Why The ‘Doctor Who’ Showrunner Doesn’t Read Reviews

Being the showrunner of such a long-running, beloved show like Doctor Who must come with a lot of stress. Fans and critics all have things to say, and everyone involved is passionate about the show. Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall, however, does not choose to engage with reviews or reactions to his work.

In a way, this could be a good thing. After all, as was seen with Game of Thrones, fans can quickly turn against creators of the media they love. However, as was also seen with the Game of Thrones writers, shielding yourself from criticism isn’t always a good thing.

There certainly has been some intense backlash for the Thirteenth Doctor and for Chris Chibnall’s vision of Doctor Who in general. This might be part of why Chibnall avoids reviews and any other reactions to the show. Find out more, ahead.

What does ‘Doctor Who’ showrunner Chris Chibnall have to say about running his second season of the show?

Producer Matt Strevens, Jodie Whittaker, and Showrunner Chris Chibnall of Doctor Who
Producer Matt Strevens, Jodie Whittaker, and Showrunner Chris Chibnall of Doctor Who| Cindy Ord/Getty Images for BBC America

When asked by The AV Club how it feels to be returning for his second year of running Doctor Who, Chris Chibnall replies that the pressure isn’t nearly as intense this time around. Of course, as he says, “it’d be very hard to match the pressure of our first season with the first female Doctor with a whole new team.” Season 11 of Doctor Who was “a big shift for the show.” “What was so great,” Chibnall says, ” is the way, seemingly, the audiences really took to it.”

The audiences appreciating the show is “very emboldening” for the showrunner. Chibnall wonders “‘How do we raise the bar this season? How do we do things we didn’t manage to do last year?’ And [he] really [thinks they’ve] done that.”  

Why doesn’t Chibnall interact with criticisms of his work on ‘Doctor Who’?

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According to the showrunner himself in Doctor Who magazine, reported by Radio Times, he’s “not on social media. [He doesn’t] read press coverage and [he doesn’t] read reviews.” Chris Chibnall believes that “every series of Doctor Who that’s ever been made [has] some people [who] liked it, some people [who] didn’t. That will be true forever.”

“What you have to do,” Chibnall says, “is make the show you believe in, hope that it connects, then go home. If we allow other things in then we’re not making our vision.” As Chibnall puts it, ” it’s not a democracy.” He and the other writers “make the show [they] want to make.”

What do fans have to say about Chibnall’s work on ‘Doctor Who’?

While there is something to be said for preserving one’s artistic vision, it is not always a good thing to shield oneself from all criticism. It might work out for Chris Chibnall and for Doctor Who, but it might not. When replying to a Doctor Who fan page on Twitter, one fan said: “Make your own vision, sure, but be prepared for constructive criticism that can aid all parties.” Another fan is “somewhere in the middle.”

This fan thinks that “You shouldn’t be steered by fans or media reaction, but you do need to listen to constructive criticism.” In this fan’s opinion, “someone obviously has because [season 12] is already so much better than [season 11].” Another, more critical fan, says “is it any…wonder he’s saying this?”

This fan believes that “the [bad] level of quality is an absolutely stellar output from him. We can clearly see he doesn’t give a ****.”