Chris Chibnall

Chris Chibnall

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Chris Chibnall is mostly known for his work in UK television. He has a BA in Drama and English from St. Mary's College in Twickenham. His career started with him cataloguing old football (soccer) game for SKY sports a sport's television network in the UK. Chris' love for…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • DVD Commentaries

      In 2007, Chris provided a commentary for the episode 42 with Russell T. Davies for the Season Three DVD boxset of Doctor Who.

      In 2007, Chris provided commentaries for the episodes Day One, Cyberwoman, Countrycide, They Keep Killing Suzie and Combat for the Season One DVD of Torchwood.

    • During the so-called Cancellation Crisis for the original Doctor Who; the Doctor Who magazine ran a competition to win copies of the song Doctor in Distress. The competition asked the fans to write their own version of a song about Doctor Who and one of the winning entries was from a very young Chris Chibnall.

    • Chris considered being a journalist through his teens and later thought of being a theater director before choosing television scripwriting for his career.

    • Chris wrote the fifth episode of All About George, an ITV dramatic comedy.

    • Chris was appointed as the showrunner for Law & Order: London in January 2008. His responsibilities include creative direction of the series and executive producer. ITV has ordered 13 episodes of the new show.

    • Chris was present for the launch of Torchwood at the BBC America ComicCon in July 2007.

    • Chris' play Kiss Me Like You Mean It about a couple who meet at a party, but can't be together since they have already partners, has been made into a book published by Oberon Books. The play was shortlisted for the Meyer-Whitworth Award.

    • Chris was one of the creators and a writer for the UK series Born and Bred; he also produced the later series of the show. His co-creator was Nigel McCrery.

    • In 2004, Chris' play Gaffer! premiered. The play is about a kiss between a football (soccer) manager and the a young star of his team after a cup-tie between their lower division team and a Premiership team and the repercussion it has.

  • Quotes

    • Chris: (On the UK version of Law & Order and the tone it will have before its launch) The series will very much take American storylines and anglicise them. Obviously not all of the storylines will work for a UK audience, but we have been able to draw a lot from what has already worked; Our show will be very faithful to the US version in that respect, and in its style and tone. It is an urban show, very modern and of the streets. It is quite gritty. Viewers should prepare themselves for classic Law and Order drama with a modern, gritty, British twist.

    • Chris: (On developing HTML Help) I've got a great writing team on board. I got my first choice writers, first choice producers, first choice designers... it's very exciting. We've been over to the States and met with Dick Wolf a couple of times. I've seen how they make the show over there, and their production team are so phenomenally excited that there's a British version being done. They've been so fantastically helpful. It's a very exciting project to be part of.

    • Chris: (About his first memory) My first memory is, literally, of Doctor Who, of The Sea Devils, and I checked back – and I can't have been more than two, or three at most, when that was on. How can I possibly remember them, coming out of the sea? But the show was always on in our house, so it just kind of got into me, in the way that the show does.

    • Chris: (About the process a script goes even once "finished") You aim for a completed script at the beginning of pre-production, which is about four to five weeks before we shoot it. Then you have the discussions and meetings and along the way you might make tweaks or changes – say a better location to what has been suggested – so things evolve up until the last minute, even when shooting sometimes. It's a constant collaboration.

    • Chris: (Talking about his first experience in the theater world) My first 'play', in inverted commas, was a 45-minute piece I wrote when I was eighteen. I submitted it as part of Contract Theatre in Manchester, who were running a young playwrights festival in about 1988-89. It was accepted and they workshopped it and put it on as part of their festival. So this is all their fault! That was the first time I'd been in a rehearsal room with actors and a director, and seeing what that was like, and writing drama. So that was a big thing, and from then, it's one of those things that once you start doing that, once you've been in a rehearsal room with actors, it's kind of like you're infected for ever! There's something very addictive about it.

    • Chris: (On how working on the second series of Torchwood was different than working on the first series) As writers and producers we've got to grips with the show, we've been able to build on the huge success of series one – a spin off from Doctor Who was a big ask. I think we wanted to make it bigger, better, have more fun and build on the foundations of the first series, maximising everything. You have more of a laugh with the second series, definitely.

    • Chris: (On how hard it is to break into the business of writing) It's so hard to get into writing, it's not like there's a training school to go to. Now there are degrees in script writing and stuff, but even if you do that, you're still going to spend years having to earn some money elsewhere before you end up writing full time.

    • Chris: (Commenting of his appearance on television on the show Open Air in 1986 to criticize John Nathan-Turner - the then producer of Doctor Who) If you give a 17 year old DW fan a camera and ask them to talk their mind, I think there would have been a lot of harsh voices around at the time, but also, it was much harder to get on the telly in those days, so nobody, including me, had any idea of TV etiquette. I haven't seen it in 20 years and I really don't intend to ever again!

    • Chris: (On how James Marsters came to play a character in Torchwood) We had a character who we knew we'd bring into the show, nearly brought him in at the end of Season One, but didn't feel right given the other stories that were jostling for and then James contacted Russell saying, 'I love the show, I love the shows, if there's any chance of being able to work with you, that would be great'. So we literally had a phone conversation where we went, 'That character, if we had him played by James Marsters, that would be fantastic'. It was so simple, one of those rare moments of serendipity where you think it's a gift, as a writer, enormous fun.

    • Chris: (After being asked how he would explain Torchwood to someone who had never heard of it) I would say it's a group of mates in Wales, who hunt down aliens and gather alien technology to arm the human race against the future. It's an informal, roguish group led by Captain Jack Harkness, who's an omni-sexual, 51st Century ex-time agent. It's the greatest show in the world. And it's enormous fun!

    • Chris: (Speaking of Torchwood's cast) The whole cast is absolutely a delight to work with. Brilliant professionals and such fun. It's such a joyous set to be on and they have great chemistry.

    • Chris: (On Jack in series two of Torchwood) We learn a lot about Jack, about all aspects of his life - more about the time agency, more about where Jack comes from. And he has [romantic] entanglements this year. I wish I could tell you who with, but you'll have to wait and see!

    • Chris: (On why he chose the subject for his one man play Gaffer!) Managers are fascinating: dedicated, passionate and obsessive. They wear their hearts on their sleeves – which, as a dramatist, is a gift. They let you inside their mind and their heart all too quickly: it's both their strength and their downfall.

    • Chris: (Answering a comment that series two of Torchwood was supposed to be more fun before the airing of it) I think once you make that decision it infuses everything. It's not as specific as saying more jokes in the dialogue, it's just an approach that you start that infuses everything from story structure to character decisions to the visual palette of the show, and it's not a huge shift... but when you decide to do that you start briefing the writers, when we're making decisions about what stories to tell, when we're saying what journey the characters are going to go on... it infuses that right from the start.

  • The problem with a series as excellent as Torchwood is that it tends to show up the weaknesses of talentless writers such as Chris Chibnall.

    We’ve been enjoying the new Dr. Who spin-off series Torchwood. The characters are unique, fresh, and explore that edge where really bad things happen in the absense of good guys taking forceful action (and often being hurt in the process--both emotionally and physically). In this respect, Torchwood holds its own with shows like Buffy: Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Veronica Mars.

    Almost all of the episodes are awesome and have the characters struggling to do right in tough situations where the demarkation between good and bad are blurred. Almost all. Unfortunately, two episodes so far have proven to be complete disasters with the characters behaving uncharacteristically in what appears to be a naked appeal to emotional drama. Those episodes have something in common: they were written by Chris Chibnall.

    Chris has Jack acting so completely out of character in Cyberwoman that I found myself literally staring at the screen wondering if I had actually seen what I thought I saw. I lost track of the number of times Chris had Jack making threats to Ianto only to back down for no reason whatsoever. I mean, who goes from threatening to shoot you in the head if you go down and help the enemy right into giving you the gun and telling you that you have 10 minutes to kill that enemy you’re bent on "saving"? How on Earth would Jack think that Ianto would do something he had steadfastly refused to do throughout the entire episode?

    Jack’s actions could have been just temporary blunders, though, if it weren’t for the portrayal of the episode’s title character. Caroline Chikezie did a fine job portraying Lisa given what she had to work with from Chris Chibnall. But Chris had the Lisa character changing from cyber voice to normal voice and from professing love to promoting upgrading apparently based solely on what he felt would be most emotional at that moment. He displayed no discernable thought to consistency or rational behavior or plot development.

    In a later episode, Countrycide, Chris again has the whole team making threats and failing to follow through on them and acting in ways that make no sense to the series dynamic or the characters as developed thus far. I mean, when Jack came into the final scene shooting people’s knee-caps I practically dropped out of my chair laughing. I mean, seriously, a room full of armed villians and Jack is going to be careful to make sure they are still capable of shooting him or, more importantly, his friends? It makes no sense.

    And that’s the core of the problem with Chris’ episodes. He has no sense of rational actions or behavior, relying instead on raw emotion and drama. It’s as if he’s hoping that if he works fast enough nobody will notice that he actually has no grip on the characters, the plot, or even basic cause and effect.

    I shudder to think how he is preparing to screw up the season finale. Maybe I’ll stop watching the show now and save myself the coming aggravation and disappointment of seeing the characters and plot circle back on themselves in an emotional vortex sucking the strength and resolve out of a story I enjoy and respect.moreless