In January 2016, Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat announced that he would be stepping down from his role at the end of season 10. That tenth season is still some way off, not arriving on our screens until Spring 2017, after the traditional Christmas Special which will air in December of this year. After Moffat's swansong, fellow Doctor Who writer Chris Chibnall will take over as showrunnner, giving him time to finish his tenure as showrunner of ITV's Broadchurch.
For the 2016 Christmas Special and season ten, Peter Capaldi will remain in charge of the TARDIS, but many have expected that Capaldi will, in time, announce his departure from Doctor Who, to coincide with Moffat's final show. Certainly previous comments made by the actor have led us all to believe this may well be the case, but now Capaldi has revealed he's been asked to stay on by the BBC, after all.
Talking to RadioTimes, Capaldi confirmed that the Doctor Who producers have asked him to stay after Moffat steps down as showrunner, but crucially added that he has yet to make up his mind:
“I’ve been asked to stay on, but it’s such a long time before I have to make that decision. Steven’s been absolutely wonderful, so I love working with him. Chris is fantastic, and I think he’s a hugely talented guy. I don’t know where the show’s gonna go then. I don’t know. I have to make up my mind, and I haven’t yet. As Steven will tell you, it’s very difficult to say goodbye.”
A lifelong Doctor Who fan, Capaldi has frequently admitted that playing the twelfth Doctor is a dream come true for him. Like David Tennant and Matt Smith before him, making the decision to move on from Doctor Who will be a very tough call to make, and a whenever he does eventually leave, it will be a real heartfelt wrench. Should he choose to stay, season 11 would be Capaldi's fourth season, setting him as the longest running Doctor since the show was relaunched in 2005.
However, Capaldi's previous comments, coupled with his admittance that he's not yet made up his mind, seems to hint more toward him staying than going. Capaldi has other projects slated too; including directing a film based on his time in Scottish punk band, The Dreamboys, as well as appearing in two episodes of Veep so it could well be that he's keen to get some more variety back into his career. (He's spoken frequently of how much time Doctor Who takes up.)
Then there's the point that he might not want to stay once he knows Chibnall's plans for the show. A new showrunner inevitably brings changes, and Capaldi is not afraid to vocalize his thoughts on how he thinks the show should go; like thinking the Doctor should have a female companion, for example. He might decide that Chibnall's ideas are not suited to him and graciously step down from Doctor Who, at that point.
Doctor Who will return with a 2016 Christmas Special. Season 10 will air in Spring 2017.