Australian Doctor Who fans have awoken to some very unexpected news – Steven Moffat will be stepping down as showrunner at the end of Series 10, to be replaced by Chris Chibnall.
Confirming the news today, Moffat announced that his “timey-wimey is up”.
“ It took a lot of gin and tonic to talk [Chris] 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,” he said. “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 is no stranger to the Whoniverse, having been a fan of the show since he was four years old. He has previously penned Doctor Who stories 42, The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three, as well as eight episodes of spin-off series Torchwood.
Outside of Doctor Who, his writing credits include episodes of Life on Mars, the short-lived series Camelot and the telemovie United. He is best known as the creator of murder mystery Broadchurch, starring various Doctor Who alumni including David Tennant, Olivia Colman and Eve Myles. The third series of the program will begin filming in May.
“It’s a privilege and a joy to be the next curator of this funny, scary and emotional family drama,” Chibnall said of his appointment.
“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.”
2016 – GAP YEAR
As was the case during the handover from Russell T Davies to Steven Moffat, Doctor Who will take something of a gap year during this eventful time. 2016 will see the airing of a Christmas special, with the tenth series of the programme to follow in the UK Spring of 2017. Series 11, Chibnall’s first as showrunner, will launch in 2018.
“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,” said BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore. “2016 is spoilt with national moments including the Euros [football championship] and Olympics and I want to hold something big back for 2017 – I promise it will be worth the wait!”
2016, will, however, see the premiere of new spin-off series Class, helmed by YA writer Patrick Ness and set at Coal Hill School. The series will be broadcast in the UK on BBC3, though an Australian broadcaster is yet to be announced.
Chibnall has paid tribute to Moffat, saying, “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.”