He's off, then, after all, just when I had expected that he would be doing the 2014 series. If, as some sources suggest, this is part of a general relaunch which will try to restore momentum for the series after three years of reduced episode counts and allegedly troubled production, then good luck to it; though increasingly globalised television production, and the relatively small sums available in British television, have exposed Matt Smith to opportunities to develop his career away from the madman in a box.

Years and years ago, Steven Moffat pointed out that had Tom Baker played the Doctor in the television environment of 1999 or 2000, one would have been lucky to get three years out of him as the offers would have poured in and he would have been spirited away to a new project. Happily, Doctor Who is not a television backwater now, and let's hope it never is again; but it might mean that we are unlikely to see a run of more than three series for any future Doctor, even if more money can be found (and experience in arranging co-productions was an essential or desirable factor, I recall, in the recent recruitment procedure which led to Brian Minchin being appointed as the new non-writing executive producer).

The production office change what the Doctor looks like without consulting fans or the press; as ever, whatever Steven Moffat says about there being someone out there, unknowing, ends in Doctor Who are moments that have been prepared for. Change and renewal is more important than just going on living. It's far from being all over, so keep warm while the ancient ritual of new Doctor-speculation unfolds.
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