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There has been a major shake-up at Doctor Who with news breaking late today that current head writer and showrunner Steven Moffat will step down from his role at the head of the franchise in 2017. While rumors have been swirling for some time that Moffat was planning on stepping down from the series, this news still comes has a shock as Moffat had expressed his desire to continue on with the series as late as last fall.
The current production plan for the British series calls for a single Christmas episode to air in December of 2016 (no word yet on whether or not a new companion will join Peter Capaldi’s Doctor in the episode), followed by a 12-episode season in 2017 which will be Moffat’s last. The delay in airing the full season is, according to BBC1 executive Claire Moore, a designed move on the part of the network, hoping to avoid the major televised events of 2016, including the Summer Olympics.
Taking over for Moffat in 2018 will be Broadchurch writer (and Doctor Who fan) Chris Chibnall. While the most recent showrunner switch from Russell T. Davies to Steven Moffat also coincided with a switch in the actor playing the titular Doctor, there has been no word on whether or not Capaldi will continue in the role following Moffat’s departure from the series.