Steven Moffat’s New Doctor Who Episode to Bring Hitchcock-Style Suspense

Moffat’s making an "explosive" series 14 return.

Steven Moffat
Photo: Shane Anthony Sinclair/Getty Images

Sit down for this one: in shock news that stunned the nation, caused a window cleaner to fall off his ladder, and sent flocks of pigeons flying out of church towers, a Doctor Who writer is confirmed to have written an episode of Doctor Who.

Despite denying it at every turn for months, Steven Moffat has finally confirmed his much-rumoured return to Doctor Who. The former showrunner in the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctor eras, whose previous episode was 2017’s “Twice Upon a Time” has indeed written an episode of the soon-to-air series 14.

While the title of Moffat’s new episode is still under wraps, it’s very likely to be episode three, aka The Episode Long-Rumoured to Have Been Written by Steven Moffat. If so, we can expect to see it on BBC iPlayer just after midnight on May 18 in the UK (7pm E.T May 17 in the US and around the world on Disney+).

Moffat’s new Doctor Who script has been directed by series 14 premiere director Julie-Anne Robinson (Bridgerton, Orange is the New Black, Scandal), and will be the second of Robinson’s eps for the new run.

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Story-wise, episode three is rumoured (but unconfirmed) to be a Doctor-lite adventure that involves Fifteen spending much of the episode with – as glimpsed in the new series trailer – one foot on an active landmine. Fan rumours also suggest that the setting will be a futuristic war zone perhaps involving the return of The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone’s church soldiers The Clerics.

Asked to sum up the tone of his new episode in a single word by its director, Moffat told Robinson “Hitchcock”. Expect suspense and tension then, and possibly a traumatised blonde, some rope, some notoriety, James Stewart, a shower scene, a bell tower, Kim Novak and a flock of murderous crows.

In a preview of series 14 written by Russell T Davies as part of his regular “Letter from the Showrunner” column in Doctor Who Magazine 600, RTD described series 14, episode three as “gorgeous”. Davies praised the episode’s emotion, depth and performances, and called the whole thing beautiful. That sounds like something worth getting excited about.

Moffat’s statement on his Doctor Who return gives little away about the episode itself but does acknowledge the somewhat baffling level of subterfuge that surrounded it:

“Yes, okay, fair enough – apologies to everyone I’ve very slightly misled – I am in fact writing an episode of the series of Doctor Who. Exactly like I said I never would. What can I tell you? There was begging, there was pleading but finally Russell agreed to let me have another go – so long as I got out of his garden. Working with old friends and a brand new Doctor I couldn’t be happier. Sorry I was a bit reticent on the subject for so long. It was all part of an elaborate plan that would have delighted millions but at the last minute I forgot what it was.”

Doctor Who series 14 starts on Saturday May 11 in the UK on BBC iPlayer and BBC One and on Friday May 10 in the US and around the world on Disney+.

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