There are a lot of big bangs (if you’ll beg my pardon) coming up in the Whoniverse lately to keep fans excited. We’ve got a brand new companion, the Doctor’s wearing waistcoats now, and the 50th anniversary special is coming. Still, as each year comes and goes, we’re forced to keep track of our leading man and our showrunner—we’ve had the team of Moffat and Smith since 2010, which begs the question of when the inevitable change-up is coming. It’s probably not too far off now.
No announcements have been made, so of course it’s too early to properly speculate on anything. But a bit of news grabbed my attention, and I couldn’t help but wonder….
Fans of BBC’s Being Human series have probably already heard: the current season will be the show’s last. It’s disheartening, especially after the show’s impressive comeback in the last season. But it seems an interesting bit of timing when we consider this—
Toby Whithouse is no longer running a BBC show.
For those who may not be familiar, Toby Whithouse has written episodes for Doctor Who’s second, fifth, sixth, and seventh seasons. And his scripts have been consistently lovely; “School Reunion” brought back Sarah Jane Smith with all reverence due to her, “Vampires of Venice” was sheer fun, and “The God Complex” and “A Town Called Mercy” had some incredible emotional weight to them. He may not have shocked and awed the audience the way Moffat did back during Davies’ tenure, but he is incredibly good. What’s more, he excels at the sort of writing that Doctor Who demands—he’s fantastic with comedy, with meticulous character development, with outrageous plots and scary monsters.
And unlike many of the current writers on Doctor Who, he just helmed a successful BBC series.
Being Human is a wonderful blend of horror, drama and absurdity. It also went through a massive shift at the end of its third season, when two of its main cast members decided to leave the show—Being Human not only recovered from the blow but managed to do a soft reboot with a new cast, which can’t help but remind us of exactly what’s it’s like handling a regenerating main character with friends who come and go. While heading that show, Whithouse proved he was a master at meshing the real-life subtleties with the extraordinary, which is particularly important where Who is concerned. His writing staff for Being Human included more than a few female screenwriters, which he would hopefully bring along with him. In short, he’s a logical candidate for succession when Moffat decides he wants out.
If this isn’t already being considered, Whithouse surely has my vote. I would love to see what he’d bring to Who as a showrunner. There must be other picks out there—share them! (Howard Overman, anyone?)