The 56-year-old former Children’s Laureate and author of over 60 books, has been added to one of the most diverse group of writers and directors the show has ever assembled, the BBC announced on Monday.
In a statement on the BBC’s website she noted, “I’ve always loved Doctor Who. Getting the chance to write for the series has definitely been a dream come true.”
Blackman’s first handling of Doctor Who lore came in 2013, when she wrote an exclusive E-Book as part of the show’s 50th anniversary celebration called ‘The Ripple Effect’.
It was a story that starred Sylvester McCoy’s seventh doctor and his companion Ace which explored the complexity of the Doctor’s personality as well as his relationship with his companion, when faced with dealing with a cataclysmic event on foreign land.
Despite the book’s strong reception, and the inclusion of a variety of female characters in the show’s history, such literature and casting did not translate into an increase in female writing places on the roster, as from 2009 to 2015 not a single episode of the show was written by a woman.
Additionally, out of all of the televised Doctor Who episodes in its 55-year history, less than 5% have been written by women.
Blackman herself commented on this at a panel during the 2014 Young Adult Lit Con:
“Although it’s really important to have diversity within the cast I think it’s (also) important to have diversity behind the camera and writing the episodes as well and that goes for women writing it and ethnic minorities writing it.”
This is evident as female writers such as Blackman have proved themselves in the Science Fiction genre.
Her most known work, ‘Noughts and Crosses’ (2001), takes place in an alternate reality, in which the known dynamics of race relations are turned on its head, whilst ‘Thief!’ (1995) explores the story of a young girl who is transported into a computer-dominated future and meets her older self.
Blackman has written one episode as part of what show-runner and writer Chris Chibnall has described as a season filled with variety, which he hopes will excite new fans and entertain old ones.
Series 11’s tagline “The Universe is Calling” therefore not only refers to the calling of the Doctor to her new adventures, but also calling more representative employment for women and ethnic minorities in screenwriting roles.