List of Doctor Who script editors

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The following is a list of script editors[1] on the long-running British science fiction television programme Doctor Who. This list makes no distinction between the titles "story editor" and "script editor", as both titles were used for the same position while the production was based in London.

During the original series, the script editor worked in conjunction with the series producer in developing the creative direction of the series and they held the power to commission scripts, effectively becoming second in command to the producer. However, once Doctor Who moved from BBC London to BBC Wales, the title came to describe a significantly different position. Beginning with the 2005 series, the role of the Doctor Who script editor diminished significantly, in deference to the rise of the new position of "Head Writer".[2] In many respects, Russell T Davies and his successor Steven Moffat have proven the closest analogue to the old position, but as they are also executive producers, they have had a much greater range of responsibilities than script editors of the original series. Script editors of the new series do not have the power to commission scripts. Instead, they act as liaisons between the production staff and the screenwriter, before passing their joint work to the Head Writer for a "final polish". Moreover, script editors in the BBC Wales version are assigned not to whole seasons, but to individual episodes — or at most "blocks" of 2-4 episodes produced concurrently. Acknowledging that the Head Writer is much closer to being the script editor of the past, Helen Raynor has said that the modern Doctor Who script editor's job isn't a creative one, but "in the next seat to creativity ... a nuts and bolts job [in which] you do participate, you are a part of it, but you aren't driving it."[3]

Script Editor Tenure Notes
Years Stories[4]
David Whitaker 1963–1964 An Unearthly ChildThe Dalek Invasion of Earth Programme's first script editor, credited as story editor
Dennis Spooner 1964–1965 The RescueThe Chase
Donald Tosh 1965–1966 The Time MeddlerThe Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve ep. 3
Gerry Davis 1966–1967 The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve ep. 4 - The Evil of the Daleks ep. 3
Peter Bryant 1967–1968 The Evil of the Daleks ep. 4-7, The Abominable Snowmen - The Enemy of the World
Victor Pemberton 1967 The Tomb of the Cybermen Shortest tenure as script editor
Derrick Sherwin 1968 The Web of FearThe Mind Robber, The Space Pirates
Terrance Dicks 1968–1974 The InvasionThe Seeds of Death, The War Games - Planet of the Spiders Longest tenure as script editor
Robert Holmes 1974–1977 RobotImage of the Fendahl Had started unofficial work in the post on Death to the Daleks
Anthony Read 1977–1979 The Sun MakersThe Armageddon Factor
Douglas Adams 1979–1980 Destiny of the DaleksShada
Christopher H. Bidmead 1980–1981 The Leisure HiveLogopolis
Antony Root 1981–1982 Four to Doomsday, The Visitation and Earthshock Script editor in name only for Earthshock, due to BBC rules preventing Eric Saward being writer and script editor on the same story
Eric Saward 1982–1986 Castrovalva, Kinda, Black OrchidThe Trial of a Time Lord: Mindwarp, The Trial of a Time Lord: The Ultimate Foe ep. 1 Resigned from post prior to the completion of The Trial of a Time Lord
Andrew Cartmel 1987–1989 Time and the RaniSurvival Last script editor for the original series
Elwen Rowlands 2005 "Rose" – "The End of the World", "Aliens of London" – "World War Three", "The Long Game" – "Father's Day", "Boom Town" First female script editor, along with Raynor. Both were the first script editors of the new series, hired simultaneously.[3]
Helen Raynor 2005–2008 "The Unquiet Dead", "Dalek", "The Empty Child" – "The Doctor Dances", "Bad Wolf" – "The Christmas Invasion", "School Reunion" – "The Age of Steel", "Army of Ghosts" – "Doomsday", "Blink", "Silence in the Library" – "Midnight" See above note. Only script editor with credits in each of the first four series. Only person to script edit for Steven Moffat while he wasn't the head writer. Also Torchwood's script editor
Simon Winstone 2006–2007 "New Earth" – "Tooth and Claw", "The Idiot's Lantern" – "Fear Her", "The Runaway Bride" – "Gridlock", "The Lazarus Experiment" – "42", "Utopia" – "Last of the Time Lords" As a former editor of the Virgin Missing Adventures, Winstone was the first script editor of the BBC Wales era to have had previous experience with Doctor Who fiction. He was also the first script editor to appear on Doctor Who Confidential, debuting in episode 10 of series 2. He also script-edited the first episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures entitled "Invasion of the Bane" in 2007.
Lindsey Alford 2007–2010 "Daleks in Manhattan" – "Evolution of the Daleks", "Human Nature" – "The Family of Blood", "Partners in Crime", "Planet of the Ood", "The Doctor's Daughter" – "The Unicorn and the Wasp", "The Stolen Earth" – "Planet of the Dead", "The Eleventh Hour", "The Time of Angels" - "Flesh and Stone", "The Hungry Earth" - "Cold Blood", "The Lodger" - "The Big Bang" Also script editor for The Sarah Jane Adventures (Series 1, 10 episodes)
Brian Minchin 2007–2010 "Time Crash", "Voyage of the Damned", "The Fires of Pompeii", "Turn Left", "The Beast Below" - "Victory of the Daleks", "The Vampires of Venice - "Amy's Choice", "Vincent and the Doctor" Also Torchwood's script editor and producer of "From Raxacoricofallapatorius with Love". Producer of The Sarah Jane Adventures series 4-5, later Executive Producer of Doctor Who (2013-present)
Nikki Smith 2008 "The Sontaran Stratagem" – "The Poison Sky" Also producer of The Sarah Jane Adventures and Doctor Who
Gary Russell 2009 "The Waters of Mars" – "The End of Time" Also script editor on The Sarah Jane Adventures on all episodes from 2008-2011; and script editor for four episodes of Torchwood ("Dead Man Walking", "A Day in the Death", "Something Borrowed" and "Fragments")
Emma Freud 2010 "Vincent and the Doctor"
Caroline Henry 2011 "The Impossible Astronaut" - "Day of the Moon", "The Curse of the Black Spot", "The Rebel Flesh" - "The Almost People", "Let's Kill Hitler", "The Girl Who Waited", "The Wedding of River Song"
John Phillips 2013 "The Name of the Doctor"
Richard Cookson 2013 "The Day of the Doctor"
Derek Ritchie 2013 "The Time of the Doctor"

Since the 2011 series, the job description has changed. Lindsey Alford (see above) was credited as "Script Executive" for the 2011 run, Caroline Henry was "Script Executive" on "The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe", and in 2012-13 associate producer Denise Paul took the credit of "Script Producer". John Phillips was credited as "Assistant Script Editor" for majority of Series 7 except for "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" and "A Town Called Mercy".

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This list does not account for uncredited script editors, such as John Nathan-Turner, who effectively held the job for the last episode of The Trial of a Time Lord, or Craig Dickson, who was the BBC's script editor for the 1996 telemovie. Likewise, stories such as The Abominable Snowmen and Kinda, which were actually developed by multiple script editors, are assigned only to the person whose name actually appears on the credits.
  2. ^ Occasionally, as in this article, the press has also used the term "lead writer"
  3. ^ a b "Script Doctors: Helen Raynor". Doctor Who Magazine #379. Panini UK (reprinted on the website of David Darlington, with permission). 1 February 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-27. [dead link]
  4. ^ Stories are listed in broadcast order. Since stories were often produced out of broadcast order, some script editors can falsely appear to have non-continuous tenures

See also[edit]