Where next for Steven Moffat?

Alex Moreland

Steven Moffat has been the executive producer and head writer on Doctor Who since 2010 – he’s helmed the series for 7 years, 5 seasons, and brought the show through its fiftieth anniversary year. Moffat also recently overtook Robert Holmes and Russell T Davies as having written the most televised Doctor Who – Moffat has 35 stories to Davies’ 25 and Holmes’ 16, which brings Moffat to a total of 1950 minutes in comparison to Davies’ 1593 minutes and Holmes’ 1660. Moffat has been a celebrated yet polarising figure for Doctor Who – under his stewardship, the programme finally broke America and reached new critical acclaim, but detractors and critics were never far behind.

And, as of Christmas this year, he’ll be done.

The 2017 Doctor Who Christmas special won’t just see Peter Capaldi regenerate; it’s also set to be Steven Moffat’s last televised episode, ending a prolific and lengthy association with Doctor Who. In 2018, we’ll see the eleventh series of the revived show, now under Chris Chibnall’s control – and the story will go on, forever.

This does, of course, beg the question – where next for Steven Moffat?

His time with Doctor Who has ended not long after the apparent conclusion of Moffat’s other megahit, Sherlock. Back in January, we saw The Final Problem – an episode which, if not intended to be Sherlock’s last, could certainly function as such. In any case, with the increasing success of stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, it’s grown difficult to continue scheduling filming of the show – meaning that, whether The Final Problem proves to be the end or not, it’s certainly going to be the last episode of Sherlock we see for quite some time.

Which in turn leaves Steven Moffat with a fair amount of time on his hands.

No doubt the first thing he’ll do, of course, is take a rest, and a well-deserved one at that. Eventually, though, he’ll return to writing once more – the question is, what will it be?

It’s possible that Moffat might return to Hollywood, after having left it behind to do Doctor Who in the first place – to take on the showrunner role, Moffat walked away from a three-picture deal with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. Of course, considering the success he’s had in the years since, it’s more than likely that these directors and others would want to work with Moffat to bring a project to the silver screen. Perhaps, following The Return of Doctor Mysterio, we might see Moffat helming a superhero movie of his own? Or, alternatively, having seen his take on the Doctor and Sherlock Holmes, maybe it’s time that Moffat writes a James Bond movie?

Of course, we should perhaps consider what Russell T Davies did when he left Doctor Who behind, to see where Moffat might go next. Davies returned to his work from prior to Doctor Who, with his new series Cucumber in many ways a spiritual successor to his early hit Queer as Folk; it was a brilliantly self-indulgent drama, in the sense that one suspects it could only ever have come from Davies himself.

So, what might this look like from Moffat? Prior to Doctor Who, much of Moffat’s work was in sitcoms – shows like Joking Apart and Coupling being particularly notable for their semi-autobiographical nature. Might we see something in this vein from Moffat once more – a spiritual successor to Coupling, much like Cucumber was to Queer as Folk, bringing with it a comedic interpretation of the last decade of Moffat’s life? Might it be time for a subversive, satirical workplace comedy, based around the hectic production of one of the biggest shows in the world?

It’s difficult to say, obviously, what Steven Moffat will do next. Most likely, really, is that he probably won’t do anything on this list – he’ll simply go on to surprise us all. One thing, though, probably can be counted on: that he’ll take the television world by storm.


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