Everyone faces the raven in the end, and Doctor Who lead writer Steven Moffat has apparently decided that his time has come.
According to Radio Times, Steven Moffat will step down from his positions as lead writer and executive producer of the long-running BBC series Doctor Who in 2017. In a one-two punch guaranteed to disappoint all Whovians, Moffat also announced that there will be only one new episode of Doctor Who in 2016, the annual Christmas episode. Moffat’s last season as the man behind the Tardis will air in Spring 2017.
The decision to delay Doctor Who Season 10 came from BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore. Reportedly, between the Euros and the Olympics, the 2016 BBC television schedule is too jam-packed for Moffat to have a proper send-off. Moffat’s 12-episode swan song will include the new companion who will replace Jenna Coleman’s Clara Oswald, who flew off in a Tardis of her own at the end of Season 9.
“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!”
BBC1 also announced that Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall will take over for Steven Moffat in 2018. Like Moffat, Chibnall is a lifelong fan of Doctor Who who contributed numerous scripts during the tenure of his predecessor. Chibnall’s episodes were “The Hungry Earth,” “Cold Blood,” “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship,” and “The Power of Three,” which focused on the interpersonal dynamics between The Doctor and his companions Martha Jones, Amy Pond, and Rory Williams. Chibnall also works on several episodes of Torchwood, the adult-themed spinoff of Doctor Who created by Russell T. Davies. Chibnall has won three BAFTAs for his work on Broadchurch, which starred Doctor Who veteran David Tenant.
Steven Moffat, a self-proclaimed Whovian, joined the writing staff of Doctor Who when the series re-launched under the direction of Russell T. Davies. During the Davies years, Moffat developed a reputation for critically acclaimed, award-winning episodes that focused on the darker, more terrifying nature of The Doctor’s adventures. Moffat wrote episodes that introduced characters which became fan favorites, Captain Jack Harkness and River Song, as well as “Blink” which introduced the chilling Weeping Angels into Doctor Who canon.
According to The Mary Sue, Steven Moffat released a statement about his impending departure.
“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. 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.”
Steven Moffat took over as lead writer of Doctor Who when Davies left the show in 2007.
So far, there is no word on whether current Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi will continue his tenure as The Doctor when Moffat steps down. The 2007 episode “The End of Time” marked the departure of both Davies and then star David Tennant, so there is a precedent for the star and lead writer leaving at the same time. Also, Moffat’s final season will introduce a new companion. Since the 2005 revival, there has never been a new companion, a new lead writer, and a new actor portraying The Doctor at the same time, but the new companion will have a full season under their belt, presumably enough time to anchor the audience into Season 11, with or without Peter Capaldi controlling the Tardis.
The transition from Matt Smith, who portrayed the 11th incarnation of The Doctor, and Peter Capaldi was marked by a formal announcement and a TV special. If Capaldi does turn in his Tardis key at the end of Season 10, fans can expect a similar amount of excitement to surround his departure.
Doctor Who returns to BB1 and BBC America on Christmas Day 2016.
[Photo by Richard Shotwell/Associated Press]