Doctor Who's Chris Chibnall on female Doctor chances: "nothing has yet been decided"

Chris Chibnall – who will take over as Doctor Who showrunner when Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi leave at the end of 2017 – has been chatting again about his approach to casting the Doctor.

The East Anglian Daily Times asked Chibnall if he would consider casting a woman in the role, as speculation has suggested. The previous showrunner, Moffat, paved the way for such a change by revealing that Time Lords – such as Michelle Gomez’s take on The Master – can change their gender.

“I can honestly say that nothing has yet been decided”, Chibnall said in response. “I haven’t got my feet under the table yet. I have been working on the play [Worst Wedding Ever, currently playing at The New Wolsey Theatre] and I am still finishing the latest series of Broadchurch. Nothing is ruled out but I don’t want the casting to be a gimmick and that’s all I can say.”

Neither a confirmation or a denial there, then. Chibnall already seems to know all the tricks of being Doctor Who showrunner, doesn’t he?

“We’ll cast the role in the traditional way: write the script, then go and find the best person for that part in that script. You couldn’t go out and cast an abstract idea”, Chibnall previously told The Telegraph.

“The creative possibilities are endless,” he added,” but I have a very clear sense of what we’re going to do, without even knowing who’s going to play the part.”

“I can’t confirm or deny any calls, texts, emails or conversations I might have had,” Chibnall said, asked if the next Doctor could be someone he’s worked with before on Broadchurch. “I’ve just had the most hilarious text from an actor I worked with a long, long time ago. And no, I can’t tell you who it is…”

Previously, we heard that “It took Peter [Capaldi] a long time to make up his mind” about leaving. The outgoing showrunner Steven Moffat told Broadcast Now as much in a new interview.

The Moff continued: “Chris [Chibnall] tried to persuade him to stay. I knew it was a possibility that he’d leave because Doctors tend to do three years. I thought that he might want to opt out, rather than go through the trauma of a change in command and maybe leaving a year later anyway. But I think he came close to staying.”

Also, the standard-issue announcement of the bookies’ favourites to take over as The Doctor has now arrived online.

Tilda Swinton is the favourite according to Ladbrokes (although, as ever, it’s tough to put much stock in this), with odds of 7/2. The bookies’ next best guess is Kris Marshall, who recently left his lead role in Death In Paradise. His odds are 4/1.

After that you’ve got Olivia Colman at 5/1 and Maxine Peake at 8/1. Ben Whishaw, Richard Ayoade and Andrew Buchan are all on 10/1, with Reece Shearsmith and Phoebe Waller-Bridge both on 12/1.

We’ll keep you updated as more news comes to light.

Peter Capaldi announced his departure from Doctor Who on January 30th, with this statement…

“One of the greatest privileges of being Doctor Who is to see the world at its best. From our brilliant crew and creative team working for the best broadcaster on the planet, to the viewers and fans whose endless creativity, generosity and inclusiveness points to a brighter future ahead. I can’t thank everyone enough. It’s been cosmic.”

Steven Moffat, on the official announcement from the BBC, added that “for years before I ever imagined being involved in Doctor Who, or had ever met the man, I wanted to work with Peter Capaldi. I could not have imagined that one day we’d be standing on the TARDIS together. Like Peter, I’m facing up to leaving the best job I’ll ever have, but knowing I do so in the company of the best, and kindest and cleverest of men, makes the saddest of endings a little sweeter. But hey, it’s a long way from over. Peters’ amazing, fiery, turbulent Doctor is still fighting the good fight, and his greatest adventures are yet to come. Monsters of the universe, be on your guard – Capaldi’s not done with you yet!”

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content added that “Peter Capaldi will always be a very special Doctor to me; his adventures through time and space started just as I arrived on BBC One. He has been a tremendous Doctor who has brought his own unique wisdom and charisma to the role. But, it’s not over yet – I know the next series is going to be spectacular. He’s a fine actor who I hope we work with again when he leaves the TARDIS”.

Brian Minchin, Executive Producer, rounded off the tributes, saying that “Peter Capaldi is an extraordinary Doctor and has taken the show to amazing places. Although I’m sad he has decided to move on in 2018 I’m delighted that we have one final series with Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat. I know what they’re planning and it’s going to be incredible”.

The announcement also confirms that series 10 will have twelve episodes in it, and will start in April.

Mr Capaldi: lord, you’re going to be missed.

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