By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
“Feels odd to be talking about leaving when I’m just starting work on the scripts for season 10, but the fact is my timey-wimey is running out.” – Steven Moffat
Having been head writer and show runner for the last six years on the British Sci-fi series, Moffat’s tenure has overseen an explosion of worldwide popularity for Doctor Who, but the last two years have been fraught with inconsistent storylines that have driven fans up the wall. Many complained that Moffat’s obsession with a story arc focused more on the Doctor’s companion Clara Oswald, rather than Peter Capaldi’s incarnation of the Time Lord had caused ratings to suffer.
Moffat, though, had been talking about leaving for awhile, ever since previous time lord Matt Smith left the series in 2013. Last month the news broke that Moffat was looking for a replacement before starting the next season of the series and it looks like it didn’t take long at all to find him in executive producer Chris Chibnall.
Chibnall, a life long Whovian, is no stranger to the show either, having written several episodes including “Dinosaurs on a SpaceShip” and also serving as Co-Producer and head writer on the Whovian spinoff Torchwood. Couple that with the fact that Chibnal’s current series, Broadchurch has featured a laundry list of Who veterans as guest stars (which stars former time lord David Tennant), and it’s easy to see why he got the nod.
“While Chris is doing his last run of Broadchurch, I’ll be finishing up on the best job in the universe and keeping the TARDIS warm for him. It took a lot of gin and tonic to talk him into this, but I am beyond delighted that one of the true stars of British Television drama will be taking the Time Lord even further into the future. At the start of season 11, Chris Chibnall will become the new showrunner of Doctor Who. And I will be thrown in a skip.”
“Doctor Who is the ultimate BBC program. So it’s a privilege and a joy to be the next curator of this funny, scary and emotional family drama. I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was four years old, and I’m relishing the thought of working with the exceptional team at BBC Wales to create new characters, creatures and worlds for the Doctor to explore.” – Chris Chbnall
When Chibnall takes the keys to the TARDIS is a matter of timing. Moffat is in the middle of prepping for his final, shortened season of Who, and Chibnall is just starting the third season of the detective series. But Moffat says that by 2018, Chibnall will be at the helm of the TARDIS. “At the start of season 11, Chris Chibnall will become the new showrunner of Doctor Who. And I will be thrown in a skip,” Moffat said.
“I have decided to schedule Steven’s big finale series in Spring 2017 to bring the nation together for what will be a huge event on the channel. 2016 is spoilt with national moments including the Euros and Olympics and I want to hold something big back for 2017 – I promise it will be worth the wait!” – BBC controller Charlotte Moore
With that timing in play, the BBC has opted to delay the 10th season of the modern Doctor Who until the Spring of 2017, with the annual Christmas special tiding fans over until then. This will also give the BBC plenty of time to lock in Capaldi’s new companion, after Jenna Coleman left at the end of last season in a controversial goodbye.
“This could be my final year – it’s terrifying. I love Doctor Who but it can be quite an insular world and I do want to do other things. There will come a time when this is over. But I knew that when I started. I was thinking about my regeneration scene from the outset. That’s my terrible melancholic nature. When you accept the job you know there’ll come a day, inevitably, when you’ll be saying goodbye.” – Peter Capaldi,The UK Daily Telegraph
But it begs the question. We’ve been hearing for awhile that Capaldi’s desire to play the Time Lord is waining, and he may be leaving the show in the near future. Could this be his last season as well? It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had a complete reboot. Moffatt took the helm from outgoing producer Russell T. Davies and David Tennant, and handed the keys to incoming Doctor Matt Smith and his new companion, Karen Gillan, in 2008.
With all that up in the air, the one year hiatus will also give the BBC time to work out how to best move forward with the 52 year old series. With dropping ratings the last two years, the British network has shortened season 10, and is considering making it more of an event driven affair with fewer feature length specials instead of a complete regular season.
The voice of the TARDIS has been known to say that she didn’t take the Doctor where he wanted to go, but where he needed to be. I guess we’ll find out soon enough. One thing is certain, it’s going to be a sad panel at Comic-Con this year.
Hat Tip – Radio Times