Doctor Who Series 11: Chris Chibnall confirms screenwriting is collaborative

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There has been quite a bit of talk that Chris Chibnall would choose a writers’ room approach to screenwriting for Doctor Who Series 11. This was somewhat belied when Chibnall’s five fellow Series 11 writers were asked by Doctor Who Magazine to employ three words describe their own episodes.

The truth lies somewhere in between in what Chibnall describes as a “hybrid process”. In an interview with World Screen, he differentiated his approach from the approaches of the two former Doctor Who showrunners for whom he wrote scripts, Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat:

“They didn’t have writers’ rooms. It was much more the British way of working, which was how both of them ran it when I was writing. They gave you a line or an idea and said, Go away, work it up; send us an outline. You’d do an outline and then you’d go to script. It was very different from the American system. We are running it slightly differently from that. It’s a hybrid of the British and American systems. I get a little bit superstitious about talking about it, because we have devised our own hybrid process. I almost feel as if the walls of the room are slightly sacrosanct! And if you describe [the process] it becomes locked and fixed in and people say, Oh, that’s how they work! [But] it’s so fluid and so dependent on the writer and the day and the story. What I aim to do is create a production that is collegiate and collaborative where everybody feels, hopefully, a part of it. I wanted to bring in a lot of new writers to the show and make sure there is representation on the writing team and open the door to the next generation of writers.”

Chris Chibnall’s fellow Series 11 screenwriters with whom he collaborates are Malorie Blackman, Ed Hime, Pete McTighe, Vinay Patel and Joy Wilkinson. Blackman, Hime, McTighe, Patel and Wilkinson are credited with one episode each.

Doctor Who Series 11 premieres Sunday, October 7 at 6:45 p.m. on BBC One and will be simulcast in participating countries.