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Published on August 4th, 2011 | by Christian Cawley

Toby Whithouse as Showrunner?

Doctor Who writer and Being Human creator Toby Whithouse was quizzed at the San Diego Comic Con about whether he would like to take over when The Grand Moff moves on.

Whithouse has contributed Series 6 adventure The God Complex in addition to Series 5 episode Vampires of Venice and 2006′s School Reunion.

Whether he could be showrunner or not is an interesting proposition, one which Whithouse – who gave an interesting answer – seemed interested in.

Just as long as he doesn’t have to follow Moffat directly… You can see his answer below; we’ve embedded the video to start at the Toby Whithouse section.

Whithouse has obviously worked wonders with Being Human, but could he be the man to tackle Doctor Who in future? Or is Mark Gatiss perhaps more suitable to the task?


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

13 Responses to Toby Whithouse as Showrunner?

  1. avatar Tony Sobol says:

    The Whithouse’s last episode wasn’t too hot, but despite that I think he’d be a great choice to take over. A better choice than Mark Gatiss, arguably.

  2. avatar Bob James says:

    Definitely Mark Gatiss. He’s got far more background and genuine Doctor Who cred, and is much less likely to be influenced and seduced by american money and fame. Mark would keep Doctor Who legit.

  3. avatar Gruff says:

    Bob, I’d agree if he was only allowed to write one episode while in charge. Most of his involvement has been with some pretty ropey stories.

  4. avatar ian says:

    Does a new head writer really have to have been a fan since they were in short trousers? All we need is someone who can tell a good story (or six), has a vision for where the show is going and can commission writers who can also write good stories.

  5. avatar Bob James says:

    No they don’t, but it helps. The passion, respect, and love for Doctor Who That RTD and Steven Moffat have for the show have inarguably influenced and driven how they produce and write it. BBC apathy was part of what killed the show back in 1989. No offense to JNT, he may have loved the show, but arguably not nearly as much as RTD or Steven Moffat does, and he also clearly and by his own admission had been trying to leave it for some time. Even a very talented, capable, “business as usual” show runner could end up hurting Doctor Who and its integrity by not being passionate enough to champion it, and we could lose it all over again.

  6. avatar ian says:

    Yeah, but passion often translates into fanwank. I would like a fresh infusion of new blood into the show and not some jobs-for-the-boys “jolly” determined by whether the new head writer has a DWAS membership number.

    • @Ian

      Passion has never once translated into fanwank.

      Poor writing and bad planning leads to fanwank, nothing else.

      • avatar ian says:

        I happen to disagree. The stories in the early 1980′s suffered a great deal because JNT and his writers incorporated too many references to past adventures. When fans start writing for the benefit of seeing their fan-fiction on the screen then you might as well shut up shop. I want this show to be a big mainstream success that everyone can love and not just those in a hall in San Diego.

        • Ian – they suffered because they were poorly written and badly planned/conceived! You’ve completely illustrated my point, yet claim to disagree…

          • avatar ian says:

            Christian, I’m not trying to score points. My argument is that just because you are a fan of something doesn’t make you best placed to be in charge of something. A little perspective helps. For example, Zack Snyder was clearly a fan of Watchmen and he made a film for fans of Watchmen. A labour of love that degenerated into masturbation. On the other hand Christopher Nolan has an interest in Batman but has managed to make Batman movies that appeal to people outside of the comic book movie genre. I worry that a High Council of fans in the media become the voices of authority on Doctor Who and when one decides to leave they simply pass on the running to one of their friends.

  7. avatar Tony Sobol says:

    I think Ian is quite correct that fan credentials shouldn’t come into it. It’s slightly moot in this discussion anyway, as both Whithouse and Gatiss *are* fans!

  8. avatar Alex says:

    Actually, I think being a fan should be a criteria. Granted, it’s hard to find any SF or fantasy writer who might be remotely interested in showrunning Doctor Who who isn’t a fan. But I’ve seen what happens when people unfamiliar with a show, or who even has some level of “it was awful before – I’m going to make it better” attitude take over. Give me a fan anyway. Both Whithouse and Gatiss are great choices, in my opinion. I’d also throw Nicholas Briggs’ name into the ring based on his years of work producing and writing Big Finish. But all bets would be off if Neil Gaiman stepped to the plate.

    But this is all moot – Moffat is already talking about his plans for 2013, so I don’t think the Help Wanted ad will be going up anytime soon.

    • avatar Alex says:

      There’s a typo in my post above. It should read “Give me a fan anyDAY.”

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