Steven Moffat
Writer Steven Moffat poses with his Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special award for the PBS/BBC miniseries "Sherlock" at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California August 25, 2014. Reuters/Mike Blake

Steven Moffat cited Brexit voters as reason why he did not cast a female “Doctor Who.” With just a few weeks away before the introduction of Jodie Whittaker as the new titular character, the outgoing showrunner has explained again why he decided against casting a woman during his tenure.

Moffat’s last episode as head writer and producer is the Christmas Special, where Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi will regenerate into Thirteenth (Whittaker). Chris Chibnall, who will replace Moffat, took the unprecedented decision to cast a woman in the show’s over 50 years of history.

Moffat said he considered casting a woman instead of Capaldi, but he then thought that it would have been too early after Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith’s time. “We could have replaced Matt Smith with a woman, given that his Doctor was more sexless and less of a lad, but I got obsessed with seeing Peter in the TARDIS,” he told Radio Times.

He then admitted that he was afraid of losing viewership if he had indeed cast a woman, saying he was worried about the “Daily Mail-reading viewers” losing interest. He was referring to politically conservative viewers, even calling them Brexit voters.

“This isn’t a show exclusively for progressive liberals; this is also for people who voted Brexit. That’s not me politically at all – but we have to keep everyone on board,” he said. He praised Chibnall’s decision to cast a woman, though, saying it’s the “right choice.”

In the Christmas Special episode, the Twelfth Doctor will meet the First (guest star David Bradley), who, like him, also refuses to regenerate. The episode will start with a reprise of “The Tenth Planet,” the First Doctor’s finale from 1966. One has just left his companions Ben and Polly behind, then he encounters Twelve, who tells him he has to regenerate as well.

As it will be aired on Christmas day in the UK (Dec. 26 in Australia), it will not show two suicidal Time Lords. Instead, as is the tradition when two Doctors meet, it will be full of comedic scenes. Their meeting also explains why Twelve will subconsciously choose to regenerate as a woman.

“Maybe seeing the whole span of his life as a man, seeing himself as the Hartnell Doctor, might make him think that maybe it’s time to be a bit more progressive,” Moffat explained, referring to William Hartnell, the original First Doctor. “Looking at how the First Doctor was, he’s hilariously not progressive.”

Moffat also touched on the online speculations that companion Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) and her girlfriend Heather (guest star Stephanie Hyam) were named after Hartnell and his wife Heather McIntyre. That was just a “happy accident.” If anything, he had named Bill after Billie Piper, the Tenth Doctor’s (David Tennant) first companion.

“No, if she’s named after anyone, it’s that I liked the fact that, when we were doing ‘The Day of the Doctor’ [2013], David Tennant called Billie [Piper] Bill. I thought that was a good name for somebody so I logged it then.”

Capaldi and Mackie will return for their final “Doctor Who” episode in the Christmas Special. Whittaker is expected to make a cameo in the final scenes as Capaldi’s Twelve regenerates into Thirteen.