The BBC has confirmed that Steven Moffat will be stepping down as Doctor Who showrunner after the tenth season of the new series.
The news was announced on the BBC’s official Doctor Who twitter feed, announcing that Chris Chibnall will be taking over the role of showrunner in 2017.
The tenth series of Doctor Who will air in the spring of 2017 meaning there will only be one episode of the series this year, the Christmas special.
BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore explained the decision to move the next series to the beginning of next year by saying:
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. 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!
The new showrunner taking over for Series 11 is long-term Doctor Who fan and writer of the hugely successful Broadchurch series Chris Chibnall. Chibnall has written for the new series six times as well as penning several episodes of the spin-off series Torchwood, which he also Co-Produced.
In 1986 he appeared on an episode of the BBC’s discussion show Open Air along with other members of the Merseyside branch of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society and addressed some of his criticisms to two of that season’s writers, Pip and Jane Baker, describing their Terror of the Vervoids story as “boring”, adding:
The story itself has been done in a different way in the past few years, very much a whodunit on board a space liner, a very traditional sort of thing that people expect Doctor Who to fall into. It would be nice to have something different to the norm.
When producer John Nathan-Turner joined the discussion he called the criticism “over the top”.
Chris Chibnall had this to say about his appointment to the showrunner position:
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.
Steven Moffat said this about his leaving the series:
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.
Charlotte Moore paid tribute to Steven Moffat saying:
I want to thank Steven Moffat for everything he has given Doctor Who – I’ve loved working with him, he is an absolute genius and has brought fans all over the world such joy,” she added. “I will be very sad to see him leave the show but I can’t wait to see what he will deliver in his last ever series next year with a brand new companion.
I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Chris Chibnall, a wonderfully talented writer who I know will bring something very special to the hit series.
Polly Hill, BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, added:
Like Charlotte I would like to thank Steven for his brilliance, which has made Doctor Who a global hit under his tenure. Chris Chibnall is the perfect successor to take over the reins of this incredible show, so I am delighted that his love for Doctor Who has made it impossible for him to resist ! Chris is an incredible writer and his vision and passion for Doctor Who gives it an exciting future and promises to be a real treat for Doctor Who fans across the world.