Man, what the hell is going on behind the scenes at Doctor Who?
Executive Producer Caroline Skinner worked on Doctor Who since 2011, but she has now left the show amid rumors that she and showrunner Steven Moffat got in a behind-the-scenes argument of some sort. Skinner, however, had released a public statement that seems to downplay that scuttlebutt:
I will miss them all enormously, but I’m leaving Doctor Who in fine form, with the new series starting at Easter and the fantastic plans for the 50th Anniversary already underway. I am delighted to be now returning to BBC Drama Production in London as an executive producer, and the new opportunities and projects that will bring.
And maybe that’s the whole truth of it, that she just decided to move on. However…
This isn’t the first time a Who producer has bailed out under Moffat’s tenure. Beth Willis and Peter Wenger both left the series during season six, and were also rumored to have butted heads with Moffat. When you factor in that the show has been pretty uneven since Moffat took over, I find myself wondering if Moffat is a far better writer than he is a showrunner.
After all, when he was just focused on writing, he gave us brilliant episodes such as The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink, and the Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead two-parter. Have any of his episodes since he took over the show measured up to those? As much as I’ve liked parts of his run, I honestly don’t think they have.
This behind-the-scenes drama also comes in the midst of mixed signals about what is being done for Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary celebrations. We know there’s a TV movie about the creation of the show, and a special episode of some sort, but so far it’s seeming far more underwhelming than you’d expect from a show celebrating five decades of life. Especially one that has become such a huge pop culture phenomenon. For example, you would think bringing back as many of the surviving Doctor actors as possible would be a no-brainer, but for every story we hear that one or more of them are definitely returning, we hear another story where one of the actors denies that he’s been approached about it.
In the meantime, BBC Drama Wales head Faith Penhale is taking over Skinner’s job while the 50th anniversary special is filming. After that, the show will be looking for a full-time replacement.
In the meantime, maybe Doctor Who and The Walking Dead can bet some money about who can lose the most producers in the shortest amount of time…