Since Russell T. Davies wrote “The End of Time”, he is yet to return to write anything for Doctor Who. Since New Years Day of 2010, Davies’ single contribution to the Doctor Who universe is Torchwood’s “Miracle Day” that aired in 2011. Despite rumours of the Welshman potentially co-writing the 50th anniversary special in 2013, he’s managed to stay away from the show, and in doing so has protected his monumental reputation amongst Whovians. When Steven Moffat eventually hangs up his Doctor Who pen, there will be similar clamours for him to return to write one off episodes from some sections of the fans. Although Moffat has arguably had more success in writing individual episodes for the show than he has as head writer, he’d perhaps be best advised to take a back seat role like Davies.
It could be argued that RTD’s stock has risen since he left, as in time, fans have grown to appreciate how he rebooted the show so successfully. Although his job and vision was to always bring the show back and no more, he has done well not to give in to fan demand and return to write singular episodes throughout Moffat’s tenure. This has helped to protect his era, and although his tenure as show runner was not perfect, it’s certainly looked back on with much fondness by fans as one of the most entertaining in the show’s history.
When Moffat replaced Davies in 2010, his job was different. He wasn’t responsible for a reboot, he had to continue the work Davies has started, while stamping his own mark on the show. Without Davies’ contribution, Moffat was able to freely do that, which helped him as fans couldn’t make comparisons between episodes in the same season that Moffat and Davies wrote. Moffat is more of a marmite figure than Davies, fans seem to either love him or hate him, and although some would love to see him continue writing past series 10, he should follow in Davies footsteps. It’s not as if Moffat won’t be busy. He’ll still be show runner alongside Mark Gatiss of Sherlock, which hopefully will see episodes released more regularly. He’s already proven himself as an exceptional writer of individual stories too. “Blink” in particular has already gone down in the show’s history as one of the best episodes ever, not to mention the fantastic job he did of “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead” and “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances”. It would be a shame for him to come back and write some episodes that weren’t to that standard and perhaps tarnish his reputation.
It would also be unfair for Chris Chibnall to have the Scot continue to hang around. The new show runner deserves the same chance as Moffat, to leave his footprint on the show. Arguably, Sir Alex Ferguson’s continual presence at every game during David Moyes’ tenure at Manchester United added to the pressure on the new bosses’ shoulders. It would be unfair for the same sort of fate occurring to Chibnall. This doesn’t completely close the door for Moffat in the show. Of course, Chibnall may want Moffat to script at least one story in his first series to try to ease the transition. There will be special episodes though, that Moffat could easily have a part to play in. But while Chibnall settles in, I think it’d be best if Moffat were to initially stay clear.