New Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall will write the first words for Peter Capaldi’s replacement

Departing head writer Steven Moffat will let his successor decide the first thing that comes out of the new Doctor's mouth when Capaldi regenerates in the Christmas special

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This year’s Doctor Who Christmas special may be departing showrunner Steven Moffat’s swansong but it will be his replacement Chris Chibnall who has the last word…

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Moffat has elected to pass the baton in the same way that his predecessor Russell T Davies did to him by giving Chibnall the honour of writing the first piece of dialogue to come out of the mouth of his as-yet-unnamed new Doctor, who will appear when 13th Doctor Peter Capaldi regenerates at the end of the episode.

“I haven’t completely planned it, but I quite like the insanity of the fact this is a job you quit two pages before you type ‘End Titles’,” Moffat told Empire magazine.

Davies extended the same courtesy when he exited the show together with Tenth Doctor David Tennant, letting incoming showrunner Moffat pen Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith’s first words, which concluded Davies and Tennant’s final episode.

“Legs, I’ve still got legs. Good. Arms, hands. Ooh, fingers, lots of fingers. Ears, yes. Eyes, two. Nose, I’ve had worse. Chin, blimey. Hair, I’m a girl! No, no, I’m not a girl. And still not ginger! And there’s something else… something important… I’m, I’m, I’m — (loud explosion) ha! Crashing! Ha, ha! Whoo-hoo-hoo! Geronimo!”

And despite a new writer putting words in his mouth, Moffat insists that very little changes about the Doctor beyond his outward appearance: “The Doctor doesn’t go anywhere. He gets a new face and that’s all that happens.”

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Whose face that will be remains to be seen, but with Tilda Swinton among the bookies’ favourites, it’s possible the Doctor finally could be both a girl and ginger…