Doctor Who Showrunner Is The “Hardest Job In Television,” Says Mark Gatiss


As fans may know, Doctor Who‘s current – tenth – season will be the last to feature not only Peter Capaldi as the Doctor but also Steven Moffat as showrunner. The writer has helmed the series for the last seven years, through both Matt Smith and Capaldi’s tenures, and taking over from him will be Chris Chibnall, most known for creating crime drama Broadchurch. 

During a talk at the Oxford Union recently, Moffat’s frequent collaborator, writer/actor Mark Gatiss, spoke about why he wasn’t interested in stepping into the role of showrunner even though he had the chance, describing it as “a poisoned chalice.”

“To be honest, the job of showrunning Doctor Who I think is probably the hardest job in television, I’ve seen it up close…it’s just so completely all-consuming. I act and I write and I couldn’t do both. I couldn’t do it if I did that. It’s such a poisoned chalice… there’s so much expectation… millions of people who think they can do it better than you.”

You can see Gatiss’ point. Take Moffat, for example. He’s guided Doctor Who through perhaps the most successful period in its history, definitely in terms of international popularity, and yet he repeatedly gets (very savagely) criticized by certain sections of fandom.

Back when Moffat announced that he’d be stepping down, Gatiss was touted to take over due to his long history with the series and his role as co-showrunner on Sherlock. As he mentions here, however, he didn’t accept the job as it would have prevented him from taking on other acting roles – which makes sense.

Gatiss isn’t the only one who considers the Doctor Who showrunner job to be a tough gig, either. Chibnall has previously stated that the BBC had to “woo” him in order for him to sign up. Apparently, it was the fact that they encouraged him to go for “risk and boldness” when rebooting the show that convinced him.

Doctor Who is currently airing on Saturday nights at 9PM on BBC America. For a look at the next episode, be sure to check out the video below.

Source: Radio Times

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