Steven Moffat is rewriting Doctor Who folklore to produce a Christmas cracker

The end of Matt Smith at Christmas should mean the end of Doctor Who - but canny old Steven Moffat's moved the goalposts, says Mark Jefferies

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Steven Moffat is rewriting Doctor Who folklore to produce a Christmas cracker
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Most Doctor Who diehard fans, or Whovians as they're better known, are still digesting The Day Of The Doctor after watching it a second or third time on the BBC's iPlayer.

But after chatting to executive producer Steven Moffat at the weekend, it is clear he is already moving the story on at a rapid pace and making sure he leaves his mark on the sci-fi series forever.

As Whovians will know, ever since the 1976 episode The Deadly Assassin it has been taken as fact that a Doctor can only regenerate twelve times in a cycle, allowing thirteen incarnations.

Officially until now, Matt Smith has been the 11th Doctor, meaning fans have started to wonder what will happen in 5-10 years time when we reach 13 after Peter Capaldi.

But Moffat has moved the goalposts, or perhaps more aptly stuck his own sonic screwdriver into the history of the show and given it a big twist.

On Saturday he told me Matt is actually the 13th and final doctor. John Hurt is officially now a doctor and David Tennant used up an extra regeneration during his stay.

In essence, the end of Matt at Christmas should mean the end of Doctor Who.

Where this leaves Peter Capaldi is unclear. But what Moffat would say is: "The 12 regenerations limit is a central part of Doctor Who mythology - science fiction is all about rules, you can't just casually break them.

"So if the Doctor can never change again, what's Peter Capaldi doing in the Christmas special?"

The other thing I know is that Matt's Doctor will talk of "dying" in an emotional speech on December 25.

Throw in Capaldi's first scenes on the show after a tiny cameo on Saturday and you have got a Christmas cracker that could be as eagerly anticipated as The Day of the Doctor.

Love or hate Moffat, Whovians are certainly going to remember his time in charge.

Mark Jefferies is deputy showbiz and TV Editor at the Daily Mirror