Moffat's got a plan to guarantee Doctor Who's 100th anniversary

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Oct 2, 2013, 3:01 PM EDT (Updated)

Doctor Who is about to hit the big 5-0, but what's the key to keeping the longest-running sci-fi show going for another 50 years? 

Steven Moffat is a lifelong Doctor Who fan, he's been involved with Who directly since its return in 2005, and, as the present showrunner, he's been giving a lot of thought to how he can keep the best-known time traveler doing his thing for generations to come.

It seems like Moffat has been paying extra attention to the Doctor's future due to the forthcoming 50th-anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor. He's also been trying to consider what place the past holds, but, as it turns out, Moffat says he isn't quite so obsessed with all the reverence towards what came before.

You’re going to get every kind of retrospective in the world when it comes to the 50th and you’re not going to be short. To make this show just a walk-down, just a tribute to the past, a backward glance, would be like one of those end of year shows: ‘That was the year that was! Look back and feel slightly old and sad.’ Don’t do that! Of course it’s a celebration of the legend of Doctor Who, but more importantly it’s ensuring there’s going to be a 100th anniversary.

And that makes sense. Certainly, if it's retrospectives you're after, BBC America has been putting one out every month, and there will be plenty more where that came from. But, for Moffat, this isn't about the typical Who journey -- it's about focusing on what it's really like being the Doctor.

It’s a hugely important story to the Doctor. That was my mission statement. Very, very rarely in Doctor Who does a story matter to him very much at all. Obviously he runs around, defeats mutants, meets a space badger, saves a civilisation, causes epiphanies to happen to everyone he meets, rushes back to the TARDIS and forgets everything about it. If you asked him he might have a vague memory of the badger, and that’s it. 

So, with that in mind and a hope on casting his eye toward an ongoing Who-full future, here's how Moffat plans to keep the torch lit with The Day of the Doctor.

People ask me how am I going to please the regular audience and I say I’m actually on a recruitment drive to get the people who’ve never watched it before to watch Doctor Who. That’s what matters. There are some people out there who’ve never watched it before, God help them. You want them to think, ‘Oh I’ve been missing out, I’m going to join in now.’

If you’re going to celebrate Doctor Who, you’re celebrating the Doctor – well, why not tell his story? What’s it like for him? What’s it like being him, what defines him, what defines what he is? How do you make that might moment in his life? What would be the Doctor’s most important day, what would be the show that would change him as a person for ever, alter the course of his life?

This comes in fascinating contrast to the casting of actor Peter Capaldi as the upcoming 12th Doctor, who is exactly the same age First Doctor, William Hartnell, was when he got the part.

When Who started in 1963, the Doctor didn't have two hearts, there was no Gallifrey, no Time Lords, no great Time War -- it was just an old man, his grandaughter and her teachers out on an adventure.

Big change is nothing new, but what specific change does Moffat believe is the one that will carry us another 50 years? We'll just have to keep guessing for another two months.

(via Doctor Who TV)

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