The internet is ablaze by now with the news that Steven Moffat will step down as head writer of Doctor Who after the next series of the long running television show. Moffat’s final series will run in the spring of 2017 and he will be replaced at the helm of one of the BBC‘s flagship shows by Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall. Other than a Christmas Special, this means there will be no new Doctor Who in 2016. The Controller of BBC1 explains that this is to allow the series to be an event in 2017 rather than becoming lost in the events that already fill 2016 – like the Olympics.
Steven Moffat’s departure is truly an epoch in the program for me as The Eleventh Hour (the writer’s first episode at the helm) was the first one that I reviewed for this web site. As with any voyage, there have been rough tides and smooth but for me, Moffat has been an excellent captain for the good ship Who over the last six years. It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of the writer’s work anyway – Coupling is my all-time favourite comedy and The Curse of Fatal Death was the most loving and honest comedy parody of Doctor Who that any fan during the early 2000’s could hope for. When the writer was announced as the new show-runner back in 2009, I was over-joyed at the news. I knew safe hands were in control.
While it could be argued that the series has become a little convoluted and self-indulgant at times during Moffat’s run, I would argue that the writer has pushed the show from strength to strength since 2010. Each series has tried something new which has helped prevent it from becoming stale.
So, Steven Moffat – thank you for such an excellent run. I can’t wait to see how you finish it!
To Chris Chibnall, I wish the best. I can’t imagine there are many shows – certainly UK shows – that carry the weight that Doctor Who does as a genuine Saturday tea-time family show with a very vocal fan base. I’m not filled immediately with confidence by the announcement as I was when Steven Moffat was first announced because I’ve not been a huge fan of the writer’s episodes of the show (except the rather good 42), but I do have faith in the BBC and – presumably – Steven Moffat to have chosen the best candidate for the job. To 2018 and beyond!