Former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat definitely divided viewers during his tenure on the BBC sci-fi series, with many loving his inventive, high-energy take on the time-travelling Doctor, while others complained about his signature style.
Today, Doctor Who is in the hands of Chris Chibnall following Moffat’s departure in 2017 – but his leading man Peter Capaldi is still defending the ex-showrunner’s honour, and recently revealed that Moffat actually wrote a large portion of popular episodes for which he took no credit.
“The writers’ name that appears at the start [of an episode] isn’t always the writer that did the best work,” Capaldi, who played the Twelfth Doctor from 2013 to 2017 told the crowd during his panel at Fan Expo Boston 2019.
“Because Steven’s job is to get that show on every week, his job is to make sure that there are scripts that are exciting and interesting and fascinating and funny… and sometimes the writer whose name you see [on-screen] didn’t deliver a script that was so great.
“The person that has to sit up all night and make that script work is Steven.”
Capaldi went on to explain that he believed Moffat doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his behind-the-scenes work, with many of his greatest critics unknowingly loving episodes he had a big hand in.
“Steven will not take credit for the incredible jobs he did on some other writers’ things, and some of the incredible invention that he brought some scripts that were in trouble,” Capaldi said.
“A lot of people who have negative things to say about Steven do not have a clue… about the stories and the scripts that he did, many of which those same people love.
He concluded: “He’s an incredible writer.”
Clearly, the BBC appears to agree – alongside Moffat’s Dracula adaptation, they recently commissioned a new crime thriller called Inside Man from Moffat, and generally speaking the Scottish screenwriter doesn’t seem to have suffered too much for his rewriting modesty.
Still, it’s good to know that even after they’ve both left the Tardis far behind, Capaldi still has his old boss’ back. You never really leave Doctor Who, after all…
Doctor Who returns to BBC1 in early 2020