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‘Doctor Who’ Producer Steven Moffat to Leave Series

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Steven Moffat, head writer and executive producer of “Doctor Who,” will leave the series following Season 10, BBC One announced this afternoon. He’ll be replaced by “Broadchurch” executive producer Chris Chibnall in 2018.

Why 2018? Because BBC has decided to wait until 2017 to air Moffat’s final 12-episode season. Beyond the Christmas special, no new “Doctor Who” episodes are expected to air this year.

“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,” BBC One Controller said in a statement. “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!”

A longtime “Who” fan, Moffat in 2010 followed Russell T Davies as the second showrunner of the revived series, beginning at the same time that Matt Smith assumed the role of the Eleventh Doctor.

“Feels odd to be talking about leaving when I’m just starting work on the scripts for Season 10,” Moffat said in a statement, “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.”

No stranger to the TARDIS, Chibnall has written for both “Doctor Who” (notably “42” and “The Hungry Earth”/”Cold Blood”) and its spinoff “Torchwood,” as well as “Life on Mars” and “Law & Order UK.” Before creating “Broadchurch,” starring “Who” veteran David Tennant, Chibnall was the showrunner of “Camelot.”

“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,” Chibnall siad. “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.”

Comments

  • http://barkingschnauzer.net/ Spacedog2k5

    Best.. News.. EVER! Dear Lord, I’ve been waiting far too long for that announcement! With him leaving, the show can be great again!

  • http://www.scifihistory.net/ E. Lee Zimmerman

    Not surprised as he’d recently mentioned he was actively searching for a replacement.

  • http://narcolepticmovies.wordpress.com/ Emmapants

    I don’t know why but this show has a tendency to keep showrunners until they’ve flipped from good to wacky, and Steven Moffat has well stayed past even that. This is an overdue announcement, and I’ll be interested to see what Chibnall does with the show.

  • stack32

    And when was that previous period of greatness?

  • David Nikiforov

    I was SO glad, until I read that Chibnall is taking over. He seems even less competent of a storyteller than Moffat!

  • Viroro

    Doctor Who has reached the comic book zone of fandom. No matters WHAT happens in the current era, someone will slam it. No period is safe. I honestly enjoyed Moffat, even if he definitely had a very weak period from series 7 to 8 (6 is more of a base breaker than unanimously seen as weak), series 9 did prove he still had some good tricks to show. But I think leaving with series 10 is a good idea, better not to risk other bad periods, and bring a fresh voice in.

  • Eisenhorn1976

    I wonder if Capaldi will be leaving at the same time as Moffat? I just realized that after Season 10, he’ll have been The Doctor for around the same length of time as Matt, although he’d have done fewer episodes.

  • bill brown.

    instead of placing a wager on thenfl games this weekend, i would like to bet that spacedog2k5 and david nikiforov have never done anything remotely creative in their respective lives

  • JasonMBryant

    Congratulations Chris Chiball, now it’s your turn to be the most hated man in sci-fi.

  • JasonMBryant

    Congratulations Chris Chiball, now it’s your turn to be the most hated man in sci-fi.

  • tom fegan

    On one hand, I’m happy to see Moffat has found a suitable successor and to see what fresh ideas Mr. Chibnall can bring to the show, and that all this absolute negativity from the likes of people like MrTARDISReviews or KimodoMusic about Steven can finally stop.

    On the other, I’m bracing myself for the eventual onslaught of criticism, hatred and vitriol spewed towards Chris Chibnall over how the show will be/has been Ruined FOREVER.

  • TheTingler

    While I’ve enjoyed Steven’s turn it did lack the streamlined “good for TV” vibe of Russell T Davies.

    However, I don’t know who Chris Chibnall is sucking off to keep getting work, much less become the showrunner. He’s written loads of scripts for Who and Torchwood and all bar one (“42″) were utterly awful. Obviously someone high at the BBC loves him, because no one else does.

  • TheTingler

    While I’ve enjoyed Steven’s turn it did lack the streamlined “good for TV” vibe of Russell T Davies.

    However, I don’t know who Chris Chibnall is sucking off to keep getting work, much less become the showrunner. He’s written loads of scripts for Who and Torchwood and all bar one (“42″) were utterly awful. Obviously someone high at the BBC loves him, because no one else does.

  • http://barkingschnauzer.net/ Spacedog2k5

    Instead of making “bet”s and slamming someone’s character, perhaps ask me what I found so wrong with Moffat’s run. I do creative things (I maintain a blog, I cook..). Don’t presume to judge when you don’t know the other person just because you hide behind a keyboard!

  • http://barkingschnauzer.net/ Spacedog2k5

    Yup, agreed. I was a high for a moment, then I learned that Moffat was being replaced by an even bigger schmuck! So much for WHO making it another fifty years!

  • http://barkingschnauzer.net/ Spacedog2k5

    Yup, agreed. I was a high for a moment, then I learned that Moffat was being replaced by an even bigger schmuck! So much for WHO making it another fifty years!

  • bill brown.

    i wonder what planet considers blogs and cooking creative.

  • JasonMBryant

    Oh no, not agreed. I’m not commenting on the guy’s ability.

    I’m saying that *anyone* who becomes the showrunner of Doctor Who is going to be constantly accused of ruining the show and retroactively destroying our childhoods. A couple of weeks ago I thought of someone who would be great at the job, then I thought, “No, he doesn’t deserve that abuse.”

  • Francis Tommaso

    Considering he’s been pretty adamant about not leaving the show until he’s dead, I’m willing to bet the downward spiral of ratings has finally caught up to him.

  • Lccf

    Season 6 has actually some of my favorite episodes, even if it usually wasn’t the Moffat-written ones ( “The Doctor’s wife”, “A good man goes to war”, “The girl who waited”, “The god complex” ), and the Silence were creepy villains, so I’m not sure why it gathered so much negativity. 7, on the other hand, was kind of a mess.

  • Lccf

    Exactly. The Silurian two-parter was okay, but “42” is one of my least favorite episodes ever …

  • Lccf

    I hope he’s not completely leaving like RTD did, and will come back once in a while to write some “Girl in the fireplace”, “Blink” or “Heaven sent” – level script. I’ll miss the sheer insanity of his work ( I’m in the minority who liked “The wedding of River Song”‘s madness ), but I guess it’s time to try something new.
    Too bad it probably means Capaldi will go with him, like Tennant did when RTD left.

  • JasonMBryant

    I have not seen him say that. I’ve seen him say many times that he wouldn’t leave the show until they found someone who loved the show to take over.

    As for a downward spiral of ratings, do you have a source for that?

  • Francis Tommaso

    It’s a few months old, but here’s a good article on it. http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2015/09/doctor-who-ratings-collapse-is-the-doctor-facing-extermination/ There’s plenty of others out there that pop up pretty frequently.

  • Master Bumscratch

    Moffat has great, Tumblr haters be damned.

    That said, I do feel it’s the right time to move on, because it has been feeling a bit blah of late.

    Can’t say I’m remotely enthused about Chibnall though. A fanboy hack, if ever there was one.

  • Master Bumscratch

    What about the increased international popularity?

    What about the huge increase in iPlayer views?

    What about the huge decline in Saturday night viewing figures across the board?

    Who has more or less retained the same audience share throughout. Yes, less people are watching Who live on Saturday night, but less are watching it full-stop.

    Anyhow, are ratings really indicative of quality?

  • Master Bumscratch

    He’s an appalling, appalling writer. I’m guessing he’s perfected the reacharound technique.

  • stack32

    I don’t know that you’re actually in the minority, Moffat-haters tend to be very vocal and give a skewed impression of how people actually feel.

  • TheTingler

    Now now, until he took over as showrunner Steven Moffat was the best writer on Doctor Who. Everyone wanted him as showrunner, fans included.

    Chris Chibnall on the other hand is easily the worst writer, and yet he keeps “mysteriously” getting work. Torchwood didn’t get good until he left, with the episodes just written by him being the worst episodes, and his Doctor Who script list is pretty pathetic.

  • TheTingler

    Now now, until he took over as showrunner Steven Moffat was the best writer on Doctor Who. Everyone wanted him as showrunner, fans included.

    Chris Chibnall on the other hand is easily the worst writer, and yet he keeps “mysteriously” getting work. Torchwood didn’t get good until he left, with the episodes just written by him being the worst episodes, and his Doctor Who script list is pretty pathetic.

  • jrau18

    Your creative things are blogging and cooking?

  • Sebastian Sandberg

    I have no bad words for Moffat, but I’m admittedly not a good critic. It was under his guidance and Matt Smith’s entrance into the role of the Eleventh Doctor that I officially became a Doctor Who watcher. Up until then, I had not watched a single episode, merely observed the show’s huge presence on TVTropes.

  • JasonMBryant

    Francis, did you only read the first half of that article you linked to?

  • JasonMBryant

    We’re all in the minority. Love Moffat or hate him, any of us posting on the internet is a small minority compared to the people who tune in every week, enjoy the show, and don’t give much thought to the people behind the scenes.

  • JasonMBryant

    I agree. I loved Moffat even before he was on Doctor Who, and I have enjoyed what he’s done with the show. Still, things need to change hands every so often.

    Plus, even though I like what Moffat has done, I am beginning to want more explosions and less speeches.

  • Viroro

    I’m with you here, Season 6 has some very good stories, plus I liked how almost every episode contributed to the main story arc (I’m unsure why when season 9 did the exact same thing everyone praised it). I feel season 7’s biggest weakness is that it felt almost like a filler season yet is not one, even if it craps on the Ponds by having them leave in a filler in probably the most disrespectful companion departure in New Who (at least Donna did something awesome before to get mindwiped. And that’s not even getting into how filmsy the excuse to not recover the Ponds is), and I’d argue Clara is a really bad fit with Eleven, they just get along too well and are too similar for the dynamic to be interesting, while she’s perfect with Twelve. I feel, story wise, it makes more sense to just jump straight from series 6 to Day of the Doctor, and just assume the Ponds and the Doctor parted ways in friendly terms and he picked up Clara along the way. The worst part is that you miss almost nothing this way.

  • Viroro

    Well, we still have to see what happened with the Dalek Rangers…

  • Viroro

    In theory, four years is the standard lenght for New Who Doctors: Tennant lasted three series and some specials, Smith likewise, so in theory Capaldi should’ve a good run of three series and a seriesless Christmas Special, which is sorta in line. Plus, that’d mean giving Chibnall a full clean slate to go crazy with, which is the same way RTD handed the reins of Who to Moffat. Also, I’d prefer each Doctor to have a cohesive arc, and not end their life with a different showrunner that might do a disservice to their character.

  • Viroro

    How is Broadchurch? I know it was popular, and that’s what he was showrunner of. Moffat is very good at one-shot episodes, but at times he might seem too far-reaching and cerebral for some as a showrunner. Maybe he’s better when he’s allowed to go wild.

  • Viroro

    I’d actually like to work for something related to Doctor Who at some point in my life since I aspire to become a writer, but I kinda doubt fans would take kindly to anything I’d do. And that’s not even if I become a showrunner (just look at all the hate Gatiss got for Sleep no More…).

  • Liam

    I hope the 2017 season is as big as the the person at the BBC says it will be.

  • Liam

    I hope the 2017 season is as big as the the person at the BBC says it will be.

  • Francis Tommaso

    No, I read the entire article, but even taking into account all the factors, it’s still something noticeable that the higher ups have been paying attention to.

  • Francis Tommaso
  • JasonMBryant

    Sorry Francis, but I don’t see what you’re seeing. Yes, live ratings have gone down, but that’s true for the industry in general, not just this one show. They’ve also seen their DVR ratings and their international ratings go up.

  • JasonMBryant

    Also, you should reread *that* article, too. If the higher ups noticed the ratings, then they probably also noticed that the Audience Appreciation Index is averaging about 82, which is near what’s considered “excellent”.

  • Francis Tommaso

    Oh, I do realize that, and I’ll admit I exaggerate a bit because Moffet is a bit of an ass, but standard nightly ratings do seem to be a huge deciding factor for many TV execs. I’m not saying it’s the smartest way to handle things, but it’s how a lot of them look at things still.

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  • http://artfractal.info/ Louis Horvath

    It seems as though NOTHING can kill the doctor. No weeping angels, no Daleks, no Cybermen. Only one person can. The Moffat. He is the single reason I stopped watching the show. Imagine getting your plot line from a crying baby? Being teleported by a wifi card? Characters that start out like they will bring something to the series and are just dumped by the side of the road after being used for a single, boring, purpose? Using your main characters in cheap, superficial ways? How about having the doctor teleport to medieval times “for the kick of being the boss” and bring a tank to battle a knight? Fancy Santa as a gun-toting super hero? Playing guitar solos to fill in the blanks (à la “it’s getting boring let’s do ANYTHING”)? How about turning the whole series on it’s head? The doctor has passed from being a against wars and the military to engaging humans to blow ennemies to smithereens instead of sitting at the negotiation table (sound reasonable to you)? This painful list just goes on and on and on and on … to a point where you ask yourself : Am I engaging in a substantial story or is this just mindless entertainment? Is it educational or just dumb war propaganda? And furthermore, if you take away the special effects, will people still find the whole exercice interesting?
    Man, Moffat has had GIANTS play for him. Instead of elevating the genre he’s done vaudeville.
    In any case it’s too late. I’d rather wash the dishes than watch another pointless Dr Who episode. And I HATE washing the dishes.

  • NoirSonRX

    I don’t mind Moffat leaving, although while his seasons have been as cohesive in quality after the first one, I think he has done a fantastic job but no one can nor should stay with one project all their lives and do nothing else.

    I do have an issue with not having any new Doctor Who episodes besides the Christmas special this year, that is sort of rotten. I really feel I haven’t gotten enough of Capaldi’s 12th Doctor and if the next one is the last season for him that will suck.

  • https://www.twitter.com/humorphilly Philly Humor

    I’m just really bummed no Doctor Who this year! Capaldi plays the Doctor Brilantly would hate to see him go! Best Series 8 Episode “Listen” Best Series 9 Episode “Heven Sent” Moffat is more hit than miss but maybe series need a new head writer, hope he doesn’t fuck it up!

  • Master Bumscratch

    Chibnall’s an abysmal writer. His work on the show so far has been uniromly awful, yet here he is…

  • HumorPrint

    That simply is not true anymore. Network execs on both sides of the pond are taking DVR more into account than ever before. Television viewing and how its rated is changing. I seriously do no think Moffat is leaving because of network pressure, but rather because of his own doing and want. Regardless of him saying that he wouldn’t leave the show until he was dead, writers/producers get lured away by other projects and even working on your dream job could turn into something you did not see coming. A show like this needs some fresh writers/actors/directors every so often and his time coinciding with 12’s departure is a good fit.

  • HumorPrint

    That simply is not true anymore. Network execs on both sides of the pond are taking DVR more into account than ever before. Television viewing and how its rated is changing. I seriously do no think Moffat is leaving because of network pressure, but rather because of his own doing and want. Regardless of him saying that he wouldn’t leave the show until he was dead, writers/producers get lured away by other projects and even working on your dream job could turn into something you did not see coming. A show like this needs some fresh writers/actors/directors every so often and his time coinciding with 12’s departure is a good fit.

  • HumorPrint

    Moffat wrote Blink which means he has done tons for Who and elevated it to a level that even made the states notice. He should get a pass just for Blink alone, but his serialized stories and witty turn-of-events has done a lot for Who. I am not sad to see him go as I think it’s time, but for people to say that he has not elevated Who and done a pretty good job with the series is just bonkers! You (and I) might not have loved every single episode and not agreed with every single story arc, but there is no denying that he handled the series with care and was genuinely interested in Who and took it to new heights.

  • http://narcolepticmovies.wordpress.com/ Emmapants

    He writes Broadchurch, though, no? I haven’t caught up on season two yet, but season one was brilliant. And he wrote two episodes of Life on Mars, which will get you everywhere in my book.

    I also just did a quick Wikipedia run-through of his Doctor Who/Torchwood episodes: it doesn’t include any favorites of mine, but it also doesn’t include more than one or two appalling failures (I mean, I’ll give you “Cyberwoman”, but I don’t think we judge anyone based on their Torchwood season one work). AND he apparently was the person who decided to bring UNIT back to Doctor Who and wrote in Kate Stewart, so I like him for than alone (I’m a huge Third Doctor fan).