In his 12 years writing for Doctor Who, and nine in charge of the show, Steven Moffat has enriched the Whoniverse with fantastic new characters and monsters, countless dramatic additions to the Time Lord’s history and some of the best episodes of the modern era.
As a lifelong fan of Doctor Who, Moffat’s last Doctor Peter Capaldi has brought all the requisite passion, humour and fun to his portrayal of the Time Lord but also four decades of acting experience, meaning that when the scripts demand gravitas and range, it’s there in spades.
As Moffat and Capaldi prepare to depart the show, we’ve asked readers of RadioTimes.com to vote for their greatest contributions to the series. After tens of thousands of votes, these are the results…
Steven Moffat’s best Doctor Who Story: Blink
With a Bafta-winning script, and a guest role for future Hollywood star Carey Mulligan, this “timey-wimey” Doctor-light episode from 2007 sees David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor leaving a series of cryptic messages at the end of DVD movies. Oh yes, and it introduces us to the terrifying Weeping Angels…
This was one of the closer polls, with Blink a worthy winner but series nine double-bill finale Heaven Sent/Hell Bent and 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor both deserving of honourable mentions…
2. Heaven Sent/Hell Bent
3. The Day of the Doctor
4. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances
5. Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
Steven Moffat’s greatest addition to the Doctor Who canon: the Doctor’s secret regeneration
The masterstroke was conjuring a new incarnation of the Doctor from a gap in Who history. The epic coup was persuading the legendary John Hurt to play the part. And the big reveal was one of the show’s most spine-tingling moments ever.
It’s a brilliantly simple realisation: since we never saw the Eighth Doctor regenerate into the Ninth, maybe he didn’t… maybe there’s a Doctor we’ve never met before. The invention of John Hurt’s War Doctor not only made that idea flesh but also explained what the peace-loving Doctor was up to during the Time War with the Daleks – an event that has haunted him ever since – making it a key piece of Doctor Who canon and well worthy of the whacking 50% of the vote it garnered.
Special mention too, though, to Moffat’s most memorable piece of dialogue – “timey-wimey”…
1. The Doctor’s secret regeneration (The War Doctor)
2. The phrase “timey-wimey”
3. Time Lord regeneration sex changes
4. The Sonic Sunglasses
5. Time Lord regeneration ethnic changes
Steven Moffat’s scariest Doctor Who monster: the Weeping Angels
Moffat has dispatched numerous disturbing denizens into our living rooms over the years but none have frozen viewers with fear like the Weeping Angels – stone statues that attack whenever you take your eyes off them. Whatever you do, don’t blink!
The Angels win no contest with an eye-watering 62% of the vote, although the extremely unsettling “Are you my mummy?” gas mask boy from The Empty Child gets a deserved second place just ahead of the eerie Silence…
1. The Weeping Angels
2. The Empty Child (gas mask nano-genes)
3. The Silence
4. The Vashta Nerada
5. The Clockwork Droids
Steven Moffat’s best Doctor Who character: River Song
The Doctor’s wife, assassin and guardian angel, Alex Kingston’s buccaneering adventurer ploughs her own timeline – yet beneath the bravado is a deep sorrow that she rarely gets to share it with her husband
River Song picked up more than half the vote, closely followed by Captain Jack Harkness. Whether the head of Torchwood is a Steven Moffat creation is debatable, though – on one hand, former showrunner Russell T Davies sketched out the character; on the other. Jack first appeared in Moffat’s episode The Empty Child, and Davies has been clear that, unlike most of his writers, he never touched a word of Moffat’s scripts.
It’s certainly not clear-cut though, so in this case we’re giving you a top 6 instead of a top 5, with Jenna Coleman’s companion Clara Oswald therefore making it in for those who don’t think Captain Jack should be there.
Kudos too to Matt Lucas’s Nardole, who has gained an increasingly avid following since he returned as the Doctor’s right-hand man in series ten…
1. River Song
(Captain Jack Harkness
3. Amy Pond
5. Clara Oswald
Peter Capaldi’s best performance in a Doctor Who episode: Heaven Sent
A brilliantly conceived and realised one-hander that, by stranding the Doctor on his own, allows Capaldi – and us – to focus on his performance like never before. The result: an instant classic.
And with nearly 48% of the vote, the clear winner…
1. Heaven Sent
2. The Husbands of River Song
3. Hell Bent
4. The Zygon Inversion
5. Mummy on the Orient Express
Peter Capaldi’s best Doctor Who speech: anti-war speech from The Zygon Invasion
Moffat gets the credit for penning such an eloquent thesis on the futility of war but Capaldi’s delivery makes it come alive – the passion, the bitter humour and the sorrow of a man who has seen history repeat itself time and time again.
No wonder it got half the votes…
1. “No-one else will ever have to feel this pain – not on my watch” – The Zygon Inversion (49.43%)
2. “That’s a hell of a bird” – Heaven Sent (16.17%)
3. “The value you place on a life” – Thin Ice (12.12%)
4. “Scared is a super power” – Listen (10.05%)
5. “Everything ends” – The Return of Doctor Mysterio (6.37%)