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Steven Moffat takes over Doctor Who

May 20th, 2008 (04:42 pm)

The news as reported by Media Guardian.

The MediaGuardian website has announced that Steven Moffat is to succeed Russell T Davies as the chief writer and executive producer of Doctor Who.

The article states that Moffat will replace Davies in 2009, taking over as "showrunner" for the fifth series in 2010. Moffat has been responsible for several episodes of the revived Doctor Who to date, including the BAFTA Award-winning "Blink" and the fortmcoming two-parter "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead".

Davies is quoted as saying: "It's been a delight and an honour working with Steven, and I can't wait to see where his extraordinary imagination takes the Doctor. Best of all, I get to be a viewer again, watching on a Saturday night!"

UPDATE: The BBC Press Office has now issued an official press release confirming the story. This includes a comment from Moffat himself:

"My entire career has been a Secret Plan to get this job. I applied before but I got knocked back 'cos the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven. Anyway, I'm glad the BBC has finally seen the light, and it's a huge honour to be following Russell into the best - and the toughest - job in television. I say toughest 'cos Russell's at my window right now, pointing and laughing."


Only Doctor Who Magazine, of genre tie-in magazines, would devote a mid-series cover to the writer who will be taking over the series with effect from the one being broadcast in two years' time...

Comments

Posted by: Naraht (emily_shore)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
dw-Where's Jack?

Oh man, that's fantastic news! I remember saying that I thought he ought to run the show, but I had no idea that there was actually a chance...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)

The wind was bending straws in his direction, but like so many things such decisions are only firm until they are announced. I'm really pleased that he's taking it on, and that the BBC are confident enough to look beyond Russell T Davies.

Posted by: dr_biscuit (brightlywoven)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
biscuit

Steven Moffat was already writing Doctor Who years ago - it's just it was broadcast as 'Coupling Series 4'!

Posted by: buckbeakbabie (buckbeakbabie)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC)
moff love

Oh how true. It even had Nick Briggs as the Dalek voice! :D

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)

Still haven't seen very much of that... I will have to make up for it!

Posted by: dr_biscuit (brightlywoven)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC)
biscuit

Has an affectionate attitude towards SF fandom, even if it's a little teasing.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)

A recent unauthorised guide to Doctor Who included a footnote on fandom, including the first Thursday gatherings at The Fitzroy Tavern in London. Newcomers would know they had the right pub because there would be a crowd of adoring women around Steven Moffat, apparently. I suspect that Mr Moffat will no longer be able to enter such establishments in the presence of fans...

Posted by: brewsternorth (brewsternorth)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)

...it was bad enough at the last Gallifrey.

Posted by: philmophlegm (philmophlegm)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
dashboard

One of the best British sitcoms of recent years, arguably the best. Even bunn, who normally hates the sort of sitcoms that everyone else likes, will watch it and laugh at it. It wasn't as good without Jeff though.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)

I'm afraid it's associated in my mind with an evening when I stayed out at an unexpected office party - which should have been expected as we finished the project concerned that day and half of my colleagues were leaving - and time went by quickly, I had a couple of glasses of champagne without thinking about it, was unable to get home quickly and so I neglected one of the other comment-writers on this post who was waiting in my flat to watch the start of the 2002 series as planned. In other words, there is still lingering guilt there.

Edited at 2008-05-20 06:12 pm (UTC)

Posted by: muuranker (muuranker)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC)

Interest in time, I can see. But who is the Dr? I'm trying to decide between Patrick and Jane.

Posted by: dr_biscuit (brightlywoven)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
biscuit

Well, I guess I was thinking more of Oliver (or 'faux Jeff') who had a life size Dalek toy, sorry, tie-in, and turned up to a dinner party trying to look smooth in a 'bring back Doctor Who' sweater.

But mostly, I was thinking of Moffat's description of 'what happened to Steve next':

Steve and Susan have two children now, and have recently completed work on a
sitcom about their early lives together. They're developing a new television
project, but it keeps getting delayed as he insists on writing episodes of some
old kids show they recently pulled out of mothballs. She gets very cross about
this, and if he says "Yeah but check out the season poll!" one more time, he
will not live to write another word

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)

I don't know if you have read Moffat's description of the first time he prepared to take Sue home - before meeting her for dinner he allegedly removed all visible traces of Doctor Who from his flat! Her mother Beryl Vertue was Terry Nation's agent at the time when he wrote the first Dalek story for Doctor Who back in 1963, however, so the connection was already present.

Posted by: muuranker (muuranker)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)

I'd forgotten that Dalek!





Posted by: tovaglia (tovaglia)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)

YAY!!!
I didn't know he wrote Blink - it is one of my favourite episodes!

Posted by: brewsternorth (brewsternorth)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)

It's one of everyone's favourite episodes - he's won quite a bit of crockery for it.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)
DavidIcon

It's the only episode of last year that my eight-year-old cousin (very fannish to the extent of being entirely blasé about the series now) rates. I will have to watch it again soon in celebration.

Posted by: buckbeakbabie (buckbeakbabie)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
moff love

Oh, yay! I'm so happy! I love Moffat's stories. :D

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:11 pm (UTC)

I think that his appointment will please those looking for more rigorous logic in Doctor Who scripting - I know he's very keen to focus on an audience substantially made up of children and their mums, just like RTD, but his interpretation of what that means will be different. I look forward to seeing how the Moffat philosophy of Who plays out when he is guiding other writers.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)

While trying not to get my hopes up too much (over-inflated hopes can only lead to disappointment in a flawed world), I am pleased about this.

I think you are right about Moffat agreeing with Davies' aims, but not his means. While I suspect the Doctor will remain as sexualised as he currently is, I think Moffat has more respect for the general audience's intelligence than Davis has and more concern for internal logical consistency, which will hopefully lead to more complex plotting (in terms of storylines, not BBC internal politics...).

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
Boyandbear

I think that Davies has respect for the general audience's intelligence; I think that his view of human nature is different from yours or mine. He's a great admirer of reality TV, I think because he thinks it recognises a truth in the modern world that everyone is a performer. Moffat talks similar talk but I think his scripts reveal a greater sympathy for openness and plain speaking than do Russell's.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)

I think that Davies has respect for the general audience's intelligence; I think that his view of human nature is different from yours or mine.

There could be something in that. Certainly Davies is more comfortable in a postmodern, image-and-soundbite-dominated world than I am. Tellingly, Davies is a big apologist for television as a medium (sometimes dangerously so - see Lawrence Miles' critique of The Sound of Drums ), while I prefer the intellectual density of prose.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
Tom

Miles makes some good points, though I think that RTD would respond by saying yes, exactly right, and that he does think people live their lives through the celebrity-obsessed media and wants Doctor Who to boast its awareness of that in the contemporary stories. I doubt that this will disappear entirely, but it will be expressed differently under Moffat.

Posted by: viala_qilarre (viala_qilarre)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)

Goodness me. I've come late to this, having not been at my computer since this morning. Well well. I always thought that 'Steven Moffat will take over' was just a wishful-thinking fandom myth that had built up over the years.

Sadly, we have about two years before the wonderful Mr Moffat becomes hated by large sections of fandom, too.

Posted by: viala_qilarre (viala_qilarre)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)

Oh, and I have to add, excellent - because he's a fantastic writer, a charming wit in interviews, and his philosophy of Doctor Who seems to accord exactly with my own wishes for the show. But then I don't think RTD has done much wrong either.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)

I think that RTD has reined in some of his more extreme gimmicks this year, which is to the good; but emotional response-led plots were the best way of making Doctor Who resonate with the Saturday night audience as it now exists, and it brought them back to drama. As Steven Moffat says, it's "drama for a light entertainment slot".

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)

The news really only broke in the last hour, though there have been whispers on ex-OG for a couple of weeks.

I thought that Moffat taking over was always a possibility, but the man's diary was filling up - such as with the Tintin films for Peter Jackson - and everything would depend on the circumstances being right in terms of attitudes at the BBC regarding creativity and money and whether the series could survive without RTD. Well, it can, and it will.

Posted by: the cross compiler (crouchinglynx)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
brian

I'd be interested to see whether RTD will be contributing to the 2010 series at all, and if so, how these episodes compare to Moffatt's from the last three seasons. RTD's own episodes have often been the weaker ones, and it's possible that this is due to his taking complete creative control - and if Moffatt's own episodes also lack a "second opinion" in this manner, they could suffer as a result.

Also, will this mean an increase in the density of abstract fears and staple childhood terrors? Anxious mothers need to know.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)

RTD said somewhere recently that he would 'walk away' when he left, and not write any more episodes.

Steven Moffat has continued to interact with fandom over the last few years, whereas RTD has always kept his distance; will Moffat now retreat as well, I wonder?

Posted by: gervase_fen (gervase_fen)
Posted at: May 21st, 2008 11:57 am (UTC)
bbc1

In a way, I hope so - and not just from online fora. It seems to be a given with the role of showrunner that said person is part of the media and publicity blitz; hopefully the gap year will lead to a rethink on this. The show is established, its return will be huge; does Steven Moffat need to devote the time to appearing on "Doctor Who Confidential", radio and in print as much as RTD did?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 21st, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)

Indeed, will Doctor Who Confidential survive, or will the supporting material take a new form?

Posted by: viala_qilarre (viala_qilarre)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC)

Moffat posts now and again on what-was-OG. I bet he won't do THAT any more when he's showrunner.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC)

I fantasised that an announcement of this nature might be on the way when Moffat failed to rise to any of the Moffat-baiting threads the recent rumours of his elevation had prompted...

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)

Only Doctor Who Magazine, of genre tie-in magazines, would devote a mid-series cover to the writer who will be taking over the series with effect from the one being broadcast in two years' time...

That's hilarious, although it's a shame they didn't go for the format they use to usher in new Doctors. I can just see "Steven Moffat IS the showrunner!" in W. H. Smiths. It makes up for them publishing a letter containing the words "made of complete win" in the last issue.

As an aside, it does rather prove the point I made back in 2005 about this being 'the Davies era' rather than 'the Eccleston (and later Tennant) era'.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 06:42 pm (UTC)

I think that "made of complete win" is another modernism that we just have to let slip by us.

I'm definitely a production-era person; we now have a long period opening up in which Steven Moffat is the Dauphin to Russell's King.

Posted by: brewsternorth (brewsternorth)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)

(Parenthetically, it's a pity that the DWM cover doesn't seem to be Moffat at his even remotely photogenic. Oh well.)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)

I think that it must be the best picture they had which could fit into the 'alleyway' background used for many of the new series publicity shots - unless it turns out not to be the real cover at all, and they have gone for Billie Piper...

Posted by: gervase_fen (gervase_fen)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)

As long as the article inside isn't headed "Grand Moff Talkin'"...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
KingCharlesI

Sadly Tom Spilsbury has confessed to the hoax... I wanted the cover to be real, and imagined Moffat hiding behind a picture of David Tennant printed on a bag. Alas.

Posted by: viala_qilarre (viala_qilarre)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC)

That cover is a scream. It's hardly a reader magnet, is it? Would the average casual Doctor Who watcher in Tescos have any idea who Steven Moffat is?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 20th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)

I notice that the issue is going to come with a double-sided free poster, and so will presumably be bagged, so there may be two covers - one printed on the front of the bag and then the front of the magazine proper.

It's still remarkable that this is a series where the writers have sufficient celebrity to lead the tie-in material; but also a sign of DWM's confidence that they don't need to have David Tennant or Catherine Tate or Billie Piper or Freema Agyeman or a Dalek on the cover to sell, at least during the broadcast of a series.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: May 21st, 2008 09:43 am (UTC)

I notice that the issue is going to come with a double-sided free poster

Davies on one side, Moffat on the other?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 21st, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC)
Sylvester

One looks like a Doctor/Donna picture, but I'm not sure about the other.