Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat is quitting next year

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In news that is certain to please the people who hate Doctor Who the most (Doctor Who fans), comes the BBC-branded bombshell announcement that showrunner Steven Moffat will be stepping down from his duties on the series once the tenth season has run its course. The man in charge of Doctor Who for six seasons now, Moffat’s final season will air in 2017 and see him replaced by Chris “Broadchurch” Chibnall.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Chibnall happened to be the writer on episodes such as 42, The Hungry Earth, Cold Blood, Pond Life, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, The Power of Three and PS. Moffat’s confirmed his upcoming departure to Radio Times, commenting that it “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.

Which also means that the Doctor will only be around for a Christmas special in 2016, before Moffat pens his swansong for the 2017 season. Which is apparently all the fault of the Olympics, if BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore is to be believed:

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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!

There’s a good chance then that season 10 could be current Time-Lord Peter Capaldi’s final season in the TARDIS as well, as new showrunners have usually taken over Doctor Who with a new Doctor running around all of time and space. But that’s just a rumour. For now, anyway. As for Chibnall, he’s understandably excited to be in charge of one of the BBC’s most popular and enduring shows. “Doctor Who is the ultimate BBC programme: bold, unique, vastly entertaining, and adored all around the world,” Chibnall said.

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.

Moffat has been a controversial figure on Doctor Who during his tenure. He has been responsible for some brilliant episodes ever since the show returned to TV back in 2005, with Heaven Sent from season 9 being a particularly fantastic example, thanks to a knockout solo performance from Capaldi.

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He’s also been the target of much criticism, with fans regularly complaining about how he happens to be ruining a series about a magical immortal space wizard who flies around in a blue box and gets involved in all manner of cosmic shenanigans.

Whatever your stance on Moffat’s run may be, it’ll be interesting to see how he says goodbye to Doctor Who next year.

Last Updated: January 25, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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