Chris Chibnall (born 1970) is an English television writer. He was co-producer and head writer on Torchwood's first two series, writing eight episodes for the show. He was also a showrunner for Law & Order: UK and wrote a few episodes of Life on Mars. He subsequently went on to enjoy major success as the creator and showrunner of Broadchurch.
Chibnall wrote five episodes of Torchwood's parent show Doctor Who, including the two parter "The Hungry Earth" and "Cold Blood", which had the first on screen appearance of the Silurians in 26 years, before taking over as showrunner with Series 11. His very first step upon taking over the show was a doozy: making the Doctor female for the first time in the show's history with Broadchurch actress Jodie Whittaker. After the announcement, he proudly stated that he'd wanted to do it since he first started working on the show. Alongside the casting of Whittaker, other measures Chibnall has taken to reinvent the series have been to redesign the TARDIS shape and interior, redesign the sonic screwdriver, shorten Series 11 to ten episodes and bump up the typical episode run time to fifty minutes rather than the revival's previous forty-five minute norm. Chibnall is not playing halfsies here.
He's also known in Who fandom for that one time in the 1980s he went on TV to confront John Nathan-Turner and Pip and Jane Baker about the perceived Seasonal Rot connected to the tenure of the Sixth Doctor.
His Doctor Who work provides examples of:
- Author Appeal: One-shot companion characters and high concept episode ideas, often with either punny or Exactly What It Says on the Tin titles, are a staple (e.g. "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", "Arachnids in the UK").
- Author Tract: His work on Doctor Who features humans as the villains or worse than the alien threat.
- Running the Asylum: Much like his predecessor, Chibnall grew up as a fan and appeared on TV as a teenager to criticise the then-current direction of the show. Now he runs the show and has made sure to leave his mark.