Steven Moffat Returns to Write an Episode for Ncuti Gatwa's First Season of 'Doctor Who'

Ncuti Gatwa in "The Church on Ruby Road"

Ncuti Gatwa in "The Church on Ruby Road"

(Photo: James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)

In the world of Doctor Who, almost everything old is new again...eventually. Showrunner Russell T. Davies left the show in 2009 before returning to the role last Fall. Former Doctor David Tennant officially regenerated at the end of Season 4, but came back to play the Fourteenth incarnation of the Doctor for the franchise's 60th anniversary episodes. And now former writer and showrunner Steven Moffat is back to write a brand new adventure for Ncuti Gatwa's first season in the TARDIS.

"Yes, okay, fair enough - apologies to everyone I’ve very slightly misled - I am in fact writing an episode of the series of Doctor Who. Exactly like I said I never would," Moffat said in a statement. "What can I tell you? There was begging, there was pleading but finally Russell agreed to let me have another go - so long as I got out of his garden. Working with old friends and a brand new Doctor I couldn’t be happier. Sorry, I was a bit reticent on the subject for so long. It was all part of an elaborate plan that would have delighted millions but at the last minute I forgot what it was.”

While your mileage can and almost certainly will vary when it comes to how you feel about Moffat's ability as a showrunner or his tenure in charge of the show, it's hard to argue about his output as a writer, particularly when paired with Davies as a showrunner. After all, this is a duo that's responsible for some of modern-era Who's best episodes, including the Ninth Doctor "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" two-parter, the Doctor-lite hour "Blink" that introduced the Weeping Angels, and Season 4's "The Silence in the Library"/"The Forest of the Dead," which kickstarted the timey wimey story of River Song. Could this Season 14 episode reach those same heights? There's every reason to hope! 

Moffat's new installment will be helmed by BAFTA, Emmy, and Golden Globe nominee Julie-Anne Robinson (Bridgerton), who is also set to direct the season premiere (or, as the BBC is currently putting it "the episode that succeeds "The Church on Ruby Road". We're going to have a lot of confusion about how we label things this season, guys.)

“It was a tremendous honor to direct episodes of Doctor Who for the BBC and Disney+," Robinson said. "This beloved franchise is 60 years old and still going strong. It is part of our collective memory as Brits. I’ve always admired Russell T Davies and Ncuti Gatwa is an unbelievably talented actor who has stepped into the role of the Fifteenth Doctor effortlessly, alongside the equally talented Millie Gibson. Steven Moffat gave me an intense challenge as a director. I asked him for a keyword to describe the overall tone of the episode he said: ‘Hitchcock’. I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks. I’m grateful to Bad Wolf, the BBC and Disney+. It was an incredible experience”.

The new season of Doctor Who will premiere in May as Gatwa's Fifteenth Doctor sets off on his first season of adventures with new companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) in tow. The new season will feature everything from a story set in Regency England to a visit to the Beatles' famous Abbey Road recording studio, with a plethora of guest stars and returning favorites in between. These include Bonnie Langton (EastEnders) as classic Who companion Mel, Jemma Redgrave (Grantchester) as UNIT leader Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, and Yasmin Finney (Heartstopper) as Donna Noble's daughter, Rose, alongside new faces Indira Varma (Game of Thrones), Jinx Monsoon (RuPaul's Drag Race), Jonathan Groff (Hamilton), and more. 

Season 14's first two episodes will drop on streaming on May 10 at 7 p.m. ET in the U.S. and at midnight GMT on May 11 on BBC iPlayer.  In the U.K. this will be followed by a linear broadcast at 6 p.m. GMT on BBC One. For those who need to catch up before the new season begins, Gatwa and Gibson's debut adventure, "The Church on Ruby Road," is currently streaming on Disney+.

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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