After six series 50% of the internet can rejoice - Steven Moffat is handing over the keys to the TARDIS! Yes, after Series 10, Moffat will step down and be replaced by Broadchurch writer, and massive Whovian, Chris Chibnall. The BBC has announced that Moffat's final series will be broadcast in the Spring of 2017, which means that there will only be one episode of Doctor Who broadcast this year - the annual Christmas Special.
Moffat replaced Russell T Davies after David Tennant's final episodes as The Doctor and said of his decision:
“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.”
I know that this news will be joyous to many quarters of the internet, often when I'm reading reviews of Doctor Who episodes there are numerous comments saying Moffat needs to step down. Now, those people have their wish. I have been quite happy with the majority of Moffat's time as head writer, but as with everything, there were a few negatives. Let's take a look back over Moffat's time in charge of the Time Lord.
He Got Off to a Great Start!
His first episode as showrunner was The Eleventh Hour - an episode that showed everything that personifies The Doctor (and one of my personal favourites). Fresh from his regeneration from David Tennant to Matt Smith, The Doctor had to both save the world (as usual) and figure out what kind of man he was now. From the moment he crashed into the young Amelia Pond's back garden we knew this Doctor was different from Ten, yet he still maintained the essence of The Doctor. And in the end, there was no doubt that this was The Doctor...
The rest of the series was of a reasonable standard, Matt Smith's Doctor and Amy Pond certainly built quite a rapport together. It was this series that really took off in America, Doctor Who had a following across the pond, but it was only when Matt Smith was the Doctor that it became a big thing. But as it grew so did the criticism...
He Made Rules... Then Broke Them!
One of the more frustrating aspects of Moffat's tenure was his ability to contradict himself. There were many instances in which he would make a rule and then proceed to break it. Russell T Davies had established the concept of a "fixed point in time", something that HAD to happen, there was nothing any time traveller could do to change it. But Moffat blatantly disregarded this in his second series. The series began with the episode The Impossible Astronaut which depicted The Doctor's death. We were told that this was also a fixed point in time and there was nothing to do to change it - The Doctor must die! But Moffat decided that he could get around it by having The Doctor hide in a shapeshifting robot (the Teselecta) and have that be killed instead. It is as if the universe thinks that a fake Doctor will do. This didn't sit right with me...
There was also the issue of The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang two parter. It seemed we were in for a great finale after The Doctor is trapped in the Pandorica by many of his greatest foes. We wondered how he would get out and of course, how he would save the world. But I was disappointed to discover that actually, we never learn how he gets out - it turns out he gets out because he gets out. When we first discover the Pandorica in the episode we find Amy inside it. After that we find that The Doctor has visited Rory and given him his Sonic Screwdriver to allow Rory to free him. However the question of where he gets the screwdriver from in the first place is never answered after it is taken off him before he is imprisoned in the box! This might seem like nothing but it did get to me.
The Greatest Day!
Moffat's time as showrunner did coincide with the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who's first broadcast. As a result, the BBC created a whole series of celebratory events that built up to The Doctor's finest moment - The Day of The Doctor! The 50th anniversary special was truly a love letter to the show, it had cameos aplenty and references for fans, old and new. Moffat created what was arguably the best single episode (yeah, I know it was feature length) of Doctor Who ever! It transcended the show and was broadcast simultaneously around the world both at home and in cinemas. I was lucky enough to see it at my local cinema and it certainly did not disappoint, in fact, I think I enjoyed it more! The screen was packed with people all enthusiastic to see this event, we laughed, we gasped, we cheered and ultimately, we all burst into a round of applause at the end.
As the current Doctor, Matt Smith had the starring role and he did not disappoint. He held the episode together as you would expect, but he also played brilliantly alongside his co-stars. David Tennant, reprising his role as the Tenth Doctor for the first time, added all the charm and wit we had expected from his time in the TARDIS. But John Hurt, starring as yet another, forgotten, incarnation of the Time Lord was just as good. Hurt played the jaded War Doctor, who his future regenerations had forgotten because of his supposed actions in ending the time war. The journey Moffat takes us on shows us that ultimately, John Hurt's Doctor was actually the most deserving of his self appointed title.
Moffat managed to pull all of this together and even include cameos from ALL of the actors who had played (or at the time of broadcast, would play) The Doctor. From William Hartnell to Peter Capaldi they were all in the episode, and it truly was brilliant and Moffat may have achieved his goal of setting up the next 50 years.
What Does the Future Hold?
Well if there is one thing Moffat has taught us, it is time can be rewritten. Many internet dwellers will wish that his time as head writer would have been, but I will look back on his time with fondness. There are so many things I haven't mentioned that Moffat has given us, Amy and Rory, Clara, fish fingers and custard and even River Song (even if I didn't like her all that much). All I know is, Chris Chibnall has big shoes to fill. But if Steven Moffat has picked him, we can certainly say he will be a good choice!
What did you think of Steven Moffat as Doctor Who's head writer? Let me know in the comments!