Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall to leave Doctor Who

Current (and first female) Doctor Jodie Whittaker and controversial showrunner Chris Chibnail will both leave Doctor Who after the forthcoming short season and three planned 2022 specials.

As with the original run, the revived series has had its highs and lows, and the most recent season met with decidedly mixed responses. What’s next for the Doctor?

13 replies on “Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall to leave Doctor Who”

  1. I’m disappointed. Yes, three seasons is the closest we have to a standard tenure for the role, but I’m still hungry for more Jodie.

    As for Chibnall, I don’t have problems with having a cast that is actually similar to the demographics of the world. I prefer more serialized storytelling than the episodic stuff he’s been giving us, but the BBC wanted episodic and that’s a valid approach, so it’s not that he did a “bad” job, it’s just that I, personally, would have preferred something different.

    • I will miss Whittaker a lot more than I will Chibnall (even if some of the complaints about Chibnall were overstated and problematic). But I thought JW was doing a great job as the Doctor.

  2. I quit watching in Capaldi’s run. I realized that instead of bettering the lives of his companions, in the new run, the doctor left companions lives worse. Not that the couldn’t happen sometimes but it happened consistently to all of them. The end for Clara was so abrupt, poorly done, and jarring that I just couldn’t engage with the show much after that. They hinted at a future for her after the doctor and then bam, it was gone.

    As for Chibnall, I think it’s good that he’s gone, his retcon of the doctor and the timelord’s backstory was one of the most egotistical and narcissistic things I’ve ever seen a show runner do. Whittaker deserved a better show runner.

    • I have never understood the desire of the post-original-run incarnations of Doctor Who to mess with the backstory. That original premise sets up the Doctor’s adventures, with some room to occasionally explore a relationship with the other Time Lords and the homeworld. Anything else feels unnecessary. It’s a show about a noble but sometimes unruly space-hero’s adventures, not a genealogical exploration. But the McGann incarnation gives us “the Doctor is part human!” (later re-retconned), and much of the revised show foisted “Last of their kind” syndrome where it wasn’t needed or even remotely interesting– and also, sorta kinda re-retconned later. Chibnail’s revision was particularly excessive, and changes our understanding of the Doctor in a way that future incarnations can’t easily undo.

      It’s too bad; Chibnail did good things with the original Broadchurch and on Torchwood.

  3. I liked the Doctor’s backstory reveal. I thought it expanded things in a way that reminded me of comics do to add to the mythos rather than change it. I’d like to see more of where it all goes, but mostly I’m just ready for more Doctor Who.

    • Nope it was too heavy handed and too on the nose. The best stories leave some mystery and general foggyness about the time before the stories.

      Think about it, did the Star Wars prequels enhance or subtract from Darth Vader’s presence and air of villainy? Now, I consider the prequels ok stories and they expand Vader’s mythos, but his stature on screen as a villain decreases as we learn more about him.

      And garbage like The Last Jedi, just burns the original character of Luke to death, destroying all for which he fought and suffered.

      And the doctor who retcon of the Doctors origins is more TLJ than the prequels. Both Chibnall and Johnson did awful damage to the franchises they ran for a short time.

      • I think it adds all the Mystery you could ever want! The Doctor fell out of the sky another universe with fantastic powers. What is The Doctor? What’s the Doctor done before she was The Doctor? Where did she come from? Is she the only one from that other world or is Supergirl someone else hiding around?

        As for invalidating canon:
        Hartnell played “The First Doctor” because he thought he was the first. His character doesn’t change, he just got the numbering wrong (which is something we should be used to, right John Hurt?)

        • My wife had an interesting observation: She thinks that this upset a lot of people because there were a lot of “Ultimate Authority Nerds” who knew everything about the Doctor and had this knowledge that most people can’t touch, and then Chris and Jodie come along and ruin it by making them all know nothing, and everyone’s back at the same level, knowing nothing.

          We aren’t totally at the same level, as us UANs still can tell you all about the adventures of everything and everyone from William through Jodie (and a Ruth story,) but it does seriously diminish the importance of that huge albatross of canon we know.

          She also corrected me, in that she pictures a writer doing it intentionally, saying “Oh, all you UANs, you think you know everything…”

          • Yeah, we all want to be wary of the Gatekeeper. I’m not certain how much of that applies here. Doctor Who played so fast and loose with canon that an “authoritative” tome on the show from the 90s called itself The Discontinuity Guide (I recommend it). But a few things have been fairly well-established and explored, and I’d rather see a focus on the characters and stories than this sort of revisionism. I just miss the days when the Doctor was simply one member of a powerful race, something of a rebel, often willing to do more than the others, but a unique member of the mysterious Time Lords. I find that more interesting. The Chosen One and its variants feel like a trope that should be banished for a couple of decades, if for no other reason than because it has been run into the ground so far it’s poking its head out the other side.

            YMM(and clearly does)V

        • The problem is that the person you’re describing with all the new “interesting” questions requires forgetting about the interesting questions that used to exist about the Doctor.

          Sorry, I am beyond convincing that this “new” backstory for the Doctor is interesting or even a good story.

  4. I don’t understand the hate for the backstory reveal. It doesn’t invalidate any of the previous canon (no matter what people insist). And it’s not like previous canon is particularly self consistent anyway. Anything the various Time Lords have said that was “wrong” is easily explained by *them* not knowing. It also has the advantage of removing the regeneration limit by making it unknown.

    The storytelling/writing for the reveal leaves a lot to be desired given that it took me two viewings before I understood what they were doing with it, but the reveal itself isn’t particularly problematic.

    I do agree that Chibnall wasn’t the ideal showrunner. But I think everyone that matters to the choice knew that going in. I think he is a deliberate scapegoat for the changes they wanted to make, like a female Doctor and experimentation with the format. But also, even pre-apocalypse, he couldn’t keep up with the workload for running the show.

    I don’t have any issues with Whittaker’s portrayal of the Doctor. She clearly understood the character. I think the real problem was there were too many people on the Tardis. A four person Tardis group worked in “classic” Who because stories had more screen time on average. With the group we had, there just wasn’t enough screen time to do all of them justice in many of the stories and the narratives got split too many ways. And, yes, the writing let the whole lot down on occasion (like the Bill & Ted “I need to go back and make sure to implement the Doctor ex machina stuff after the adventure” which felt like lazy writing, but, then, why wouldn’t you do that if you have a time machine?).

    I’m actually looking forward to seeing who the new Doctor will be and what the new showrunner does with the show. I’m hoping they can return to 12 episodes per season since that should be post-apocalypse. I can’t see the BBC cutting the Doctor Who budget as much as other shows due to their own decline in funding due to the revenue they derive from selling it overseas, but, then, this is the BBC….

    • Doesn’t invalidate the previous canon?!?


      It invalidates “William Hartnell played the first incarnation of the Doctor” which is a travesty.

      And past inconsistencies of the backstory do not justification for shredding and re-pasting together a hip new fresh with the times backstory now.

      For a show that trades on nostalgia so heavily, burning all the old lore to the ground for something new is a mistake. Even the last of his kind framing of the new series has vibe of that although at a much smaller scale.

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