While “Doctor Who” will return in 2017 for a final season with Steven Moffat at the helm — Peter Capaldi returning as the Doctor, and Pearl Mackie playing his new assistant Bill — what happen after that remains a mystery.
What we know is that “Broadchurch” creator Chris Chibnall will be taking over as showrunner, leading “Doctor Who” into the future. But will he be doing it with an all new cast?
A report from the UK’s “Mirror,” admittedly not always the most trustworthy of outlets, claims the long-running BBC show may be looking to clean house and start fresh:
“BBC management wants a return to the format from the David Tennant era, when you had a dashing male lead and young female companion,” a source tells the “Mirror.”
“Merchandising has dropped off sharply in recent years and there is a strong desire to boost the show’s popularity among kids.”
While Capaldi has done an admirable job in the role, there’s no denying that his Doctor is very different from the two that came before him. While Tennant may have been 34 when he took on the role of the Time Lord, he brought a youthful exuberance to it. Matt Smith did the same when he took on the role at 28.
At 58 years old, Capaldi’s Doctor is often more severe and not quite as fun — unless he’s running around with a guitar, of course.
With a new creative lead joining the show in Chibnall, it gives “Doctor Who” the perfect opportunity to reset itself to attract that younger audience. In a way, it’s like when Moffat took over as showrunner. Tennant left the series, and the long list of companions his Doctor had went with him. It allowed the show to enter a new era with Matt Smith as the Doctor and Karen Gillan as his companion Amy Pond.
Now it’s time for the show to enter yet another new phase of its life. And honestly, that’s what “Doctor Who” does best: Every few years, the show resets with a new lead actor and their own set of adventures.
By the end of Season 10, it’ll be three years with Capaldi at the helm — which will put him as the same length of time in the TARDIS as his previous two successors. It will be as good a time as any to fill the show with new blood, on both the creative and talent sides. Chibnall is clearly a talented storyteller, as his three seasons of “Broadchurch” prove, and deserves the opportunity to pursue his vision of “Doctor Who.”
The only unfortunate piece of this puzzle is Mackie. In Season 10, she’ll be going on her first adventures as part of the show. If the plan is for her to only stick around for a season, that won’t give fans much time to get used to her.
Perhaps she can follow in the steps of Jenna Coleman, whose Clara served as a transitional companion. Clara staying as Capaldi’s co-star after Smith left “Doctor Who” made the change a lot easier to digest. Perhaps Bill could do the same.
Luckily, what’s most important about all of this, is the BBC is looking toward the future. “Doctor Who” — which is returning for the annual Christmas special in December — isn’t going anywhere, and the future seems bright. Perhaps this could also be the time for producers to finally give fans a Doctor that isn’t a white male, too.
After all, it’s about time.