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Steven Moffat: Misc


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Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

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Steven Moffat (born 1961 in Paisley, Scotland) is a television writer who has written many shows in the drama and/or comedy genre, most notably "Press Gang", "Coupling", and "Jekyll."

He is notable for writing the first piece of televised Doctor Who since the 1996 TV movie: the 1999 Comic Relief story The Curse of Fatal Death, which brought the Daleks, the Master and multiple incarnations of the Doctor to the screen, as well as the Hugo award winning storylines The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, and Blink. Steven also wrote Time Crash the first multi-Doctor story of the new series, and has contributed short fiction to collections such as Decalog 3: Consequences and the Doctor Who Annual 2006.

Prior to the shows revival, Moffat also expressed his fandom in several of his other shows. In Coupling, for instance, the character of Steve explains the use of sofas as protection against Daleks, and Oliver is seen wearing a sweatshirt with the slogan "Bring Back Doctor Who."

On 20th May 2008, Steven Moffat was announced to be the executive producer and head writer of Doctor Who starting on the fifth season in 2010, taking over from Russell T Davies, the man who revived the show in 2005. He said in a BBC press release [1]: "My entire career has been a Secret Plan to get this job. I applied before but I got knocked back 'cos the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven. Anyway, I'm glad the BBC has finally seen the light, and it's a huge honour to be following Russell into the best - and the toughest - job in television. I say toughest 'cos Russell's at my window right now, pointing and laughing."

Steven Moffat's work on Doctor Who has exhibited three major themes: romance and sexuality (especially concerning The Doctor), the power behind the Doctor's real name, and the consequences of time travel and its resulting paradoxes. Other recurring elements in his stories include children's fears (whether they be bombs dropping in World War II, monsters under the bed, statues coming to life and the most common childhood fear, the dark) and the Doctor having a lonely childhood or a banana. Another common characteristic is that "Everyone lives": two of his stories feature no deaths at all, while the other two feature only deaths by natural causes. Another characteristic is antagonists who are not necessarily evil, merely doing what they are made to do.

Since his involvement with the revived series began, Moffat has been something of a Hugo Awards "juggernaut", being nominated for episodes of each of the first four seasons of the series: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances; The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink and Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. Moffat set a record for winning the Hugo three years consecutively, with his episodes defeating episodes of Battlestar Galactica, a Star Trek fan film, episodes of Torchwood and other episodes of Doctor Who written by the likes of Paul Cornell and Russell T Davies. The winning streak came to an end when Moffat's Library two-parter was defeated by an Internet production, Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog, although only by approximately 100 votes.[1]

Moffat refuses to tell fans what he'll do differently when he's in charge, but he will state that there will not be old Doctor Who villains coming back, though the Daleks will appear, as he feels that the new Doctor Who should belong to the current generation of Doctor Who fans.


Mid-nineties opinions of the original series

Prior to his first script for Doctor Who, Steven Moffat was a fan who sometimes publicly opined on his love-hate relationship with the program. In the mid nineties, he was wont to extoll the virtues of Peter Davison's acting abilities, saying that the reason "he's played more above-the-title lead roles on the telly than the rest of the Doctors put together" is "because — get this! — he's the best actor." Furthermore, he has called Snakedance and Kinda, "the two best Who stories ever."[2]

During a discussion after at least one round of drinks with Andy Lane, Paul Cornell and David Bishop, he claimed that although "as a television format, Doctor Who equals anything", he couldn't hold up the program as an exemplar of great television to "anybody I work with in television." He went on to call the original program "slow", "embarrassing", and "limited by the relatively meagre talent of the people who were working on it." He spoke particularly harshly of Sixties Doctor Who, saying:

"If you look at other stuff from the Sixties they weren't crap — it was just Doctor Who. The first episode of Doctor Who betrays the lie that it's just the Sixties, because the first episode is really good — the rest of it's shit."
―Steven Moffat

Moreover, he expressed some disdain for the Virgin New Adventures, which were, at the time of the discussion, the then-dominant form of Doctor Who fiction. "There's 24 of them a year. That's too bloody many! I've never wanted 24 new Doctor Who adventures a year in my life. Six was a perfectly good number." However, he did call "brilliant" the notion that the NA's "sometimes successfully" reinterpreted a television program "aimed at 11-year olds" for adults, involving "a completely radical revision of the Seventh Doctor that never appeared on television."[3] This criticism didn't, however, prevent Moffat from contributing the Seventh Doctor short story "Continuity Errors" to the 1996 anthology Decalog 3: Consequences.

Although Steven Moffatt cast 26-year old Matt Smith into the role, Moffatt had previously been quoted to prefer older actors playing the role of The Doctor. "Although I loved Peter Davison and Paul McGann, probably the best two actors in the role, I don't think young, dashing Doctors are right at all. He should be 40-plus and weird-looking - the kind of wacky grandfather kids know on sight to be secretly one of them."


Doctor Who - TV stories

Doctor Who parodies

Who-related bibliography

Short fiction

Later adapted for television as Blink.

External links


  1. 2009 Hugo Awards Final Ballot results
  2. Moffat, Steven. "Season 19 Overview". In-Vision #62. 1996. Posted to Registration required.
  3. Bishop, David. "Four Writers, One Discussion" Time Space Visualiser #43. March 1995.

This article uses material from the "Steven Moffat" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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