Doctor Who - Who's Next?


Despite the news that Steven Moffat has signed up for series 10 of Doctor Who, Steve Taylor-Bryant isn't even waiting for series 9 to start before he looks for a replacement showrunner...

In my lifetime I cannot remember another television executive receiving the criticism and abuse endured by Doctor Who head honcho Steven Moffat. I'm no Moffat apologist, don't get me wrong, I can see flaws and issues, but can you think of an executive that gets the "social" network commentary that Moffat or his fan base has to tolerate? John Nathan Turner had his critics in the 1980's and if Twitter and the like were around then, maybe the levels would be similar but that's still thirty years ago. I have enjoyed Moffat's tenure in the main and think the highlights far outweigh the negatives but I am fully aware this is not the popular opinion. I really enjoyed the long story arcs that dominated Matt Smith's first few years and, with Smith, thought that little piece of casting was inspired, but appreciate that some fans like week to week differences and a not a year long build up to one final climax. My love for Moffat's reign was tested in series 8 because, whilst I adore Capaldi as the Doctor, the writing was more hit and miss than I was able to stomach (and I'm the guy that loves Elementary!) therefore trepidation fills my mind when talk turns to series 9. I firmly believe that, in the generations to come, Moffat's time will be looked back upon fondly by most, with an awful lot of "social" network users just looking for something to bitch at and, whilst the next series makes me nervous, all in all Steven Moffat has done some wonderful things during his days in the limelight.

However, time is no man's friend and marches on and I don't think he should have signed for a new series, allowing a new show runner to take the helm for series 10, if there is indeed a BBC left by Christmas! So the time to look forward is now, the planning should start here. Who should get Who?

My choices are as follows...

5 - Neil Gaiman

Never in a million millennia will this happen but it's my article so he's in the running. When I mentioned highlights in my introduction two of those were Nightmare in Silver and wonderfully Burton-esque The Doctors Wife. Gaiman is a fan as well as a truly inspiring, talented writer and I think we would get something close to what Douglas Adams could achieve were he alive today and given the budgets of the a modern day Doctor Who. Gaiman also collaborated well and I could honestly see a team of the best genre writers available queuing around the block to work on Gaiman Who.

4 - J.K. Rowling

Now, an admission - I have never read or seen Harry Wizard Face, but this does not mean I can't appreciate the scales to which Ms Rowling has dominated popular culture. Whilst wizards and sky hockey or whatever it's called aren't my thing, an imagination really is and Rowling appears to have it in spades. Her most popular series of books have transposes well to the big screen and I thoroughly enjoyed The Casual Vacancy which shows the words lend themselves to the television as well. It's also a name that should guarantee "social" network fiends would allow a honeymoon period and I wouldn't end up having to block so many trolls.


3 - Jed Mercurio

Line of Duty came out of nowhere to blow my socks off a couple of years ago and I then sought out everything Mercurio had done (yes when I find a good writer I get very stalkerish in my viewing behaviour) and I found a gem of a show called Bodies which had a similar effect on me that LoD had produced. I like Mercurio's dialogue, character creation, and the fact I could rarely second guess any outcome. Solid choice.

2 - Jane Goldman

Jane Goldman runs my first choice close and it's only her popularity amongst the big studios in Hollywood that stops her getting top spot. She just wouldn't do it I don't think. A look back on her writing credits shows originality, humour, complexity, and the all important one for the BBC - Success. Stardust, X-Men Days of Future Past, The Woman in Black, Kingsmen, all these titles across many genres have been remarkably well composed and show a dab hand at variety which is essential in modern day Doctor Who.

1 - Neil Cross

Some of my favourite episodes since Doctor Who came back were from the pen of Neil Cross and again, like Jane Goldman, Cross has extraordinary variety his armoury. Spooks, The Fixer and Luthor show he can handle the intricacies of modern television and The Rings of Akhaten and Hide show he "gets" Doctor Who. Cross is a clever writer but can tie up a plot within one episode very well and just seems to entertain with every line of dialogue as well drive plot and the like. I've enjoyed everything I've seen that Cross has penned and whilst Goldman may tip the scales, the BBC and Cross have a history and one I think could also be a future.

So there we have it, my two-penneth for what it's worth. Let me know your ideas in our comments section.

Images - BBC
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