While fans look to the near future for every piece of info they can find on the upcoming ninth series of Doctor Who, showrunner Steven Moffat is thinking a bit further ahead — about five years, to be exact.
“I thought it would last ten years,” he said to Radio Times about the sci-fi, whose modern-day reboot celebrates its decade anniversary on the BBC airwaves this year. “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!”
Though Moffat remarked on the unique difficulties the show brings, saying, “It’s not easy to find new people … [or] Doctors,” he and BBC head of drama Ben Stephenson see a bright future ahead for the popular show. “Because it’s such an amazing format, because you can constantly revive it and re-imagine it,” says Stephenson, “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 50 years.”
But don’t count on the show getting the silver-screen treatment in that time. Moffat spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the idea, noting one of the main obstacles is story approach. “We’re talking one of the biggest TV shows in the world. It can’t just be a medium-size movie – it’s gotta be a colossal movie.” Additionally, current Doctor Peter Capaldi wouldn’t likely be the protagonist. “How do we do it without leaching from the television series – which we’re not allowed to do, because Doctor Who is public funded? If it’s going to be a different Doctor, are we going to try and sell two Doctors at the same time? I know there’s been loads of Doctors, but there’s only been one at a time.”
But Moffat sides himself with the fans on a crossover between Doctor Who and his other BBC baby, Sherlock…though the producers and stars aren’t sold on the idea. “If people want it, we should give it to them. But I got persuaded by Mark [Gatiss], Benedict [Cumberbatch], Sue [Vertue] and Martin [Freeman] who said, ‘Look, it will never be as good as [fans] think it’s going to be.’”
Instead, Moffat is concentrating on the autumn premiere of Doctor Who’s ninth series, which, in refuting an earlier quote of his that implied a lighter, funnier air to the eponymous character, will reflect the same wit and solemnity series 8 did. “I told the [show’s] writers, don’t just write him mean, write him funny — because he’ll make any joke fly … Peter is getting stronger and more confident in the role.”