The time has come, Whovians. Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has been rather open in the press recently about his active search to find new showrunner for the enduring BBC series, and now it is official. After six seasons at the helm, Moffat will exit the series after the conclusion of the 10th season, which will air in the spring of 2017 (There will be a 2016 holiday special, but that’s all for this year). Broadchurch showrunner and life-long Doctor Who fan Chris Chibnall will replace Moffat.
No word yet on whether Peter Capaldi will follow Moffat out the door, but given the regenerative (ahem) nature of the series, it would make sense if Chibnall wanted a fresh start to usher in the new era.
In a statement to RadioTimes, Moffat commented on his 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. 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.”
Moffat took over Doctor Who in its 5th series, introducing Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and his beloved companions Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), before ushering in the Capaldi age of the Twelfth Doctor. Moffat also introduced the Weeping Angels and the insane saga of River Song (Alex Kingston). Even during the Russell T. Davies era, a decidedly goofier and more sentimental time in Who history, Moffat’s influence was strongly felt in iconic episodes like “The Empty Child”, “The Girl in the Fireplace”, “Silence in the Library”, and “Blink”. Moffat’s reign is often met with a love-or-hate response, but there’s no denying he’s had a huge influence on Doctor Who as we know it today and the new showrunner has big shoes to fill in terms of creating a new iconography for the long-running series.
As for Chibnall, the Broadchurch showrunner previously penned the Doctor Who episodes “42,” “The Hungry Earth,” “Cold Blood, “Pond Life,” “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship,” “The Power of Three,” and “P.S.”.
“Doctor Who is the ultimate BBC programme: bold, unique, vastly entertaining, and adored all around the world. 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. Steven’s achieved the impossible by continually expanding Doctor Who’s creative ambition, while growing its global popularity. He’s been a dazzling and daring showrunner, and hearing his plans and stories for 2017, it’s clear he’ll be going out with a bang. Just to make my life difficult.”
The BBC is planning to make Moffat’s swan song, which is also the 10th anniversary of the revival series, into a major event in the hopes of turning the occasion into must-watch television.
What do you guys think? Are you ready for a new incarnation of Doctor Who? Would you like to see Capaldi stick around or would you rather Chibnall have an entirely fresh start? Wild speculation on who should be the next Doctor? Sound off in the comments below.
Steven Moffat will step down as Head Writer & Exec Producer after S10… Chris Chibnall to take over! pic.twitter.com/iMhNoEAegy
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) January 22, 2016