Doctor Who will build up to an “Earth-shattering climax” in the middle of its sixth season at Easter, then return after a brief hiatus with another short season.
Executive producer Steven Moffatt told crowds at the Edinburgh International Television Festival that it’s more like two separate seasons, rather than a “split” season to which fans of the Syfy series Battlestar Galactica, Caprica and Stargate Universe are accustomed.
“Looking at the next [season], I thought what this show needs is a big event in the middle,” The Guardian quoted the showrunner as saying. “I kept referring to a mid-season finale. So we are going to make it two — seven episodes at Easter building to an Earth-shattering climax, a cliffhanger we could never normally do because it would be too long before it came back. An enormous game-changing cliffhanger that will change everything.”
It’s not the first time the format of the show has been monkeyed with dramatically. David Tennant, who recently ceded the role of the time traveler with the changing face and personality to Matt Smith, wanted to do more stage work, so his final season took the form of a series of longer specials. In the 1980s, the previous incarnation of the long-running sci-fi drama experimented with fewer longer episodes rather than the four 25-minute installments to which it eventually returned before ending in 1989.