Coming off the news that Steven Moffat will be leaving as executive producer and showrunner of ‘Doctor Who’, the BBC has also announced that Season 10 of the series will be delayed until Spring 2017 with only the annual Christmas episode to air in 2016. The only other time the Beebs has decided not to run a full season was when it announced that Season 4 would only contain 4 episodes which culminated in David Tennant’s 10th Doctor regenerating into Matt Smith’s 11th.
Season 10 is said to be Moffat’s last season which he is currently writing. There is no word whether the Christmas episode will introduce a new companion but it has been promised that whoever will be replacing Jenna Coleman will be in place when the series returns in 2017.
Explaining why the delay, BBC1 Controller Charlotte Moore stated:
“I have decided to schedule Steven’s big finale series in Spring 2017 to bring the nation together for what will be a huge event on the channel. 2016 is spoilt with national moments including the Euros and Olympics and I want to hold something big back for 2017 – I promise it will be worth the wait!”
In other words, the BBC feels that the sporting events of Olympics and the UEFA European Championship (which could be akin to the U.S. March Madness and Super Bowl event except it determines the continental soccer champion of Europe) already boggles down the 2016 television schedule and ‘Doctor Who’ would get the best ratings if aired in 2017.
Luckily, Season 10 will have 12 episodes before the reins will be handed over to Chris Chibnall who will become head writer and executive producer when Season 11 launches in 2018. Whether there will be a new Doctor by then is hard to say, but if we look to the past as an example, when Moffat took over from Russell T. Davies he did so with a new Doctor and a new theme. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if Chibnall did the same when he comes in.
While news of a change in showrunners can be hard to accept (while some say it is about time for a change), the fact that Whovians will have to wait 11 months before seeing a new episode of ‘Doctor Who’ is a bit harsher to accept. But for now, there really isn’t much we can do about it… unless you have a mad man with a box (preferably a blue one) nearby.