Doctor Who cast and crew ‘blown away’ to receive honorary doctorates from Sheffield Hallam

Doctor Who showrunner and executive producer, Chris Chibnall, said he and the cast and crew of series 11 of the iconic show were ‘blown away’ after receiving honorary doctorates from Sheffield Hallam University.

Chris became showrunner and executive producer on the series which saw the first female Doctor arrive on our screens in 2018. The opening episode, The Woman Who Fell to Earth, was filmed at various locations across Sheffield including Park Hill flats.

Accepting the award of Honorary Doctor of Arts on behalf of the 693 cast and crew members who worked on the series, Chis said it had been the talk of the show for the past few weeks.

He was joined on stage at the ceremony at Sheffield’s City Hall yesterday (Wednesday 20 November) by Mandip Gill, who plays one of the Doctor’s companions Yasmin Khan, executive producer Matt Strevens and casting director Andy Pryor.

During his acceptance speech, Chris said: “We are here today to represent the whole production, 693 people worked on that series of Doctor Who and we are blown away on behalf of the show to have been awarded this doctorate. We can’t thank you enough for that.

“The biggest thing that we are here to represent today is teamwork. Doctor Who is one massive team effort across our series stretching right back to 1963.

“The biggest lesson Doctor Who has taught us is that it’s all about the team. You can’t achieve anything alone so please take the spirit of teamwork from us into your lives. 

“Matt and I graduated together 30-something years ago, this is our second graduation together. The relationships and teamwork you take from here into the world will stand you in great stead.”

Speaking after the ceremony, Mandip Gill, offered her advice to students who graduated alongside her today at the ceremony. She said ‘persistence’ was the key to succeeding.

Another broadcasting heavyweight, Matthew Bannister, the Sheffield-born former controller of Radio 1, also received an honorary doctorate this week.

Matthew, who currently presents Radio 4’s obituary programme Last Word and his own podcast Folk on Foot, received the award during Tuesday’s graduation ceremony. 

Matthew said: “I am delighted to be awarded such a prestigious degree by Sheffield Hallam University. I am proud of my Sheffield roots and well aware of the University’s excellent reputation. I look forward to building a relationship with students and staff in the future.” 

BAFTA winning documentary maker, Daniel Gordon, said he was ‘deeply honoured’ after receiving his honorary doctorate on Monday (18 November).

The Sheffield-based director won the BAFTA for single documentary film in 2017 for his documentary on the Hillsborough disaster shedding light on the horror and injustices faced by the families of the victims of one of UK sports worst disasters.

Daniel has built a critically acclaimed career directing documentaries through the lens of sport included films about Victoria Pendleton, George Best and other sporting heroes including the 1966 North Korean world cup football team.

Daniel said: “I am deeply honoured to accept my nomination for an honorary doctorate, and even prouder that this nomination has come from Sheffield Hallam University – an institution from my home city.

“It is particularly pleasing that I am now able to have a formal link with Sheffield Hallam University – with its well-earned reputation in the fields of media and sport, two areas close to my heart.”


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