2013 was a significant year for Doctor Who fans, between the premiere of the series’ 50th anniversary special (a feature-length episode that was even screened in 3D theaters) and the departure of Matt Smith as the… well, for argument’s sake, let’s just call him the most recent regeneration of the millennium-old wayward Time Lord (read our regeneration count explanation, for more details).
Steven Moffat will remain the lead writer/executive producer on the rebooted Doctor Who for the show’s eighth season (for better… or worse), which has begun production in the Cardiff studios, according to an official press release newly-issued by the BBC.
The 2013 Doctor Who Christmas episode,”The Time of the Doctor”, revealed Smith’s successor to the Doctor throne (see the featured video above): Peter Capaldi, the acclaimed Scottish actor known in recent years for his roles on British series The Thick of It and The Hour (he also secured an Oscar for co-directing the short film Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life in 1995). Capaldi will begin his run on Doctor Who alongside Jenna-Louise Coleman reprising as Smith’s last companion, Clara “The Impossible Girl” Oswald, who served as witness to Capaldi’s onscreen debut in the Doctor’s most recent Christmas adventure.
Here is the official statement from Capaldi, followed by a photo of him on the Doctor Who Cardiff set alongside Coleman (with both dressed for a scene that clearly takes place in the immediate aftermath of “The Time of the Doctor”):
“New job, first day, slightly nervous. Just like the Doctor, I’m emerging from the TARDIS into a whole other world.”
Moffat joked about the piecemeal approach to parting the curtains for Capaldi (which began in the 50th anniversary special), with his own statement on season 8 beginning production:
“First the eyebrows! Then, at Christmas, the face! Coming soon, the whole Doctor. In the Cardiff studios, the Capaldi era begins.”
That said: those who haven’t been so keen on Moffat’s direction with Doctor Who throughout the past year (which includes series 7 and the aforementioned specials) can take comfort in knowing that there will be new(ish) blood working behind the scenes, in addition to onscreen. Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures producer Brian Minchin is coming aboard as executive producer for Doctor Who season 8 – prompting speculation that he could takeover as header showrunner, once Moffat steps away. Minchin’s fellow Sarah Jane Adventures alum Nikki Wilson will also produce the eighth Who series, alongside Peter Bennett (who produced series 5).
Similarly, the first two episodes of Capaldi’s first run as the Doctor will be helmed by Ben Wheatley, director of gritty drama/thrillers Kill List and A Field in England – someone who could instill some fresh air into the show’s Moffat-era proceedings, like screenwriter Neil Cross (creator of Luther) managed with the S7 episodes “The Rings of Akhaten” and “Hide”.
Doctor Who Season 8 is expected to begin airing by Autumn 2014.