Doctor Who showrunner almost quit in 2020

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The challenges of production during the pandemic almost curtailed plans for a thirteenth series of Doctor Who, according to Chris Chibnall in a Radio Times interview.

“That we made Doctor Who at all during the past two years is a miracle. There was a point around April/May 2020 where it looked like we’d have to call it a day after [my first] two series.”

What might have convinced him to move forward was that other shows based in Wales were going ahead with production under strict COVID-19 safety protocols.

Doctor Who Assistant Director Lauren Pate was an early pioneer working on a science fiction television show under strict COVID protocols when she worked on Series 2 of War of the Worlds with former Doctor Who director Richard Clark before rejoining Doctor Who production in November of 2020.

Chibnall explained to Radio Times that even if he hadn’t already decide to leave after filming a third series of Doctor Who, the stresses of working under COVID conditions would have convinced him not to remain.

“If [Jodie Whittaker and I] hadn’t already planned to leave after series three, there’s no way I’d be staying on now after going through that experience.”

The next episode of Doctor Who, a swashbuckling piratical Easter special written by Chris Chibnall and Ella Road and directed by Haolu Wang, Legend of the Sea Devils airs 17 April at 7:10pm BST on BBC One and at 2:10pm and again at 8:00pm EDT on BBC America.

Radio Times magazine is available on newsstands in the UK and by digital subscription now.