Between longtime showrunner Steven Moffat’s upcoming departure and current Doctor Peter Capaldi’s uncertain tenure, the BBC science fiction staple Doctor Who has experienced a pretty rough, episode-less sabbatical. Both news items led to ample speculation about which actor or actress might take the reins, and while Capaldi still does press for the show and maintains his commitment to it for the time being, his future with the program has been called into question. Especially now that the 57-year-old Scottish actor is throwing shade at the BBC.
Entertainment Weekly first noticed Capaldi’s comments to this effect in an interview with Newsweek, in which he “undoubtedly” thought the network wasn’t treating Doctor Who as seriously and as carefully as it ought to.
“The BBC is an incredible organization, but…sometimes people there think, ‘That’s looking after itself.’ And it’s not being looked after. I think maybe their eye was taken off the ball, or the show was seen as a thing they could just push around. It’s not. It’s a special thing.”
As the Newsweek article suggests, the concerns shared by Capaldi, others attached to the show’s production and fans all stem from the same problem — poor ratings. The ninth season’s low ratings, which Moffat ascribed to the popularity of World Cup rugby at one point, sent the rumor mill into overdrive. Some even feared that Capaldi, a lifelong fan of the show who became the oldest actor since First Doctor William Hartnell to take on the part, would be let go by the BBC as a result.
Yet the party responsible for the ninth series’ ratings drop wasn’t necessarily Capaldi or Moffat. According to many, it was the BBC’s decision to push the family-oriented program back to a later time slot. Per his comments on the matter, Capaldi wasn’t a big fan either.
“I think overnight ratings are a thing of the past. You can’t really measure the success of the show by its overnight ratings, which is what the papers do. But there’s still a place for families to sit down and watch the show — that’s still a great, fun thing to do. That’s what the show’s success has been based on. That has to be protected.”
Besides, both Moffat and Capaldi will stick around through the 10th series until 2017, when Broadchurch‘s Chris Chibnall takes over as showrunner. And considering that the BBC asked Capaldi to stay on as the Doctor when Chibnall takes over, it’s a sure bet that the actor’s recent comments could be seen as a hint. Or at least that’s according to what he told the Radio Times last week when he said that the BBC had “asked [him] to stay on.”
“Steven’s been absolutely wonderful, so I love working with him. Chris is fantastic, and I think he’s a hugely talented guy,” said Capaldi. “I don’t know where the show’s gonna go then. I don’t know. I have to make up my mind, and I haven’t yet.”