This year’s Doctor Who Christmas special may be departing showrunner Steven Moffat’s swansong but it will be his replacement Chris Chibnall who has the last word…

Moffat has elected to pass the baton in the same way that his predecessor Russell T Davies did to him by giving Chibnall the honour of writing the first piece of dialogue to come out of the mouth of his as-yet-unnamed new Doctor, who will appear when 13th Doctor Peter Capaldi regenerates at the end of the episode.

“I haven’t completely planned it, but I quite like the insanity of the fact this is a job you quit two pages before you type ‘End Titles’,” Moffat told Empire magazine.

Davies extended the same courtesy when he exited the show together with Tenth Doctor David Tennant, letting incoming showrunner Moffat pen Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith’s first words, which concluded Davies and Tennant’s final episode.

“Legs, I’ve still got legs. Good. Arms, hands. Ooh, fingers, lots of fingers. Ears, yes. Eyes, two. Nose, I’ve had worse. Chin, blimey. Hair, I’m a girl! No, no, I’m not a girl. And still not ginger! And there’s something else… something important… I’m, I’m, I’m — (loud explosion) ha! Crashing! Ha, ha! Whoo-hoo-hoo! Geronimo!”

And despite a new writer putting words in his mouth, Moffat insists that very little changes about the Doctor beyond his outward appearance: “The Doctor doesn’t go anywhere. He gets a new face and that’s all that happens.”

***

In an interview with Empire, Peter said he was torn about the decision but felt he needed to leave to keep the programme fresh.

“But Doctor Who is weird because I love it so much. Part of me enjoys doing the same thing, while part of me wants different challenges.”

The Scottish star explained that playing one role for a sustained period of time was unusual for him and he knew as soon as he started he would have to leave at some point.

“The terrible thing is, the moment you get the job, you know you’re going to have to leave it,” Peter continued. “That might just be part of my doomy, melancholic nature, but as soon as I became the Doctor I immediately propelled my mind to this spot.

“But that’s fine. I’ve never really done anything for three or four years – it’s not my style.”

“That’s one of the reasons I’m leaving,” he said. “Because with this volume of work, it’s hard to constantly be searching for new ways of doing things.