Doctor Who will run for at least another five years, according to Steven Moffat in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine.
In the new issues, #485, out now, the showrunner recalls that the BBC had enough faith in the show even if ratings plummeted as they predicted in 2010 to keep it going:
“Ten years on, our ratings are pretty much the same. Actually, internationally, bigger. No show does that! You’re meant to go down! Doctor Who just stays. It’s extraordinary!
“When I first took it over, the BBC said to me, ‘We’ve done all our calculations. The ratings will now fall. Expect to lose quite a bit. We don’t mind that. We’re going to keep it going. So long as it’s a good show we won’t mind if the ratings stop being quite as amazing as they were. That’s absolutely fine.’ And they didn’t. They pretty much stayed the same.”
Most pleasingly, however, is the BBC’s insistence to keep the show on air, and Steven reveals that the corporation has long-term plans:
“I thought it would last ten years. 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! So it’s going to do a minimum of 15. I mean, it could do 26! It’s not easy to find new people. It’s not easy to find new Doctors. That could be the danger – that you start to think that it’s easy. There’s nothing easy about doing Doctor Who.”
What’s interesting here, putting aside the joyous hope for the future, is that former showrunner, Russell T Davies, thought the show would only last one year (hence why Series 1 was so amazing), whereas Moffat predicted a longer reign.
So there we have it: at least another 5 years for the Doctor and the TARDIS. That’s reassuring, particularly as, in the past, news about recommissioning was not forthcoming, leaving many fans worried that each finale would be the last. We’ve not really had that concern recently: even though the Beeb rarely announce these things for Doctor Who, Moffat constantly talks about the future of the show, so we’ve sort of had it easy. Nonetheless, this is certainly welcome news.
BBC Head of Drama Commissioning, Ben Stephenson, also sheds some light on why he thinks Doctor Who lasts on TV:
“The brilliant thing about Doctor Who is that it’s so adjustable. It doesn’t have to be ‘There are 13 episodes and they start in September’. Of course, the fans want it to keep coming back with regularity but we could choose, as they did with David Tennant, to do a year of Specials. I’m not saying we’re planning that, because we plan to keep it regularly in the schedules. But because it’s such an amazing format, because you can constantly revive it and re-imagine it, 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.”
Personally, I think it’s so ingrained in the nation’s consciousness that even those who don’t watch it have memories from their childhood. And everyone knows what a TARDIS is, who the Doctor is, what a Time Lord is, who the Daleks are…
This obviously is fantastic news. It’s also great to hear the BBC has such faith in the show after its tempestuous past.
Doctor Who Magazine #485 is out now.