Sunday, January 10, 2016

Doctor Who: The Process of Succession

Hi there! Welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You. I'm Dave-El and you don't bring me flowers anymore. 

Hey, it's Sunday so let's talk Doctor Who! Okay? Okay! 

After last week's post on the speculation on Peter Capaldi's possible exit from Doctor Who and reminding everyone he hasn't left yet, most of the Who news this week swirled around Steven Moffat and the subject of his successor as producer and head writer on Doctor Who.

I actually speculated on this topic as far back as January of last year. And it does seem that events are coming together that lend some credence to predictions I made on this blog back in October.

I think it's great that Steven Moffat has a role to play in the choice to play in who takes up the reins on Doctor Who. There are a lot of shows where the principal showrunner exits, either of their own free will or not, with no input on who takes over and what direction the show will take in the future. In many of those cases, the showrunner is the actual creator of the show in question which makes going away and having no say even harder to deal with. 

As much as Steven Moffat has made Doctor Who his over the last six years and counting, he did not create the show. Much like the actors who play the Doctor or the companion, the producer is a caretaker for only a limited time. 

Still, much like the creator of a show, Moffat has made an indelible mark on the style and tone of Doctor Who, whether for good or ill. (I personally vote "good".) Whoever comes next is going to be "Not Moffat" and boy, will that person be in for a rough ride with high expectations from Moffat supporters AND haters. 

It is a different situation that it was back in 2008 when Russell T Davies announced he would be stepping down and Steven Moffat would be taking over as executive producer of Doctor Who. Back in January of last year, I described the selection of Moffat as "Well, DUH! Who else?" But I also said "the options for succession...are a bit harder to nail down" for a transition from the Moff to someone else. 

In the intervening year since I wrote that, the choice of who will follow, indeed who can follow Steven Moffat is still not very evident. The name that seems to bubble up to the surface slightly more than others is Chris Chibnall. No knock on Chris but that doesn't call up the same level of joy when RTD passed the sonic screwdriver to the Moff, one very talented fan of Doctor Who giving way to another very talented fan of Doctor Who. In one moment, we were sad to see Russell leave AND happy to hear Steven was coming on board. 

And it's not just the high level of talent that Steven Moffat has brought to the show (your mileage may vary) but his own quirky character, the giddy fan boy from Scotland with a gonzo attitude of "Isn't this cool or what?!?" Moffat has been as much an ambassador of the show as any of the actors. 

I fear that when Steven Moffat finally and ultimately declares his intention to step down as executive producer of Doctor Who, we will be sad to see Steven leave AND...

Well, we'll just be sad.  


This week BBC America announced it would air the Doctor Who spin off called Class which is set at the Coal Hill School with students taking on aliens without the Doctor. It's Sarah Jane Adventures without Sarah Jane and zero excitement from me to see it. Maybe as we get closer, we start seeing some stills and some clips, maybe...

We'll see.

But point of order: the 8 episode series will air this fall.  Will it be followed by 4 episodes of Doctor Who Series 10? That adds up to 12 which has been the total number of episodes Doctor Who has filled the schedules of the BBC and BBC America for the last two years. It does kind of dove tail nicely with the speculations I offered back in October about the role Class would play in Doctor Who's production schedule. 


OK, that's all I have for today's post. I'll be back with something or another tomorrow and probably back here next Sunday with more Doctor Who stuff. Until then, remember to be good to one another and let's close out with Steven Moffat playing with his Doctor Who action figures.

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