Steven Moffat Leaving As ‘Doctor Who’ Showrunner, No Season 10 in 2016

After six years, Doctor Who showrunner and executive producer Steven Moffat has announced that he will be leaving the show after Season 10. In his place will be Broadchurch creator and executive producer Chris Chibnall, who will take over as the new head writer in addition to his duties as new executive producer.

The news was officially announced via press release by BBC, along with another huge detail that is likely to upset many Doctor Who fans: although the show will still have a Christmas special in 2016, Season 10 won’t premiere until Spring 2017. Chibnall will not officially begin his role as new Doctor Who showrunner until Season 11, but he’s already well-versed in the show’s lore, considering he’s been a lifelong fan of the show. In 1986, Chibnall appeared on the BBC discussion series Open Air as a representative of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society. Ironically, he appeared on the program to criticize the quality of the show at the time, as well as the shortcomings of the people running it. Now, he’s got the chance to leave his own mark on Doctor Who. Granted, this won’t be his first crack at crafting his own stories in the world of Doctor Who, as he’s written both for Doctor Who (under Steven Moffat) while also serving as head writer and co-producer on the spinoff series Torchwood (alongside former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies). criticising the quality of the series at the time. All in all, Chibnall sounds like the right guy for the job. But it’ll be strange seeing Moffat leave, since he’s left an indelible mark on the show.

Steven Moffat Leaving As 'Doctor Who' Showrunner, No Season 10 in 2016

Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

“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,” said Moffat. “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.”

Chris Chibnall, of course, is stoked about his new role.

“Doctor Who is the ultimate BBC program: 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.”

Charlotte Moore, Controller for BBC One, added: “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. 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 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! 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, Controller for BBC Drama Commissioning also offered her thoughts on the major switch: “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.”

Time will tell if this is the right move for the series, but I loved Broadchurch, so I have no doubt he can craft good drama. And it’s certainly far more encouraging when a fan of the show is given the reins, since Chibnall is far more likely to be respectful of the legacy of Doctor Who than someone who is only slightly familiar with this world. I’m sad to see Moffat go, but I like Chibnall as the pick for his replacement.

But what do you think of the departure of Steven Moffatt? Is Chris Chibnall the right choice to replace him? Sound off in the comments!

And for more on Doctor Who, check out our recap and review of the 2015 Christmas special here!

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