In my review of 2015’s Doctor Who Christmas special, I speculated that the episode was written in a way to end the story of River Song and that might be a sign that showrunner Steven Moffat is winding down his time at the helm of Doctor Who. One month later, it turns out that I was right.
The BBC has announced that Moffat will be leaving his post as the lead writer and executive producer of Doctor Who at the completion of a twelve episode season in Spring 2017.
Moffat is currently working on writing the tenth season of Doctor Who which will be his sixth at the helm of the show. His tenure will feature the annual Christmas special as the only episode shown in 2016 followed by the 12 episode tenth season in spring 2017.
The new showrunner will be Broadchurch creator and showrunner Chris Chibnall. Like Moffat before him, Chibnall has written a number of episodes of Doctor Who. He wrote one episode under Russell Davies and four more for the Eleventh Doctor under Moffat. While his fifth season Silurian two-parter received mixed reviews, his seventh season episodes Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three received positive reviews. Chibnall also served as lead writer and co-producer of the first two seasons of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood.
In a funny bit of TV coincidence, Chibnall is currently working on his final season at the helm of Broadchurch at the same time that Moffat is working on his final season of Doctor Who. Broadchurch also stars Tenth Doctor actor, David Tennant, who departed Doctor Who at the end of former showrunner Russell T. Davies’s time at the helm.
Chibnall’s first season in charge of Doctor Who is scheduled to air in 2018 though one would expect him to have a Christmas special in 2017. Moffat is expected to introduce a new companion for The Doctor to replace Jenna Coleman in 2017’s 10th season rather than in the 2016 Christmas special though plans can change.
The biggest thing that has gone unsaid for now is plans for Peter Capaldi. The Twelfth Doctor had stated that he is committed to starring in the upcoming season. After that, though, his future with the show is up in the air. Presumably, the decision for Capaldi to continue would rest with Capaldi himself and Chibnall. When Moffat took over the series, David Tennant felt it was the right time to leave the show but he implied that Moffat would have kept him on if he wanted to stay. Perhaps the ball is more in Capaldi’s court than Chibnall’s.
I’ve found Moffat’s tenure as showrunner to be a mixed bag. There have been some brilliant episodes but many have also missed the mark. As time has gone on, I’ve found that the quality has generally improved and this most recent season was almost all great episodes. Hopefully he and Twelve get an epic swan song and Chibnall can live up to it.
Source: Radio Times