Doctor Who: Chris Chibnall explains why S11 addressed real-world issues

Chris Chibnall’s decision to focus heavily on a real-world issue in his first outing as Doctor Who’s showrunner left many fans thrilled and many others outraged.

Has Doctor Who become too politically correct? Season eleven, the first to feature Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor and Chris Chibnall as showrunner, was met with controversy during its ten-week run last year.

Many viewers decried the season for addressing hot-button social issues in numerous episodes and seemingly leaning left. At the same time, though, many other fans argued that the long-running series has always focused on social commentary and taken progressive stances on issues like racism, sexism, and hate.

Whittaker, as well as her co-stars Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole, have passionately defended the direction that Chibnall has taken the show in, and now Chibnall himself has gone on the record. In an interview with Radio Times ahead of the series’ first-ever New Year’s Day Special, Chibnall explained why focusing on real-world issues was a priority for him as showrunner.

“I think it’s fundamental. I think you want to be writing about the world that we live in. The show is not a standalone thing, it’s a response to the times that we’re living in and the world that we’re in.”

He noted the unique ability of Doctor Who to tackle social issues in a thought-provoking way.

“When it comes to things that affect people’s lives – I think particularly things that children and young adults are going through – that feels really important. I think the character of the Doctor, and [her friends] as well, is a great conduit into discussing all that…and then you add monsters as well.”

Next: Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker confirms she’s staying on for season 12

We can only speculate about what might lie ahead on Doctor Who. However, given that Chibnall does not seem at all fazed by his detractors, the show’s commitment to addressing social issues is very likely something fans can count on going forward — whether they like it or not. Doctor Who will return to BBC America for season 12 in 2020.

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