First Clara (Jenna Coleman) left and now Steven Moffat’s song is ending with the iconic U.K.-produced sci-fi series. His replacement? Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall, who has also written on Doctor Who and Torchwood in the past. Before you start dancing or weeping over the departure of the polarizing showrunner, though, I should probably tell you that Moffat is going to be around through the 10th season and that there won’t be a new episode of Doctor Who for 11 months until the next Christmas special with season 10 debuting in the Spring of 2017. So, Chibnall is expected to take the reigns in 2018.
Here’s Moffat on the change, by way of the BBC press release announcing the eventual shift:
“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.”
So, what is Chibnall going to inherit besides the idea of Doctor Who and its stunning history?
Less than a month ago, rumors circulated that Peter Capaldi might saunter away from his role as The Doctor after this next season in an effort to focus on more projects, which is something Capaldi is already doing during this lengthy hiatus. Same for Moffat, whose dual-role running Sherlock has often been blamed for Doctor Who‘s scattered schedule over the years. Might Capaldi take Moffat’s exit as a sign that he should also move on? Remember the pain I can’t forget: David Tennant decided it was time to leave the show when Moffat’s predecessor Russell T. Davies left. So it makes sense, and maybe that’s not a bad thing.
No disrespect to Capaldi (or Moffat), but while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the show needs a reboot, getting both a showrunner and a star that are solely focused on Doctor Who might be what’s best for the show. Especially if it means fans don’t have to deal with only two episodes over the course of a calendar year.