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‘Doctor Who’ Moves From Spring To Fall

Steven Moffat cites creative issues, but they could actually be financial

Production hasn’t yet started on the next season of “Doctor Who,” although it should have by now to prepare for a spring season.

But showrunner Steven Moffat has finally confirmed why such work hasn’t started yet: There won’t be a spring season.

The third season of “Doctor Who” featuring Matt Smith has been officially bumped to fall, Moffat recently told the official Doctor Who Magazine. No reason was given, but such a move — or a more worst case scenario, that there wouldn’t be a Season 7 — had been speculated now for weeks.

“For me, as a kid, when the afternoon got darker and there was a thrill of cold in the air, I knew that even though summer was over, the Tardis was coming back,” Moffat told the magazine. “So yes, that’s part of the plan, that’s part of the reason for this little delay. But it’s not the whole story.”

Apparently, it was either that, or bring “Doctor Who” in as a summer series. Using his colorful storytelling abilities, Moffat cryptically explained why that wouldn’t be happening.

“All that running down tunnels, with torches, and the sunlight streaming through your windows and bleaching out the screen?” he said. “All those barbecues and children playing outside, while on the [television] there are green monsters seething in their CGI-enhanced lairs? It’s just not right, is it? Be honest.”

Moffat made references to classic “Doctor Who,” which was typically aired in the fall and winter by BBC. It wasn’t really until the new series debuted in 2005 that it became more of a spring program.

Yet, the fall debut pushes past theories that BBC would split the seventh season over two years. BBC renewed “Doctor Who” for 14 episodes last June, but shied away from discussing reports of a split, saying only that the Season 6 split was more for storytelling reasons than anything else.

While Moffat might be citing a bit of history in terms of “Doctor Who,” it seems the real reasons behind the move is more financial.

The move would certainly disrupt the flow BBC has had over the years with “Doctor Who” since its relaunch. Airing episodes in spring would allow anticipation to build for the annual Christmas episode. The Christmas episode would then serve as a launching platform to whet the appetite of fans for the next season, which would then debut the following spring.

With a fall debut, that would almost place the Christmas episode right up against the actual season. Unless there is a split in the season, the entire season would be found in just the span of a few months. If there is a split, however, that would put the Christmas episode in a precarious position, since it would likely be placed right in the middle of a season. How would BBC handle that? Make it a standalone episode outside the continuity — like what “Warehouse 13” and “Haven” do on Syfy — or make it a key episode in the season, like what happened when star David Tennant left.

About why fans have to wait? Moffat is keeping the blame squarely on the creative side.

“We needed a little more time to prepare for everything we’ve got planned,” he said. “That, above all, is why we needed this little gap.

“Just be a tiny bit patient, and trust me, we’ll make it up to you. For full and comprehensive details of the spectacle to come, consult your fondest memories in a couple of years time.”

This year’s Christmas episode is scheduled to air Dec. 25 on BBC.

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