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The BBC has confirmed that Steven Moffat is stepping down as the lead writer and executive producer of Doctor Who, and that Chris Chibnall will take over the reins as showrunner for the hit sci-fi series.

Steven Moffat
Steven Moffat – Photo by Niccolò Caranti (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The multiple award-winning Steven Moffat took over showrunner duties from Russell T Davies in 2010 with Doctor Who: Series 5, the first season to star Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, and Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill as the Ponds, companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams.

Moffat also introduced worldwide fans of the show to the most recent companion, Clara Oswald, played by Jenna Coleman, who recently left Doctor Who to star in the new ITV historical drama Victoria; Peter Capaldi as the twelfth incarnation of the Time Lord; and Michelle Gomez as Missy, the Master in female form.

It was under Moffat’s watch that Doctor Who — the world’s longest-running sci-fi series — celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 with the specials The Day of the Doctor, which brought together David Tennant, Matt Smith, and John Hurt, all as the Doctor; The Night of the Doctor, starring Eighth Doctor Paul McGann; and An Adventure in Space & Time, which starred Jessica Raine as Verity Lambert, the series’ first producer, and David Bradley as William Hartnell, the First Doctor, in a dramatization of the beginnings of Doctor Who.

Having spearheaded the series into a massive global phenomenon for the past six seasons, Moffat’s final series will air on BBC One and BBC America in spring 2017.  Before then, a new Doctor Who Christmas Special will air in December 2016.

Steven Moffat said:

“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.”

Chris Chibnall, also a lifelong Doctor Who fan, is another multi-award-winning writer and executive producer. His successes include the triple-BAFTA-winning hit ITV crime drama series Broadchurch, as well as the BAFTA-nominated The Great Train Robbery, United, Law & Order: UK, Life On Mars, and Doctor Who spin-off, Torchwood. Chibnall’s debut Doctor Who series will premiere in 2018.

As Doctor Who‘s new Head Writer and Executive Producer, Chibnall offered up this:

Doctor Who is the ultimate BBC programme: bold, unique, vastly entertaining, and adored all around the world. So it’s a privilege and a joy to be the next curator of this funny, scary and emotional family drama. I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was four years old, and 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. 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. Just to make my life difficult.”

As Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One, and Polly Hill, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, stated, Steven Moffat “is an absolute genius” whose brilliance “made Doctor Who a global hit under his tenure,” and Chris Chibnall “is the perfect successor to take over the reins,” sure to “bring something very special to the hit series.”


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Steven Moffat Exiting Doctor Who, Chris Chibnall Confirmed as New Showrunner
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