Steven Moffat revealed that he stuck around until this year’s Christmas special because the BBC might have scrapped the festive episode.
Moffat, who will be succeeded by Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall after this year’s Christmas special, Twice Upon a Time, had never intended to bow out with the special, which will also see Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor regenerate into Jodie Whittaker.
Moffat told Digital Spy:
“There was one big glitch, which was Christmas. I was going to leave at the end of series 10 – I had my finale planned and what I wanted to do with it. I had a good notion of that.
“Then I learned at a drinks event somewhere that Chris didn’t want to start with a Christmas, so at that point they were going to skip Christmas. There’d be no Christmas special and we would’ve lost that slot.”
He went on to suggest that if he had given up the Christmas special, the Beeb might have scraped the episode from the already-congested Christmas schedule.
“Doctor Who would’ve lost that slot if we hadn’t [done a special] because Christmas Day is now so rammed. So I said, probably four glasses of red wine in, ‘I’ll do Christmas!’ and then had to persuade Peter [Capaldi] that’s how we were leaving.
“Then I had to work out how you could get mortally injured in one episode and spend an hour regenerating on Christmas Day, which I hopefully have done!”
While the changeover might appear smooth on the surface, the actual switch over between showrunners has been “incredibly prosaic” in many ways.
“It’s like handing over any job. Though Chris was incredibly, and is incredibly, fastidious about not wanting to seem to lurk behind me, ready to knife me in the back!
“I never felt that – he was absolutely welcome to be there any time he wanted, I had no problem with it all. He’s a good friend.”
Doctor Who will return on Christmas Day with Twice Upon a Time on BBC One.