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So Long, Steven Moffat, And Thanks For All The Fish

As the second epoch of ‘new’ Doctor Who ends, I want to say thank you to Steven Moffat OBE for all that you have done. Those the masses generally wavered between loving them and hating them, you still gave us some of the greatest stories ever and guided us through seven years – not to mention three Doctors and some glorious TARDIS Interiors.
You’re earned Gold Stars for Blink, The Day Of The Doctor, and The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances; Silver Stars for The Girl in the Fireplace, A Christmas Carol, and Listen; and a Bronze for The Impossible Astronaut/ Day of the MoonHeaven Sent and Twice Upon A Time get a mention in dispatches.
I thank you also for bringing to us the wonders and delights of Vincent and the Doctor by Richard Curtis, The Doctor’s Wife by Neil Gaiman, Mummy On The Orient Express and Flatline, both by Jamie Mathieson. All works of genius that we might never have seen, had you not commissioned them.
An additional thank you for attempting to fix Russell T. Davies’s forgetting the Seventh Doctor was 953 at his beginning by giving the Ninth Doctor “Nine hundred years of phone box travel”.
You are forgiven for The Beast Below, Deep Breath, and Last Christmas (although mileage may vary), and we will try our best to forget you brought to us In The Forest Of The Night. I mean, even Verity Lambert gave us The Web Planet!
I hope that you do decide to write ‘just one more episode’, maybe in a few years when fans have decided that the world according to 42, The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood, Dinosaurs On A Spaceship, and The Power Of Three is not as rosy and PC as they seem to expect, and when the institution itself decides that the Doctor needs to go back to tradition.
So thanks Steven. A great time was had by all, and with that, your epoch is at an end. It’s all over.
And now it’s down to you, DWC readers. Which episodes from Steven Moffat’s reign as showrunner are you most grateful for? Which are best left forgotten? And should Moffat return one day, to script another serial, albeit under a different showrunner?

Paul Cheesman

12 thoughts on “So Long, Steven Moffat, And Thanks For All The Fish

  1. The Moffat episodes of the RED era stand among the best of those years for me, and I long ago forgave the (to my very personal mind) painfully infantile characterisation of the Eleventh Doctor given the sharper more acerbic quiet emotionalism of the Twelfth. For Capaldi, Coleman, Mackie and even Lucas, grateful thanks, Mr M!
    Among the later stories – Heaven Sent; The Magician’s Appreciate/The Witch’s Familiar; Dark Water; and Extremis. Also the addition of Mathieson and Dollard to the writing staff. Yes there were some duds – every era has ’em – but the gems more than compensate for me.

  2. The Moff’s stories throughout the RTD era were definitely a hilite, especially the first three years. I thought series 5, 6 and the first half of 7 were well done, and can only surmise that he lost all sense of quality control on the second half of 7 and Time of the Doctor. Thankfully, he surpassed himself with Night and Day of the Doctor.
    I thought Capaldi was at his strongest in series 8 when he had the edge and attitude, but I felt that Tennant and Smith were also at their best during their respective first seasons too, before they got “comfortable” as well.
    Interestingly, both RTD and the Moff excel at first eps for their Doctors, providing great intros with Christmas Invasion, Eleventh Hour and Deep Breath……yet both usually deliver lame final adventures — The End of Time, Time of the Doctor and Twice Upon a Time. Maybe it’s matter of trying to do the ending too BIG? Too drawn out? Because all the new era Doctors suffered from things being way too overblown…..
    Except Eccleston. When it came time for him to regenerate, he made a quip and boom–he changed. No five minute speeches, no stretching out the regen to say goodbye to everyone, no destroying of Dalek motherships or stretching it out for an additional Christmas special. I think Eccleston may have had the best send off of any of them.
    Anyway, thanks Steven. You kept the home fires burning…..

    1. Chris’s regeneration was the best one as the story was a finale, rather than a regeneration story! Then Chris decided to walk, so it was quickly adapted…
      As he was a one series Doctor there was less need to tie up the ends and give him a “fitting exit” too which helped

      1. Yeah, the end result was a nice, clean, surprising departure for him like the classic era but things just kept escalating after Chris left. Part of the problem in some cases is that the showrunner’ anxiety about leaving is showing (Tennant’s End of Time tantrum/crying, or jamming as much classic Who and the 1st Doctor as possible into TUAT) or some convoluted last minute restructuring of a Christmas special because you found out at the eleventh hour that your lead actor was leaving (the bizarre, confusing addition of Tasha Lem to TOTD, who for all intents and purposes had the all too similar character tendencies of River).

    2. “Maybe it’s matter of trying to do the ending too BIG?”
      So true, that is probably why The Caves Of Androzani is the best regeneration story ever. No universal threat whatsoever, just the Doctor trying his best to save some earth girl he barely knows while dealing with some drug dealers. The show doesn’t seem to recognise anymore that sometimes less is better.

      1. Agreed on “Caves”. And of course it was the magnificent Robert Holmes, so that counts for a lot. A shame he didn’t get the chance to write any other regen stories. But you’re absolutely right—he died saving a relative stranger—a small event and powerful as all hell.

        1. Holmes, even to this day, is the undesputed king of Who writing! We can only imagine what would have been if he didn’t sadly die when he did and went on to do his best to wrap up The Trial Of A Time Lord. I bet “Carrot Juice” wouldn’t have been the final words of Sixy.

          1. Also of Blake’s 7 – Orbit stands out head and shoulders above the rest. Holmes’ classic double acts, followable plot, strong characters, humour, and suddenly a knife through the heart.

  3. “You are forgiven for The Beast Below, Deep Breath, and Last Christmas ” – The latter two are both excellent episodes, I loved watching Deep Breath in the Leicester Square cinema, while Last Christmas is still one of my favourite stories, full stop
    I don’t think Moff has written any bad episodes. Flawed ones maybe, but there’s usually enough good bits to make them worth their existence. He has perhaps been slightly guilty of repeating himself (certain Moffish themes do tend to come back), but that is forgivable and understandable. I don’t think he’ll come back, I don’t think he should either, he’s done more than enough already and deserves the clean break.
    The only criticism I would make about his era is the inability to maintain the regular production schedule year after year. Every series after S5 has shown some sort of slippage in terms of its scheduling. Sadly this has continued with the first Chibnall series

  4. Simply, for me there are two episodes that I am most grateful for:
    Night of the Doctor: for bringing back McGann even though it was fleeting. We now have the Eighth Doctor bookended. Also, (arguably) it canonised Big Finish’s Eighth Doctor output. Although, that doesn’t ultimately matter, but it was a nice gesture nonetheless.
    Day of the Doctor: pitched just right at a time when it was wonderful to be a Doctor Who fan.

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So Long, Steven Moffat, And Thanks For All The Fish

by Paul Cheesman time to read: 2 min
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