BBC Wales and BBC Drama has announced that Bafta and Hugo Award winning writer Steven Moffat will succeed Russell T Davies as Lead Writer and Executive Producer of the fifth series of Doctor Who, which will broadcast on BBC One in 2010.
Moffat has penned some of the series' most unforgettable and acclaimed episodes - including Blink with its terrifying Weeping Angels, for which he was awarded the Bafta Writer Award 2008 on Sunday 11th May. His previous work on Doctor Who includes The Girl in the Fireplace for Series Two, which earned him his second Hugo Award.
His first was for the Series One two-parter The Empty Child, which became famous for its terrifying refrain 'Are you my mummy?'For the current series, Moffat has written Silence in the Library, a two parter starring Alex Kingston which transmits on 31st May and 7th June 2008 on BBC One.Steven's career began with the landmark ITV children's drama Press Gang in 1989, for which he won his first Bafta. Coupling, the hugely popular and award winning sitcom he created and wrote for BBC Two, began in 2000 and ran for four seasons. Jekyll, his six part thriller starring James Nesbitt and Michelle Ryan, transmitted on BBC One last year.
Steven will continue as one of the directors on the board of Hartswood Films which produced Coupling and Jekyll, where he is also working on his new comedy Adam & Eve with wife Sue Vertue. He has just delivered the screenplay for Tintin, the first instalment of the trilogy of films featuring the iconic Belgian comic-strip hero, to Steven Spielberg who will direct it for DreamWorks. Thomas Sangster and Andy Serkis will star.
"My entire career has been a Secret Plan to get this job," said Steven Moffat. "I applied before but I got knocked back cos the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven. Anyway, I'm glad the BBC has finally seen the light, and it's a huge honour to be following Russell into the best - and the toughest - job in television. I say "toughest" cos Russell's at my window right now, pointing and laughing."
"It's been a delight and an honour working with Steven," said Russell T Davis, "I can't wait to see where his extraordinary imagination takes the Doctor. Best of all, I get to be a viewer again, watching on a Saturday night!"
"BBC Wales is very proud of Doctor Who's phenomenal success," added Menna Richards, Controller, BBC Wales. "Steven Moffat is an extraordinary talent and we are very much looking forward to him joining the Doctor Who team."
Jane Tranter, Controller BBC Fiction, added her praise. "Scripts and writers are at the heart of what BBC Drama is all about, and especially at the heart of Doctor Who. The past four series have been brilliantly helmed by the spectacularly talented Russell T Davies. As lead writer and executive producer, he has overseen the creative direction and detail of the 21st century relaunch of Doctor Who and we are delighted to have his continued presence on the specials over the next 18 months.
"But the challenge and excitement of the fifth series is now being handed to Steven Moffat. The Tardis couldn't be in safer hands. Steven's talents on both Doctor Who and beyond are well known. He is a writer of glittering brilliance, comedy and depth, with an extraordinary imagination and a unique voice. Steven has a wonderful mix of being a committed Doctor Who fan and a true artist, and his plans for the next series are totally thrilling."
The announcement follows the news that Piers Wenger will take over the role of Executive Producer from Julie Gardner on Series Five of Doctor Who.
"The challenge of taking Doctor Who to a new future is a huge and thrilling one and BBC Wales is blessed to have someone with Steven's extraordinary talent in charge," said Piers." His imagination and creativity have already given birth to some of the series' most unforgettable monsters though in this instance no one need fear; Time, space and the future of The Doctor are safe with him."
Wenger and Moffat are already working closely together on the planning of the series.
Series four has achieved some of the show's highest audience figures to date and forthcoming episodes feature a stellar line up of guests including Lesley Sharp, Lindsey Coulson, Alex Kingston, Colin Salmon and Michael Brandon. Freema Agyeman and Billie Piper - The Doctor's two former companions - have also returned to assist The Doctor in series four.
Doctor Who will return in 2009 with four specials, and the full length fifth series is currently scheduled to be broadcast on BBC One in Spring 2010
Steven Moffat Reaction
By Christian Cawley
May 20, 2008 | 5.45 pm
News of Steven Moffat's role as Doctor Who Executive Producer and chief writer has spread beyond The Guardian, with the BBC confirming the news and websites breaking the news in a wholly positive light.
Russell T Davies complemented his replacement - writer of The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink and The Empty Child - noting:
"It's been a delight and an honour working with Steven, and I can't wait to see where his extraordinary imagination takes the Doctor. Best of all, I get to be a viewer again, watching on a Saturday night!"
Moffat was similarly ebullient, and slyly revealed it was all part of his plan...
"My entire career has been a secret plan to get this job. I applied before but I got knocked back because the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven.
"Anyway, I'm glad the BBC has finally seen the light, and it's a huge honour to be following Russell into the best - and the toughest - job in television."
BBC Head of Programming Jane Tranter thanked Russell T Davies for his unrivalled work on Doctor Who:
"As lead writer and executive producer, he has overseen the creative direction and detail of the 21st century re-launch of Doctor Who and we are delighted to have his continued presence on the specials over the next 18 months,"
So - what does it all mean? Well short-term, Russell remains in charge of Doctor Who for the series of specials in 2009, before the series returns under Steven Moffat in 2010. New producer, new decade - new Doctor? Time will tell on that one...