The Doctor (PETER CAPALDI).  Image: BBC/Adrian Rogers
The Doctor (PETER CAPALDI). Image: BBC/Adrian Rogers
Doctor Who fans will need to wait until Christmas before their hero returns to screens after the BBC shelved plans for a new series this year.“I want to thank Steven Moffat for everything he has given Doctor Who”

A single special will air this Christmas with the show returning for a full series in 2017. BBC bosses have confirmed that the new series will be the last helmed by showrunner Steve Moffat.

Moffat took over the show in 2010 following the departure of Russell T Davies who revived the series and turned it into a global hit.

UK audience figures have fallen in recent years with many fans blaming Moffat’s increasingly convoluted and often hastily resolved plots for the drop-off.

He’ll be replaced by former Torchwood and Doctor Who writer Chris Chibnall who most recently created ITV’s hit crime drama Broadchurch which starts former Who actor David Tennant.

Chibnall’s first season will air in 2018 with the Radio Times speculating that the show could return to the same springtime airdate which Davies used to turn it into a bankable ratings hit.

Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One, said: “I want to thank Steven Moffat for everything he has given Doctor Who – I’ve loved working with him, he is an absolute genius and has brought fans all over the world such joy.

I will be very sad to see him leave the show, but I can’t wait to see what he will deliver in his last ever series next year with a brand new companion.

“I have decided to schedule Steven’s big finale series in spring 2017 to bring the nation together for what will be a huge event on the channel.

2016 is spoilt with national moments including the Euros and Olympics and I want to hold something big back for 2017 – I promise it will be worth the wait!

“I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Chris Chibnall, a wonderfully talented writer who I know will bring something very special to the hit series.”

Commenting on his new job, Chibnall said: “Doctor Who is the ultimate BBC programme: bold, unique, vastly entertaining, and adored all around the world. So it’s a privilege and a joy to be the next curator of this funny, scary and emotional family drama.

“I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was four years old, and I’m relishing the thought of working with the exceptional team at BBC Wales to create new characters, creatures and worlds for the Doctor to explore.

“Steven’s achieved the impossible by continually expanding Doctor Who’s creative ambition, while growing its global popularity. He’s been a dazzling and daring showrunner, and hearing his plans and stories for 2017, it’s clear he’ll be going out with a bang. Just to make my life difficult.”