doctor who steven moffat john hurt matt smith david tennant jenna coleman

The end’s not here, but it is near. After twelve years with the show (eight of which were spent as showrunner), Steven Moffat is leaving ‘Doctor Who’. With the end in sight, this would seem to be the perfect time for Moffat to reflect on his tenure with the show. And in a wide-ranging interview with the Radio Times, he did just that. Among many other things, in the course of the interview, Moffat revealed what he considers his greatest casting coup as showrunner.

“It has to be John Hurt. That was awesome,” says Moffat. Hurt, of course, played the War Doctor, a heretofore unknown incarnation of the Doctor, and the one that fought in the Time War. Though his appearance was fleeting (a cameo in the seventh season finale ‘The Name of the Doctor’ and a substantial role in ‘The Day of the Doctor’), Hurt nonetheless made an impression with his take on the Time Lord and would continue to reprise the role in Big Finish’s audio dramas until his death earlier this year.

Moffat then elaborated on Hurt’s casting, adding:

“When we knew that Chris Eccleston wasn’t going to be in the 50th, I came up with the idea – to my own horror – of the extra Doctor what we didn’t know about and I wrote a direction in the script: “…and the most famous actor in the world turns round.” And who else could it have been? Not Brad Pitt – not that we could have got him – no one would accept him as the Doctor, brilliant though he is. If John had said no, I don’t know what we’d have done.”

Moffat will bid farewell to ‘Doctor Who’ – with which he has been involved as both a staff writer and showrunner since its 2005 revival – with this year’s Christmas special, ‘Twice Upon A Time’. The special, which will culminate in the regeneration of Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor, is also set to feature Pearl Mackie, David Bradley, and Mark Gatiss. The outgoing star and showrunner will be succeeded by Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall, respectively.

Be sure to check back with for more news on both ‘Twice Upon a Time’ and the upcoming eleventh season of ‘Doctor Who’ as it becomes available!