Private Eye have posted new information about Doctor Who‘s production next year, claiming that it will be a year of specials, with no regular broadcast season.
Private Eye previously reported about the “erasing” of producer Caroline Skinner by an allegedly intoxicated executive producer Steven Moffat. It states in this article that the semi-hiatus is apparently because Moffat wants to commit more time to producing Sherlock, his other show. Bleeding Cool‘s added to speculation by claiming that the move’s part of a BBC plan to remove him from the production team by 2017, though nothing of that appears in the initial Private Eye article.
So that’s the allegations out of the way. But what if they’re true? Firstly, Private Eye‘s got a very good track record when it comes to breaking scoops, and if they claim that Doctor Who goes on semi-hiatus in 2016, I’m inclined to believe it. And as for Bleeding Cool’s idea – I hope it’s true, at least. I’ve been implying for a while now that I’m not happy with how he’s running the show, but this development gives me the chance to actually state my intent: I want him gone. When Doctor Who Bulletin ran an issue calling for John Nathan-Turner‘s resignation, he set the BBC’s legal department on them. I don’t care though – I have no power whatsoever, and believe fully that simply giving my opinion has no actual effect. So there.
If anything, a semi-hiatus is not just a reason for Moffat to leave, it’s an opportunity. When Russell T. Davies departed, that was his final year as well. Admittedly, it wasn’t because he was trying to have his cake and eat it by producing another show at the same time, but to allow a new production team to transition. This is the perfect time for him to be going, especially as it would allow his successor to take over. Personally, I’d like someone like Jamie Mathieson, although I’m sure Mark Gatiss is already in place for whenever “it” happens.
And speaking of Sherlock – that show is a waste of potential. There are many reasons there are only three episodes every two years, but it began due to Moffat wanting to do Doctor Who at the same time. Now, it’s been stretched-out so much that it’s doing the opposite of being milked – it’s not being fed at all, making it limp and lame. The BBC underestimated its quality, and now I’ve become so accustomed to not seeing it for so long that I’ve just decided not to bother. It was like being in a relationship with someone who isn’t even half interested in the end. Whereas, had Moffat waited a few years and done Sherlock only after he’d finished Doctor Who – both of those things could have been much, much better. Most of his episodes give me the impression that they were only half-finished before production began, and the reason for that is either one of two possibilities: he was splitting time between it and Sherlock, or he was unable to reach deadlines with enough quality. Ultimately, those two possibilities reach the same end: had he been splitting time between Doctor Who and Sherlock, that made Sherlock scarce, and had he been unable to reach those deadlines it doesn’t matter anyway.
Moffat’s public perception seems to be that of the glamorous television producer/writer, ergo; whatever it is that he does to make those shows a thing, he does it easily and however he wants. But that’s not how the television industry works, people.
Obviously, I’d prefer that there is no semi-hiatus. But if this becomes the tradition that happens whenever the showrunners pass the torch, then I’d more for it than against it.