‘Doctor Who’ exec Moffat reveals his biggest Season 9 regret

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat says he “slightly fumbled” the launch of last year’s season.

Season 9 continued the previous season‘s line-up of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor and Jenna Coleman as companion Clara Oswald.

The launch trailer concluded with the line: “Same old, same old, just the Doctor and Clara Oswald in the TARDIS.”

It was the first season since the show’s return in 2005 to not have a change or addition to the regular cast. (While Rory had appeared in several episodes of 2010’s Season 5, it was not until 2011’s Season 6 that be became a regular.)

Moffat told DWM in the magazine’s latest issue: “First episodes are tough, and I feel as though I slightly fumbled it last year by not having a ‘new thing’ in ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’.”

He explained: “It was the same Doctor, same companion… You want to persuade people to tune in because a brand new thing is happening.”

Doctor Who 9 Peter Capaldi Twelfth Jenna Coleman Clara

The new season of Doctor Who began filming last week and will air on BBC One in spring 2017.

> Here’s everything we know so far about Season 10.

Teasing Season 10’s launch next spring, Moffat said: “We’ll introduce [Bill] in the first episode of 2017, and she’ll run through that series. She’ll not be in Christmas [2016], because that would blow the series launch … So there’ll be somebody else – a different, guest companion – this Christmas, like how River Song played the companion role in last year’s Special.”

> Buy the complete Season 9 box set on DVD on Amazon.

> Buy the complete Season 9 box set on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Peter Capaldi recently revealed his three favourite Doctor Who episodes he’s starred in so far.

Do you prefer to see a cast line-up change every season? Let us know below…

  • stuart1001

    Part of me wonders if they haven’t filmed the Christmas special already, in total secret, though I admit that would be tough to keep secret. It’s about time Paul Mcgann got a full episode and this would be perfect, the 8th and 12th TOGETHER at Christmas 🙂

    • Charlieboy

      You are not alone in thinking this. I am convinced they filmed in May, when they originally said they were going to. And, with McGann!

    • Dr. Moo

      The recent filming pics showed snow on the ground so that could’ve been it.

    • BMK8372

      Ya know…I was thinking the SAME thing…lol

  • Charlieboy

    And, the same old crap storytelling!

    • Randy

      TBH I actually thought Series 9 was the strongest series in several years, though it definitely had some crap stories (ie Hell Bent and Sleep No More)

      • timmy

        Hell Bent was glorious!

        • MargaretL

          Agree. It tied up things nicely at the same time as opening up many new story opportunities. Where are the Clara-Ashildir stories we need them and we need them now!

          • If I could Freddy Krueger you, I wouldn’t, because I’m a nice person, but the thought definitely entered my mind!

    • timmy

      No. Not remotely.

      • Charlieboy

        Missy – awful and a joke.
        Sleep No More – ’nuff said.
        Clara – dead, not dead. ANOTHER companion who fails to stay dead.
        Heaven Sent – Rubbish.
        Capaldi’s guitar playing.
        Sonic Sunglasses !!!!!

        • timmy

          Well, you missed the whole point of Clara not dying. And the second episode you cite is widely considered a masterpiece (which it is) and has been nominated for an emmy. The rest are either trivialities, or the one bad apple in series 9. So just assume I said “No. Not remotely” again, yeah? Cheers

          • Charlieboy

            Clara not dying IS the problem with Doctor Who. Every companion has died and come back in NuWho.

          • timmy

            You mean, two of them. So no, that ISN’T a problem.

          • Charlieboy

            You don’t watch alot of NuWho, do you?

          • Dr. Moo

            Let’s take a look at the nine main companions and see which ones died and then which of these came back.
            Rose – didn’t die.
            Mickey – didn’t die.
            Jack – died, came back.
            Martha – didn’t die.
            Donna – didn’t die.
            River – died, came back but stayed dead.
            Amy – died, didn’t come back.
            Rory – died, came back, but final death was permanent.
            Clara – died, came back but stayed dead.

            By my reckoning that’s only 1 out of 9 companions having a death overturned and the one in question only did so in order to get themselves a spin-off.

          • Charlieboy

            River – Died in Forest of the Dead, came back for Name of The Doctor.
            Astrid – Died, and transformed into another lifeform.
            Amy and Rory jumped off a building in Angels in Manhatten – Died.
            Clara – Died in Face the Raven, came back and is know travelling in her own TARDIS.
            Rory – Died, and came back, several times. Died off screen having lived a full life.
            Clara and Missy exterminated by Daleks, but, No, their not dead!

            Jenny died, but, No, she regenerated!
            The Brigadier and Danny both died – resurrected as Cybermen.

          • timmy

            Yes, people die in Doctor Who. Well done. Your assertion that companions

          • Charlieboy

            Not they don’t! Thats the point!

          • timmy

            YES, I GOT YOUR POINT. I will rephrase my sentence a bit, then– “Yes, people die in Doctor Who and occasionally they come back. Well done.”

            It still doesn’t happen anywhere near often enough to rudely declare it a ‘problem’ (count up all the people who die and stay dead and see what happens) and your accusation that all companions do it is still as much nonsense as it was before.

            I’m done with this now, bye comments

          • River died in the Library, was the first time the Doctor saw her. She continued to Run with the Doctor for many seasons, actually she was with more Doctors than anyone else and technically she was never his companion….remember she said she would travel with him whenever and wherever but not always – only one pschopath in the Tardis

          • Charlieboy

            She still died, and came back!

          • of course she died, they all die, everyone does

          • Charlieboy

            And come back!

          • Charlieboy

            More than the Brigadier?

          • how many Doctors did he travel with

          • Charlieboy

            Nick Courtney played the Brigadier on screen with Ttoughton, Pertwee, Baker, Davison and McCoy. Excluding Specials.

          • Craig Forshaw

            The Doctor – died twelve times. Still around.

          • Charlieboy

            Regenerated! Not died!

          • Craig Forshaw

            Oh, I’m sorry, but isn’t regeneration something they do when they’re DYING? You’re deliberately being pedantic in the hopes that someone will agree with your demonstrably false belief that no-one ever dies on the show, when loads of people do.

            The fact is, the lack of permanence with regards to death is (a) an essential part of the show, and (b) perfectly acceptable for a family show that isn’t about being edgy and rubbish like 99% of the vastly inferior US TV output.

          • if you consider that everyone dies, at some point, then Amy and Rory did not die, they were just sent back in time to live out their lives. As for Clara, she isnt dead, just travelling around the galaxy, heading back…the long way around

          • Charlieboy

            Clara didn’t stay dead!

          • Craig Forshaw

            Actually, she did. The Doctor pulled her out of time from just before her death, but we know she goes back and dies because we saw her actually die in that scene. So, at some point, she goes back and dies – its just that the version in Hell Bent was her just prior to dying.

            However, I’ll tell you one reason why the, “People never stay dead!” argument for Doctor Who just doesn’t work: its main character has died twelve times, now, and has somehow miraculously survived each and every time. In fact, he’s probably died even more often than that.

          • Charlieboy

            Hes regenerated, not died!

          • timmy

            All of it. And I especially enjoyed Series 9, like almost everyone.

          • Robert W

            When did Amy Pond come back ?

          • Charlieboy

            She left in The God Complex.

        • Dr. Moo

          You just said Heaven Sent is rubbish, and with that you lost your right to state opinions.

        • stuart1001

          You are entitled to your opinion. Even if it is completely wrong 🙂

        • Mabel

          Ha! You’re funny. Heaven Sent is rubbish! Mossy is awful! Best jokes I’ve heard for years. I love it when people say patently false things for a laugh. See, I can do it too. Umm, End of Time is a brilliantly written episode and should have gone on for at least another half hour. Oh, here’s another! David Tennant is the master of subtle and emotionally truthful acting. Ha! This is fun.

          • Mabel

            Mossy. Hmm. Might have meant Missy, still Mossy is just bossy Missy I guess!

          • Craig Forshaw

            David Tennant was subtle and emotionally truthful, though. Usually when Moffat wrote him, like with The Girl in the Fireplace.

        • Heaven Sent was bloody good. Save your rotten tomatoes for Hell Bent. I’d take the Slitheen farts over that episode any day.
          Also, Missy remains the only Master you can’t imagine saying “you will obey me”, which is kind of a problem. She’s great comic relief, but pretty dreadful as a villain. Anthony Ainley was more relevant to the show than she was.

  • Dr. Moo

    The Magician’s Apprentice was a strong episode, one that just went BANG DOCTOR WHO IS BACK and that’s just what it needed to be. Putting the Master and Davros in the same story was one of those “Why hasn’t this happened before?!” moments and it was marvellous, especially in part two.

    I agree with The Moff on many things but I have trouble understanding why he regrets launching the season with such a big, fun and explosive opening.

  • timmy

    He’s being very conscientious to think of it like that, but it most definitely wasn’t a mistake to simply not have a new thing! The audience doesn’t automatically need that, and the show doesn’t either. God only knows it’s good to keep elements that the audience likes or loves (which was the case with this TARDIS team) sometimes. (Otherwise you end up with the RTD years, with a new companion in and out almost every year, which I have always been very glad that Moffat got far away from.) And certainly sticking with the 12th/Clara team for another year was a hugely positive thing, and gave series 9 a wealth of material and its identity.

    I do object to Cultbox stating “The launch trailer even contained the line ‘Same old…'” as if that use was a mistake, or as if you hadn’t seen either the trailer or the episode it came from, where the point was that this was A GOOD THING.

    Sort it out.

    • MargaretL

      Yup. Agree with pretty much everything about this post. Continuity in series 9 was one of its strengths.

      • timmy

        Oh, yay 🙂

  • Cheryl Gill-Jolin

    Please tell us that it’s Captain Jack.

  • Jeremy Parks

    Season 9 was a pleasure for me. I didn’t have any major problems with it. Sleep No More was a bit of a head scratcher, but the ending monologue made it for me.

    • JOHNBOY!

      “Sleep No More was a bit of a head scratcher” – That episode’s very existence is a head scratcher! How did it ever get made???

      • Jeremy Parks

        Hell if I know. Usually there is some half way sensible science explanation , but this one was just…..ugh. Again. the ending dialogue was fun, but that is about it.

  • JOHNBOY!

    Nope. I don’t understand why he regrets that. He’d found a perfect formula with 12 and Clara so why mess with it?

    • He’s got ants in his pants. “New this! New that! If we haven’t done it before, it MUST be good!”

  • Wizza

    Er… series 7?

  • vegastearoom

    Moffat SLIGHTLY fumbled? HAHAHAHAHA

  • MargaretL

    Moffat as usual is far too modest. Funny seeing this juxtaposed against the RTD story also floating about with a snippet from the South Bank Show where he is throwing a bit of shade on his successor’s Tardis designs (Umm, Russell, I think everyone agrees yours wasn’t very good). Bless the dear old Welsh windbag, it’s clear he has never had a moment of self doubt about the show during his time while Steven Moffat frets about every second he creates. That is why Moffat’s version is infinitely better as he strives to improve year on year and isn’t afraid to make changes when something doesn’t quite work. So we had standalones, two parters, split series, redesigned and updated monsters and best of all, the simply wonderful Missy born out of RTD’s abysmal Simm Master. RTD seemed happy to plunge on without any reflection to produce an increasingly smug and self regarding show developed in his echo chamber culminating in the bloated series 4 finale and even worse the vanity abomination which was End of Time.

    Series 9 was a triumph and Magician Apprentice was a complete joy. I remember being so thrilled by the audacity of the story telling and the moments of punch the air brilliance from the hand mines to Missy’s return to Peter’s glorious entrance on the tank to our glimpse of Skaro to the Sisters to the prophesy. What about the snake guy? There were plenty of exciting new things as well as a satisying mix of old ones. I remember the huge levels of excitement on the fan boards. Tonally, it was perfection and set up so many themes which kept running to the fantastic ending in Hell Bent. As a starter episode, it’s up with Impossible Astronaut but maybe just a tad under The Eleventh Hour which of course is the best series opener ever. Already excited for series 10 too. The filming pictures look like it’s going to be another slice of Moffaty genius and our last chance to savour his work.

    • Paul K. Sulkowski

      I rather like the TARDIS design at the NuWho reboot. However, I like Missy a whole lot more than RTD’s redesign of the Master. The idea of having the Master become Prime-minister was cool. However, the characterization of the Master personally never quite rang well with me. I always thought the master was supposed to be a bit more regal. Missy is the perfect balance between regal and psychotic for character.

      • Bardotti

        Missy is just EXACTLY the way the Master should be. Evil, slightly unhinged but imperious. Michelle Gomez was born to play Missy. Poor old John Simms really got stuck with some of the very worst writing in the show’s history. I thought his Master was ok until the dancing thing in the Valiant but after that, just awful, awful, awful. End of Time even worse. Much worse than Eric Roberts even. John Simms was so unhappy about the way his character was written in End of Time and way he was treated, including by Tennant allegedly, that he never wants to come back. Don’t blame him!

        • Charlieboy

          Have you ever watched Roger Delgado?

        • At least Simm was a credible threat. Missy never really had a bite imho. Simm seemed crazy in a dangerous way, whilst Missy was just really silly with her bananas quotes. Her incarnation felt very much like a caricature and not the proper NEMESIS that the Master should be. With Simm, it felt like he was about more than just hanging out with the Doctor. With Missy, it’s like she’s some old girlfriend of his. Yuck.

          • Daniel Mulholland

            I think Missy has more of a bite than RTD’s Master ever did. The Master was all about… oohhh let’s destroy the Earth because I want to rule everything… But if Missy wants to get at the Doctor, she just kills whoever’s closest to him. That… is dangerous and threatening.

          • That just makes Missy all about the Doctor, rather than her own character. The Master has always wanted POWER. Not the Doctor. Power.

          • Craig Forshaw

            Really? The RTD version was all about The Doctor – he kept waiting around for The Doctor to show up before he did anything, and eventually he ended up on the same side as The Doctor, fighting Rassilon to save him.

          • The RTD version had nothing to do with the Doctor. His plan took months to complete(hence all the mr. Saxon hints), and didn’t rely on the Doctor being there. He announced the Toclafane’s presence to the world before he even knew the Doctor was in London.
            And him turning on Rassilon was just pure rage against the drumming. Plus, the Master and the Doctor weren’t really even enemies at that point, their conflict was concluded in The End Of Time.

            On the other hand, Missy had one plan that was basically just “give the Doctor an army and hope that that somehow turns him evil”, and in her second story, she was looking for him.

          • Craig Forshaw

            This is the same Missy who conquered the Earth by seemingly enslaving arguably one of The Doctor’s greatest enemies, before killing Osgood, and revealing she had somehow imprisoned everybody who’d died on Earth stretching back to Victorian times?

            Yep. No threat whatsoever. No literal or existential threat at all.

          • *Who conquered the Earth by seemingly enslaving arguably one of the Doctor’s greatest enemies. – And then just handing it over to the Doctor… I mean, what?? As if the Master would be dumb enough to think that would work.

            *Before killing Osgood – Oh, THE MASTER killed someone? Shocking.

            *She had somehow imprisoned everybody who’d died on Earth stretching back to Victorian times? – Which was neither explained nor even mattered in the end.

            Let me put it this way: Dr. Evil manages to obtain nuclear weapons all the time in the Austin Powers movies. Does that make him threatening? No, he’s an utter buffoon. Ditto for Missy.

          • Craig Forshaw

            No, you don’t understand the meaning of the word threat: to threaten is to intimidate through actions, words and deeds, and thus show that you are someone to be feared.

            Killing someone is LITERALLY threatening for all the other people who don’t get killed. It is why we put murderers in jail you absolute, utter moron.

            The reason Doctor Evil isn’t threatening, meanwhile, is because he’s in a spoof, a comedy, so his actions aren’t meant to generate tension, but laughter.

            FFS…

            And as for Missy, she did win over The Doctor by offering him the Cyber-Men, because for a second he considered it. These are beings who live thousands of years. Missy doesn’t need to win today – she has centuries.

            And, yeah, the plot point with the dead people’s minds uploaded wasn’t “explained”. In fact, in a huge amount of fiction throughout history things aren’t explained, they are implied, and left to subtext. John Wayne’s motivations are never fully explained in The Searchers, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t figure them out. If you want handholding, go watch some American trash.

            “Gee Barry, how can we stop this other speedster?”
            “I have to get faster than I’ve ever gone before.”
            “Faster than you’ve ever gone before?”
            “Yes, to stop the other speedster.”
            “But how will you get faster than you’ve ever gone before, to stop this other speedster?”
            “By… running faster than I’ve ever gone before.”

            SCREW THAT NOISE. (Btw, how has he gone faster than before in season two, when in season one his fastest sent him through time, and now another speedster has shown up who is like The Flash to The Flash, and he also doesn’t just end up running through time, either? That show is so dumb about its own rules…)

          • 1. Missy is a fictional character. Inside the show, any idiot can be menacing if you give him or her a gun. But I am not inside the show. I am a member of the audience who’s being told a story.
            For example, if you told me that Darth Vader suddenly showed up wearing a Hawaiian shirt, I would not find that scary or remotely in-character, even if he has a lightsaber and can kill people.

            2. Dr. Evil is a parody, because the writing dictates that he doesn’t generate tension. Okay. Well, excuse me for not finding the sight of Michelle Gomez tapdancing the most frightening thing in the world then. Missy does not generate tension. She generates a snort, at best.
            She is a parody of the Master’s character, taking Simm’s genuinely unnerving insanity and prideful nature(that actually had a purpose and was used to show the difference between him and the Doctor) and just… doing silly things. She’s like the Joker, except for the fact that the character was never designed to be the Joker.

            3. I’m not expecting a big flowchart for her plan, but a little bit of A-to-B wouldn’t hurt. Without the most basic explanation, anything becomes possible. And again, the tension is lost, because I know Missy can just pull anything out of her skirt like a magic trick.

            4. I’ve never seen the Flash, and I don’t watch much modern TV anyway. What I do watch, is classic Doctor Who. You’re gonna tell me that was hand-holding by not just throwing randomness at me and claiming it’s some big storyline that TOTALLY is the biggest baddest thing the Doctor has ever run into?

            5. Calling people names just shows your own immaturity.

    • Bardotti

      Don’t know what Moffat means. Apprentice and Familiar were sensationally good. I prefer them even to Impossible Astronaut/Moon. Sometimes Moffat is too self critical. I guess he is a perfectionist which is not a bad fault for a writer. Certainly Heaven Sent last year and Listen the year before are as close to perfect that writing on Who has ever gotten.

      • Marcie

        Heaven Sent is a masterpiece. Simple as.

        • Mabel

          Sing it sister.

        • Charlieboy

          Heaven Sent was bad. So many plotholes!

      • Charlieboy

        No thery wern’t!

    • You are one of those people I disagree with on literally everything when it comes to Doctor Who. 😀
      So let’s just skip the argument and go away fuming.

    • Charlieboy

      The electric guitar playing on the tank was the worst piece of Doctor Who, ever. Utterly ridiculous. And, people laughed at the Kandy Man????

  • Andrew W. Wright

    PLEASE be a Jack Harkness Christmas Special!

  • Jc

    No. The Magician’s Apprentice & the Witch’s Familiar were fantastic episodes. Best series opener in a long time.

    • Charlieboy

      Mmmm. Both Clara and Missy are exterminated at the end of part one, but, noooooo, it was all fake. Awful series.

  • Nathan

    Actually his biggest mistake was Hell Bent. But sure

  • but they had Me/Ashilda

    • Charlieboy

      That was awful.

      • thought she was a good character and interesting to see how she evolved over the years….imagine being immortal, it showed that there is a serious downside

  • Craig Forshaw

    I agree with Moffat. And that new thing should have been Missy.