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Published on November 16th, 2013 | by Drew Boynton

Mashable: JJ Abrams Should Have Moffat “On Speed Dial”

Secrets. Everyone has them. Heck, sometimes I like to wear a top hat and pretend I’m the mayor of the potato people. But Doctor Who‘s secrets seem bigger than everyone else’s…and impossibly harder to keep.

Which is why Mashable‘s Chris Taylor wrote a column on Thursday commenting on Doctor Who‘s amazing ability to pull off some epic reveals, especially in our internet-obsessed information age. He compares it to something as ground-shaking as Apple unveiling a new unheard-of product, or Facebook suddenly buying Twitter:

That kind of surprise would approach what fans of the long-running British science-fiction show were feeling Thursday, when one of the show’s mini-episodes — usually a throwaway five-minute scene intended to hype an upcoming show — added one of the most significant plot developments in Who’s history, leaving long-time watchers slack-jawed.

With the release of The Night of the Doctor and it’s historic reveal-within-a-reveal, Taylor says that showrunner Steven Moffat should get all of the credit he deserves:

How did Moffat do it? With a hefty dose of misdirection. The Doctor who regenerates this time, played by Paul McGann, recently stated that he was “gutted” to not be appearing in the 50th anniversary special. Which, technically, he doesn’t. Somewhere, Moffat — variously described as the evil overlord of Tumblr fandom and king of the online trolls — is giggling with glee.

And he continues his praise of Moffat (and the Who crew), and thinks that filmmakers like George Lucas and J.J. Abrams could learn a thing or two from the wily Scotsman:

Fans have spent months speculating about where Hurt fits in the Doctor’s timeline. Most suspected that he came after McGann, but everyone was waiting for the special to reveal it. Imagine the reaction if George Lucas had casually revealed Luke Skywalker’s parentage in a short film prior to Empire Strikes Back.

Moffat, fully aware that spoilers are a fact of life in the social media age, delights in throwing fans a constant stream of curveballs. Perhaps J.J. Abrams should have him on speed-dial…

So, Kasterborites, here’s just some of the recent hits on the Moffat Secret-o-meter: Jenna Coleman appearing months early as the ill-fated Oswin Oswald, The Day of the Doctor trailer revealed at Comic Con and then kept off the internet, “Introducing John Hurt as The Doctor”, classic Doctors in The Name of the Doctor, the final fate of The Ponds, and now Paul McGann.

After all of this, what do you think has been Doctor Who‘s greatest secret?


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About the Author


Drew has been a fan of Doctor Who ever since he flipped through the channels late one night and saw a girl blowing up an army of funny robot men with nothing but a slingshot and some old coins. He currently lives somewhere in the woods of Missouri with his beautiful wife Barbara.

6 Responses to Mashable: JJ Abrams Should Have Moffat “On Speed Dial”

  1. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    Respect not only to Moff, but everyone else involved in keeping all the secrets – including all those lucky folks at comic-con who kept the rest of us oblivious (and some even infuriated for some reason)! The Night Of The Doctor would always have been a triumph, but was even more so because of the surprise (no matter how many of us may have secretly suspected/wished it)! The look on my daughters face when I showed it to her was utterly priceless and made me feel that young again! And while we are talking about keeping secrets can I just commend JN-T and co for their excellently kept secrets from Earthshock! I wasn’t around when it was first broadcast, but god I wish I was! I can only imagine seeing the surprise reappearance of the Cybermen or Adric’s death must surely have felt pretty similar to how I felt when seeing Paul McGann reprise the role we love hime for on TV again! I remember Moff from the Earthshock DVD documentary and can’t help but think maybe this was the story where he first realised the art and impact of surprise in the series.

    • I completely agree this just shows that we should think sometimes before critising Moffat’s work. I was shocked the other day when one of my friends another whovian still coundn’t get past the Hurt factor by saying its a wasted regeneration by not giving him a number if that was the case he may aswell include the meta crisis Doctor in that one and I think he does.

      • avatar David F says:

        The numbering of the Doctor’s bodies is only relevant in the real world anyway. It functions only as shorthand within fandom and marketing. Within the story, they’ve never numbered the Doctors at all, except for Clara’s “You’re the eleventh Doctor” comment in Name of the Doctor (and even then, she meant it as a description, not an official title). Within the story, it doesn’t matter at all whether the current incarnation is named the eleventh, twelfth or thirteenth.

        Strange anyone should consider it a wasted regeneration when the story could (and ultimately will) allow the Doctor as many different bodies as the writers want.

  2. avatar Geoff says:

    I think you’ve summed it up perfectly. I haven’t enjoyed all of Steven Moffats work and he has in my view dropped the ball once or twice ( Paradigm Daleks lumber to mind!) but that can be said of anyone who’s ever been in charge of Doctor Who can’t it? Everyone has had the odd clanger here and there, and bearing in mind the complexity of the production it’s to all their credits that there aren’t more dodgy moments.
    As your reviewer says where Steven Moffat had succeeded is in dropping absolute bombshells out of the blue on more than one occasion. I mean how the hell did he get Paul McGann costumed up, into a studio wit other actors and crew, and get the material through post production without anyone saying anything. The answer is through very hard work, which he did because he wants to give us great thrills. I don’t see how anyone can have anything bad to say about the man frankly. I’d like to say: Thankyou Steven you made my month, and you realised Night of the Doctor on my birthday too. Brilliant!

  3. avatar Bob James says:

    Why would JJ Abrams even have Moffat’s number? And, other than civility and polite professional courtesy, why would Moffat even take the call if he did?

  4. avatar Matt B says:

    They can’t get over the fact that it’s not a Gay Person in control. Its great that a person sexuality can be shown in a positive light….but Doctor Who is for every man. I don’t like RTD …
    he is very full of himself…and seems to think that every person out there is a homophobe…something I personally find offensive.

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