If you’ve come for positivity, you’re going to be disappointed!
Chris Chibnall’s era (Seasons 11-13) has been controversial to say the least, and I’m among his biggest doubters and naysayers. Sadly, the ten writers to have penned an episode or more for the show during his tenure aren’t particularly strong this time around. There’s no point beating around the bush – how would I rank them all?
Before we begin, you can check out some of my related blog posts below:
10 – Ed Hime
- It Takes You Away
- Orphan 55
I don’t bust the “Terrible” tier out too often on my lists, but Ed Hime fully deserves it.
He might have gotten away with it if he had just written “It Takes You Away” (a bizarre, but serviceable, piece of television), but “Orphan 55” destroyed any goodwill he may have otherwise built up.
That episode is certainly in the running for the weakest, most non-sensical TV episode of all time, and it makes me think that Hime’s first story was a complete fluke. The worst writer to ever attempt a Who story.
9 – Joy Wilkinson
- The Witchfinders
Jodie Whittaker, the very first female Doctor, finds herself embroiled in the witch trials. Whatever story you’re imagining, it’s probably more interesting than this.
Alan Cummings’s performance as King James saves “The Witchfinders” from being a complete travesty, as otherwise there’s nothing remotely creative or unique about it.
8 – Ella Road
- Legend of the Sea Devils
“Legend of the Sea Devils” is a bad episode. Terrible, even. As bad as it is, I’m not entirely sure if Ella Road is to blame.
It’s no secret that COVID lockdowns caused the production to stop and start and find work-arounds, so the episode suffered massively as a result. But I’m not going to pretend that the writing didn’t suck, either.
7 – Charlene James
- Can You Hear Me?
Charlene James should be ashamed for wasting one of the most promising premises in Who history.
The whole dream Gods scenario is fascinating, but the writing doesn’t go anywhere with it! To make matters worse, the Doctor / Graham exchange near the end may just be the worst-written scene in Who history. I’m not surprised the BBC received tons of complaint letters after it aired.
6 – Chris Chibnall
- Openers, Closers and Specials
- Season 13: “Flux”
- The Ghost Monument
- Arachnids in the UK
- The Tsuranga Conundrum
The fact that the showrunner, the guy penning most of the episodes during his era, can’t even make the top half of writers is pitiful.
The closest Chibnall came to writing a good episode was either “Spyfall: Part One” or “The Power of the Doctor”, but neither of those blew my socks off.
All of his other ones – especially stories like “Arachnids in the UK”, “The Tsuranga Conundrum” and “The Timeless Children” – are so bad that I almost lost the will to live whilst watching them.
5 – Pete McTighe
Moving out of the murky waters of the “Bad” tier, we finally get a writer that didn’t offend me with his stories. That being said, Pete McTighe’s episodes were nothing special.
“Kerblam!” was a poor attempt at condemning Amazon, and “Praxeus” felt like a waste of a premise. Neither of them were bad, but I wanted so much more.
4 – Malorie Blackman
“Rosa” is definitely a high point of Season 11, but that really isn’t saying much.
The writing is decent, and I really appreciate some of the themes and conversations about society as a whole, but the pointless villain bogs the whole thing down.
3 – Nina Metevier
- Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror
I think people slept on “Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror” when it released – it’s a fun episode, and the historical setting is conveyed really well.
It’s nothing too crazy, though. Metevier’s writing is pretty good on the whole, but the Racnoss rip-off meant there wasn’t as much urgency to the plot.
2 – Vinay Patel
- Demons of the Punjab
- Fugitive of the Judoon
“Demons of the Punjab” is my favourite Season 11 episode, and “Fugitive of the Judoon” was my favourite Thirteen Doctor story at the time of its release, but recently I’ve softened on both.
The former is a fun story about the Partition, but the villains are pointless. The latter, on the other hand, crumbles completely in the context of the season arc. Not bad episodes at all, but they won’t stand the test of time.
1 – Maxine Alderton
- The Haunting of Villa Diodati
- Village of the Angels
The only writer that consistently wowed me, so it’s a shame Maxine Alderton only penned two episodes during the Chibnall era.
“Village of the Angels” is the best Season 13 episode by far, and “The Haunting of Villa Diodati” felt like a return to form for the series. They both have their issues, but I enjoyed them in the moment far more than most of the others.
Aaaaand that’s my negative list! If you want more positivity in your life, you can check out some of my latest blog posts below:
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