He really didn’t want to go.
Steven Moffat’s recent departure from ‘Doctor Who’ has prompted a measure of reflection on his tenure, not only among fans but from the man himself. It’s also brought with it some interesting revelations about the road not traveled. For example, Moffat revealed in an interview with the Doctor Who Fan Show that he gave serious thought to leaving several years earlier, alongside Matt Smith. It was only the casting of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor that changed his mind.
As Moffat explained, that was in part because he began his tenure as showrunner by introducing Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor. But in the same interview, the writer revealed that even that was very nearly not the case. As Moffat was plotting his first season at the helm, Tennant apparently began to have second thoughts about his decision to leave. That being the case, Moffat took the time to sit down with Tennant and walk him through a version of the season that included the Tenth Doctor. He then shared a brief outline of the proposed season:
“My version of that series would be that the David Tennant Doctor would crash into the back garden about to regenerate, and little Amelia would help him back to the TARDIS and he’d fly off. Then she’d meet him again, when she grew up, but he’d have no memory of that because we come to realize that was the Doctor from the future – we’d make our way through the series to the point where the Doctor gets back to that.”
That pitch is particularly interesting, as it seems as though a Tennant-starring fifth season would have been essentially “Matt Smith’s first season… but with a twist.” In any case, as Moffat tells it, Tennant was tempted and “thought very hard” about the offer before ultimately deciding to leave with Russel T. Davies. And the rest, of course, is history.
Would you have liked to see Moffat’s alternate version of the fifth season play out, or are you happy with David Tennant’s exit as it played out? Let us know in the comments!
The first season of ‘Doctor Who’ following Moffat’s departure will air later this year, though the BBC has yet to announce a premiere date. Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more ‘Doctor Who’ coverage as the premiere approaches.