Steven Moffat reveals the one thing he’d do differently if he was in charge of Doctor Who again

The departing showrunner, who leaves with star Peter Capaldi this Christmas, is happy to step out of the limelight

Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi (Getty, HF)

This December’s Doctor Who Christmas special will see the departure of current Doctor Peter Capaldi, with many fans already struggling with the complex emotions brought up by his impending exit – but he’s not the only titan of the BBC sci-fi series stepping down, with longtime series writer and showrunner Steven Moffat also saying his goodbyes in Twice Upon a Time.


“I wondered what I’d be like in the final days as I fell from grace into the archives – but I’m just really quite enjoying it,” Moffat told and other journalists on the set of the special earlier this year.

“I am enjoying talking to the new lot. I was here talking to them yesterday and they are all so excited and kind of nervous and that’s lovely. Predictably I’m quite liking that, for the first time in about ten years, I don’t have a deadline.”

However, the coming conclusion to Moffat’s era at the helm of Doctor Who has also left him reflective on what might have been – and the screenwriter now says that if he had his go at the top job a second time, he’d probably do things a little bit differently.

“I’d be less visible probably,” Moffat said, explaining that his unusually public persona (for a writer) often left him uncomfortable. “I haven’t really enjoyed that very much. I mean I’m saying that at a press round table, it’s too bloody late now!

“I never really thought about it [in the beginning], I just assumed I had to do what I was told, as far as all the publicity was concerned.”

And of course, when it came to wrangling his stars, Moffat found that he often ended up having to take part in press events anyway.

“I’d always be trying to convince Matt Smith or Karen Gillan back in the day to turn up somewhere or to do some interview,” he said. “If I don’t do it and say ‘Well you go ahead and do it’ then it doesn’t look very good.

“But being visible as a writer is not…. we are not designed by nature to be seen by people, let’s be honest. We should be concealed as far as possible.”

Still, now Moffat can look forward to some well-earned time off away from the limelight as his successor Chris Chibnall steps up – and so far, the handover between the two has been fairly rosy.

“I told him everything we were doing and talked him through it,” Moffat said.

“I talked him through the whole finale a bit before I wrote it just to make sure I wasn’t bumping against anything he was about to do. Which I wasn’t.

“The whole year he’s been getting every draft of every script that’s been going on so he can see what really happens. But he’s still doing the job so thank god.”

And happily, Moffat still has time to warn Chibnall away from over-visibility in the top job. Expect all future Doctor Who interviews to be conducted from a secret bunker at the heart of BBC Television Centre.


Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time airs on BBC1 on Christmas Day (Monday 25th December) at 5:30pm