Series 11 of Doctor Who sees the debut of an almost entirely new team of writers and directors. Over the coming days Blogtor Who will be finding out more about these new faces and just why we should be excited to have them on board.
Director Jamie Childs holds the distinction of being responsible for the very first adventure for the Thirteenth Doctor. For he was the one tasked to reveal to the world at the climax of last year’s Wimbledon. It was a task he agreed to even without knowing whom the new Doctor Who was going to be. He found out, memorably, when Whittaker jumped out of hiding at him at their hotel the night before the shoot. As such he created the image that would define her in the public’s mind for an entire year. It’s testament to Childs’ skill, and Chibnall’s faith in that skill, that such a significant moment was entrusted to him.
It was a scene rapidly recreated by fans and cosplayers around the world. Most remarkably it was nominated for a BAFTA as the Must See moment of the year. Ultimately, it lost out to Blue Planet II, and its exposure of just how much plastic is affecting marine life. But for what was, after all, a trailer, to sit alongside the climax of an entire season’s worth of Game of Thrones as an equal was testament to the power of Chibnall and Childs’ work.
From The White Queen to Strictly Come Dancing, Childs has long been the director turned to for atmospheric, innovative promotional shorts
The choice of Durham born director Jamie Childs to usher in a new era of Doctor Who shouldn’t be a surprise. His debut came with winning a 2008 competition for an ad for Patricia Cornwell’s novel The House of the Dead. Childs filmed his entry in his bedroom with a props budget of £10.
And since then he’s made a name for himself creating filmic, innovative custom trailers and ads which function as powerful slices of drama and art of their own, separate from the parent show. The Strictly Come Dancing trailer where Len, Craig and Bruno dance duels to win Darcy’s hand as their partner? That was him. The White Queen trailer that sees the three central women of power shed their armour to face each other? That was Child’s too. And his CV holds what must be a unique entry. Sean Bean desperately cycling a 1970s Chopper bike to escape a T-Rex firing laser beams from its eyes.
Jamie Childs has spent a decade evolving and honing his craft as he moves to ever more prestigious projects
But Childs’ career is marked by a steady pace of development and growth. In 2012 he began directing short films which fully exploited and stretched his skills. The dark technological thriller The Bond was produced for Sci-Fi London’s 48 Hour challenge and showcased Childs’ ability to turn a budge of half nothing and even less time than that into a dark and clever science fiction tale. What better grounding for Doctor Who than that?
As of 2016, Jamie Childs has evolved again and become a director of high level television drama. He’s been responsible for two episodes of ITV crime drama Vera, and two episodes of Stan Lee’s Lucky Man. He also directed the second half of Next of Kin. The six part drama proved an emotional and tense tale about the impact of terrorism and on a single family.
After Doctor Who, he’s moving on to an equally significant assignment leading the two concluding episodes of the first season of His Dark Materials. The quality of his past work, the high regard in which he’s clearly held by his peers, and the prestige of his current workload suggests an imminent explosion to the next level of his career. Though hopefully he’ll always have time for Doctor Who.
Doctor Who returns to BBC One on Sunday, October 7th. Series 11 stars Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien), and Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair).