As many people speculated, it looks like Doctor Who won't be back for its seventh series until next autumn. Steven Moffat said as much in the latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine, saying: "Doctor Who in the summer? All that running down tunnels, with torches, and the sunlight streaming through your windows and bleaching out the screen? All those barbecues and children playing outside, while on the telly there are green monsters seething in their CGI-enhanced lairs? It's just not right is it? Be honest.
"For me, as a kid, when the afternoon got darker and there was a thrill of cold in the air, I knew that even though summer was over, the TARDIS was coming back! So yes, that's part of the plan, that's part of the reason for this little delay. But it's not the whole story."
I completely agree with everything Moffat says. I never liked the usual schedule of starting a series in March or April, ever since the show was revived in 2005. There's a certain atmosphere that comes from the atmosphere outside, and chilly autumnal evenings are perfect for Doctor Who. I wonder if this decision was influenced by the poor overnights of Series 6's premiere, which coincided with an Easter heatwave that impacted ratings.
Of course, this does mean we'll be without new episodes for eight or nine months after the Christmas special airs. And it's not known if Series 7 will run straight through 13 episodes and end with a Christmas special, or if the BBC will split the series into two halves again. If so, we could perhaps get seven episodes in autumn 2012, a Christmas special, and the final six episodes in spring 2013. That way the show could alternate with Merlin's fifth series in its Saturday timeslot.
It's still unclear how the BBC will celebrate Doctor Who's 50th anniversary in 2013, too. Will they commission a separate anniversary special, so we effectively get an extra episode? Or will Series 7's finale also work as a 50th celebration?
I'm sure we'll find out more very soon. The BBC are very very adept at drip-feeding information about the show when it's not on air, and they have many months to fill with gossip and news stories in 2012 now...
What are your thoughts on this decision? Do you agree with the change to an autumn run? Are you unhappy about the longer wait? Do you think it'll work if Series 7 has a Christmas special halfway through? Or should the show broadcast all 13 episodes before Christmas and forget about a split?