Published on December 30th, 2013 | by Philip Bates

Series 8 Goes Into a “Raw, Different Direction”

We all know that Series 8, which is due to screen in Autumn 2014, will be a bit different – but we might be surprised by how much.

Steven Moffat recently said that the direction of the next run will be something new… but it’ll still be business as usual:

“It changes all the time, and it’s keeping ahead of the audience in a way. All shows age and they all age sort of in the same way. You learn how to do it, you get really slick at it, and then you think you’re really, really slick at it and everyone’s started to yawn. And you think ‘oh God, we’re really slick at this but everyone knows what we’re going to do’… So now we’ve got to actually get a bit raw at it and do it in a different direction. It happens on every show – you get good at it and ‘good at it’ is the enemy in the end.”

Series 8, which starts filming next month, is the debut of the Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi, who was introduced in Christmas Day’s The Time of the Doctor, so this will obviously have an effect on the tone of Doctor Who. But does this mean darker? Or funnier? Or more diverse? Or simply, more multi-parters?

You’ll notice a wonderful shift between Series 4 (plus the Specials) and Series 5, as Moffat took over the reins from Russell T. Davies, but Moffat also told Nerd³:

“If Russell had stayed on, [Doctor Who] would still have changed. I remember when we had our handover chat, he was saying, ‘so what are you going to do? Are you going to change that?’ And I said, ‘well, what would you change?’ and we both agreed, ‘it’s time to kick a lot of stuff out’. And, actually, it is time again to do that.”

Autumn is a long way away, huh?

(Thanks to Anthony Ladegourdie.)


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About the Author


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

29 Responses to Series 8 Goes Into a “Raw, Different Direction”

  1. avatar Adam Morgan says:

    I think this is great news. It is definitely time to change things up a bit, and not just casting… but the entire methodology behind writing, etc. I’m really glad that Moffat, and even Russel, could recognize this and realize that they had gotten stale. Many shows never do realize that. I’m excited to see what changes are made.

  2. avatar STLShawn says:

    I can’t wait. This is going to be a wonderful series. I’m so excited to the future heading our way.

    Capaldi’s first words took some of my concerns of him being a “grumpy jerk” away. I can’t see him going from those first few seconds on screen to suddenly being a jerk to Clara. I think he will bring a certain gravitas to the role without seeming to “overpower” the role.

    I’ve heard rumblings of a more gothic-era who? That kind of concerned me with Capaldi’s casting as they could easily make him the mysterious dark wizard with dark secrets in a dark tardis who wrote poetry by candle light. Then I realized that just as Tom Baker wasn’t all gloomy and moody in the classic series “gothic era”, there’s no reason for Capaldi’s doctor to be. In fact, it’s the contrast between the hope and brilliance of the Doctor against the gothic gloom that made it interesting.

    • avatar DonnaM says:

      They’re never going to make the Doctor humourless or a “jerk”; Steven Moffat, I’m sure, is far too savvy for that! I’ve heard whispers on other forums – how accurate, who can tell? – of a more “Classic series” feel, and frankly, I’d welcome it!

      Capaldi is a superb and versatile actor; Moffat’s a seriously successful writer, and they’re both fans too. It could – actually should – be brilliant!

  3. avatar DonnaM says:

    They’ve chucked out the Gallifreyan genocide – that in itself could change the tenor of the show! One of the characteristics of the Doctor in New Who has been the burden of guilt and regret he’s carried – now that’s lifted, there are any number of ways it could change the show.

    I’m hoping for less whimsy – not, please note, less humour! I’d like some two-parters, definitely, and a Doctor who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Oh and I hope he doesn’t rescue Gallifrey too soon!

    Overall though, I’m encouraged by what Moffat says. Doctor Who thrives on change, and I’m excited to see what they have in mind for us this time.

  4. avatar Geoff says:

    Absolutely agree with Donnas comments, and the others for that matter. Steven Moffat is obviously very taken with the time travel aspect of Doctor Who which until his tenure was largely ignored other than to arrive at an actual location. He’s certainly changed that but maybe now he feels he’s done that and wants to try a different type of story telling. He’s also developed a stable of recurring characters which we all associate with 11s era even if River Song did first appear with 10 it’s 11 I link her to most strongly. Maybe he’s going to leave those characters with 11? I think in terms of setting the scene for a new Doctor it’s good to leave the predecessors hallmarks behind. Interesting times ahead.

  5. avatar Christine says:

    I also hope that now they’ve gotten rid of Clara’s impossibility she will be able to get some personality. Both the Day and the Time of the Doctor were very promising regarding that issue. I hope she stays on for the ride, so even with the changes there will be some continuity. I am convinced that a different Doctor-companion dynamic with the already present companion would be very interesting. Let’s introduce an additional companion – an alien perhaps but not a robot – halfway the run or something. Oh well, change will be good in any case! I expect the unexpected – and what a cliché is that!

  6. avatar Lozzer says:

    After the wonderful Day Of The Doctor, the Christmas episode reverted back to what might be considered the safe, boring, disney-fied version of the Moffat/Smith era, that desperately needed a regeneration of it’s own. Still feeling a little let down by Matt’s swansong and am hoping the new direction will be a vast improvment.

  7. avatar Simon Magellan says:

    A lot of us – myself included – thought the return of the Time Lords would provide a series arc for the next few years, so their return in Time was a surprise – maybe this signifies that the series isn’t going to be so concerned with its own mythology. Anyone familiar with the X Files will know where that can lead! Time now I think for the Doctor to have adventures again, with a beginning, middle and end, that aren’t part of larger arcs that make their enjoyment difficult…

    • avatar Willowflower says:

      But it wasn’t a full return. We didn’t actually see any Time Lords. I think it’s going to be a while before we do, but there will be teases, like in Time.

  8. avatar Jamie-42 says:

    I have high hopes for Capaldi and from watching his debut and the comments from above of a more classic Who feel, could his first line regarding not knowing how to fly the TARDIS come into play?
    To my mind the one major flaw with NuWho was the fact that the TARDIS, for often than not, could be flown with accuracy. Yes, some stories didn’t go to plan but for the most part it has got them to where they want to go (not needed to go…).
    Either way Autumn is too far away.

  9. avatar johnnybear says:

    The only way to improve the programme would be for Moffat to leave! He’s already over stayed his welcome!

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      Here we go again. Look, I am not a fan of a lot of what Moffat has done over the past few years – and was luke warm on Smith’s Doctor – but in the real world, Moffat has seen Doctor Who, this year, become the most successful drama on British TV, the top show on Christmas Day, record breaking on BBC America, broadcast simultaneously across the world, and making millions at the box office.

      Whatever we think of his era, clearly the general viewing public see something they like.

      Moffat will go when he wants – and when he does, I suspect the BBC will be begging him to stay rather than jumping for joy that’s he’s leaving.

      I’ve little doubt that whoever replaces him, be it Gatiss or someone else, will first be welcomed as the Anti-Moffat and then receive exactly the same criticism when the show he produces doesn’t match up to some fantasy view of what the “Perfect” DW should be.

      Fans should just be thankful there’s DW on TV at all – as another feature on Kasterborous points out, we could be living in a world where there was no revival. Perhaps the Moffat haters would prefer that?

      Frankly I am becoming a little tired of every topic here becoming the launch pad for more “sack Moffat” posts regardless of relevancy, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

      • avatar DonnaM says:

        Well said, Simon! I couldn’t agree more!

      • avatar TonyS says:

        I am in complete agreement with you, Simon and Donna.

        • avatar Jim McLean says:

          Not quite sure the BBC will be begging him to stay, from how I see it, I think they’d be keener for him to focus on Sherlock. But then its always difficult talking about a corporation as a singular entity. Having him hands on Sherlock makes sense really, no one can run two shows better than if they ran just the one – and with Sherlock a year late, you can see the logic in having the co-creator getting Sherlock in trimmer shape.

    • avatar Geoff says:

      Change the record Johnny. I think we all know how you feel about Steven Moffat now so why don’t you not bother if you can’t even manage to put your comments into the context of a broader response which actually has some relevance to the topic being discussed.

  10. avatar Simon Magellan says:

    The hiring of Ben Wheatley, who has an edgy, Indie film background, does suggest things will be going off in some new directions, visually. I’d like to know more about the writers though – Gaiman worked well when given reign to create a fantastic idea like The Doctor’s Wife but came a cropper on the more staid Nightmare in Silver – getting good writers in and then letting them write to their strengths is best (Curtis with Vincent is another example), rather than trying to make round pegs fit square holes.

    A Hinchcliffe Gothic feel would also be welcome – Moffat has spoken about Fairytale style for the series – but of course, at their basis, Fairytales are quite dark and psychologically disturbing, you only have to read Grimm to see that! A bit more of this would be nice (but not too much – even Hinchcliffe had variations and tones within a series).

    • avatar Adam Hoffman says:

      Actually, you’re stereotyping fairy tales in general and Grimm in particular. Not all fairy tales are dark and psychologically disturbing. For example, “The Bremen Town Musicians” is just a silly animal story and “How Six Men Got On in the World” is about six guys with super-powers tricking a king out of his money. No dark overtones unless you’re a greedy king.

      Anyway, I look forward to seeing what Doctor Who has to offer in the Fall. And if I don’t like it, well, it’s not like there isn’t about 42 years of preexisting Doctor Who that I can’t just check out instead.

  11. avatar John Miller says:

    Did Moffat actually say anything though? A lot of buzzwords, some vague mentions, but really…nothing.

    The only way to know for sure will be when Series 8 starts airing. of course even then that won’t be a certainty, as there’s a world of difference between what was felt when the Cracks in Time or the Silence first appeared, and then seeing the explanation in The Time of the Doctor.

    Doctor Who doesn’t need big mysteries like “Who is River Song?’, it needs good writing, good acting, good characterisation, stories that make you think, and not “How did he escape the spacesuit?” type of thinking.

    • avatar Geoff says:

      That’s always a risk isn’t it? A plot line or character meant to be full of mystery and intrigue but ends up just going on so long you get bored and end up not caring.

  12. avatar TonyS says:

    Fairy tale stories work when the Doctor is Peter Pan and that was Matt Smith to a T. He wasn’t pretending to be a child:- he WAS a child. We need something different for Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. I do not know what that is but I look forward to the journey.

    • avatar DonnaM says:

      I think you’ve just nailed why I never totally adored Matt’s Doctor. Child-like and childish – the Doctor can be both of those at times. It took John Hurt’s War Doctor to remind me just how much I want the character to be an adult sometimes as well.

      His “They’re screwdrivers, not water pistols!” when the two boys are pointing theirs at him is one of those moments that makes me laugh more each time I watch it.

      • avatar TonyS says:

        Yes and “What are you going to do? Assemble a cabinet at them?” The more I watch it the more I enjoy the Day of the Doctor :)

        • avatar Simon Magellan says:

          Hurt was THE highlight of the Day. He demonstrated, for me, what DW has been missing for a while now – a Still Point. Tennant and Smith both had their moments, but the insistence on fast talk and running about made them far too similar, at least at times. In Hurt, we had a Doctor who made an impact while sitting down!

          Funnily enough I had the same thought when watching David Warner in Cold War – I’m not saying every Doctor needs to be like this, but each Doctor needs to be different, and I’m hoping Capaldi’s is more like Hurt and less like the last couple.

  13. Great article but the link you posted was of the wrong channel of Nerds, i am a fan of Nerd (Gaming and IRL channels) and thought that i would give you this

    that’s the web address to the video mentioned above as its not on the channel that was linked to above.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Thanks very much. Corrected! :D

  14. August is too long. Hopefully there’s a miniside between. 8 months to wait for a new Doctor is too long.

  15. avatar dr jon says:

    I hope the new Dr brings back a sort of adult approach in dealing with enemy’s to make it more believable instead of using his sonic screwdriver to get him out of scrapes.the time of the magic wand is at an end.And I’d like this Dr to have a dry sence of humour instead of being over the top with slapstick,it was OK with matt and Sylvester as they did it quite well in suiting their Dr.As for a dark dr,yes by all mean’s if it suits the story.but he must have a kindness and moral streak in his nature to show he care’s about who he might be saving or what companion may be at risk.

  16. Pingback: Doctor Who to Air Without Mid-Season Breaks in Seasons 8 & 9 Plus Capaldi Will Be a Darker Doctor-Excited? | We Minored In Film

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