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How do you leave a job that you love so much? Steven Moffat tells us why, after 13 years of writing Doctor Who stories, he’s written his very last one…


“ When you run with the Doctor, it feels like it will never end, but however hard you try, you can’t run forever.’’ RIVER SONG FOREST OF THE DEAD

Tom Spilsbury and Steven Moffat at the DWM issue 500 celebrations on 25 May 2016.

It’s the early evening of Tuesday 4 July 2017, and outside a bar in Cardiff Bay, a group of Doctor Who fans are sitting having a drink, chatting about Doctor Who. Nothing too unusual about that. But these fans include showrunner Steven Moffat, writer/actor Mark Gatiss, as well as myself and DWM writer Benjamin Cook. Half an hour ago, Mark finished recording his scenes for the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas Special, Twice Upon a Time. And in less than a week’s time, the cameras will capture Peter Capaldi’s final scenes. The Twelfth Doctor’s era will be over. Not only that, but the Steven Moffat era will be over. There’s still the small matter of the new Doctor and a regeneration, of course. But that’s in the future. Right now, none of us have any idea who the Thirteenth Doctor will be. That’s all down to incoming execs Chris Chibnall, Matt Strevens and the new team. Steven and Mark are as much in the dark as everyone else. Which is why we’re all busy, speculating away. For the first time in a long while, we can all just be fans, not knowing anything concrete about the show’s future, sharing our own wild theories…

Flashback to earlier that afternoon. Steven has agreed to do one last interview, for my final issue of DWM. “Shall we do the interview in the TARDIS?” he suggests. That sounds fun! Which one? There are two here at the moment. The Twelfth Doctor’s TARDIS is always here, of course – it’s a standing set – but the First Doctor’s TARDIS control room is around here somewhere too, beautifully recreated in loving detail for Twice Upon a Time. As it turns out, though, neither TARDIS is all that good for doing interviews. Not enough chairs. So in the end, we retire upstairs to a BBC Wales meeting room, where we can commandeer a sofa of reasonable comfort.

Reaching the finish line… Steven Moffat, Pearl Mackie and Peter Capaldi can relax after shooting finishes on The Doctor Falls.

So, Steven, how are you feeling now that your adventure in space and time is coming to an end? Back in issue 500, you told us that you were “so miserable” by the end of the 50th anniversary year in 2013 that you “couldn’t bear to let that be the end.” But since then, with the Peter Capaldi era, you seem to have been much happier?

“Certainly, doing Series Seven [2012/13] and the 50th… I’m not blaming anyone, but it did just get on top of me,” he admits. “But the three series I’ve done since, with Peter and Brian [Minchin, executive producer], they’ve been very happy. We’ve just had a really good time. I think as everyone knows, I was ready to leave at the end of Series Nine [2015], really. So this has been a ‘bonus’ year – which I didn’t mind. I wasn’t cross or anything! I started to say, ‘Maybe it’s time I moved on,’ and then I realised that Chris wasn’t available [to make a series for 2017], and I thought, ‘I’m perfectly happy to do another run.’”

With Chris Chibnall committed to making his third series of Broadchurch for ITV for 2017, the BBC asked Steven to stay on for one more series. The alternative might have been to have had no Doctor Who at all between Christmas 2015 and the autumn of 2018 – which would have been unthinkable! Feeling reinvigorated, Steven agreed to oversee one more run of the show, which, as it turned out, would also include the 2017 Christmas Special.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Contents include: • An in-depth interview with STEVEN MOFFAT, head writer and executive, who reflects on his years working on the series • STEVEN MOFFAT writes his last-ever PRODUCTION NOTES • A look back at 20 amazing things about the STEVEN MOFFAT era of DOCTOR WHO, plus tributes from RUSSELL T DAVIES, CHRIS CHIBNALL, MARK GATISS and many more • Part 2 of the DWM interview with DOCTOR WHO writer, actor and fan, MARK GATISS • A brand-new adventure for the Doctor and Bill in Part 1 of the latest comic strip story, THE PARLIAMENT OF FEAR by Scott Gray, with art by Staz Johnson • Reviews of the 2017 series finale WORLD ENOUGH AND TIME and THE DOCTOR FALLS • THE FACT OF FICTION looks at the Eleventh Doctor’s debut episode, 2010’s THE ELEVENTH HOUR • The latest DVDs and audios are reviewed • Previews of forthcoming releases • Prize-winning competitions, the 2017 SEASON SURVEY official news, the WOTCHA! column