Chris Chibnall, who later this year becomes Showrunner for the BBC’s Doctor Who, visited Edge Hill University this morning to receive an Honorary Doctorate in Literature.
The award comes in the wake of Sunday’s news that for the first time ever, a woman will play the Time Lord in the legendary TV show. Jodie Whittaker, known for her role in acclaimed ITV crime drama Broadchurch (written by Chris), will be the show’s 13th Doctor.
“Appointed a new doctor yesterday, made an Honorary Doctor today – it’s been quite a weekend,” Chris laughed as he addressed graduands at the ceremony. He spoke of how honoured he was to receive the award and his love for the North West, which is ‘embedded in his heart and soul.’
Chris told graduands: “Something I wish I’d known earlier, you’re probably all wondering ‘what’s going to happen to me in the future?’ It sounds very obvious but I didn’t realise it until four years ago when I wrote Broadchurch and people started stopping me in the street to ask about it – the future is you, it’s not something that just happens. The future is there to be taken by every person graduating today.
“I wrote Broadchurch for myself and never thought anyone would want to make it, let alone watch it, but that story has gone around the world, been remade in America and France and turned into a novel. It led to me being offered what was as a child my dream job, being in charge of the Tardis and Dr Who – I never thought that would happen either!
“I’ve been really lucky – I’d wish everyone graduating the same amount of luck I’ve had. Your luck has already started by coming here to this extraordinary University.”
Chris Chibnall, who is one of Britain’s most important and accomplished television dramatists, grew up in Formby, Merseyside. He was head writer and co-producer of award-winning Doctor Who spin-off, Torchwood and writer of all three series of acclaimed crime drama Broadchurch. He contributed scripts to BBC One’s Life on Mars, was lead writer and executive producer for ITV1’s Law & Order UK; and creator and executive producer for Camelot, a dark retelling of Arthurian myth.
His two television films – BBC Two’s United, which tells the story of Manchester United’s Busby Babes and the Munich air disaster, and BBC One’s The Great Train Robbery, which documents the heist from the perspectives of both police and thieves – demonstrate Chris’ talent for dramatising historical moments around a core of well-drawn affective human relationships. He has also written five Doctor Who episodes.