I’ve got good news for some Doctor Who fans and bad news for all of them.
Steven Moffatt is leaving the show at the end of the next season.*
That season will air in 2017.
That 2017 season will be Moffatt’s last before he is replaced by Chris Chibnall. You’ll probably recognize Chibnall from his previous showrunner work on Broadchurch and Torchwood as well as his writing for Doctor Who and Life on Mars. He’s a pretty damn good choice.
BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore explained the wait:
“I have decided to schedule Steven’s big finale series in Spring 2017 to bring the nation together for what will be a huge event on the channel. 2016 is spoilt with national moments including the Euros and Olympics and I want to hold something big back for 2017 – I promise it will be worth the wait!”
As a friend of mine pointed out, there were 18 months between seasons 22 & 23 of the classic series, seven years between season 26 and the TV movie and nine whole years between the TV movie and the new series. Then once the show came back, there was that year of specials. This wait is something Doctor Who fans can do standing on our heads.
That said, there will still be a Christmas special this year as well as the new Coal Hill School-based spin-off Class. So 2016 won’t be entirely Who-less.
The Doctor’s new companion (following Clara’s… departure) will be in place for the 2017 season. It’s unknown yet whether she’ll be introduced at Christmas.
*- Full disclosure, I’ve never had too much of an issue with Moffatt. I know a lot of people do though, so 12’s rocking out for them.