Chris Chibnall, coming off the success of Broadchurch, is a big name showrunner for Doctor Who. It’s an understatement to say excitement is already pretty high, even though there are few hints as to what he has planned for series 11. In fact, we know more about what isn’t going to be in the series. No Daleks, Cybermen, River Song etc.
One thing we can do to search for hints is to examine his past efforts writing for Doctor Who. He has written episodes under the RTD and Moffat eras and has covered many different genres within his episodes. So, surely, there will be some pointers of what his version of Doctor Who might be like. Whilst we search for hints to the future from the past, we will also be ranking Chris Chibnall’s previous Doctor Who episodes.
4. The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood
This should have been a brilliant story – a big returning monster for Series 5 in a big scale two-parter but it doesn’t quite hit the mark. The Silurians look great, and their underground realm was a completely different look but the effects didn’t quite hold up. The opening part does have a nice slow build up akin to Classic Who. I The exciting thing about these episodes is how old school and classic Doctor Who they feel. The buzz leading up to Series 11 is about change and everything is new, but surely this is a major hint that the classic tone of Who will still be present.
3. The Power of Three
Doctor Who at it’s most domestic was probably the pitch for this episode. It delivers with great comedy moments, pathos and a grounding for our companions before we say goodbye in the next episode. This knockabout fun is set against an end of the world doomsday scenario which is resolved a little quickly, but when you’re having this much fun that can be forgiven. This could be a good reason for the extended run times on the episodes in Series 11. Also, does this hint at a more Earthbound outlook for Series 11? Who knows what’s going to happen to the TARDIS at the opening of the series? It looks a little bit doomed.
2. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
What a title! You know exactly what you’re getting, and it’s completely barmy. I find the episode a lot of fun. It quickly brings together a diverse team of heroes, has robots with great one-liners AND dinosaurs that the Doctor gets to take a ride on. It also introduces Rory’s Dad who could have been a great supporting character across the Pond’s travels if introduced earlier. Is Bradley Walsh set to fulfil this father figure role in the new series? There are quibbles with the episode, the Doctor’s callous treatment of the villain seems heavy-handed and hopefully not a trait we see in the new series, but again it’s small fry in an absolute riot of a family-friendly, fun packed story.
Chibnall’s only Who episode under Russell T Davies is another favourite of mine. It zips along, has some wonderful conceits around pub quizzes. It also takes the stakes pretty high by its end which makes things exciting. It’s also cool for its Douglas Adams referencing title. There is obviously a lot of Who love and knowledge at play here. Yet, this new series is a fresh start that doesn’t have to link into any Who mythos, monsters. The time war has been dealt with and new horizons are ahead. I’m sure there will be nods to the past, but instead, it’s more exciting to look forward to the unknown future. Which is getting closer every day, like a burning sun about to take over. Burn with me!
And Don’t Forget Doctor Who Series 11 Begins This Weekend
Doctor Who returns to BBC One at 6.45pm on Sunday, October 7th with The Woman Who Fell to Earth. Series 11 stars Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien), and Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair).
‘We don’t get aliens in Sheffield.’ In a South Yorkshire city, Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan and Graham O’Brien are about to have their lives changed forever, as a mysterious woman, unable to remember her own name, falls from the night sky. Can they believe a word she says? And can she help solve the strange events taking place across the city?