Doctor Who fans got a rude awakening over the weekend when Doctor Who lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat announced that he would leave the series in 2017.
That announcement came with even more bad news for Doctor Who fans, unfortunately. Although, technically, viewers should get two more Moffat-led seasons of Doctor Who, now they're only getting one additional season with Moffat as showrunner, plus a Christmas episode. That's right, there won't be any new episodes of Doctor Who this year because the BBC decided to push Moffat's last season back until 2017.
So the only new Doctor Who fans get this year is a Christmas episode.
The announcement came with some good news: the BBC has already lined up Moffat's replacement. Chris Chibnall is taking over the show's reins.
But who is Chibnall? What credentials does he have that makes him worthy of helming one of the world's longest-running science fiction television shows?
For those in the U.K. and Anglophiles in the U.S., Chibnall is known mostly as the writer for Broadchurch, a crime drama starring former Tenth Doctor, David Tennant. Broadchurch is popular worldwide and has won many awards, with a third season currently in the works. There was an American remake, too, also starring Tennant, called Gracepoint, but it only lasted 10 episodes (let's face it, generally, U.S. adaptations of U.K. series don't do well).
Broadchurch, though, isn't the only BAFTA-winning series Chibnall has worked on: his award-winning credits also include The Great Train Robbery, United, Law & Order: U.K. and Life on Mars.
Chibnall also served as head writer for the first two seasons of Torchwood, the more adult spin-off of Doctor Who. Of course, he's also already got experience working on Who, too: Chibnall wrote the eerie episode "42," a tense adventure story that had the Doctor and Martha Jones trying to save a spaceship from crashing into a burning star.
Chibnall also introduced classic Who aliens the Silurians to a new audience by writing the two-part "The Hungry Earth" and "Cold Blood" for Matt Smith's run as the Doctor. He also wrote several other episodes for Smith, including the fun "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship." The last episode he wrote for the series was "The Power of Three," which asked the question: what would happen if a bunch of alien cubes landed on Earth and did absolutely nothing?
If those credits don't impress, Chibnall was also personally chosen by the BBC to take on Doctor Who.
"Chris Chibnall is the perfect successor to take over the reins of this incredible show, so I am delighted that his love for Doctor Who has made it impossible for him to resist!" said Polly Hill, BBC controller of drama commissioning. "Chris is an incredible writer and his vision and passion for Doctor Who gives it an exciting future and promises to be a real treat for Doctor Who fans across the world."
Moffat also believes that Chibnall is a worthy successor.
"While Chris is doing his last run of Broadchurch, I'll be finishing up on the best job in the universe and keeping the TARDIS warm for him," said Moffat. "It took a lot of gin and tonic to talk him into this, but I am beyond delighted that one of the true stars of British television drama will be taking the Time Lord even further into the future."
However, fans won't know how Chibnall fares as the head of Doctor Who for some time: he won't become showrunner until 2018. Until then, there's this year's Christmas special and next year's new season to look forward to: that gives fans plenty of time to wish Moffat goodbye as he parts ways with the Doctor.