Steven Moffat Gives ‘Doctor Who’ Casting Update; Season 8 in Summer 2014

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 12th, 2013 at 7:02 pm,

Doctor Who Season 8 Executive Producer Steven Moffat Gives Doctor Who Casting Update; Season 8 in Summer 2014

As the search continues for the 12th iteration of the Doctor, casting updates and Doctor Who season 8 details have been a scarce commodity. Confirmation that 11th Doctor Matt Smith would finish his run as the Time Lord during the 2013 Christmas Special gave way to rumors and speculation regarding which actor (or actress) might rise as the 12th incarnation of the fan-favorite time traveling alien. Back in May, a BBC official stated that the new Doctor could be announced within a month, and in the proceeding weeks Skyfall‘s Rory Kinnear was reported to be a frontrunner, award-winner Helen Mirren expressed interest, and we even offered our own “realistic” casting choices for the role – but no official word materialized.

Now in a new interview, showrunner and writer Steven Moffat is providing an update, and while he politely refuses to share details on who BBC is considering for the part, the producer does offer some behind-the-scenes insight into the casting process as well as the future of the series.

In a lengthy Q&A with EW, Moffat speaks about the challenge of casting the next Time Lord, asserting that he understands the stakes – especially now that the show is drawing viewers from all over the world:

“Well, it’s always just terrifying. If you’re a Doctor Who fan, as I have been all my life, you’ve been doing fantasy casting for this part for as long as you can remember. But when you’re suddenly faced with the reality that you are going to sit there and you are going to make that decision it does feel absolutely chilling. There’s a very big range of people who could play it and different ways you could go with it. We must get this right. One false move and the show’s over.”

doctor who season 7 finale matt smith Steven Moffat Gives Doctor Who Casting Update; Season 8 in Summer 2014

Moffat, as usual, was very cautious about revealing any key details about who might take-on the role of the next Doctor but promised that he wouldn’t keep fans in the dark once casting is finalized – asserting that, even if he wanted to hold the announcement under wraps, the news would be very hard to keep secret:

“Unless we have an insane plan, we’ll announce a new Doctor within days of finalizing the new Doctor. Because it’s very very hard to keep any kind of a secret. The last time, when we chose Matt, we had to hold over on that one, because there was a Christmas Doctor Who special called “The Next Doctor” for which Russell (T. Davies, former Doctor Who showrunner) was playing the game of pretending it was going to be David Morrissey. So we couldn’t deflate that. [Laughs]. But I think we’ll go public pretty fast.”

Considering Doctor Who is more popular than ever, coupled with the rapid speed of information on the Internet, it’s not a surprise to hear that BBC intends to be a bit more straightforward for this Doctor regeneration. Announcing the 12th Doctor “within days” of finalizing the casting is a smart move – especially since the new Doctor’s Christmas Special debut is still 6 months away. Moffat and his team could still be in the early stages of looking for the new Time Lord, but it’s much more likely that they’re pretty far along in the process – especially since the showrunner claims that Matt Smith had always planned to leave after the 50th Anniversary and Christmas Special:

“We discussed ages ago that we would do three series and then he would do the 50th and then he’d do Christmas. That was Plan A for a very, very long while. That may sound cold that it was so far in advance but you’ve got to plan a career. [Laughs] The question was, ‘Will I be able to talk him out of it?’ We went out for lunch and he said that he’d come very close to doing another series but it was the same argument: ‘If I do another series, I think I might do two more series, or three more series. I think I might never leave.’”

Finding a new Doctor is a monumental task, but based on Moffat’s explanation, he presumably had some idea of a direction for the show post-Matt Smith. Meaning that, while searching for a new Doctor is understandably “terrifying,” it’s doubtful that Smith’s exit came as a surprise to Moffat or that the search for a replacement will throw an unexpected wrench in the show’s season 8 plans.

doctor who matt smith david tennant Steven Moffat Gives Doctor Who Casting Update; Season 8 in Summer 2014

Still, unlike a lot of serialized TV series, Doctor Who fans are never exactly sure when the next season will premiere. Generally, the show debuts in a summer time slot for a thirteen episode run (followed later by a standalone Christmas Special) but the most recent season was split in half (due in part to the introduction of new companion Clara), debuting in September and returning in March for Part 2. Of course in 2009, at the time of David Tennant’s exit from the series, BBC forwent a traditional season altogether, delivering a set of extended “Specials” instead.

Fortunately, Moffat does not anticipate the search for the 12th Doctor to dramatically impact their scheduled return (with a new Time Lord star) in Summer 2014 for season 8. Though, he admits that things could change.

“I think that’s probably right. But these things change so often.”

Previously, we had raised the question of just how long the increasingly busy producer would stick around to write and oversee Doctor Who – especially given that the recent hiring of executive producer Brian Minchin could be the first step in a potential exit by Moffat down the line. Minchin is an accomplished Doctor Who company man with writing and producing credits on Doctor Who, Torchwood, and the Sarah Jane Adventures – so could Moffat be lining up trustworthy individuals to carry the show forward in his place?

In the interview, Moffat admits that he probably won’t be running Doctor Who forever but also claims that he’s not ready to leave (at least not yet):

“I think a year at a time. I’ve signed up for this next year, with the new Doctor. It’s one of those jobs when you know when you’ve had enough. At the moment I haven’t had enough and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I’m very excited for the challenge of the new Doctor and establishing that new Doctor. So, no plans to leave as yet. But that doesn’t mean I’ll be here for 20 years. There will come that day when I think it’s time someone else had a go and it’s time I did something else.”

doctor who season 7 finale clara doctor Steven Moffat Gives Doctor Who Casting Update; Season 8 in Summer 2014

Moffat covers a number of additional topics in the interview: including plans for the 50th Anniversary Special, the onscreen chemistry between Matt Smith and David Tennant, bringing back the Zygons, and much more. So make sure you check out the full article over at EW.

We’ll keep you up to date as we hear more, but in the meantime, check out our Doctor Who Viewing Guide: Tips, Suggestions & Complete Episode List.


Matt Smith will return as Doctor Who on November 23rd for the 50th Anniversary Special, followed by the 2013 Christmas Special on December 25th, with season 8 of the series scheduled to start production in late 2013.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on Doctor Who as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Source: EW

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
TAGS: Doctor who
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  1. a little disappointed that we have to wait a whole year (again) for the new season. but hopefully “summer” means like May, which wouldnt be to far off from the usual premier of easter. Hopefully they have a straightfoward series 8 airing all 13 in a row, with an actual season arc that gets wrapped up in the finale, and also have a two-parter finale, what happened to those?

    Cant wait for the 50th and xmas. will be sad to see Matt go but i guess its good that he is leaving before i get tired of him (Amy and Rory SLIGHTLY overstayed their welcome).

    • Blasphemy! Amy Pond could never have overstayed her welcome! I’m still not over her leaving :-(

      • Karen Gillan wanted to leave. She’s doing movies now and will probably make more money doing one movie than she would make if she spent the rest of her life doing Doctor Who.

        I’m pretty certain the show would welcome her back if she wanted to return. They would find a way. If you really want the Ponds back, write the actors. Start a letter writing campaign. Maybe a few billion letters would be enough to convince them.

  2. is it true that there can only be 12 or 13 doctors before he dies permanently?

    • Hopefully.

      They’ll probably find a way to work around it though.

      • Considering the Master has gotten round the limitation several times (stealing the bodies of others, being offered a new “set” of regenerations by the Time Lords in “The Five Doctors” and during the Time War) and that the universe/history has been “rebooted” a couple times under Moffat’s yoke, certainly anything is possible for the Doctor.

    • I think Moffat has already stated they are going to do something about the regeneration ‘problem’ – I seem to also remember a hint from him that something in the Smith run may have already done so. (The Pandora/restarting the Universe? River Songs regenerations?)

      • Why did River Song run out of regenerations when she gave the Doctor her regeneration energy?

    • They found a way, River Song.. remember? So the Doctor is good for another 11 regenerations at most.

      • Not necessarily. At least not in my understanding of Doctor Who mythology. Yes, it was set long ago that Time Lords have 13 lives (12 regenerations). And not even talking about the Master finding new crazy ways to live on in the original series, but the Time Lords obviously granted him new life or new lives, perhaps a whole new set of regenerations when he was resurrected or recruited for the Time War. Maybe just maybe the Time Lords did the same for the Doctor, as he usually doesn’t like to get involved in Gallifrey dealings, although I’m sure most would agree he voluntarily showed up to help fight the Daleks in the Time War.

        But my point is, lives are most definitely controlled and monitored in some way by the billions of years old race of Gallifrey, therefore, with the Time Lords gone, who is to say the Doctor will just continue on, immortal, or until he chooses to die like the Master did in Season 3 of the new series. Or until he is killed dead, not allowing a regeneration, as in Season 6 premiere, as silly as the resolution was for that. But without any Time Lords to monitor or decide who lives or dies, why can’t he keep going?

        But to say they are sticking to the strict 13 life rule is silly. There’s always ways around it. And plenty of explanations that are more than feasible.

        Although I believe (and am hoping) the big shock for the 50th will be the return of the Time Lords, and Gallifrey, I still think the Doctor will play a big role in that (if I’m right maybe they grant him more lives as reward), and if not in the 50th then soon I think, or maybe due to the Big Bang2/universe reboot from series 5, in either case, one thing I’m certain, is they will not kill off the Doctor anytime soon.

        Maybe after #13 has reached “his” end it will finally give them the freedom to explore a female Doctor, with some kind of explanation…new set of regen’s causes gender change? “Who” knows.

        I have loved Doctor Who since around the ripe age of 4 in the dawn of the 80s, with Tom Baker giving up the scarf, and Peter Davison pinning on the celery, and I will continue to watch his adventures until I die.

        Even though I believe they will never truly kill Doctor Who, I have a strong belief they may shelve it soon for a while…all the mid season breaks, and delays in production were just the tip of the iceberg. They only kept it going due to international popularity and a strong lead in to a big 50th anniversary celebration…I honestly think the BBC can’t afford the production at its current quality, which is why we get huge gaps between seasons and even during seasons. It’s a shame really, but if shelving it for a decade keeps it alive before people grow tired of it, so be it. Doctor who will most definitely celebrate a 100th anniversary. I just wont be here to see it…Peace.

    • i like clara. in the doctor who visual dictionary it says timelords can only regenerate 13 times til they are out of time energy. i am a hoovian and eleven years old

  3. I see a typo!

  4. Hey, I’m still pining for Rose…and Martha…and Donna!

    • Hopefully not a woman, that would just be superbad.

      • Agreed

      • If they cast a woman, it will only be for a couple years.

  5. i still would have loved to have seen mr moon become the doctor. I believe he is something salmon, great actor and very different.

    • Colin Salmon, and yes he is great.

  6. My only request is that they stop with the gay characters. Its ridiculous how they keep shoehorning in these perverted relationships in a family show parents like to watch with their children. Is it too much to ask to want to watch Doctor Who with my children without having to apologize or explain about the men or women kissing? Its really really wrong.

    • Well seeing how the world is changing, your children are going to see far worse. Homosexual relationships in television is a normal part of society now and even though you or many others may not like it, its something you should really tell your kids about before they hear or see it someplace else because frankly there is nothing to be done about it, this will keep popping up, so might as well stop complaining and deal with it in a diffrent way or embrace it. Not trying to attack you personally just saying that you should educate your kids with the right info or else they might get the wrong info elsewhere.

  7. Ich mag die Serie so wie sie bis jetzt gemacht wurde aber es wehre schön wenn der Doktor zum mindestens am Schluss glücklich sein könnte, ich würde es ihn wünschen.

  8. and a pity they were perfect together
    river and the eleventh doctor a couple breathtaking
    we would have views of the beautiful
    with two brilliant minds so
    river and the doctor thinks for a bit if they had children
    of children with a higher than normal intelligence
    would have been even greater than their rocking
    I wish that Steven Moffat took all this into consideration
    we’ll see
    you never know he is so unpredictable

  9. it would be fantastic
    I will not even
    that this pair
    river and the doctor to separate

  10. river and the eleventh doctor
    to imitate a pair ready to give our lives for one another
    for me this is true love

  11. the only solution would be that in fact the Professor River Song
    not really dead but just in a pharmacological coma
    and why you can get in touch with the doctor
    by moffat not make me beg
    would be a nice Christmas gift
    For Christmas Is You do what you can not ever do

  12. I would really like between the eleventh Doctor and River Song
    happen as the tenth doctor and rose tyler that can grow old together
    and maybe start a family and this would be the reward for so much suffering
    I know I’m a sentimentalist but I like stories with a happy ending

  13. The Master Choices:
    Johnny Lee Miller, Donald Sutherland, Ben Kingsley, Naveen Andrews, Ralph Fiennes, Ken Scott, or Dane DeHann.

  14. Yes! Finally something about six.

  15. River is not gone! Pity! That sick perverted sociopath was a drain on the show! Every time that sick cow showed up the entire story just stopped! It was all about this sick cow! And her pathetic laughable attempt to flirt with a man who was MORE THAN young enough to be her son!
    As a couple they looked like an incestuous couple! Except of course, to the sick pervert crowd. They have zero decent moral values and think bestiality between a LIZARD AND A HUMAN IS “BEAUTIFUL” which tells you all you need to know about how mentally disturbed these sick perverts are!
    Sadly 5% of ALL Science Fans ARE mentally ill! And Sadly this TINY FACTION are the MOST VOCAL at defending their sickness all over the place! Some even have special software that allows them to control up to 10 to 100 people at a time! (I assume the more people the program allows, the more it costs)
    Psychologists would do well to study sick perverts in the world of Science Fiction! They DO NOT live in the world of reality. They DO have very sick disgusting taste! Which is why most people avoid them! Pukes like that tend to give off very creepy vibes. No lie! This is why people will go out of their way to avoid them! Not because they’re smart! RME

  16. I’ve brought the Master back already in my fanfic. Of course it’s not canon but it is fun.
    look For Romana4ever. And River isn’t this embarrassing over-the-hill hag who throws herself at the Doctor! and the Doctor’s eye have been opened to what a sick PUKE and Psychopath Rover Song really is!