Is Steven Moffat Overstaying His Welcome on Doctor Who?

Steven Moffat in The Five Doctors Reboot

A bit of a low key podKast this week as Christian Cawley and James McLean discuss all manner of topics, from recent casting to stone Cyberman heads, and whether Steven Moffat should really be running Doctor Who Series 10…

Click play below, and don’t forget to leave your thoughts below.

Kasterborous PodKast Series 5 Episode 16 Shownotes

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80 thoughts on “Is Steven Moffat Overstaying His Welcome on Doctor Who?

  1. Steven Moffat wont leave until Dr Who resembles the worst episodes of Rentaghost. I just wish he would leave and let the Big finish team take over as they seem to understand tone and pacing far better than most of Moffats unfunny scripts. The thought of another 2 years of Moffat just might kill off my love for new Who altogether.

        1. They have still never written for television. It’s a totally different industry from a fan community that makes audios for devoted fans.

          1. A fan community?
            That’s a dismissive way to discuss audio professionals. The UK has rather a long history of radio plays, one that’s died out in the States, and the BF group is from that tradition.
            One might just dismiss SM as a “rom-com” writer, to draw the parallel, if using your definitions.

          2. They are a fan community. That’s how Big Finish got started. I in no way intend that to be dismissive, and honestly find it wonderful. However, they are not television professionals, and it is a totally different industry. The production difference between a tv rom-com and a tv sci-fi show isn’t all that big. The difference between a small audio play company made for and by fans, no matter how excellent and professional they are (which yes, Big Finish is), and television production is huge.

    1. I disagree with you but I admire you for this: you’re the only person I’ve seen provide Moffat hate to give an actual suggestion for his replacement.

  2. After such a splendid series 8, I think the Moff has got a second wind and really, when things are great, why must we be negative? There was a stronger argument against him continuing after series 7B. But after series 8? No, things are riding high. The other element is possibly that they can’t find a suitable replacement for him.

    Also, it is possible that Capaldi will leave after series 10 and the Moff wants to leave with him. Frankly, I’d want Capaldi to stay a bit longer. Break this 3 year rule nonsense. Both Tennant and Smith were around for four years each yet only did three series. For once, I’d like a Doctor to stay four years, four series!

    1. I’d definitely hope Capaldi will set some New Who record. And Series 8 was great. I love the new Doctor, Clara was great, had some new favorite stories, and enjoyed a lot of stuff even in episodes that I wasn’t fully satisfied with. Also, Last Christmas was the best Christmas episode yet, for me. I do think the season’s arc was garbage, and that Clara’s romance didn’t work (particulary after the Doctor was introduced), and there were three terrible stories (two of which had some great moments). I don’t think Moffat doing 5 seasons on a show is all that bad an idea, even if I’d prefer some new blood at the helm. But I agree, we need a strong replacement for him. They can’t just hand the show over to anyone. If anything, I just wish Moffat would have some type of check and balance within production to reign in some his more convoluted mess, but he can do some great storytelling.

      1. I think you can really see how much better things are now that Brian Minchin has control of production. Compared to how incoherent some of series 7B was (not the Moffat written episodes), you can really see that a much more measured mind is in control of things.

    2. Completely agree. I thought 7B was a little wobbly but I suspect in retrospect that was more to do with having to focus on the challenge of the 50th and Matt’s departure. Since Name of the Doctor, Moffat’s been back to his strongest. Capaldi has clearly reenergised Moffat creatively with series 8 jostling with series 5 as the most coherent and successful since 2005. To be able to turn out a masterpiece like Listen and brilliant episodes like Dark Water and Last Christmas in the one series shows that there is plenty of new stories and ideas percolating within Moffat.

      If we get a new companion towards the end of this series or series 10 and with Capaldi already proving to be one of the truly great doctors, the show’s future seems assured. I think series 10 is probably the obvious stepping off point as this would allow Capaldi to transition to a new showrunner in series 11 and Moffat to leave before he has worn out his welcome. Given Capaldi’s obvious relish in being the Doctor (has there ever been a more generous incumbent in terms of how much time he spends with fans?) can’t see him leaving any time soon, so sure he’ll stay beyond Moffat. While I love the Moffat- Capaldi partnership (possibly the best in Who history), I would love to see how another showrunner might work with Capaldi.

      Bottom line is that if it ain’t broke, it don’t need fixin’.

      1. Yeah, this is kind of the role of a lifetime for Capaldi and already having been in the business for decades, he doesn’t have to worry as much about typecasting, like the much younger Tennant and Smith, so I hope we get a fourth or maybe fifteen series out of him before he goes.

        The work schedule may eventually take its toll on him but then again, he’s very fit and seemingly having a great time. Fingers crossed!

    3. It would be nice for someone to break that 3 year or series rule set by Patrick Troughton but I can’t blame both Tennant and Smith (I heard he nearly signed up for a fourth series darn it!) for wanting to leave.

      1. Well, Tennant was around for four years, BBC wasted everyone’s time by only throwing a few specials our way in 2009, so we should have had a full 4th series with Tennant. Had the BBC not split up series 7 and stretched it across two years, Smith would have had a fourth series as well. And of course Eccleston did only one.. BBC time wasting is why the new show has been around for ten years and we only have 8 series to show for it.

        Really, when you think about it, Hartnell and Troughton both worked year round, doing the equivalent of two series a year, thus six seasons each. They changed the schedule after Pat left. Had he been doing shorter seasons like everyone since, he might not have made the 3year suggestion. The grueling schedule he had was what wire him down.

        And of course Baker did 7, Pertwee did 5, Colin did 2, Davison left after 3 years mostly because the quality of his scripts were so bad in general and McCoy said he would have done a fourth year if the show hadn’t been canceled! —3 series in 3 years is really the anomaly, so yes, I’m hoping the BBC is on board with everyone else and Capaldi does at LEAST 4 series.

        1. Yes it is true both Hartnell and Troughton worked year round but Troughton did set that time standard and advised Peter Davison to leave after 3 series. Davison did ask Troughton for his opinion. I agree with on the whole that Tennant did waste his time with those specials and could have done another series. From what I understand with Smith he did plan to leave after the 50th and the 2013 Christmas special. He was torn about signing up a fourth that his mother was actually trying to talk him into staying for one more. He said if he signed up for one more he might never leave. He was quite candid about that.

        2. Nearly forgot to add Smith said in a Q & A panel when Moff told him the direction for Series 8 he felt that his Doctor would not suit the harder, darker edge. That also boosted his decision to leave.

          1. Interesting—didn’t know that!

            Regarding the Troughton advice to Davison, he did say three years was a good amount of time to stay—but I do wonder if that advice wasn’t influenced by his particularly grueling work schedule at the time, you know? I think we’ve had some missed opportunities, sadly.

          2. Grueling work schedule and partly due to fear of type casting was Troughton’s reasons.

  3. Moffat is the best thing to ever happen to Doctor Who. After the mess made by Russell T Davies how anyone could rescue it astounds me. But he didn’t just do that but also make it better than ever. Series 5, 6 & 8 are amount the best TV seasons in TV history with some of the best and cleverest writing and arcs you could ever hope to find and though series 7 lost it a little the 2013 specials more than make up for it. The Moffat Era is undoubtedly a new golden age. Long may it last!

    1. Agreeing with you yet again – perfectly said. When you measure where the show is now to the wreck left after Davies’ so-called year of Specials, it really is testament to Moffat’s vision and careful stewardship. Coming off the truly execrable End of Time and the many story telling windows which Davies so selfishly shut to try to embalm his vision of Who (the whole Last of the Time Lords shtick, killing off the Master, exiling Rassilon, returning Gallifrey to its fate, trying to present 10 as a God like figure and the ‘ultimate’ doctor), Moffat gave us the fresh air of series 5 with a wonderful new properly alien doctor. No wonder it is universally hailed as the best series to date of new Who (although series 8 gives it a run for its money IMO). After the success of series 5, Moffat had the confidence to experiment with the format over following years – you can do that when you have a talent like Matt Smith in the Tardis of course. Series 7B dipped a bit but if there is one thing you can say about any Moffat led episode of Who, it is going to look glorious, it is going to be immaculately acted and it will sure be interesting. Never a dull moment with the Grand Moff. Not all of his vision is successful of course (looking at you, Journey to the Centre of the Tardis, Forest of the Night and Nightmare in Silver), but three duds across four series is a pretty good result!

      Anyhoos, so many people commenting here over recent weeks have listed the many, many achievements of Moffat, so not much point going over it again. I really don’t understand the need to constantly berate or belittle his achievement. Simply put, if Moffat hadn’t stepped up to be showrunner, the show would not be on air now. And it’s not only going strong, it’s stronger than it has ever been. Definitely a Golden Age!

      1. “trying to present 10 as a God like figure”

        11 rebooted the entire universe. Isn’t that trying to present 11 as a Godlike figure?

        Not everyone’s sold on S5 as ‘the best season ever’, which seems to be the common repeated theme round these here parts. I find a lot of it rather dull and think it works best if you really give a toss about Amy Pond, which I don’t. I’ll give SM credit for trying something different, however.

        The schism in certain fan groups re: RTD vs SM is weird. Both have done great things and bad things. Why does it always have to be reduced to a binary personality fest?

        1. Agree with you Castellan. Series 4 is the best for me and I have been disappointed with many of Moffatt’s decisions and stories, but there have been highlights and series 8 was great; but then this is the same for RTD’s reign. But like any job, you get stale if you are in it for too long and it is also beneficial for the job if someone new comes in with new ways of thinking. Moffatt should go at the end of series 10. But Capaldi should be locked into a contract that doesn’t let him leave for at least 5 years!

        2. Prior to S8 I find S5 the most rewatchable. S6 looks good, but much of it is without substance (The Girl Who Waited and The God Complex aside). Same goes for 7A. 7B suffers from only having Bells and Hide as being worthy of rewatch, I feel.

          1. S5 is certainly rewatchable. I don’t want to imply it’s rubbish, just that it isn’t my favourite. Eleventh Hour and the Angels 2-parter are magnificent, but while I like Vincent & the Doctor and Pandorica/Big Bang, they don’t hit the heights for me that they do for others.

            I’ve always had issues with aspects of the ‘cracks’ storyline: the universe ends (yet it doesn’t), Amy dies (yet she doesn’t), Rory dies/becomes an Auton/becomes a Roman (yet he doesn’t)…. It’s Schrodinger’s Doctor Who!

            By contrast, I’m fonder of S6 (despite the awful Wedding of River Song and Good Man Goes to…) and season 7B. I just found the stories generally funkier than those in S5. I still feel the 7A/7B split was a mistake, though.

            I don’t find any single season wholly rewatchable; it’s more a case of individual episodes, many of which I have no desire to ever see again (hello, Idiot’s Lantern!), and many of which I never tire of rewatching, across all the seasons and specials. Each season is its own White Album!

          2. Schrodinger gave up when his cat rather smugly proved that the the box both existed and didn’t exist.

          3. 5 and 8 are the best but I think series 6 is loads better than you’re giving it credit for. The thing with that one is that it works better as a whole rather than a series of individual stories which is why the split between A Good Man Goes To War and Let’s Kill Hitler was stupid.

            Series 7 is quite the opposite in that it works best when viewed as a set of stories rather than treating it as a whole. The arc for S7 with The Impossible Girl was good but there’re moments it feels like we’d have been better without it. It seems like a lot of focus was being diverted on the 50th Anniversary and the series suffered as a result.

          4. I’ve long maintained that the split should have occured following the Doctor’s destruction of the Ganger Amy. Moffat promised a “game-changing cliffhanger” but what we got was A Good Man Goes to War.

          5. You’re completely right! I do love A Good Man Goes To War but it didn’t deliver that as we’d all figured out who River was by then.

        3. It’s odd that certain people have to make out there’s some kind of “contest” between the two showrunners – as you say, neither’s got everything all right, or all wrong. The first one isn’t humanly possible; the second would’ve taken the show off air by now.

          Amelia was OK but when she grew up into Amy, I wasn’t so keen (and I don’t like children much as a rule!) and both have, I feel, tried to turn the Doctor into some kind of superhero at times. For my part I prefer the idiot with a box as a characterisation, and I’m hoping now the good man question’s been answered that’s what we stick with.

          1. ‘An adventurer in time and space’ – that’s what I want, with all the random roaming from A to Z that implies.

    2. If I remember correctly, Dr Moo, you said on another thread that Fires of Pompeii was your intro to Doctor Who, from right near the end of RTD’s reign.

      He made such a mess of it that he got you into Doctor Who, then!

      1. First episode I watched. There’s a difference. I saw that one and thought “that was good” but it wasn’t until series five that I was properly into it.

          1. He did lots of things right in his time as showrunner. However he did a lot more things badly, especially how he characterised the Tenth Doctor and much of the supporting cast (and that final story The End of Time is a particularly good example of how to go out on a bum note; Tennant was and still is a popular Doctor but he left on a whimper not a bang.) The RTD era was very patchy and much of it is now borderline-unwatchable.

          2. I just feel that many of those criticisms could equally be leveled at Steven Moffat’s era, particularly ‘patchy’.

            As stated elsewhere, I still find much of RTD’s era very watchable, but there are certain ones I don’t plan to ever see again.

          3. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of stuff from RTD’s tenure I love. Series 1 & 4 have held up well, apart from a few exceptions. Series 2 & 3 on the other hand have only four stories between them that have passed the test of time while only one story from the so-called Specials Year is up to much. Apart from that most of his stuff has not held up as well as what Moffat’s done.

          4. On a personal level, I’m very surprised at the strong passions for series 8 – Capaldi aside, I felt its format was inconsistent – with an awkward love arc that disrupted the establishment of the Doctor/Companion dynamic (Capaldi’s Doctor seemed to shift – the Doctor in Listen to the finale seemed utterly different) and some absolutely terrible episodes – Kill the Moon, The Caretaker and Forest of the Dead are probably some of the worst Doctor Who I’ve ever seen. There was some great stuff there (Listen, Time Heist, Flatline, Mummy on the Orient Express) but if one takes this into context of showrunning, I’d argue that series 8 doesn’t prove the production isn’t in need of change, I’d say the contrary – that while far from being awful, a new vision for a new Doctor could bring new strengths (or maybe new weaknesses). I’d not be able to argue Series 8 was the bastion of perfection in any way.

          5. Not a bastion of perfection but I’d never claim any whole series could be that. My biggest issue with it was that the Danny/Clara dynamic never worked due to a complete lack of realism in its development to match the total absence of zing between the performers.
            There again, I’m always astonished by the overwhelming love for Series 5!
            I found the first half of KTM gripping and it was spoiled for me less by the shoddy science than the truly appalling character writing. Honestly, what was Clara on about? The Doctor can intervene and take monumental decisions out of a species’ hands all he likes, but as soon as he tells ’em to stand on their own two feet and make their own choices instead of relying on a Father Christmas/atheist’s Christ substitute, he’s being patronising? Get a grip, woman! The Caretaker was raised (as was everything else) by Capaldi’s glorious comic timing (that innocent look as he whistles a snatch of Pink Floyd alone is reason for me to give the episode a re-watch now and then) , and Forest – OK, not much cop, but definitely not a Nightmare in Silver/Curse of the Black Spot/Idiot’s Lantern/Let’s Kill Hitler catastrophe from my point of view.
            Was the Doctor different in the last episode from the first few? Probably, but that’s one of my great reasons for loving Series 8. Matt’s Doctor suffered from a total lack of character development from where I was watching; in fact he was dragged down by a lazy dependency on tricks and tics, his own gift for physical clowning and the dreaded “catchphrase syndrome”.
            Isn’t it great that we all see different things in different series though!

          6. My counterpoint would be the Doctor in the last episode didn’t feel like an evolution from Listen, he seemed utterly different. He seemed neutered, confused and utterly devoid of power. In Listen, and Last Christmas, he seemed totally the opposite. I still stand by the argument that the companion acts as a writer and actor’s counterpoint to help define the Doctor. Pull her on a separate arc, everyone loses the ability to find the dynamics at play.

            KTM was a mess from start to finish. The inclusion of the child was nonsensical, as was the Doctor’s rationalisation, the basic premise. It looked good, but that’s not enough. Forest just was as illogical and messy – and lacking any sort of coherance. Caretaker was terrible. I don’t believe a showrunner can be quantified or carried by the strength of his cast or effects, which in these cases, or t’other does.

            I certainly wouldn’t say any series is perfect, no, but the argument was whether Series 8 showed that the series was continuing with great strides under the current production. I don’t really see that at all. I felt Series 8 would have been better supported by a new vision with a new actor allowing for a new era. The argument has to be: did keep Moffat improve series 8? I’m not sure it did, I felt the same issues as in the previous series’ creeping in. Does it mean it was awful? God no. Does it mean he damaged it? Not even saying that. Do I think new blood might have served to re-energise the show under a new lead actor? I personally think it would have. Five year tenure is a long time for any producer/writer, I’m not convinced that I’m seeing enough vibrant changes or challenges to form that make’s me feel its good to continue under the same banner.

          7. Forest of the Dead? Are you sure you don’t mean Firest of the Night? Nothing to defend in that one.

          8. I stand corrected. Amazing how he took on a tiger BEFORE moving the kids to the other side of the fence. With a torch.

          9. I actually own a cat and that torch would have only made it go closer and investigate what it was. Tigers behave in a similar way so in reality Danny would have been killed one episode earlier.

          10. You don’t own a cat! But I agree the torch would only have made the tiger more curious!

          11. ” I’d argue that series 8 doesn’t prove the production isn’t in need of change, I’d say the contrary – that while far from being awful, a new vision for a new Doctor could bring new strengths (or maybe new weaknesses). I’d not be able to argue Series 8 was the bastion of perfection in any way.”

            -Sums it up for me. I found S8 very entertaining on the whole, but for every ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, I’d counter with the fact that this is a series that thrives on change. I’d also contend that, while it’s hardly ‘broke’, it could be improved on, too.

          12. I think the inconsistency due to it not being arc reliant like Series 7. The Classics were also not so arc heavy but were serial formatted 2-4-6 episodes. The difference is the 45 minute format tend to rush the story and the episodes. Just my opinion.

          13. It’ll be interesting to see how well Moffat’s stories hold up in 10-20 years’ time, and whether RTD’s might undergo a more positive re-evaluation. These things tend to go in cycles, after all.

            I know what you mean about S2 and 3. I used to think 3 was the best, because I liked the Saxon arc and thought (still think) Human Nature and Blink can’t be beaten. However, it’s clear now that they’re streets ahead of other stories that year and that the Saxon thing didn’t end that satisfactorily. The last 10 minutes of Utopia and the build-up to it in stories such as Lazarus Experiment adds a kind of gloss to the season as a whole that most of the stories can’t live up to.

          14. I think Human Nature works better in the original Seventh Doctor novelisation. As Ten is so terribly human already, the shift isn’t as shocking–nor the denouement so painful–as in the novel.

          15. I haven’t read it, so I can’t really judge it on those terms.

            It was a powerful TV story for me – one of the very best.

          16. I felt there were enough differences between Tennant’s John Smith and his Doctor for it to work.

            I certainly can’t imagine McCoy acting ‘in love’ with a human female. Maybe I need to give the novel a go.

          17. It packed quite a lot of punch, because of the dissonance.
            I recommend it (although not so much as I recommend Lungbarrow).

          18. I read Lungbarrow back when it was published and enjoyed it very much.

            It’s one that would’ve been intriguing to see on TV during its era, though in another way I’m glad it wasn’t, as the ‘Doctor as The Other’ concept doesn’t really take us anywhere in the end.

          19. Don’t complain that it wasn’t filmed because in its place we got the incredible Ghost Light.

          20. Agreed, and Ten was my favourite of the modern Doctors pre-Capaldi! I’ve always regretted that his ending was such a self-indulgent mess (on the writer’s part – the actor can only make the most of what he’s given). One of my favourite things about The Day of the Doctor was how Moffat sent up the ladykiller/don’t wanna go whimpering side of the character.

          21. I’m sure Tennant had a lot of fun acting those scenes. It’s just one of many great things about that episode. I particularly love the War Doctor criticising the OTT tendencies of Ten and Eleven. Twelve has carried things on in that respect, certainly a welcome refresh.

          22. I completely *love* how Moffat in a couple of scenes and lines was able to send up the main things about 10 which had niggled for so long (and unfortunately for Tennant made his take on the doctor ultimately unsuccessful) and still make this central to the storyline in Day of the Doctor – genius! My thought is that Tennant probably welcomed having the p*ss taken out of his bombastic lothario Doctor. Not sure how any actor could have been comfortable saying some of the lines and acting in the scenarios RTD set for 10, particularly the excruciatingly poor arc leading towards the Powell Estate and the whining about not wanting to go. Tennant seems like a good bloke but just badly miscast in the role and not helped by his self-conscious quirkiness, shoutiness and clichéd ladykiller persona. Still, it has helped his career and he has been able to make a load of money out of it by turning up to photo and autograph shows!
            Time already hasn’t been kind to RTD’s era of the show. So much is now unwatchable and like many of these things, although popular at the time, it will sink quietly. Series 5 is indisputably the best in new Who (although I would add series 8), but I think it is series 6 which will be the one which will rise in status over time. Still, series 9 is shaping up to be fairly extraordinary, so maybe it will be the one, as much as series 5, 6 and 8, Who fans will still be dissecting and worrying over in 10 years’ time.

          23. “Time already hasn’t been kind to RTD’s era of the show. So much is now unwatchable and like many of these things, although popular at the time, it will sink quietly. ”

            -I don’t think any era of Doctor Who can ever sink quietly. The series is too popular and constantly analysed by fans and cultural commentators – all eras.

          24. I agree. The fans will forever analyze, debate, and argue til the end of time.

          25. “Series 5 is indisputably the best in new Who (although I would add series 8)” – and yes, sorry but it is disputable! Don’t state that as if it’s a fact.

    3. I’m afraid I have to completely disagree with this. I thought that series 6 was really poor to be honest. I think the writing and arc in series 6 was horribly convoluted, with Let’s Kill Hitler and The Wedding of River song being two of the worst episodes in the show’s history. Series 5 was good but nothing amazing and, again, I feel Moffat’s arc was one of the weakest things about it. Same goes for series 8, a good series but Moffat’s arc writing was average at best and the finale was a bit if a cringey mess in my opinion.
      I don’t hate Moffat and I think he has done some good stuff but he is far, far from the best thing to happen to Doctor Who and he is probably on equal standing with RTD in my estimation.

  4. Overstaying his welcome? Well that’s a matter of individual taste!
    For me – no. I think he’s an outstanding writer, and while his decisions in the first part of his showrunning tenure were not to my liking at all Series 8 was a triumph, my favourite 21st century series and Christmas special by a country mile. I’ve long since learned to accept that Doctor Who is not made with me personally in mind, and while I considered both 9 and 11 in their differing ways “not The Doctor” many others adored them. That’s all good – I don’t mind being part of a minority, and it’s what kept the show on television long enough for my kind of Doctor to come along!
    I admit that Series 5 had some strong storytelling (pity about the characterisation of Doctor and principal companion in my view!) but 6 and 7 (both parts) felt disappointing. It wasn’t just the Doctor renewed in Series 8 for me – it was the whole kit and caboodle.
    Messers Capaldi and Minchin seemed to have raised Moffat’s game, and that being the case long may they all continue!

    1. Well the point made in the podkast is that its not about individual taste, it’s about practical longevity; how long before any creative on an intensely pressurised show will burn out? You can certainly see ideas repeated in Moffat’s era now. The question is, does Doctor Who remain more fresh, cutting edge, and relevant if it has a change of show runner every 4 years or so? Is that gambit not more innovative, regardless how well you think the current producer is coping?

      1. I agree – everyone has their shelf life, and Moff has his motifs just as every other longstanding boss has had. And while change, my dear, and not a moment too soon, has its appeal (I’d certainly be in favour of it happening after Series 10) there’s always the other side: better the devil you know!

        My greatest concern with Moffat is when he’s doing two massive shows side by side; Sherlock and Doctor Who must be a massive burden for even the most creative mind. In terms of practical longevity though – that’s a call only the man himself or the execs who commission him can make. It’s not fandom’s call, and thank goodness for it – we’d never come to a consensus among ourselves!

        1. I feel that point, and really it’s what we were trying to say, rather than turn it into a personal observation of like/dislike for an era; a production such as Doctor Who is heavy, hard going and high profile. Running two shows of similar profile is a lot – can one say that a producer of two shows will do as good a job as if he was focusing on one? Does anyone multi-task as good as they do when they task singularly? It just feels that this (series 9) would have been a dignified exit, especially as he’s done work as writer and producer, most people think was good (Listen, Day of the Doctor) as two obvious ones. Surely a new producer with new ideas, and new energies is better for the show than ANY producer that’s slogged through 5 years (on two shows)? It’s not personal, its a practical query.

          1. Point absolutely taken, James – but from the outside we can’t have anything, to my way of thinking, but a subjective view. Not being privy to the workings of the Moffat brain, not knowing the man or his circumstances, I can only guess at how he bears up under the (self-inflicted) strain.
            If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is at least as valid an expression as a change is as good as a rest, after all!

        2. He isn’t really doing two massive shows side by side though, is he? He’s doing one massive show occasionally punctuated by another massive show. With no Sherlock Series 4 to distract him until next year, Moffat needs to really deliver on DW S8.

  5. I happen to agree with those who feel Series 8 was a very strong season. Yes, even with the controversial Forest and Moon episodes. This was a series pushing its limits and I think on the whole they did a terrific job. Had Smith stayed on for another year I think Moffat might have gone stale but the new Doctor, someone who we’ve heard is not afraid to challenge Moffat from time to time, gave him a new lease on life as far as Doctor Who goes.

    I am a firm believer in if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Right now the show is not broken in any way. There are those who dislike Moffat as a person and they want him gone for that reason, and there’s no way to defend against that. But then I look at how Moffat was treated as a rock star overseas during the promotional tour – he’s an asset to the show just as much as Capaldi and Coleman. Others are annoyed that he’s broken status quo too many times – as if Barry Letts, John Nathan Turner, Douglas Adams and Russell T Davies left everything the same … yeah, right. And if you think that changing the showrunner automatically fixes everything or makes a show better, I suggest you google the name Fred Freiberger to see what happens when someone attempts to fix what ain’t broke (OK, he gets props for adding Maya to Space: 1999 but he lost Barry Morse and introduced giant walking lasagna monsters too…)

    1. Brilliant post. As much as I admire Moffat, I must admit I thought parts of series 7B weren’t the greatest but the burst of creativity we’ve had since Name of the Doctor has been little short of phenomenal. Time of the Doctor was a glorious farewell to Matt of course but it also felt to me that it allowed Moffat to say farewell to that entire era. Series 8 was fresh and challenging and clearly the work of someone not just at the top of their game but raring to explore new territory. We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, but I sometimes wonder as you have said, that in Peter we may finally have an actor playing the Doctor who has not just the authority and gravitas to challenge the showrunner from time to time but to do this in a positive way relating to the entire sohw, not just his part. I see series 8 as a beautiful collaboration involving Moffat, Peter and Brian Minchin. The three of them have managed to produce an almost faultless series bursting with energy and new ideas and taking the show confidently into its next fifty years.
      It’s a good point that most of the whining and criticism about Moffat has come from the UK. I guess it’s the usual thing about the genius being less recognised in their home country but Moffat and Matt Smith and his TARDIS crew and now Peter and Jenna have made the show staggeringly popular outside the UK. While people here may quibble about the need for change, it’s important to remember that the audience who own the show are way way more than just ‘us’ now and the huge ratings success of series 8 around the world shows that it has never been more popular and beloved. Roll on series 9 so we can get away from the tedious debates. Who at the moment totally rocks!!

    2. Couldn’t agree more – even the duds (and there are a couple every year at least) had bright spots from where I was watching, and in Listen, Mummy, Flatline and Dark Water Series 8 hit heights that I consider pretty much unmatched in the current century.

      Some people genuinely don’t like what Moffat does with the show – fair do’s, I disliked quite a bit of what RTD and JNT did in their times – but it’s true that you can’t please all of the people, all of the time, and anyone who tries to will end up pleasing nobody. I’ve had to grit my teeth on occasion and remind myself “there’s a big audience out there, Donna, you’re not so important it’s being produced especially for you!” and eventually, a Doctor, companion and tone more to my particular taste has come around again.

      1. Mummy and Listen in particular get a lot of plaudits, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Listen wins the DWM readers’ poll this season, for what it’s worth.

        For me, Flatline is the ace in the pack. One of *the* best Doctor Who stories.

          1. Listen – I like it, but it’s overhyped. I don’t get the adoration for it at all. Wouldn’t graze my Top 50.

            Let’s see where it stands in 10 years’ time. Of course, that equally applies to my favourite, Flatline.

          2. I adore Listen – it’s easily in my modern top 10. However, I’d put Mummy and Dark Water ahead in the Series 8 chart, with Flatline a whisker behind. Where will the stand in 10 years time? I imagine I’ll still love it (Dalek is ten years old this year and I still love that) but if the next few years throw up stories of the same calibre as those four I’ll be very happy.

      2. To have a debut series with at least four indisputable instant classics (Listen, Mummy, Flatline, Dark Water) and one, Listen, which is possibly the best story ever in Who and is looking to overtake Listen in the sheer number of awards and plaudits it has received/will receive, is a pretty damn fine achievement. With the writing at a standard higher than anything else in new Who and a doctor/companion combination which is also the greatest we have had since 2005, surely it’s a no-brainer that the BBC would want Moffat to stay as long as he wants. Measured purely on ratings (including of course online), overseas sales and awards, Moffat has been far and away the most successful showrunner in Who history and with series 9 looking to better series 8, why oh why would they want him to go? My bet is that the BBC keep Moffat in a dungeon somewhere in W1A and only let him out for the odd publicity do!

  6. Worn out his welcome? Oh please… be careful what you wish for. You will miss him when he’s gone.

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