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Steven Moffat Admits He Was Really Nervous About Fan Reaction To The Doctor Who Anniversary

The World Doesn't End Because the Doctor Dances

Here at The Mary Sue, we’re not used to hearing Doctor Who’s Steven Moffat care all that much one way or another if fans like what he’s doing with the long-running sci-fi series. That’s why a recent piece in which he admits to being completely stressed out over the fan reaction to the 50th anniversary special is so refreshing. 

Writing a piece for Radio Times (you can read the whole thing here), the showrunner delved into what he was thinking leading up to the big celebration episode. What he wrote might surprise you:

I don’t think I’ve ever worked on anything that was as difficult, terrifying and as much of a responsibility as writing the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who. I wanted everybody to love it. I knew that was impossible, but I wanted people – from those who had never seen it, to the absolute diehard fans who hate every episode I’ve written – to love it. So it was monstrously stressful and very hard: the uncastable cast, the impossible brief, the unwritable script…

I can remember sitting with my wife saying, “I can’t tell if it’s good any more, it could be rubbish – I’ll have to leave the country. I’ll have to fake my own death.” And then going for a meeting with the producers the week I was meant to hand the script in, and we were still trying to assemble the cast. We all just sat there, thinking, “This is impossible, this can’t ever work!”

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t hate everything Moffat does. And sometimes, we even agree with him. It’s nice to hear his reaction to his work on the 50th falls in line with creators from the dawn of time.

In the same piece, Moffat also touched upon the “attractiveness” of the Doctors, something he just recently decided to put a cap on:

There is something about Peter [Capaldi’s] demeanour, his eyes, his attitude – he’s tremendously bright and that comes out on screen. When you choose a Doctor, you want somebody who is utterly compelling, attractive in a very odd way. None of the Doctors are conventionally attractive, but they’re all arresting. Handsome men don’t quite suit. Matt Smith’s a young, good-looking bloke from one angle but is actually the strangest looking man from another. You need that oddity; you need somebody who is carved out of solid star, really. Doctor Who is a whopping great star vehicle, despite the fact it changes star every so often. And so it really is built around the abilities, the charm, the magnetism of a succession of different actors. I’ve cast Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and John Hurt, but the truth is, they all cast themselves – the easiest thing to spot in the world is sheer brilliance.

Head over to Radio Times for more indepth discussion of the plot of “The Day of the Doctor.”

(via Doctor Who TV)

Previously in Doctor Who

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Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."