An Open Letter to Chris Chibnall, Future 'Doctor Who' Showrunner
Dear Chris Chibnall,
Firstly, congratulations on your new gig! I imagine it’s thrilling beyond compare to be a huge fan of a series, and then be asked to run the show. Steven Moffat has spoken about the experience many times, and I do hope you’ll enjoy it as much as he did. I’m certain you’ve already received almost as much advice as a newly announced pregnant woman and in a funny sort of way, you’ll likely come to think of Doctor Who as your own child, protecting it from the outside world and people like me, full of suggestions. That last word probably has you on edge already, but no worries; you’re about to be the head honcho and you’ve no obligation to listen to any outside opinions. Like any new mum, you’ll probably let all the ideas whoosh by you like trees through the car window, and that’s fine by us. But, being the pushy Americans we are, you’ll pardon our efforts to tell you how to do your job better. We don’t mean anything by it really; we’re just being “helpful” like we tend to be. Well, now I’m just blathering, so let me get to it. I have a few pretty pleases to send your way, and no matter how emphatic they may appear, I assure you we’ll enjoy Doctor Who regardless. After all these years, we’re not about to turn our backs on the Doctor.
In no particular order, here are the things we’d love you to consider.
1. Please don’t push Peter Capaldi out the TARDIS door.
There are already terrible rumors that in order to let you have a “fresh start,” Twelve will leave when you kick off your first series. Having watched Mr. Capaldi just get settled in his shiny, kickass boots, guitar in hand and gloriously attitudinal, we’re in no hurry to see him locked outside the TARDIS. We’ll thrill to fresh writing and a proper new companion; there’s no need to set the door revolving so soon.
2. Bring Back Captain Jack!
I mean, you do have the perfect background to throw in a little return engagement, and we’d love to see the Twelfth Doctor
butting up against going head to head with His Charmingness.
3. Bring in More Female Writers and Directors.
Series 9 saw the inclusion of two female-penned episodes, Catherine Tregenna’s “The Woman Who Lived,” and Sarah Dollard’s heartbreakingly beautiful, “Face the Raven,” but these were the first women writers on the series in six years. Six years! That’s just crazy. You already have relationships with Tregenna and Helen Raynor, as well as Jane Espenson and Doris Egan; this should be easy-peasy. Great female directors aren’t hard to find, either.
4. When You Do Search for the Next Doctor, Please Consider Hayley Atwell.
It’s time. We’ve had a good fifty years of male Doctors, and you just couldn’t find a more suited candidate to play the first female Doctor than Hayley Atwell. If you take a moment to think about the magic that Michelle Gomez and Alex Kingston have brought to their roles as Missy and River Song, you’d barely need a second to realize how perfect Ms. Atwell would be. She has a giddy, childlike enthusiasm for life and the world common to many of our favorite versions of the Doctor; she’s funny and commanding and has presence for miles. And the idea of a reversing the gender dynamic — dare we dream of a female Doctor and Companion both — is delightful. Think about it, won’t you?
In closing, again we congratulate you and hope you know how excited the world is to see where you take us. Let’s do the Time Lords again!