Tag Archive: Chris Chibnall


The best of British genre fare collided New Year’s Day as the new season of Doctor Who got underway.  Merging a classic type Doctor Who adventure with James Bond tropes made for what might be the best episode of Doctor Who since Matt Smith handed over his sonic screwdriver.  But that’s only the beginning, as the two-part opener continues tonight on BBC America in the States and much earlier in the UK on BBC One.  U.S. viewers have one chance to beat the social media spoilers: Fathom Events is hosting a unique Doctor Who event nationwide today at 1 p.m. local time, a theater broadcast of Spyfall–the New Year’s Day episode and the worldwide premiere of part two–complete with a live Q&A with the cast.  Check out the Fathom Events website here for details.

Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall had a full season to iron out the transition to a new Doctor, and if you didn’t watch the entire first season now is a good time to jump back in, because this adventure starts strong with high stakes, a new alien threat, non-stop action, and an echo from Doctor Who of the past.  It all plays out like an episode written by either Russell T. Davies or Stephen Moffat, but it’s Chibnall who wrote this story.  A new favorite scene can be found in the New Year’s Day Spyfall episode: It’s hard to imagine any prior Doctor could have nailed the scene where the Doctor takes on a 007-inspired role, and plays a high roller hand at cards trying to be as cool as Bond–but not quite getting there.  Jodie Whittaker has the enthusiasm of David Tennant, the innocence of Matt Smith, and the daftness of Peter Capaldi, all rolled up into one.  And she’s brilliant in this first episode, even better than last year.

This Doctor doesn’t need a companion any different from the twelve Doctors that preceded her, yet this new triumvirate companion works–it’s a family, or “fam” as she calls them and a mechanism to allow a distribution of the action.  Yasmin (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole), Graham (Bradley Walsh) join the Doctor on her latest travels at the request of MI 6, and a guest appearance by Stephen Fry as C (think M in the Bond stories) and Sacha Dhawan as O (another 00 agent).  It’s hard to believe it’s actually been a year since we last saw them all together in the Season 11 finale.

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The next season of Doctor Who will be a season of firsts–with the first woman to play the Doctor: Jodie Whittaker, two companions of color:  Mandip Gill’s Yasmin and Tosin Cole’s Ryan, and the first scripts from writers of color in the series’ 55 year history.  Whittaker, Gill, and Ryan joined new showrunner Chris Chibnall and executive producer Matt Strevens in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con Friday for the first public event featuring the new cast and crew for fans.  They revealed no spoilers for the season but provided a first look and feel for the characters and approach for this next season.  Only one of the three actors playing a new companion, Bradley Walsh, could not attend the panel, but provided a brief video message during the panel.

“The thing about this role, which is why it’s so amazing for any actor to play the role, is that essentially gender isn’t relevant, and that’s completely liberating,” Whittaker said at an SDCC press event.  “I have never approached a role thinking, ‘How would a woman play this role?’  I just am one.  I don’t think a guy has ever thought, ‘How do I play a guy in this scene?’ – you just are…  So essentially my energy, my approach to this, is coming from a very instinctive place, which is genderless to me.  The best thing about the Doctor is I’m not playing either–I’m an alien.”

Courtesy of BBC America, you can watch the entire hour-long panel from Friday showing the first public appearance of Whittaker as the new Doctor right now, along with a preview of Whittaker and three new companions in some clips from the upcoming season.  Check it out:

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BBC and BBC America just released a photo of new stars of the next Doctor Who series featuring the previously announced 13th Doctor, to be played by Jodie Whittaker (Attack the Block, Broadchurch).  Peter Capaldi’s last outing as the 12th Doctor will be during this year’s annual Doctor Who Christmas Special.  This weekend new showrunner Chris Chibnall provided actor and character names and discussed his excitement taking on the role as caretaker of the UK’s oldest genre franchise along with three new cast members.  The next season will offer ten episodes, but won’t be broadcast until late next year.

Television actor Bradley Walsh (Law & Order: UK) will join Whitaker’s Doctor as a character named Graham, along with Tosin Cole (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Ryan, and Mandip Gill (Hollyoaks) as Yasmin.  According to the BBC these are the “three new companions,” and Sharon D. Clarke (Waking the Dead) will also appear as an unnamed character.

“The new Doctor is going to need new friends,” said Chibnall. “We’re thrilled to welcome Mandip, Tosin, and Bradley to the Doctor Who family.  They’re three of Britain’s brightest talents and we can’t wait to see them dive into brand new adventures with Jodie’s Doctor.  Alongside them, we’re delighted that Sharon D. Clarke is also joining the show.”

Prolific stage actress Sharon D. Clarke will appear on the new Doctor Who series.

Bradley Walsh added his recollections of watching the original series. “I remember watching William Hartnell as the first Doctor.  Black and white made it very scary for a youngster like myself.   I was petrified, but even though I’d watch most of it from behind the sofa through my fingers, I became a fan.  I then queued up for ages to get into the Carlton picture house in Watford to watch the great Peter Cushing appear as the Doctor in a full-length feature film made in glorious color (Doctor Who and the Daleks, 1965).  Am I thrilled to be part of this whole ground breaking new dawn for the Doctor??  Oh yes!”

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You really can’t beat waking up to the biggest entertainment news of the year.  Yesterday the BBC teased that we’d see a reveal of the next Doctor on Doctor Who, the 13th Doctor, to take over for the lead role of the iconic 54-year science fiction franchise currently played by Peter Capaldi.  After the men’s Wimbledon final today, the BBC released the big news:  Finally, the BBC is breaking new ground, for the first time casting an actress as the next Doctor–a woman in the role played previously by 13 men on television (counting unnumbered War Doctor John Hurt), and not only a woman, but a great genre actress at that–35-year-old Jodie Whittaker, who hails from West Yorkshire.

Whittaker is best known for her starring role along with Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ John Boyega in the science fiction cult classic Attack the Block.  She also was featured in the great British ghost story series Marchlands and most recently in the drama Broadchurch.  Replacing Doctor Who’s showrunner Steven Moffat is the previously announced Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall.  Whittaker said in an announcement today, “I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet….  It’s more than an honour to play the Doctor.  It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope.  I can’t wait.”

When David Tenant regenerated into Matt Smith for Smith to become the eleventh Doctor on the series, Smith’s Doctor initially thought he was female because of his hair, teasing fans a bit and planting the seed for a gender change to be coming in the near future.  “I’m a girl!” he shouted.  Also, the addition of a female Master (Michelle Gomez) in recent seasons helped prepare viewers for the change.

Check out yesterday’s teaser, followed by the big reveal:

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