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It’s finally official, people. After an extended ”Will he?/Won’t he?” period, Doctor Who showrunner, head writer and executive producer Steven Moffat is officially going to be vacating the sci-fi series after Season 10, and replacing him will be writer and Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall. And that’s not the only huge news – or Who-ge news, if you will.
It looks like the rumors about Season 10 being delayed were real, as fans will not be getting any regular season episodes in 2016. There is a silver lining to Season 10 having a 2017 debut, as another Christmas episode will be aired before that happens. It still means waiting a long time for new Who, though, so maybe that line needs to get dipped in silver again somehow.
This news is as big, if not more so, than finding out who the next Doctor will be. Moffat started off as a writer on the show back in Season 1 when Russell T. Davies regenerated it, and later became the driving force in Season 5 and beyond, ushering in the eras of Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors, respectively. He’s developed a massive following over the years, as well as a sizeable group of naysayers, and his departure from the creative side of things could lead to some dramatic changes. It’s not going to rapidly evolve into anime sports comedy or anything, but it will be interesting to see what flourishes Chris Chibnall introduces.
Chibnall has written several episodes of Doctor Who over the years, as well as the Amy Pond minisode series Pond Life. He also wrote for the John Barrowman-led spinoff Torchwood during its run, along with episodes of Life on Mars and Law & Order: U.K.. His biggest creation, of course, has been the critically acclaimed Broadchurch, the bleak look at the investigation and criminal case behind a child’s murder in a small community. It paired him with star David Tennant, who was the Doctor for Chibnall’s first episode. As well-delivered as Broadchurch can be, we’re hoping he drops some of the depressing baggage for a brighter era of Doctor Who, at least in terms of tone.
Moffat commented on the impending switch in a great way, though he’ll certainly get more elaborate when it’s actually happening.
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.
So will we get to see the upcoming Doctor Who spinoff before the return of the show proper? In the meantime, begin the discussion of whether or not this means Capaldi will exit the role at the end of Season 10, and how it could affect Steven Moffat’s duties on Sherlock.