Regardless of how you feel about him, the departure of the Grand Moff is an event.
I have trouble imagining anyone is truly sad. There may be some emotionally invested young people who find this difficult, but I haven’t seen any of them on Tumblr. Even if you respect him as a writer and a showrunner – another rare breed as far as I can tell – you’d have to admit it’s time. Six seasons is long enough for anyone in Moffat’s position; for a show like Doctor Who, new blood is essential.
As successors go, Chris Chibnall is not a terrible choice. He’ll have three seasons’ experience as head writer and showrunner of Broadchurch by the time the handover takes place. He’s written an assortment of Doctor Who and Torchwood, and a little Life on Mars, though the episodes are a mixed bag. He’s been a fan since childhood – practically a prerequisite these days. And he created Ellie Miller, one of my favorite fictional characters of all time:
Less acceptable is the news that we’ll have to go an entire year with no new Doctor Who. Even Tennant’s year of specials wasn’t so barren. Worse, the delay increases the likelihood of Peter Capaldi’s departure after S10. When he was confirmed for the season, I thought we’d be lucky to get one more year out of him. Now, we’ll get that year, but we won’t get any new episodes.
Of course Capaldi might decide to stay on for S11. He’s having a great time; he isn’t trying to launch a career like Matt Smith or go back to the stage like David Tennant. But of course he’ll want to go out on top, like Tennant did. He won’t want to linger. Even Tom Baker, still the most beloved Doctor, began to grow stale after too long. Capaldi will be careful to avoid that.
I have feared all along that he would depart with Moffat. It’s easy enough to announce one’s exit when everyone else is doing it. It’s harder to pick up where you left off with a new regime in place. A complete changing of the guard, as we had in 2010, is not beyond the realm of possibility. And now we’ve added a year of nothing: a year of sitting around, not shooting, not creating. A year for distractions, for opportunity to knock, for something better to come along.
I’ll miss him terribly when he’s gone.
I do look forward to seeing what Chibnall does with the show. I look forward to a new Christmas special, a new companion, and a new season. I enjoy changes, in spite of the cost.
I just wish we didn’t have to wait so long.