Doctor Who: Is The Moff Finally Off?

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Ton Pheby's a poet, though he didn't know it...


I don't think it's a secret that Steven Moffat's reign as Doctor Who's show runner is nearing its end. The man himself has admitted to anyone who has been willing to listen, including a puzzled cleaner in a hotel lobby propping up a broom, that "statistically he is nearer the end than the beginning" of his tenure, which is as cryptic as it is obvious I guess. He went on to add dryly:
"I just take it a year at a time. I think the feeling of it being done for you is quite unambiguous when it suddenly arrives." 
At this point the cleaner nipped off for a cup of tea and a Bourbon.

The normally dour Scot flashes a dazzling smile.

So with this preamble in mind the arrival of Russell T Davies and David Tennant in Cardiff was too good an opportunity to ignore, fueling the rumours that; a: Tennant's making a cameo in the finale, and b: the former show runner may be in line for a return to the intergalactic fray. But is the latter a possibility?

Well it's a very confusing issue even for Russell it would seem. Having stated categorically that he would never be involved in any shape or form with the show back in January 2015, it wasn't long after that that more rumours began to circulate that he may have co-written two episodes for the new series (if we are to believe various reports doing the rounds in April 2015). It certainly at least seems likely that he's been involved in the storyline which will explain the Twelfth Doctor's familiar appearance, and if this is the case, and he's gone back on his previous statement, then it's almost certainly a possibility and quite plausible for him to return as show runner.


Tennant, Davies and a member of the public play 'who's got the best glasses'.

Some would welcome it wholeheartedly, as Moffat does tend to divide opinion quite drastically among Whovians. This is possibly because he dabbled with the fabric of the show by tampering with its mythology, running plot, subplot and sub-subplot in tandem.

One has to note that he has on occasion proved to be a bit Marmite and been unashamedly tetchy when the subject of the show's direction has been raised. He's hardly endeared himself to fans when he somewhat drippily declared that he had a stronger attachment to Sherlock (his other money spinner) than Doctor Who - somebody wash his mouth out with interstellar space dust!

I will admit that I have enjoyed the majority of Moffat's tenure and guidance of the show (although it has been somewhat patchy of late, but that may just be a transitional problem as Capaldi grows into the role of the Doctor), but he has to leave the series at some point. Every once in a while a name is thrown out there as a possible successor (Toby Whitehouse, or Mark Gatiss for example), so what about Russell T Davies back in the hot seat? Is it really wise to go back?


Of course it is! After successfully reviving the show in 2005 and dealing with the "Eccleston crisis" it could be argued that no one provides a steadier hand, no one else knows or understands the show better, and, equally importantly, RTD admits to still being a massive fan.

Whovians are a deeply loyal bunch beneath our anoraks, scarves and stripy sweaters. We love him for bringing the Time Lord back, even though the BBC made it as difficult as possible for the immensely gifted Welshman. Many of us have a bit of a soft spot for him if we are completely honest, and I believe the majority of Whovians have a greater affinity with Davies than we could ever have for the Moff.

It was, after all, a personal tragedy which was responsible for Davies' decision to leave the show. Years have passed giving him time to heal and he is now in a happier place, allowing him to immerse himself in a number of television projects again. So perhaps timing is the key?

Davies is still a favourite with the Who crew for bringing the Time lord back in 2005 and simultaneously saving David Tennant from a bunch of St Trinian's sequels (maybe not).

Whilst Davies seems to have turned a corner, Moffat appears to have staggered nose first into one with the departure of Matt Smith and the need for not only a new Doctor but a new direction.
Series 8 of Doctor Who has proved to be less successful over here than across the pond, according to viewing figures, but Moffat will no doubt be undeterred by it all, and in his defence (not that he will think he needs one) he has made the show a lot more of a typical geeky, dedicated fan show, where all threads are analysed in clinical detail.

But by doing just that some plot holes appeared, were dutifully questioned and unraveled to a baffling degree. This often made the naturally prickly Scot become ... well, even more prickly. He threw those holes back at the viewer claiming that he was allowing them educated license to put the pieces together and follow the show.

Now now Moff, play nice.


Some will say that on the evidence of his recent outings as a writer he seems to have gone off the boil, is less inventive than he was before, and that his love affair with the show is starting to sour slightly. In all fairness Davies also had a dodgy patch whilst in charge but always seemed to pull out all the stops for the series finale. This had also been a Moffat trait up until recently, but the impact has become less dramatic.

Perhaps working on both Sherlock and Who has become too much, and it would be no surprise if this were the case. Moffat must either be in creative meetings at least two days a week, writing for four and perhaps sleeps all day Sunday. Whichever way you look at it, it's a full, full time job that takes absolutely no prisoners.

The Moff revealed that he'd signed on for 2016, but with the suggestion that Who may operate with a reduced output next year, possibly like the 2009 specials, could this signal his swansong? And if so would it not make sense that his replacement was already being bought into the fold? After all it was May 2008 when the BBC announced he'd be the man taking over from Russel T Davies, almost two years before his first produced episode aired.

Moffat bidding goodbye to Doctor Who would certainly allow him more time for Sherlock and other projects, and one suspects that the head honchos at Auntie Beeb would love nothing more than to have RTD back in the hot seat, having been the man who handed the Corporation a worldwide money spinner that rivals 'three middle aged codgers driving around an airstrip in a collection of brightly coloured cars'.


Will he? Won't he? Davies pushing the buttons again could be just for those cursed by wishful thinking. Me? Personally I would love nothing more than to see Russel T Davies back at the controls of the TARDIS. There's some unfinished business to be done Mister!

So if the Moff heads off, no better man than he, call RTD.

Wow, that rhymed.

Script Writer, Poet, Blogger and junk television specialist. Half English, half Irish and half Alsatian, Tom is well known for insisting on being called Demetri for reasons best known to himself. A former film abuser and telly addict who shamefully skulks around his home town of Canterbury after dark dressed as Julie Andrews. Follow Tom on Twitter

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