In the 50+ years Doctor Who has been on the air, the show has had many great writers. While some have only made a minimal impact on the show’s history, others like Terry Nation and Russell T. Davies have made lasting contributions to the mythos. For this editorial, I’ll be counting down the best writers.
Note: Writers must have written at least two episodes for the show. Also, I am not including writers such as Neil Gaiman who have a large body of work besides Doctor Who. In the case of Gaiman, his work is too vast to focus solely on his two stories for Doctor Who, no matter how much I like them.
10. Sarah Dollard (Best stories: “Face the Raven”, “Thin Ice”)
When Peter Capaldi became the 12th Doctor, Moffatt wanted to take the show in a darker direction and hired several new writers. While Sarah hasn’t been on the show as long as the others on this list, I really hope she sticks around.
9. Toby Whithouse (Best stories: “School Reunion”, “The God Complex”, “Under the Lake/Before the Flood”)
Toby Whithouse seems able to take familiar formulas used in Doctor Who and use them in new unique ways, as seen in “The God Complex” and “Under the Lake/Before the Flood”.
8. Mark Gatiss (Best stories: “Invaders From Mars”, “The Unquiet Dead”, “Robot of Sherwood”)
Mark Gatiss is one of the many writers that Russell T. Davies brought on from Big Finish, and while he’s not always written a good story (“The Idiot’s Lantern” is one of his less-inspired stories), he’s always managed to entertain and show Doctor Who‘s lighter side.
7. Douglas Adams (Best stories: “The Pirate Planet”, “City of Death”)
Douglas Adams is actually more well-known for his writings outside of Doctor Who, such as his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books. His unique brand of humor is still felt on the show thanks to the writings of Mark Gatiss and Russell T. Davies.
6. Paul Cornell (Best stories “Loup-Geroux”, “Human Nature/Family of Blood”, “Father’s Day”)
Another Big Finish contributor and he also worked for the show during Davies’s tenure as show-runner. I think what makes Cornell such a great writer is that he can combine both the human and alien aspects of the Doctor.