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SYFY WIRE Doctor Who

Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall on board for third season, has 'big, ambitious plans'

By James Comtois
doctor who can you hear me

After some rumors circulating that Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall was eyeing the exit, Chibnall himself nipped such speculation in the bud, confirming that he will in fact be back to helm another season of the long running series. 

“I do know I’m coming back for a third season,” Chibnall told Entertainment Weekly. “Yeah, absolutely. We are already planning the stories. Once you see the end of this series, you’ll realize there are some stories we’re already setting in train for next series. We have very big, ambitious plans for our third series together.”

Chibnall added that fans can expect to see the next season “next year sometime, hopefully, unless my holiday goes on for a really long time, which is always tempting.” 

This news follows the recent announcement from Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker that she too plans to stay on as The Doctor for at least another season. 

Doctor Who is about to wrap up its 12th season, which marks the second season for both Chibnall and Whittaker. The current season has shown itself to be more ambitious than the last, bringing back familiar faces (and in some cases, familiar characters with new faces) and incorporating “more two-part stories” and “a little bit more of a serial arc,” as Chibnall put it. (Fans thus far seem to appreciate the course correction from Season 11’s standalone episodes featuring all new monsters.)  

Sacha Dhawan in Doctor Who

Speaking of returning characters with new looks, Doctor Who’s prior showrunner, Steven Moffat, recently revealed to the Radio Times that the big surprise in Season 12’s premiere episode was spoiled by one of its stars in quite possibly the nerdiest funniest of ways. 

In the season premiere, which aired Jan. 1, it is revealed late in the episode that the very friendly MI6 agent — Agent O — is in fact The Doctor’s best enemy and fellow Time Lord, The Master, played by Sacha Dhawan. 

Moffat told the media outlet that, prior to the show airing, he had dinner with Dhawan. And he told Dhawan: “‘Look, don’t tell me anything about what you’re doing on the show. Because I don’t want to know. But are you enjoying it?’

“He said ‘Oh it’s great, apart from all the really complicated dialogue like, oh, Tissue Compression Eliminator.’”

Now, that sounds like typical sci-fi jargon to most (let's not forget the Third Doctor's recurring command: "Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow!"). But to Moffat, it revealed exactly who Dhawan was playing. You see, since Moffat isn’t just a former showrunner for the series, but in fact a diehard fan, he immediately recognized “Tissue Compression Eliminator” as the name of The Master’s signature weapon, which let the cat out of the bag for him. Yup, that’s some deep cut knowledge of Time Lord lore. 

“I thought…I know exactly what part you’re playing, just from that! Just from that I know,” said Moffat. “I slightly regretted I didn’t get the reveal on camera, because I’ve had years of knowing what’s coming. I would prefer not to know.”

Still, Moffat bore no grudge and added he thought Dhawan “was terrific, absolutely terrific as the Master.”

Doctor Who airs the first half of its two-part season finale, “Ascension of the Cybermen,” on Sunday, Feb. 23, with the second part, “The Timeless Children,” airing the following Sunday.