Steven Moffat: “I think TV Scheduling Is Going To Disappear”

As the concept of a television schedule becomes more and more tenuous thanks to the ever-changing way in which audiences absorb their favourite shows, Steven Moffat has been chatting about the possibility of Doctor Who fans being able to binge-watch a whole series of the show.

Speaking to Digital Spy, Steven Moffat, who is stepping down as showrunner this Christmas, was asked what his response would have been if the BBC had requested to ‘drop’ the entirety of Doctor Who series 10 on iPlayer.

Moffat laughed:

“We hadn’t finished them! When ‘The Pilot’ went out we only had two more episodes ready. ‘The Doctor Falls’ was delivered two or three days before it went out on air. I would have said, ‘In your dreams!'”

Considering the possibility, he said:

“I would listen to wiser heads. I think television is changing massively. I think the idea of dropping a whole series and letting people find it, letting people watch it and binge it – I think it’s coming. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.

“People are showing a marked preference for bingeing, we all are. I just binged my way through The Good Place. I just absolutely adored that. It just ran out instantly and I’m very resentful I have to wait now!”

Looking ahead to the future, Moffat added:

“I think the day is coming, I don’t see how it can be stopped. Because the audience are actually in control and the audience are demonstrating a preference.

“I think TV scheduling is going to disappear.”

But before all of that there’s the small matter of this year’s Christmas Special, Twice Upon a Time, which will see both Steven Moffat and the Twelfth Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi, depart the show.

The special will air on Christmas Day on BBC One… for now at least.

  • DonnaWho?

    I am going to miss Steven and Peter very much. They have both brought their amazing talents to Doctor Who and left us and the show a wonderful, lasting legacy.

    • DonnaM

      Totally agree. I’ve adored the last few series and have no doubt I will be re-watching over many years to come.

  • Rick714

    I think DW would be a natural for a complete series drop and binge. ‘Course, *where* it drops would be the big determiner. I have Netflix and massively enjoy the Marvel shows like Daredevil and the Defenders, etc. Thing is, I have no intention of buying any of the other streaming services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, CBS, Disney (when that starts), etc.

    All these companies are getting the urge to lock their stuff up on streaming services, thinking people can cut their cable cord and save money. But if you start buying a dozen different streaming services, you save nothing and might end up paying more. Hell, is iPlayer even available to the USA? No way they’d totally cut out the international audience.

    I’d probably wait until DW eventually comes out on DVD if that happens. It’d be a long wait, maybe a year….but we’re used to that by now. Or, out of sight, out of mind and my beloved show would fade from view. 🙁

    • ColeBox

      Judging by your likes there, Rick, I think you may have to swap a couple of your streaming services. Seeing that Disney own Marvel, will they take the rights of producing superhero series away from Netflix, when the Disney channel starts?

      • Rick714

        They’d gone back and forth on that but Disney ultimately decided just the other day that the Marvel Netflix shows would stay on Netflix—which makes sense considering the adult nature of them. Wouldn’t be that seamless of a fit in disney. But if they did move to Disney, I’d just buy the DVD sets.

  • ColeBox

    The biggest problem for me – and this has been an issue for a long time now – is that I have got to the point where I wonder if it is worth getting into any new series. I have been caught-out too many times where I have enjoyed a programme, on a weekly schedule, only to find it gets axed without an ending. Keeping this on-topic, a show like Class was dropped into iPlayer but then axed. If this were a stand-alone mini-series, then all is okay, but if this were meant to be a continuing adventure series then there is the likelihood of an uncompleted cliff-hanger-ending without conclusion (still with me, I’ll get to the point in a moment).

    We then have a strange situation where streaming services like Netflix have incomplete series to watch; ITV’s Whitechapel for example. What is the point of a binge watch when one knows it isn’t finished? I would like to think that these streaming services would at least be a bit more caring of their audience, but I won’t hold my breath.

  • Sarah

    I don’t intend to watch Chibnall’s DW except by binge-watching; if DVDs still exist and S11 has a release date in that format, I may catch it that way. (If I watch it at all, I don’t want fandom’s influence. I loved Capaldi’s Doctor and reading all the venomous hatred because he wasn’t Tennant or Smith, or Moffat was involved, was effing exhausting. Done with it, don’t want to care.) I’m looking forward more to SyFy’s “The Expanse” S3. (I ended up watching S1 on DVD, then tried to remember to follow S2 on-air, but forgot until it was mostly done, so ended up binging that on DVD, too.)

  • Planet of the Deaf

    I think the show gains a lot from the publicity, social media comments etc after each episode.

    And while it might be nice to have the next episode immediately to watch, it’s also good to have time to digest an episode properly, to rewatch it and discuss it properly before moving on.