Shhhh! Can you keep a secret? No, I didn’t think so. And it appears that Steven Moffat doesn’t think anyone else can keep a secret, either. Oh, sure, he wanted to keep the fact that Peter Capaldi was leaving as quiet as possible for as long as possible, but he just knew that it wouldn’t remain that way and someone would let the cat out of the bag. So, with this in mind, he recently told SFX magazine about his desire to have kept it secret until at least mid way through the run of Series 10 so the news could have caused a ratings spike to counter the lull that happens as people drift off.
It certainly would have got people talking and watching! In an ideal world, he’d have preferred to keep it secret until the regeneration happened. Moffat said:
“I’d far rather nobody knew until the regeneration. That would be so exciting. But we just can’t do it… In terms of announcing that Peter was leaving we had to make a difﬁcult calculation… We didn’t want it to leak the week before we put the show on… He’s here till Christmas. He is the Doctor.”
I’d have to agree – that would have been a real coup and an incredible accomplishment, not to mention the WOW factor for the story itself. It’s just a real shame that in our always on, always connected interweb world you just can’t keep anything secret.
However, as it transpired, they decided to break the news on the Jo Whiley show in January in good time to let the dust settle after the bombshell landed so people (real people, not us fans) could get over it and just watch the show when it returns in April. Us fans, however, will continue to speculate wildly until we hear that Phoebe Waller-Bridge is officially announced as Capaldi’s replacement!
Moffat also bemoans the fact that, with this news out in the open long before Series 10 even starts, it will overshadow his last season – Capaldi still has a third of his tenure to run and there will be the constant background noise of “Who’s next” with people looking forward rather than concentrating on what’s in front of them. Again, this is a big shame as I believe he’s been great as the Doctor, just suffering from some lacklustre writing at times.
The last third of Capaldi’s tenure begins on 15th April 2017 with The Pilot.