After six seasons as "Doctor Who" head writer and showrunner, Steven Moffat will step away from the TARDIS and hand over the keys to Chris Chibnall. Chibnall had previously served as a head writer for Who spinoff "Torchwood" as well as several Who episodes himself. Most prominently, he's been the showrunner for "Broadchurch" which is nearly universally acclaimed and showcases former Tenth Doctor David Tennant in one of its lead roles.
For Moffat fans, his departure will not be exactly swift. We will get an entire tenth season, but not until Spring 2017, after which Chibnall will take over the series for 2018. In 2016, the only new Who we'll get is a Moffat-penned Christmas special. We will, however, be getting eight episodes of the new spinoff "Class", set in Clara Oswald's former school, sometime this year.
Moffat was as eloquent (overwrought, his critics might say) as ever in announcing his departure: “Feels odd to be talking about leaving when I’m just starting work on the scripts for season 10, but the fact is my timey-wimey is running out. While Chris is doing his last run of Broadchurch, I’ll be finishing up on the best job in the universe and keeping the TARDIS warm for him. It took a lot of gin and tonic to talk him into this, but I am beyond delighted that one of the true stars of British Television drama will be taking the Time Lord even further into the future. At the start of season 11, Chris Chibnall will become the new showrunner of Doctor Who. And I will be thrown in a skip.”
Those unfamiliar with Chibnall really ought to check out "Broadchurch." At least the first season is well worth your time. His Who-niverse writing credits include real time spaceship falling into the sun episode "42", underground reptilian race episode arc "The Hungry Earth" / "Cold Blood", the aptly titled "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", and the Amy-Rory domestic comedy about evil omnipresent tech "The Power of Three". He also wrote some of Torchwood's best episodes, "Day One", "Cyberwoman", "Countrycide", "End of Days", "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang", "Adrift", "Fragments", and maybe the best episode ever "Exit Wounds".
As for what this means for the future of Who, tell us what you think? Love him or hate him, Moffat always elicited a reaction.
For more discussion and coverage of this, please stay tuned to the Doctor Who Virgin podcast, where we dissect all aspects of the show and are sure to dive into this head first. We're never short of opinions on Moffat.