Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat sat down with the press after the at the official Doctor Who Celebration at London’s Excel to answer questions on the 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor, the recent return of Eighth Doctor Paul McGann and where the future will take us. Digital Spy reports:

Warning: Contains Spoilers for The Day of the Doctor

On his decision to bring back the Doctor’s home planet Gallifrey, Moffat said

“It was about a year ago, I remember thinking, ‘What occasion in the Doctor’s life is the most important?’ – well, it’s the day he blew up Gallifrey. Then I tried to imagine what writing that scene would be like and I thought, ‘There’s kids on Gallifrey and he’s going to push the button? He wouldn’t!’ I don’t care what’s at stake, he’s not going to do it.

“So that was the story – of course he never did that, he couldn’t. He’s the Doctor – he’s the man who doesn’t do that. He’s defined by the fact that he doesn’t do that, whatever the cost, he will find another way. So it had to be the story of what really happened, that he’s forgotten. Of course he didn’t – he’s Doctor Who! He doesn’t do things like that!”

On the search for Gallifrey impacting on the future of Doctor Who

“He has the possibility of going home – he can find Gallifrey – but it might take him a while, who knows? And who knows what he’ll do when he gets there? Get bored and run away again, I would think! But he has a mission statement.  It was fascinating when Doctor Who first came back that he was this war survivor dealing with guilt and rage – that was his story. Of course, he slowly gets over that and then there’s a danger that he just becomes about… farting about a bit, which starts to take some of the baseline out of the show somehow. So we’ve given him something to pitch for.”

“It’s not like we’ll spend every episode saying, ‘I nearly found it!’ – we absolutely will not do that – but it gives him somewhere to go. The Doctor doesn’t know he’s a character in a television show – he doesn’t know he’s having adventures for our entertainment – he’s got to have something to do and that will be the thing he does.”

"How do you use a weapon of ultimate mass destruction when it can stand in judgement on you? There is only one man who would even try."

“How do you use a weapon of ultimate mass destruction when it can stand in judgement on you? There is only one man who would even try.”

I was expecting Billie Piper to return as companion Rose Tyler, and was pleasantly surprised to see her cast as the conscience of Gallifrey’s most terrible weapon, The Moment. We were spared from the sappy sort of rivalry we witnessed between Rose and Sarah-Jane in School Reunion. Rose instead made her return as “Bad Wolf”, in a wonderful Dickensian fashion, where she showed the Doctor the man he would become and the impact his decision would make on the future of the universe.

“I thought that the story of Rose – which is beautiful – was done.” said Moffat “I didn’t want to add to it and I didn’t feel qualified to – that was always Russell’s story. But we did want Billie. The way Russell ended it – going back to just before [she met the Doctor] was perfect. I didn’t want to stick another bit in – that would be wrong. But we wanted a way to get Billie Piper – one of the absolute heroes of Doctor Who – back in the show, without interfering with the story of Rose Tyler. I might’ve spoiled something!”

The mini-episode and prequel The Night of the Doctor, which succeeded in melting the internet, saw fans demanding a spin-off series for Eighth Doctor. The overwhelming response to the episode and the outpouring of love for the Eighth Doctor has surprised even actor and (technically) longest-running Eighth Doctor Paul McGann.


“This [50th anniversary] is a party time, so we’re doing things differently,” said Moffat. “One Doctor at a time is the real rule – ‘Who would be on the lunchbox?’ is always my question when we talk about having more than one Doctor.”

“I have a slight paranoia that at the moment it seems like every bugger’s playing the Doctor – more or less all of Equity!” he joked. “Quite soon, it’s going to go back to… ‘There is one Doctor and that’s who he is’ – he’s one man with many faces, he’s not a committee of people with unusual hair.”

This is hardly likely to dampen the enthusiasm of fans however, the online petition to bring back the Eighth Doctor has collected more than 16,600 signatures so far. I am sure that fans would fork out for more than one lunchbox. We could use some extra content if they decide to split a season into two as they did with Series 7 for example.  How about a web series?

We’ve been told that the Eighth Doctor is still the Eighth, and the Ninth the Ninth, and the War Doctor has no “number”, with Moffat saying “I’ve given you the option of not counting John Hurt numerically – he’s the War Doctor”. However there is still the question of the Doctor’s regeneration limit, which was introduced in Tom Baker story The Deadly Assassin. When questioned about it he teased

“Paul McGann turns into John Hurt so they’re not the same incarnation. He used up another regeneration and I expect he’ll be in trouble shortly – you can’t break rules laid down in The Deadly Assassin.”

I’m sure we won’t be complaining about whatever wild plot they decide on to overcome it, after all, we’re up for another fifty years of Doctor Who.

The God Complex

The Eleventh Doctor in The God Complex

When asked by an audience member at the Doctor Who 50th Celebration ‘what was in the Doctor’s room in The God Complex‘, Moffat replied: “Keep watching. We will come back to it.”

Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith then added: “Sooner that you think…”

The God Complex sees the Doctor, Amy and Rory trapped in a hotel where the corridors keep changing. The Doctor soon learns each room contains the greatest fear of someone who has been in the hotel. The contents of the Doctor’s room, number eleven, were not revealed to us but the TARDIS Cloister Bell was tolling. We can hear the same bell at the conclusion of the brief teaser trailer of The Time of the Doctor. We thought the Doctor had escaped his fate that day on Trenzalor with the help of his wife, River Song and the Impossible Girl Clara. But the fall of the Eleventh is near.

It’s all still waiting for you: the fields of Trenzalore, the fall of the Eleventh, and the question! The first question! The question that must never be answered, hidden in plain sight. The question you’ve been running from all your life. Doctor who? Doctor who? Doc-tor who?

All images ©BBC and Doctor Who

About The Author

Olga Hughes is currently pre-occupied with fairy tales, fantasy, misanthropy, medieval history and the long eighteenth century. She has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Victorian College of the Arts and is currently majoring in Literature and History at Deakin. She has contributed to websites such as History behind Game of Thrones, The Anne Boleyn Files and The Tudor Society.

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