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Published on May 11th, 2011 | by Patrick Riley

Steven Moffat Hates You

Look at those eyes; he’s disgusted in you. Are you the sort of person who likes to attend press screenings of Doctor Who and then post the entire plots of any episodes you see weeks in advance?  Do you like to make sure all your friends on the web are aware of all the stories’ surprises before they’re broadcast?  Do you like to call yourself a Doctor Who fan?

If your answer to all three of those questions is yes, then yes, Steven Moffat hates you.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5, the head writer of the best show in the universe recently made some angry but perfectly valid attacks on those spoilerphiles out there who not only continuously disregard River Song’s famous warnings, but ensure that everyone around them is aware of the future twists and shocks they can scrape together, whether everyone around them likes it or not.

“Stories depend on shocking people.  Stories are the moments that you didn’t see coming, that are what live in you and burn in you forever.  If you are denied those, it’s vandalism.”

If you, dear reader, are one of those vandals, the Grand Moff has banished you from the Whovian community forever:

“You can imagine how much I hate them.  It’s only fans who do this, or they call themselves fans.  I wish they could go and be fans of something else.”

That’s right, spoiler-spreaders.  You’re not wanted here.  Get out of the Whoniverse and go watch Don’t Scare the Hare.

All this Moff-angst is being triggered by the posting of a full synopsis of The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon online prior to their broadcast after one such “fan” attended the premiere screening.  Moffat’s opinion of this particular individual:

“I just hope that guy never watches my show again, because that’s a horrific thing to do.”

Just to be clear: we know plenty of people, whether enthusiastic about Doctor Who or something else, who prefer being spoiled because they hate surprises.  If that description fits you, please don’t leave the fandom; it’s your choice if you want to know what happens in advance.  But if you choose that path, please don’t ruin it for everyone else.  If you do, then it’s perfectly okay with us if you pack your bags and fall out of our TARDIS.

Hear Moffat’s rant for yourself and view commentary from the BBC’s Colin Paterson and Doctor Who Magazine writer Benjamin Cook below…


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About the Author


Patrick is a temporal hitchhiker who spends most of his time in the future. His favourite Doctor is the Fourteenth. If you're especially lucky, you might even hear him tweet to all you merry folk in the past @10PatrickRiley.

9 Responses to Steven Moffat Hates You

  1. avatar TomB says:

    He’s definitely right to be annoyed here– but really he only has the right to be angry at the one person who posted the synopsis (on a completely public forum and without any due spoiler warning, it should be added). He did ask for the audience’s confidence in not revealing any of the surprises in the story and his trust was directly betrayed.

    But the larger issue of whether it’s right to post and discuss “spoilers” in general is still a grey area to me. I don’t do it, I don’t like it, and I try my best to stay away from it whenever possible because I genuinely would rather not know what is going to happen. But some people actively want to know everything in advance and so long as they can be respectful of everyone else and keep it to themselves, there’s not much harm in it… except of course when some kid–or worse, some unscrupulous newspaper– gets excited about learning something big and decides to start shouting about it to the rest of the world. So someone (apparently) posting some recorded dialogue from a scene from ep 13 in a forum for spoiler hounds doesn’t really bother me. The fact that any old idiot can access this information and then spread it around the rest of the internet just by signing up for a log-in name, OTOH, is a big issue and it’s something that the owners of these forum sites need to be more mindful of.

  2. avatar krumstets says:

    Spoilers are one things but leaking the entire plot details of a story is another.
    Speculation,rumour and titbits of facts about forthcoming stories are the bread and butter issues of fandom.
    Leaking entire plots is pretty dumb in any case.
    I’m with Mr M on this one.

  3. avatar Rick says:

    Moffat’s entirely right. These ultimate idiots who even post spoilers—do just that: spoil things. It’s their right to do it but it doesn’t make it “right”.

  4. avatar Laz says:

    I can’t possibly understand how this “fan” can be defended (but I’ve seen people do that on Twitter). What he did was wrong. Everybody at the press screening was explicitely asked not to divulge the plot, and this guy did exactly that.

    I’ve seen people justify him because he didn’t sign anything… well, if we needed to sign a piece of paper to do (or not do) everything this would be a sad world.

    The Moff is absolutely right. And that’s what I like in sites like this, never real spoilers, only stuff that’s vaguely teasing (and/or already officially out). (I try to do that on my DW site too, quite easily since I don’t like to be spoiled myself. :-) )

    • You’re totally right Laz – it’s tricky running a site like this and remaining surprised. Thanks to certain other things going on in life I’m delighted to say that I’ve had lots of surprises this year in Doctor Who :)

      I’m baffled that this particular fan (and let’s face it, there are many who do this) has been defended when he was asked, along with everybody else at these screenings, to keep it quiet. Well I’m not really baffled, in fact I’m depressed about it. I’m baffled more because there are so many utter “twits” (as The Grand Moff sensitively put it) out there who think that because they know something the rest of us don’t then they’re a “bigger fan”. This doesn’t just come across in fandom online either, although this is where it largely congregates. In fact watching the clip above makes me seeth for just the same reason. The emperor in that particular clip might have nice pink hair but for me he’s got no clothes.

      Back to the point though – this fan did the indefensible, so anyone out there making excuses should put a sock in it. The Grand Moff asked him to be good. He misbehaved; Moff doesn’t like people to piss him about.

      He’s Scottish, and he might even get the name of the guy concerned, write them into Doctor Who and then give them the worst death possible.

      Look into his eyes. The Grand Moff is angry, and he’s looking at you, scumbag.

      • avatar Laz says:

        He’s Scottish, and he might even get the name of the guy concerned, write them into Doctor Who and then give them the worst death possible.

        This reminds me of that time in Press Gang when he had a heavy typewriter fall on the foot of a character he had named like his ex-wife’s lover… that was fun! :)

        • Wait so he’s actually done that sort of thing before? That’s amazing! Steven Moffat is my new hero; I just hope I don’t piss him off accidentally ;)

          • avatar Laz says:

            Yes! He tells Julia Sawalha about it in the DVD commentary of the episode (I think it was series 2 finale) when the typewriter actually falls on the guy’s foot. It was hilarious. :)

  5. avatar 23skidoo says:

    I imagine Moffat ruffled a few feathers with his comments, but the fact is if too many people spoil thoughtlessly, especially after being asked not to, which I understand is the case with the press screenings then, guess what – there won’t be any press screenings or fan previews. They don’t need to do this – the show is huge without the need to do these previews. They’re doing us a courtesy. So the least we can do is show them the courtesy back of not spilling the beans.

    I remember reading angry comments by RTD in his Writer’s Tale books when, say, the media ran a photo of Timothy Dalton in full Rassilon gear during the making of The End of Time, spoiling that surprise. It was a miracle (combined with clever editing of the press screener) that Rose’s cameo in Partners in Crime got broadcast as a full surprise. I believe they were similarly successful in keeping Catherine Tate’s appearance at the end of Doomsday under wraps.

    Teasers are certainly a different matter – remembering that the trailer for Series 5, issued months before Eleventh Hour was broadcast, actually contained scenes from the finale; plus it’s been indicated elsewhere that the Today Show “spoiler” from the finale of this season was approved before it went out. But those aren’t real spoilers.

    Someone posting something like “Amy is really Susan Foreman!” to a forum with no heed for spoiler warnings, and I see that sort of thing quite often in fandoms – those are the ones that make me really mad. Especially when it’s posted by someone with an axe to grind. I remember a spoiler thread related to Star Trek nearly 10 years ago that was titled something like “Borg to appear on Enterprise – those b**tards!” Even a decade ago, people created knee-jerk threads without thinking.

    If Moffat’s (and now Gatiss’) criticisms act like a splash of cold water to some people, that’s a good thing. Once something is “in the wild” and has been broadcast, it’s fair game for discussion, but if you’re given the privilege of being given a sneak peek, don’t abuse that privilege, or next time round the only guy who might get to see Series 7 Episode 1 in advance will be Benjamin Cook.

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