A demob happy Steven Moffat took the opportunity at this week’s Doctor Who Christmas special screening to say what he really thinks about the sci-fi show he has helmed for the last nine years.
At the Q&A that followed the episode, the departing showrunner gave an impassioned off-the-cuff speech setting out just why he believes Doctor Who is the greatest television show ever made. And if you’re a fan, it may just make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck…
“It’s worth saying, because I don’t think it’s ever said enough… the reason Doctor Who is as successful – I mean humanly successful – for so long in such an enduring way – and I’m just gonna say it because I don’t ever say it, but now I’m leaving I’ll say it – it is actually the greatest television show ever made.
“I’m gonna prove it to you. There are probably press here who are ‘No, it’s The Wire’. It’s not The Wire. It’s not I Claudius. It’s not The Office. It’s not even Blue Planet. It’s Doctor Who and I’m gonna prove to whoever is doubting me the hardest that they’re wrong to doubt me.
“How do you measure greatness? Do you measure it by ratings? Do you measure it by reviews? Christ no, of course you don’t.
“Do you measure it by perfection? Is Doctor Who perfect every week? No, it’s not. It really isn’t. It can’t be. Because every episode of Doctor Who is an experiment, and if you experiment every single week, sometimes you get a faceful of soot and you’re blinking the smoke away and you look a bit ridiculous. That happens. Perfection is the refinement of boredom, it’s doing the same thing all the time perfectly. Doctor Who, by always being different, can never be perfect.
“But yes, how do we measure its greatness?
“There are people who became writers because of Doctor Who. Loads of them.
“There are people who became artists because of Doctor Who.
“There are people who became actors because of Doctor Who. Two of them have played the Doctor.
“There are people, believe it or not, who become scientists because of Doctor Who. That seems improbable given we said the moon was an egg, you’d think they’d have a problem with it.
“But people become scientists, people change their view of the world and what they’re capable of, because of a silly show about a man who travels around in time and space in a police box.
“So, never mind the reviews. Never mind anything. Never mind the ratings. Never mind any of that.
“Count the scientists, the musicians, the scholars, the writers, the directors, the actors, who became what they are because of this show.
“Count, as you might say, the hearts that beat a little faster because of Doctor Who.
“I do not even know what is in second place, but without doubt, and by that most important measure, Doctor Who is the greatest television show ever made.”