The Time Lord will outlive us all, says writer

'Doctor Who' Series 7, about to hit our screens, is an all-time money-spinner, hears TV festival

The Tardis will not need mothballing soon, according to Doctor Who supremo Steven Moffat, who suggested yesterday that the Time Lord could "go on for ever".

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, the BBC1 show's executive producer and chief writer said that the new series of the science-fiction drama would be a "blockbuster".

"I truly believe it is a show that could outlive everyone in this room," Moffat said of the Saturday early-evening programme.

The series has evolved since the doctor was first brought to our televisions in 1963, played by William Hartnell. In the latest incarnation of the show, which begins this Saturday with "Asylum of the Daleks", Matt Smith plays the man in the time machine. The Doctor may have changed, but his enemies have not: the Daleks will return this year.

Don't expect the aliens to be too cuddly, though. "Kids are supposedly frightened of Daleks, but they take them to bed," Moffat said, adding that he hoped they will "leave them outside their bedroom doors" after watching the new series. "There is a tremendous temptation to go kitsch and sweet with the Daleks. You shouldn't. They are insane tanks."

When asked about the budget for the series, he said: "I'm never going to say I've got enough. That's like asking, 'Would you like to be more happy?' Of course, I'm going to say I want more money. They don't starve us. Doctor Who is incredibly well looked after by the BBC. [But] it could make money for ever."

The hit writer insisted that the show would keep adapting the format for modern audiences, saying: "Last year, we did an arc [storyline]; next year, we will do something else. Every year we have to go in a particular direction. It shouldn't feel like good old cosy Doctor Who."

The new series will feature guest appearances by stars including Steven Berkoff and Jemma Redgrave. It will also see the exit of the doctor's sidekicks Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillan, and her on-screen husband, Rory, played by Arthur Darvill.

Commenting on the long-running speculation that a film version of Doctor Who will be made, Moffat said: "I'm sure we should do a movie. What I keep saying is it can't ever be allowed to interfere with the television show. That's the mother ship."

Next year will be a blockbuster for Steven Moffat himself: he is also co-creator of the hit BBC show Sherlock, which returns to our screens. Teasing fans in Edinburgh who wanted an insight into the cliffhanger ending to the second series in which Sherlock Holmes faked his own death, he gave three clues: "Rat, wedding, bow."

The new series of 'Doctor Who' starts on 1 September on BBC1 at 7.20pm

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