During its classic era, Doctor Who ran from 1963 to 1989, making it one of the longest running TV shows ever. However, the modern revival series has also had an impressive run. Nine seasons have aired over the last 11 years, not to mention a Christmas special each year, the 10th Doctor specials from 2008 to 2010 and the 50th anniversary special in 2013. Of course, as with every TV show, not all the seasons have been flawless, and for current showrunner Steven Moffat, making Season 7 was a terrible experience for him.
According to Moffat, Doctor Who Season 7 was so packed with difficulties, from planning the 50th anniversary to dealing with star Matt Smith departing the series, that he struggled with the immense workload piled on him. He explained to Doctor Who Magazine (via Cult Box):
The workload was just insane. I wasn't coping as well. No-one else's fault, all mine. The 50th was looming, and I didn't know if we could make it work. It was a tough, tough time. My darkest hour on Who was that. Matt [Smith], who was a friend and ally, was leaving -- I couldn't get him to stay. It felt like everything was blowing up around me. I was staggering into the 50th, with no Doctors contracted to appear in it, battered with endless hate mail about how I hadn't got William Hartnell back ... and Sherlock Series Three at the same time.
Moffat added that there was a time when he believed he wouldonly oversee Doctor Who for three years, but because making Season 7 was so miserable, he couldn't let his tenure end on such a note. Doctor Who Season 7 drew some criticism for being split into two halves, the first five episodes airing in September 2012 and the latter seven episodes airing from March to May of 2013. There was the traditional Christmas special that aired in between these halves, but many fans didn't care for the long gap in the season. The season also went through major creative shifts, as the first half focused on Amy and Rory's final adventures, while the second half featured Clara's first adventures with the The Doctor.
Behind the scenes, Matt Smith's exit from the series also came as a surprise to many, forcing Moffat to write the Eleventh Doctor out of the show through the 50th anniversary special and the 2013 Christmas special. Taking all that into account, along with working on the immensely popular Sherlock, it's no wonder that Moffat felt overwhelmed. That's more than any showrunner frequently has to deal with during a year.
Despite Season 7's issues, Steven Moffat remained on Doctor Who for Seasons 8 and 9, but 2017, which brings Season 10 and its subsequent Christmas special, will be his final year on the show. Following his departure, Broadchurch's Chris Chibnall will take over as showrunner for Season 11, which will air sometime in 2018.