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Steven Moffat - 'Doctor Who's next boss

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Steven Moffat - 'Doctor Who's next boss
The baton has yet to be passed, but the BBC announced this week that Russell T. Davies is stepping down as Doctor Who showrunner and Steven Moffat will fill his sizeable loafers for the fifth season in 2010. So what can we expect from the new 'Whopremo'? Cult Spy takes a look at his impressive track record to date. Just don't dare blink...

Let's not look at his career in a linear fashion, for as any Whovian can tell you, Moffat, born in Scotland in 1961, loves nothing more than to tamper with the forces of chronology. Moffat's stories for the revived sci-fi series have been consistently phenomenal.

He took The Doctor and Rose back to the Blitz in 'The Empty Child', reviving the scary potency of the gas mask and coining the eerie phrase 'Are you my Mummy?' in the process. The introduction of the suave con/Time Agent Captain Jack from the 51st Century (just like Magnus Greel) saw a clash between future hi-tech and past archaic technology.

Moffat then broke the Time Lord's heart when he fell for 'The Girl In The Fireplace', the episode taking place across various periods in which time ran at different speeds. Children never looked at stone statues in the same way after last season's 'Blink'.

The legendary Sally Sparrow had to prize out clues left by The Doctor from back in 1969, before bumping into the time traveller in temporal paradoxical fashion - as he had yet to meet her! Plus, Moffat penned the touching 'Time Crash' sketch for Children In Need, as two Doctors past and present came face to face in the Tardis.

The high esteem in which these stories are held, and not only within popular culture, can be demonstrated by the sheer weight of gongs that have been won. 'Blink' recently scooped a Welsh BAFTA for scriptwriting, a BAFTA Craft Award for writing and is nominated for a prestigious Hugo Award for best dramatic presentation, short form.

Moffat has won this last category, voted for by the members of the World Science Fiction Convention, in both 2006 for 'The Empty Child' and 2007 for 'The Girl In The Fireplace'. His mantelpiece must be creaking more than the limbs of a rusty Cyberman!

Let's step back in time, to quote the lady behind Astrid Peth. For Moffat was the man behind the recent BBC reboot of Jekyll, which starred James Nesbitt, and the warmly-received sitcom Coupling. Both shows, despite their wildly differing genres, liked to toy around with time and structure to add layer upon layer of depth and intrigue to the proceedings.

Jekyll often used flashbacks to uncover the origins of the relationships between certain characters and Coupling had viewers in stitches by telling the same story from different perspectives. Coincidentally, Coupling's last season in 2004 introduced a regular character called Oliver - who just happened to have a full-size Dalek in his shop and wear a 'Bring Back Doctor Who' sweater. A year later his wish was granted!

Moffat, who possesses an English degree, first soared to prominence in 1989 by writing the much-loved ITV youth drama Press Gang. The programme revolved around a newspaper established by the pupils of a comprehensive school and lasted for five seasons, was bombarded with praise, scooped a BAFTA and propelled Julia Sawahla to stardom. The show also put Dexter Fletcher on the map, but all is forgiven.

More comedy followed in the shape of the acclaimed Joking Apart, but the critics brutally yanked down Moffat from his pedestal when his 1997 school-based sitcom Chalk hit the box. Nonetheless, the series did introduce fictional porn film 'Lesbian Spank Inferno' in the cultural consciousness - so much so that Coupling even made reference to it.

Back to the future - and without the help of a flux capacitor. Moffat is the writing talent behind the eagerly anticipated film adaptation of Tintin by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. The calibre of these names highlight what a coup it was for the BBC to land Moffat - a lifelong fan of Doctor Who - as the new boss.

In the more immediate future, we have a new two-parter to devour in the shape of 'The Silence In The Library' and 'Forest Of The Dead'. Boasting star turns from Colin Salmon and Alex Kingston, the story is set to do for shadows what 'Blink' did for statues.

Let's leave the current 'Big Cheese' Russell T. Davies to have the final word on his successor. Speaking at a recent Broadcast conference in London about his work on the show, Davies said: "I'll rewrite 100% if I have to. With Steven Moffat's scripts, I don't touch a word, but anyone else's I do..."

> Click here to read our review of the latest Doctor Who episode

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