It was great to be able to attend this year’s SD WhoCon in San Diego and present this lecture on “The Difficulties and Delicacies of Writing the First Female Doctor in 50+ years” in which I discuss how successful I think showrunner Christopher Chibnall was in making that transition.
It gave me a chance to talk about the creative work of a showrunner/screenwriter while also reconnecting to some friends we had met at this same convention some 3 years ago – and to talk about one of my favorite subjects – Doctor Who!
So I think Chibnall was set up to do this. So when I think about the job of a head writer in the states we call that a showrunner and they’re using that term a little bit in England not so much but a little they’re sort of getting into that. So the showrunner’s job is everything. You’re really truly in television the writer is in charge. You’re producing the whole thing. In film, a director comes in after a script has been bought. They can hire other writers. They can make changes. By the time it’s done sometimes you don’t even recognize it as your own work. In tv – you know if you know about Shonda Rhimes and the other big showrunners – they’re in charge all the way through and it’s the directors who come and go episode to episode. So, in this case, I’m looking at him as a showrunner and what he provided to the show. In the very beginning of course he’s the first guy that had the guts to change the character into a female. It had been hinted at, chatted about since Tom Baker’s day. We knew that it could happen. We heard about other Time Lords who changed genders. Nobody quite had the guts to do it.
Watch this entire presentation