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Chris Chibnall

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Chris Chibnall
In the DWU
Main jobs: Head writer, writer, co-producer
Stories: See Bibliography
Main time period active: 2006-2008
Career highlights
Notable non-DWU work: Life on Mars, Law & Order: UK, Broadchurch
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Chris Chibnall wrote several episodes of Doctor Who from series 3 in 2007 to series 7 in 2012, and was also the effective head writer of series 1 and 2 of Torchwood from 2006-08, after becoming co-producer of those first two series. This status made him a regular interviewee on Torchwood Declassified. He has also made four appearances on Doctor Who Confidential.

That said, many people were frequent guests of Declassified and Confidential. What made Chibnall unique as a "DWU talking head" was that he was the only one who can claim to have done it in the 1980s. Of all the producers of the BBC Wales version of the Doctor Who universe, he was the only one to have appeared on the BBC talking about the 1963 version of Doctor Who, while it was still on the air.


As a youth

In 1986, Chibnall represented the Doctor Who Appreciation Society on the BBC's public opinion show "Open Air". There he famously criticised The Trial of a Time Lord season as a specific example of the generally inconsistent quality of the series in the 1980s. The segment can be seen as a special feature on the BBC DVD of The Ultimate Foe.


Chibnall's first major piece of television was 2002's Born and Bred, a rural medical dramedy for which he was co-creator, prolific writer, consulting producer and executive producer. Originally produced by Phil Collinson, the show swiftly came to be produced by Chris Clough — ironically, the man who had directed half the episodes of Doctor Who that Chibnall had railed against in his teens.

In 2005, he wrote his first script for Life on Mars, and a script for All About George, a six part serial.

Also in 2005, Chibnall was brought into Torchwood by Russell T Davies, who would officially credit him as co-producer, but effectively make him the head writer. During this period he also wrote his first Doctor Who script, 42, and his second script for Life on Mars. He did not participate in the third Torchwood series, Children of Earth, but instead spent the 2008 production year working on Law and Order UK, starring Freema Agyeman and Bill Paterson. There, he wrote — or, to be more accurate, adapted from the original American scripts — the majority of the episodes in the show's first series. RTD lamented the loss of Chibnall in his book, The Writer's Tale, pointing out how much work Chibnall had actually shouldered in the previous two Torchwood seasons. Around the end of his run on Torchwood, he also wrote the fifth episode of Spooks: Code 9, a spin-off of Spooks on which writer James Moran and actor Georgia Moffett both worked.

At some point around his time on L & O, Steven Moffat commissioned him to write a two-part Silurian story for Doctor Who, which became The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood.

In the 2009-2010 production season, he saw the production of his script for the tele-movie United, directed by James Strong and featuring a post-Tenth Doctor David Tennant. However, by 2009, Chibnall was moving on to his next big series, Camelot, an adult adaptation of the King Arthur legend. Broadcast on and co-produced by Starz, Camelot saw Chibnall return to the role of series creator and head writer. However, days before the launch of Torchwood: Miracle Day — another Starz original — the network announced that the generally well-reviewed show had been cancelled due to scheduling problems with its main actors. Chibnall was again left to find new work.

He has spoken out against Torchwood: Miracle Day stating that the show had lost its "essence".[1]

In 2013, he wrote the ITV drama Broadchurch, which was directed by Euros Lyn, starred David Tennant and also featured Arthur Darvill.

He was interviewed in issue 485 of Doctor Who Magazine for the revival series' tenth anniversary. He commented that he always hoped that the show would return to TV.


Chibnall is a three-time nominee for a Writers' Guild of Great Britain award for best series, but, unusually, he only lost once. Nominated, along with other writers, for series 3 and series 5 of Doctor Who, he won for series 3. That same year, 2007, he was also nominated for series 2 of Life on Mars — meaning that he effectively lost . . . to himself.



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