chibnall is a three-time nominee for a Writers' Guild of Great Britain award for best series, but only won once. He was nominated, along with other writers, for series 3 and series 5 of Doctor Who; he won for series 3.

He was also nominated for three Hugo Awards for individual episodes of Doctor Who, namely Rosa in 2019, Resolution in 2020, and Fugitive of the Judoon in 2021. [6]

External links