While there appears to be little (if anything) in the way of an official celebration planned for the tenth anniversary of the modern version of ‘Doctor Who, ‘ fans nevertheless have plenty to be happy about.
In a recent interview with ‘Radio Times,’ current ‘Doctor Who’ showrunner Steven Moffat let slip that the BBC had confirmed to him that the show’s current run has been extended through at least 2020.
Moffat offered the following comments on the show’s longevity:
“I thought it would last ten years. I didn’t think it would last ten years with BBC Worldwide trying to get me in a room to talk about their plan for the next five years! It’s going to do a minimum of fifteen. I mean, it could do twenty-six!”
Moffat further noted that when he took over (five years and two Doctors ago!), the BBC expected the ratings to fall, but reiterated their support “so long as it’s a good show.” And yet, Moffat’s ‘Who’ defied these expectations, not only maintaining the impressive ratings of his predecessor, but reaching new heights overseas, including an unprecedented level of mainstream popularity in the United States.
BBC head of drama Ben Stephenson had this to add about the potential for ‘Doctor Who’ to continue beyond even the current five year expectation:
“Because it’s such an amazing format, because you can constantly revive it and re-imagine it, then as long as the people looking after it are passionate about it and the BBC is passionate about it, there’s absolutely no reason why it can’t do another fifty years.”
Longtime fans in particular are likely to find this a welcome change from the dark days of the 1980s, when BBC executives often seemed hostile to the show. That hostility culminated in the so-called “trial season,” which saw the Doctor on trial for his life in both real world and narrative terms. That season, the twenty-third of the show’s original run, came on the heels of a then-unprecedented eighteen month hiatus and ended with the show’s renewal being made contingent on the firing of incumbent Sixth Doctor Colin Baker. It was finally cancelled three years later.
The upcoming ninth season of ‘Doctor Who’ is expected to kick off sometime in the fall and will see the return of Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor and Jenna Coleman as his companion Clara Oswald.