Steven Moffat has won his second Hugo award for writing a Doctor Who episode â€” this time for the Season Two episode “The Girl in the Fireplace.” And well deserved, in my book. “The Girl in the Fireplace” was a beautiful script and a real standout in Season Two. (Moffat previously won for the “Empty Child/Doctor Dances” two-parter in Season One.)
(Full Hugo results for this year are here.)
The BBC’s official Doctor Who site has a news posting with a victory quote from Moffat:
“Best thing about winning a (second) Hugo, is that it’s for Doctor Who,” Steven told us. “Cos years ago, when I was a tiny little Doctor Who fan, I bought this American magazine called Starlog. It was all about Star Wars and Star Trek (whatever those are) but the reason I bought it was in a tiny box in the corner it said “Doctor Who”!
“And I was so excited that this big important American magazine had an article about my favourite show! And it broke my heart. Because in the article it said “In all fairness Doctor Who is unlikely ever to win a Hugo …
“Two Hugos, I’ve got!! Two Hugos for Doctor Who!! And I’d say more, but I’m off to the Starlog offices to dance around and flick v-signs.”
Looking forward in time, the BBC has announced that Doctor Who will be taking a year off between the fourth and fifth seasons. BBC News says:
The fourth series, starring Tennant, is due to hit TV screens next year, but the fifth will not be seen until 2010.
But 2009 won’t be a completely Doctorless year:
Instead, Tennant, will star in three Doctor Who specials, written by Russell T Davies, on BBC One in 2009.
This story from the Times Online goes into a little more detail. Turns out David Tennant needs some time off to go tread the boards.
David Tennant is to take a break from the Tardis to deliver his Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Producers have allowed Tennant, 36, to fulfil his Shakespeare ambitions. He will play the Danish prince in a Stratford-Upon-Avon production, due to run from July to November next year. It will rule him out of filming a 2009 series of Doctor Who.
Further down, the story notes that Patrick Stewart will be playing Claudius to David Tennant’s Hamlet. That should be be a good time.
The BBC feared Tennant would leave Doctor Who altogether after next yearâ€™s series, which is currently being shot. Tennant wishes to pursue further stage and screen projects.
Under a compromise agreement, Tennant is expected to return to the role for the sci-fi showâ€™s fifth series since its revival, in 2010. He has agreed to film three extended bank holiday specials to keep fanâ€™s [sic] happy during 2009.
However such long-term planning is rare in the fickle world of television and both the BBC and Tennant may have different plans come 2010.
At this point I think taking a year mostly off will probably be a very good thing for Doctor Who. If you compare the best shows of Season Two (like the aforementioned “Girl in the Fireplace”) to Season One, they’re almost as good, and much of Season Three is almost as good as the average Season Two episode. But if you compare Season Three to Season One, then you really see a sharp drop-off in the quality and freshness of the writing. I hate to say it, but I can’t think of a single episode from Season Three that I think stacks up against the Hugo-winning episodes from Seasons One and Two.
And there’s all of Season Four to go before the break.
Russell T. Davies is a brilliant, brilliant man and I’ve loved just about everything he’s done. But he does seem to have a tendency to bite off a little more than he probably should at one time, and overextend himself to the point of diminishing returns. I think both he and the show will benefit from some time off to rest and recharge.