Former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has suggested it's too soon for him to return to the series – even to write a single episode.


Earlier this year, Moffat told that he has no plans to follow Russell T Davies in one day returning to the showrunner role on the BBC sci-fi drama.

"I've done that," he said in April. "I have done it and I did it a lot. So no offence and no disrespect and certainly no disdaining of wonderful memories. But no, I will not be showrunning Doctor Who again."

In a new interview to promote his upcoming BBC thriller Inside Man, the BAFTA-winning writer again insisted he has no desire to take up his old post again, admitting that he was "tired" and "surviving episode-to-episode" by the end of his original run as head writer and executive producer.

"I'm delighted Russell's taking it over again," Moffat said. "I'm not going to do that. I'm not lying! I'm thoroughly enjoying having more freedom than I had.

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"I mean, I loved that job to bits, but it was relentless. It was at the same time as Sherlock and, for a moment there, those were the two shows in that area that were massive. They were massive. So they both needed to be thought about every single day. And by the time I did my sixth and last season of Doctor Who – which was two beyond what I had planned to do – I was surviving episode-to-episode. I was tired.

"I loved it. I loved every aspect of that job, but I will not be returning to it, no."

One rumour doing the rounds as anticipation builds for Doctor Who's 60th anniversary in 2023 was that Moffat might be returning not as showrunner but as a writer-for-hire, penning one or several new episodes. Asked directly about that possibility, he again suggested it was unlikely.

"I think it's quite recent for me. Russell's had a long gap. He's had a very long gap, actually – all of me, and I was there for ages, and then Chris [Chibnall]. He had a massive, long gap and I think he's genuinely reinvigorated. I've read the scripts and they're fantastic.

"For me, it feels like yesterday. It feels like yesterday that I wrote Doctor Who."

It was announced back in September 2021 that Davies, who had previously served as Doctor Who showrunner from 2005 to 2010, would be returning to the show for its 60th celebrations and beyond.

David Tennant as Harry Watling in Inside Man
David Tennant as Harry Watling in Inside Man BBC/Hartswood/Paul Stephenson

Though Moffat, who succeeded Davies from 2010 to 2017, isn't intending to eventually follow suit, he made it clear that he remains a loyal fan of the series. In fact, during filming of his new show Inside Man, Moffat and series star David Tennant "talked about Doctor Who constantly" and even indulged in a fan-favourite pastime on set.

"We were both playing that game where you slide the Doctor's faces. He was very excited when he finally managed to get a Matt Smith, which is the second time he's turned his face into Matt Smith."

Inside Man, a four-part drama, follows a small-town vicar (Tennant), a death row inmate (Stanley Tucci), a teacher (Dolly Wells) and a journalist (Lydia West) as their lives are surprisingly and inexorably drawn together.

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Inside Man airs on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Monday 26th September at 9pm. Steven Moffat and Dolly Wells will also feature in the new behind-the-scenes podcast Obsessed With... Inside Man, available on BBC Sounds on 27th September.

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