Gigantic things are happening in the world of “Doctor Who” and chances are they’re going to leave many fans’ heads spinning. After previously commenting that he was looking for his own replacement, “Doctor Who” showrunner Steven Moffat has officially decided to leave the series.
Moffat will step down following Season 10 of the long-running series and that his successor has already been chosen. Chris Chibnall, a noted “Doctor Who” fan and the creator of “Broadchurch,” will be taking over the show.
In a statement, Moffat says, “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.”
Chibnall adds, “‘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.”
Here’s the wrinkle in all of this that will leave many Whovians distraught. Season 10 of the series is being held until 2017. The 12 episodes in that season will be Moffat’s last. That means more than a year for fans to wait for new non-special episodes. Following that, Chibnall will take the reigns for a set of episodes beginning in 2018.
BBC One controller Charlotte Moore says it’s because of so many “national moments” happening in 2016.
“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,” says Charlotte Moore, controller, BBC One. “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.”
There will be at least one new “Who” adventure in 2016, though. As tradition goes, the show will have a Christmas special on Dec. 25.
What this means for the Doctor’s companion is anyone’s guess at this point. While it’s unknown whether the new sidekick will be chosen in time for the Christmas special, that person is expected to be in place by early 2017.
Moffat first took over “Doctor Who” in Season 5, taking over for Russell T. Davies. For his part, Chibnall has some “Doctor Who” history, having previously written five episodes of the show.