Doctor Who Developments

Well, I had been wondering…

It had previously been announced that the now usual twelve episodes plus a Christmas special[1] were going to be made this year. Indeed a great deal of emphasis was placed on that verb. What wasn’t announced was how many episodes were going to be shown this year, which is actually what we want to know.

It was also widely reported that Mr Steven Moffat Sir was looking to move on from his role as showrunner, but only when he could find a suitable victim successor.

It was also noted that the ratings for the 2015 series were down a bit. Most people who were paying attention thought this might just be related to the much later time slot – rather than the more usual 7pm or thereabouts, it was on after 8pm, or even 8:30ish, which is a bit late for what’s meant to be a show that younger kids can watch. This was something to do with something called Strictly Come Dancing, which gets a lot of viewers, apparently.

And now all these threads are coming together, much in the manner of a Moffat series finale. Steven is handing over the metaphorical keys and toybox to Chris Chibnall, who was lead writer on the first two series of Torchwood[2], created Broadchurch[3] and has written some Doctor Who episodes such as Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and 42. And like Steven, and indeed Russell T Davies, he’s a lifelong fan of the show, which has to be a Good Thing. Though I’m not sure he’ll be enjoying being reminded of his appearance on a 1986 show:

Radio Times: Chris Chibnall in 1986

Though he was much more polite than the kind of comments you tend to see these days. I’m sure we’ll be seeing the “Chris Chibnall has killed Doctor Who” posts appearing within a microsecond of his first episode, if not sooner.

And what of the scheduling? Well, as January has crept on with no indication of production starting, it was becoming less and less likely that we’d be seeing those twelve new episodes this autumn. Would there be another split series? Half this year, half next? Well, no.

The BBC management have decided in their infinitesimal, err, infinite, oh buggrit, I was right the first time, what was I saying? Oh, right. The BBC management have decided that as this year has some really important things like the Olympics (what? again?) and something called the “Euros”, by which I presume they mean a football thingy rather than money, that they won’t bother showing Doctor Who. No, what we’ll have is a Christmas special and Steven’s final series in spring 2017. Which is a long time to wait for new Doctor Who. While I was expecting something along these lines[4], I’m not particularly happy about it.

But perhaps the scheduling earlier in the year will allow an earlier time slot, where it doesn’t get shifted to accommodate that weird dancing thing, which would be good.

Still to come: a new companion for the next series. And of course, the speculation over whether Peter Capaldi will stay for a fourth series with the new showrunner. My suspicion is that he won’t, and it’ll be another fresh start in 2018, rather in the manner of The Eleventh Hour back in 2010. Wait, what? Was it really that long ago? Apparently so…

Source: BBC Latest News – Doctor Who – Steven Moffat stands down and Chris Chibnall to take over

[1] Mutter, used to be thirteen plus a special, mutter
[2] The fun ones, before it went horribly dark and then became semi-American before disappearing
[3] Where most of the cast were former Doctor Who actors, not least David Tennant
[4] A further clue was in the content of the forthcoming series 9 DVD and Blu-ray sets which include both the 2014 and 2015 Christmas specials – it’s been more usual to attach the special to the following year’s set…

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