Steven Moffat

Steven Moffat

Infobox Writer
imagesize = 150px
name = Steven Moffat

caption = Steven Moffat records the DVD audio commentary for "Joking Apart" in January 2006
birthdate = 1961
birthplace = Paisley, Scotland
occupation = Writer
period = 1988 - present
genre = Comedy/drama
spouse = Sue Vertue
pets = Dibley (a Cat)

Steven Moffat (born 1961 in Paisley, Scotland) is a Scottish comedy/drama writer who has contributed to television series since the late 1980s.

His first television work was the teen drama series "Press Gang". He then used his own divorce as inspiration for "Joking Apart" and then his subsequent relationship with television producer Sue Vertue for "Coupling". A former English teacher, he also wrote "Chalk", a sitcom set in a school.

He has won numerous awards, including BAFTA and Hugo Awards for some of his episodes of the "Doctor Who" revival. He has scripted the first "Tintin" film for directors Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. He will take over from Russell T Davies as lead writer and executive producer of "Doctor Who" for the fifth series in 2010, having created some of the most memorable creatures in the revived series.cite news | title = Doctor Who guru Davies steps down | publisher = BBC News | date = 2008-05-20 | url = | accessdate = 2008-05-20]

"Press Gang"

After gaining a degree in English, he worked as a teacher. His father, William S Moffat, was Headmaster at Thorn Primary School in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland. When the school was used for Harry Secombe's "Highway", he mentioned to the producers that he had an idea for a television series about a school newspaper. The producers asked for a sample script, to which Bill Moffat agreed on condition that it was written by his son.cite web |title=Interview With Steven Moffat for the Guardian Guide | |url=|year=1997 |accessdate=2007-05-11] Producer Sandra Hastie said that it was "the best ever first script" that she had read. [Paul Cornell (1993) "Press Gang" In: cite book |last=Cornell |first=Paul. |coauthors=Martin Day, Keith Topping |title=The Guinness Book of Classic British TV |publisher=Guinness |year=1993 |pages=215 |id=ISBN 0-85112-543-3]

The resulting series was titled "Press Gang", and starred Julia Sawalha, Dexter Fletcher, Paul Reynolds, Lucy Benjamin and Lee Ross, was immensely successful and ran for four years on ITV, with Moffat writing all forty-three episodes. The series won a BAFTA award in its second series.cite web |first=Alistair |last=McGown |title=Press Gang (1989-93) |work=BFI Screenonline |url= |accessdate=2006-12-21]

During production of the second series of "Press Gang", he was having an unhappy personal life after the break-up of his first marriage. Producer Sandra C. Hastie was secretly phoning his friends at home to check if he was all right.Steven Moffat & Julia Sawalha, "Yesterday's News" "Press Gang: Season 2" DVD audio commentary] His wife's new lover was represented in the episode "The Big Finish?" by the character Brian Magboy (Simon Schatzberger), a name inspired by Brian: Maggie's boy. Moffat brought in the character so that all sorts of unfortunate things would happen to him, such as having a typewriter dropped on his foot.Steven Moffat & Julia Sawalha, "The Big Finish?" "Press Gang: Season 2" DVD audio commentary]

1990s and 2000s

Inspired by these events, Moffat wrote two series of "Joking Apart". ["Joking Apart: Season 1" DVD audio commentary, and featurette] The sitcom was directed by Bob Spiers, and starred Robert Bathurst and Fiona Gillies. The show won the Bronze Rose of Montreuxcite web |first=Graham |last=Kibble-White |title="FOOL IF YOU THINK IT'S OVER" |work=Off the Telly |url= |month=May | year=2006 |accessdate=2006-12-22] and was entered for the Emmys.cite news |first=Shane |last=Jarvis |url=
publisher=The Telegraph |title=Farce that rose from the grave|date=8 May 2006 |accessdate=2007-03-01
] In an interview with Richard Herring, Moffat says that "The sit-com actually lasted slightly longer than my marriage."

He wrote three episodes of "Murder Most Horrid", an anthology series of comedic tales starring Dawn French. The first ("Overkill", directed by Bob Spiers) was identified by the BBC as a "highlight" of the series. [cite web |title=Murder Most Horrid |work=BBC Comedy |url= |accessdate=2008-02-12] His other two episodes were "Dying Live" (dir. Dewi Humphreys) and "Elvis, Jesus and Zack" (dir. Tony Dow).

In 1997, BBC One aired two series of his sitcom "Chalk", set in a comprehensive school. Starring David Bamber as deputy head Eric Slatt, the show received quite a poor critical reception. In an interview in the early 2000s, Moffat refuses to even name the show, joking that he might get attacked in the street. ["Coupling: Behind the Scenes", featurette (2002, prod./dir. Sarah Barnett & Christine Wilson) "Couping" Season 1 DVD (Region 1), BBC Video, ISBN 0790773392]

He met Sue Vertue, a television producer who had worked on "Mr. Bean", at the Edinburgh Television Festival in 1996. [cite news |first=Adam |last=Sternbergh |title=Selling Your Sex Life |work=The New York Times |url= |date=2003-09-07 |accessdate=2008-04-01] When she eventually asked him for a sitcom, he decided to base it around the evolution of their own relationship. "Coupling" was first broadcast on BBC2 in 2000, with his wife producing for Hartswood Films. The series proved to be highly successful, running until 2004 and producing four series and twenty-eight episodes, all written by Moffat. He also wrote the original, unbroadcast, pilot episode for the American version of the same series, in 2003, although this was less successful and was cancelled after just four episodes on the NBC network. Moffat has blamed its failure on an unprecedented level of network interference.

He wrote the Hartswood Films drama series "Jekyll", a modern version of "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde", which aired on BBC One in June and July 2007.

In June 2007 he told "The Stage" that he is working on a new sitcom. Provisionally titled "Adam and Eve", "it concerns a boss and his PA, who are long-term friends but never get together." [cite news |title=All about 'Eve' |work=Chortle |url= |date=2007-06-12 |accessdate=2007-06-12] In October 2007 it was reported that Moffat would be scripting a trilogy of "Tintin" films for directors Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. [cite web |title=British writer on Tintin case |url= |publisher=Reuters |first=Carly |last=Mayberry |date=2007-10-03 |accessdate=2007-10-03] According to "The Times" newspaper, Moffat had to be "love bombed" by Spielberg into accepting the offer to write the films, with the director promising to shield him from studio interference with his writing. [cite news|url=|title=Police deployed against paparazzi|first=John|last=Harlow|publisher=The Times|date=2008-06-08|accessdate=2008-06-12] He had intended to complete work on the whole trilogy before resuming work on "Doctor Who", but the intervening WGA strike meant he could submit a finished script for the first film only.cite news|author= Staff writer|title= Dr Who writer denies Tintin row |url=|work= BBC News Online|date= 2008-07-21|accessdate= 2008-07-21] In July 2008, Moffat was quoted by the "Daily Mail" as saying: "I could not work on the second "Tintin" film and work on "Doctor Who". So I chose "Doctor Who"."cite news|url=|title=£500,000 Mr Spielberg? Sorry, I've got a date with the Beeb, says the new Dr Who writer|publisher=Daily Mail|first=Caroline|last=Graham|date=2008-07-19|accessdate=2008-07-20]

Moffat remains a writer for Hartswood Films even after his appointment as show-runner for "Doctor Who". As of August 2008, "Adam and Eve" is still under development. He is also working on a contemporary update of Sherlock Holmes with Mark Gatiss. A pilot will be delivered to the BBC in 2009. If a series is commissioned, Gatiss will executive produce while Moffat concentrates on "Doctor Who". [cite news|author= Parker, Robin|title= Doctor Who's Moffat to pen modern Sherlock Holmes|url=|work= Broadcast Now|date= 2008-08-23|accessdate= 2008-08-23]

Doctor Who

As is traditional for many of those in the British sitcom world, Moffat has contributed to the bi-annual "Comic Relief" charity telethon nights, writing the script for the science-fiction parody "Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death" in 1999. The co-producer for that year's "Comic Relief" telethon was Moffat's new wife, Sue Vertue. [cite web |title="POSITIVE COMEDY" Graham Kibble-White talks to Steven Moffat |url= |work=Off the Telly |month=March | year=2001 |accessdate=2007-05-11] Moffat, a fan of the series since childhood, had previously written a "Doctor Who" prose story, "Continuity Errors", published in the Virgin Books anthology "".

In 2004 Moffat was signed to write for the revival of "Doctor Who" proper. His contribution for the first series, transmitted in 2005, was the Hugo Award-winningcite web| url= |title=Hugo and Campbell Awards Winners| work = Locus Online| accessdate = 2006-08-27 |date=2006-08-26] two-part story "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances". In the DVD audio commentary he says that he waited forty years to see his name appear on top of that theme music. [Steven Moffat, "The Empty Child", "Doctor Who", DVD audio commentary] He wrote an episode for each of the two following series of "Doctor Who": "The Girl in the Fireplace" in the 2006 series (which won the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Formcite web |title=2007 Hugo Awards
url= |publisher=World Science Fiction Society |date=2007-09-01 |accessdate=2007-09-01
] and was nominated for a 2006 Nebula Awardcite web|url=|title=SyFy Portal] ) and "Blink" in the 2007 series. In the "Doctor Who Magazine" reader poll for the 2007 series, Moffat was voted as best writer and "Blink" as the best story. The episode was also nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Script.cite web |last=Rowe |first=Josiah |title="Blink" gets Nebula nod |work=Outpost Gallifrey |publisher=Outpost Gallifrey |date=2008-01-21 |url=
] In 2008 it secured him his third Hugo win, again for Best Dramatic Presentation,cite web | title=2008 Hugo Nomination List |work=Denvention 3: The 66th World Science Fiction Convention |publisher=World Science Fiction Society |year=2008 |url= |accessdate=2008-03-21] the BAFTA Craft Award for Best Writer,cite web|url=,426,BA.html|title=TV Craft Winners Round-Up|publisher=BAFTA|date=2008-05-11|accessdate=2008-05-11] and a BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Screenwriter.cite web|url=|title=Thank you all for putting up with Dr Who|first=Laura|last=Wright|published=icWales|date=2008-04-28|accessdate=2008-04-29] He also wrote the 2007 Children in Need "special scene" "Time Crash".

He wrote a two-part story for series four in 2008, titled "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead". This made Moffat and series executive producer Russell T Davies the only writers to have contributed scripts to all four series of the revived show. In March 2008, Davies said that he often rewrites scripts from other writers, but "with Steven Moffat's scripts, I don't touch a word". [cite news |first=Dave |last=West |title=Davies: BBC has 'cocked up' 'Who' time |date=2008-03-27 |work=Digital Spy |url= |accessdate=2008-03-27]

The BBC announced in May 2008 that Moffat would be taking over from Russell T Davies as head writer and executive producer for the revived show's fifth series, to be broadcast in 2010. Commenting on his appointment, Moffat said it was "the proper duty of every British subject to come to the aid of the TARDIS".

Awards and nominations

ee also



External links

*imdb name|id=0595590|name=Steven Moffat
* [ Steven Moffat] biography at the Hartswood Films website.
* [ Interview with James Nesbitt, with many comments about Moffat's writing]
* [ Audio interview] with Steven Moffat at the Doctor Who series two press launch. Source: [ BBC Wiltshire]

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