It’s Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary in 2013, and Whovians are already excitedly speculating about multiple Doctors returning for an ensemble episode – but according to showrunner Steven Moffat there might well also be multiple episodes to mark the BBC sci-fi show’s half-centenary.
“Why talk in the singular?” said Moffat, when asked by The Scotsman about the upcoming anniversary episode. “The plans are at an early stage, but we have some very clear ideas about some of the things we’re doing, and I think Doctor Who fans and kids will think it’s the best thing ever. We’ve got a load of very big plans – the mere fact that we’re talking about this two years before the event should tell you how seriously we’re taking it.”
And although Moffat refused to give anymore away about the 2013 show(s), he was keen to dispel recent rumours about a big budget Hollywood film version of Doctor Who which some have speculated may be totally disconnected from traditional Who canon.
“It’s completely inaccurate!” said Moffat. “There’s nothing there. I mean it would be lovely, yes. If anything, the only good bit about this is that it might actually focus our minds on thinking that we actually should do a film.
“It’s not going to be a different version of Doctor Who with two different Doctors at the same time. Of course not, we’re not that silly. That would be no way to run a franchise, would it? I’d love it to happen, but that version you heard was just a guy getting cornered on the red carpet and not really being on-message.”
But with a new series of Sherlock in the offing and the continuing pressures of stewarding Doctor Who, Moffat was happy to admit that his current job isn’t easy.
“I never find any time to relax,” he said. Explaining that it’s not the programme’s themselves that he finds it difficult to deal with, “but all the stuff that surrounds it, [it] can be… not so much bad as relentless. I have one of those jobs that a lot of people have, where I check my emails in the morning with trepidation. You know, is there a bomb in here, what am I unwrapping today? But in the main I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t love it.”
Having taken on the Doctor and Sherlock Holmes, Moffat said he’d ruled himself out of re-inventing another beloved fictional hero: James Bond.
“When Mark [Gatiss, co-creator of Sherlock] and I get together we discuss Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, and I keep saying, ‘Oh, we can’t do James Bond because there has to be something left that’s still fiction for us!’ I love those films, but I think I shouldn’t write that because then I’ll ruin James Bond for myself.”
But although Doctor Who dominates his life at the moment, Moffat said he can clearly envisage giving up his dream job.
“I genuinely haven’t got a plan,” he said, “except I’ll probably have to stop at some point or I’ll die. And dying would be bad. But my main concern is not so much how long I do it, but that I absolutely, definitely am going to be handing it on to somebody else. I want it to be in great shape, and some day I want somebody else to come in and knock my socks off with what they do with it. You don’t want to be the last person in the relay race, do you?”