Steven Moffat, the head writer and executive producer of Doctor Who, has been explaining his decision to produce two series of the BBC science-fiction drama for 2011.
The first series of 2011 will be broadcast in the spring, with the second following in the autumn. Both are currently in production, with Matt Smith, as the eleventh Doctor, Karen Gillan, as Amy Pond, and Arthur Darvill, as Rory Williams.
According to the BBC, the decision was taken at the behest of Moffat, who has devised a new Doctor Who story arc involving a big plot twist in the middle of the series, which will allow for “one of the most exciting Doctor Who cliffhangers and plot twists ever, leaving them waiting, on the edge of their seats, until the autumn to find out what happens”.
In August, Moffat told the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival that, in 2011, “viewers will be treated to two premieres, two finales and more event episodes. For the kids it will never be more than a few months to the next Doctor Who! Easter, autumn, Christmas!”
Today, writing in the current issue of Doctor Who Magazine – DWM – Moffat confirms:
There will be a huge cliffhanger [. . .] that we wouldn’t normally do at the end of a series of Doctor Who because it would be too long before it came back [. . .] an enormous, game-changing cliffhanger for the Doctor, Amy and Rory. It will change everything for them.
You will see the Doctor's life change forever, you will gasp in astonishment at the true nature of his relationship with Amy and you will cry out in horror as Rory Williams stumbles to the brink of a tragic mistake.
Smith has recently completed filming of his first Doctor Who Christmas special, which will be broadcast later this year. The title of the episode, written by Moffat, has not yet been revealed, but was rumoured to be called Father Who. The first Christmas special – The Christmas Invasion, by Russell T Davies – was broadcast in 2005. Since then Doctor Who Christmas TV specials have become a firm fixture, though all previous ones starred David Tennant, as the tenth Doctor, and were written by Davies.
The festive nature of this year’s Christmas special has been confirmed by him to the former editor of DWM, Clayton Hickman, in his Brilliant Book of Doctor Who 2011: “This one’s incredibly Christmassy. That’s true of the previous ones but I wanted to go for broke. It’s easily the most Christmassy thing you’ll ever see. It’s a huge, sentimental, lovely, jeopardy-driven story. It’s the Christmas special I’d like to see. It’s like a compilation of every Christmas movie. A big Christmas treat. But that doesn’t mean it’s without scares, and that doesn’t mean it’s without heartbreak. It has genuine tragedy in it.”