Steven Moffat

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Steven Moffat

Born

Paisley, Scotland

Birth Name

Gender

Male

Also Known As

Stephen Moffat
  • The brains behind Doctor Who's fifth season
  • Doctor Who's Lead Writer and Executive P...
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User Rating
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Biography

EDIT
Steven Moffat was born in 1961 in Paisley, Scotland. His father, Bill was a headmaster in a Glasgow school.

Steven got a degree in English, worked as a teacher for 3 years before submitting a script that became popular UK series Press Gang.

Steven has found success with scriptwriting in…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

  • Quotes

    • (About "Sherlock")
      Steven: Mark (Gatiss) and I have been talking about this project for years, on long train rides to Cardiff for Doctor Who. Quite honestly we'd still be talking about it if Sue Vertue of Hartswood Films - conveniently, also my wife - hadn't sat us down for lunch and got us to work.

    • (Describing what kind of actor he thought should replace David Tennant as The Doctor in "Doctor Who" before the new actor was announced)
      Steven: Although I loved Peter Davison and Paul McGann, probably the best two actors in the role, I don't think young dashing Doctors are right at all. He should be 40-plus and weird-looking - the kind of wacky grandfather kids know on sight to be secretly one of them. Any actor with the 'right stuff' is unlikely to be completely unknown.

    • (On what "Doctor Who" does for children in their daily life)
      Steven: Doctor Who doesn't really take place in outer space, it takes place under children's bed. So you're always looking for things they can see, games they can play. You want to know what the next playground game is - how they're going to play at it the next day.

    • (On his "Doctor Who" two-parter "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead")
      Steven: I just thought the library was a neat setting for a Doctor Who, that's not a great stretch of the brain. The whole idea of this library that's been abandoned and silent for a 100 years, cracking it open to see what happened, what killed all the people inside. That's good Hammer Horror nonsense, isn't it?

    • (On his "Doctor Who" story "Blink" and how truly amazed he is by its popularity)
      Steven: That's been an ongoing astonishment to me; I thought it was good, in so far as you can ever judge these things. I worried about the lack of action because nobody really breaks into a trot in it even the monsters are inanimate objects. I thought: "My god this is just people standing in rooms being semi-urgent".

      I'm genuinely surprised and faintly troubled by how popular it was because it means I know nothing. You've overturned every single possible rule of Doctor Who: there's no Doctor in it; the companion is an old-fashioned snob, who's posh and doesn't like the modern world. It couldn't be less like Doctor Who, yet it was a hugely successful show.

    • (Talking about short live tv series "Joking Apart" about a messy divorce and his first marriage)
      Steven: The sit-com actually lasted slightly longer than my marriage. I'm not sure having invented the feel bad comedy was really a great move. The best of Joking Apart is very funny, but it makes you feel shit when it's finished. That's not what you want to watch a comedy for. It's the show's strangeness which made me fonder of it. I'm very proud of it. It's good and innovative, it's just not likeable. They remade it in Portuguese - it was much better, it ends happily, it's not as dark or ground-breaking, but it's probably more fun!

    • (Commenting of what was his goal when he wrote the "Doctor Who" story "The Curse of the Fatal Death" for Comic Relief in 1999)
      Steven: My one and only concern was a good sketch, that would entertain the masses, and get nostalgic, drunk thirtysomethings reaching for their wallets and telephones. I tried to keep my fannishness from interfering with that. I wanted to celebrate the show as the public remembered it - a sort of sci-fi answer to the Carry On films - and not the curious mutation we fans have made out of it. ("It's a serious grown-up drama. No, really, it is.").

    • (This is how he describes Hyde in "Jekyll")
      Steven: Jack Nicholson on a coke bender, tremendously good fun and a complete bastard if he loves you.

    • (Citing the reasons for the original "Doctor Who" lasting after its peak)
      Steven: One of the reasons Doctor Who survived for so long, and a rival like Blake 7 was so risible, is that it was funny. The Doctor was in on the joke, he knew the show was cheaply made and that some of the storylines were nonsensical.

    • (On the reason there's not hanky panky in the TARDIS in "Doctor Who")
      Steven: The show is still about saving the universe. You can't be thinking about lovey-dovey stuff when there's that level of jeopardy involved.

    • (On the failure of the American version of "Coupling")
      Steven: The network fucked it up because they intervened endlessly. If you really want a job to work, don't get Jeff Zucker's team to come help you with it, because they're not funny. I don't care about working for NBC. I think the way in which NBC slagged off the creative team on Coupling U.S. after its failure was disgraceful and traitorous. So I enjoy slagging them off.

    • (On "Doctor Who" having been influenced by "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" when it was relaunched and if this is still true)
      Steven: I think when you start on a show like that... You are looking around for things to compare it to. Where does it sit now? What is like this now? What can I give as an example of this? Buffy is a good example: it's young-skewed, adventurous, funny and irreverent. But the moment you start making the show, you stop thinking of Buffy and you start thinking of Doctor Who. Doctor Who is a huge, fantastic, important show now.

    • (Talking about "Press Gang" and what subject he found the hardest to tackle)
      Steven: I suppose the child abuse episodes were pretty tricky. In general I didn't like doing issue episodes, [they] always seemed patronising. And if I wanted advice on a serious subject, the last person I would ask would be some damned telly writer. What do we know? Nothing, that's what. The challenge was always to make the story function for our regulars, despite the tub thumping.

    • (On how many episodes he plans to write in the 2010 series of "Doctor Who")
      Steven: I've got notions of how many I'm going to write. But I don't think Russell ever managed to predict how many episodes he wrote. I think it always ended up being more or less or something. That'll be the same for me. I've got notions. But I'm not going to say what they are! Because, truly, my notions would be rubbish. The first casualty of conflict is the plan.

    • (On why he doesn't see The Doctor as asexual even in the old series of "Doctor Who")
      Steven: I think that his asexual nature was perhaps read into the series by its more asexual fans. If you look at the old show, it's not true. At some stage the Doctor had a wife and a family, because he's got a grand- daughter. He likes everything: he drinks, he eats, why wouldn't he date?

    • (Talking about Peter Davison's Doctor being the model for the modern Doctor)
      Steven: I really enjoyed Peter's Doctor. I said sometimes, he's underrated as the Doctor - although not after "Time Crash", that's for sure. I think he's a brilliant Doctor... He paved the way for the younger, more reckless Doctors... He is the [first] modern Doctor... [Before Davison], he was always the father figure, and suddenly the Doctor became your reckless mate... The Doctor always doesn't know what he's doing, he just hopes he can get away with it.

    • (Answering the eternal debate of is "Doctor Who" kids or adults show)
      Steven: It's aimed at kids and adults. And why should anyone care about this? If you watch it, then it's for you. It shouldn't matter. I mean the specific thing about it being a children's program, is that it follows the imperatives and narrative rules and the joy of children's fiction. If you watch Doctor Who at 9 pm at night [as you do in the United States] it's going to seem a bit odd. It's energetic. The Doctor walks straight out of the TARDIS and into trouble, and you accept it. The Master becomes Prime Minister of Britain, and you accept it. It's got all the brio and vigor of Harry Potter, Narnia and Star Wars. That doesn't mean it doesn't appeal to adults. Star Wars, the most successful film franchise ever, is explicitly for children, but adults love it. Doctor Who is my favorite thing in the world. If you're in Britain, we'll show you the sticker books [and] the lunchboxes. In the schoolyard on Monday, they're all talking about Doctor Who. That doesn't mean it's childish. It's very sophisticated.

    • (Answering rumours that Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, fans of "Doctor Who", are interested in doing a movie of the show)
      Steven Moffat: I'm not against it. I don't think it's the most important thing of Doctor Who. A movie is one 90 minutes a year. So yes, so long as it never gets in the way of the show.

    • (Discussing if he would write again for "Press Gang" if the show was to come back)
      Steven: I'd leap at doing more Press Gang, I loved those characters. But I wouldn't know what Spike and Lynda are doing now till I sat down to write it. I expect they separated long ago, and are pursuing very different lives, each occasionally wondering what happened to the other, but both confident that their paths are unlikely to cross again.

    • (On how excited he is about taking over on "Doctor Who")
      Steven: I suppose it's daunting, but I've run television show before so that's alright. I always say I'm daunted but I'm not really. I'm just terribly excited. It's just such a fantastic job to have. It's a very exciting job so what's the point in wasting time stressing about it? Of course it'll be stressful! Whatever I do next will be stressful. "Doctor Who" will probably be more stressful than anything else but it'll be more fun. And it's probably the biggest job in, certainly, British television. I think it is. It really is. So why waste time being frightened of it?

    • (on managing continuity in "Doctor Who")
      Steven: Having taken the precaution of having memorised every single event in Doctor Who's history, it's fairly easy for me to keep continuity because I remember it all. In the end, a television series which embraces both the ideas of parallel universe and the concept of changing time can't have a continuity error - it can't. It's impossible for Doctor Who to get it wrong because we can just say 'he changed time, it's a time warp, it happens'.

    • (on what will happen to "Doctor Who" when he takes over")
      Steven: You change everything, all the time. Even that element of the show has changed radically over the past four years... You don't worry about doing things radically, in an a new way... [You] do what tells the story...[Originally] we knew Rose much better than the Doctor, and now we know the Doctor better than we know Rose. And now we see Rose from the Doctor's point of view, instead of seeing the Doctor from Rose's point of view. You have to stay alive and stay lively, and Doctor Who is about change. Change is part of Doctor Who's formula. It must change.

    • (on taking over from Russell T. Davies on "Doctor Who")
      Steven: I applied before but I got knocked back 'cos the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven. Anyway, I'm glad the BBC has finally seen the light and it's a huge honour to be following Russell into the best - and the toughest - job in television. I say toughest 'cos Russell's at my window right now, pointing and laughing.

    • (on Peter Davison as The Doctor)
      Steven: Peter Davison is a better actor than all the other ones, that's the simple reason why he works more than all the other ones. There is no sophisticated, complicated reason to explain why Peter Davison carried on working and all the other Doctors disappeared into a retirement home for lardies. He's better and I think he's extremely good as the Doctor.

    • (quashing the rumours about James Nesbitt as the new "Doctor Who")
      Steven Moffat: The James Nesbitt story is a total fabrication. Made up. A fantasy. Just a guy sitting at a desk and just inventing stuff. I wasn't going to say anything, but I'm getting embarrassed for the deeply wonderful Jimmy Nesbitt. So tell everyone please, cos it's getting very silly.

    • (on "Jekyll")
      Steven Moffat: I've written the first six, but if it was to carry on, I can't see me doing that every time. Apart from anything else, you start wanting to do something else. We want to get it sorted first. I'd stay on the show, at least for a while, but I wouldn't write all of it forever.

    • (on his inspiration for the characters in "Coupling", looking at his own marriage to Sue Vertue.)
      Steven Moffat: I have described the series as being 'my life as told by a drunk'. Like most writers, I write about what has happened to me as that involves the minimum amount of research. As it happens, Sue and I are married; so I imagined a scenario about what would have happened if we had met ten years earlier, and took it from there!

    • (on "Doctor Who")
      Steven Moffat: The idea has to be scary, and the Doctor has to be wonderful and kind and brilliant and fix it all, because kids have nightmares. Kids have nightmares whether they watch Doctor Who or not, but if they watch Doctor Who and have nightmares, they have a moral context in which to view their monsters.

    • (on men in the world today)
      Steven Moffat: Well, the world is vastly counted in favour of men at every level - except if you live in a civilised country and you're sort of educated and middle-class, because then you're almost certainly junior in your relationship and in a state of permanent, crippled apology. Your preferences are routinely mocked. There's a huge, unfortunate lack of respect for anything male.

    • (on the characters in "Coupling")
      Steven Moffat: The original pitch for the show was "no surnames, no jobs, no backstories". Obviously that's been eroded over time, but we've still never mentioned what Steve does for a living. If you're super-observant you might just be able to work it out.

    • (talking about writing "The Empty Child" for Doctor Who)
      Steven Moffat: You have to strongly remember children in Doctor Who, because however many adults watch it and plenty more adults watch it than children, at its root and its heart, it is a children's program. It behaves like one, it's got the pace of one, it's got the style of one, so it's very important to remember children and the specific niche for Doctor Who, which is a kind of domestically scaled menace.

    • (in response to criticism of "Comic Relief")
      Stephen Moffat: Comic Relief is a hugely effective charity that has done enormous good in the world. No question. No doubt about that. None at all. If it does that good by exploiting the talents of some cocaine addled comics, then so what?

    • (commenting on his series "Chalk")
      Steven Moffat: It'd be good to write a series that's genuinely successful, rather than having a small underground fan base who spread the word amongst themselves.

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