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For Steven Moffat’s first series, he focused on assembling a team of ‘celebrity writers’, from Richard Curtis to Neil Gaiman; it gave us a series of episodes that were as fantastic as they were diverse, and it was clearly a choice that paid off. With Chris Chibnall’s first series set to land in 2018, he’s no doubt starting to look at hiring writers to develop episodes – here, then, are a few people who might be worth a look.
Brooker recently revealed that he’d love to write an episode of Doctor Who – why not let him? The mind behind some of television’s greatest original science fiction would no doubt be an impressive hire for Doctor Who, and Brooker would surely contribute something truly unique. With over 50 years of history to Doctor Who, any opportunity for something truly innovative is one worth taking – and Charlie Brooker could certainly give the show that.
Arguably Doctor Who’s strongest episodes come when it tackles the real world; consider The Zygon Invasion and The Zygon Inversion, which tackled both ISIS and the refugee crisis, and were clearly the strongest episodes of the season. Who better to give us an episode engaged with the real world that noted satirist and creator of Veep than Armando Iannucci? After 2016 gave us Donald Trump, Brexit, and the Bake Off moving to Channel Four, there’s no end to the material for Iannucci to build on.
Rowling has come close to writing an episode before, as Russell T Davies asked her to contribute for Doctor Who’s 2005 series; unfortunately, Rowling turned it down, as she was too busy writing Harry Potter books. While Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them makes it clear enough that JK’s schedule is still packed, the idea of her handling an episode of Doctor Who is still a tantalising one – just think of all that writing skill and imagination, coupled with an innate understanding of how to tell a good story, being applied to Doctor Who. It’d be fantastic.
Perhaps a more interesting choice than the obvious option of Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson has a clear pedigree in science fiction and fantasy writing that marks her out as an obvious choice for Doctor Who; her writing credits include Torchwood, Battlestar Galactica and even Game of Thrones, but it’s her work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer that really demonstrates she’d be a great hire for Doctor Who.
Initially not the sort of choice you’d expect, but the Doctor himself actually makes a lot of sense – Capaldi is, after all, an experienced writer, and he’s even won an Oscar for his short film, Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life, which he wrote and directed. While Capaldi does say he has no ambitions to write an episode of Doctor Who, it’s clear he has ideas for it, mentioning a desire to see the return of the original Cybermen, or perhaps an episode with Martin Luther King Jr – maybe one day, then, the Capaldi might swap the TARDIS key for a keyboard and write an episode?
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