It's not quite as big an announcement as a new lead actor, but this is nonetheless a regeneration that should have most fans cheering: The BBC announced today that Steven Moffat will take over as lead writer and executive producer of hit sci-fi series Doctor Who when current showrunner Russell T. Davies steps down in 2010.

Doctor Who is the longest-running science-fiction series in television history, and currently stars David Tennant as the eccentric alien time-traveler known as The Doctor, who saves the Earth on a regular basis from various extraterrestrial menaces.

A lifelong fan of the show, Moffat's work on Doctor Who extends back to 1999, when he penned the parody Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death for the charity broadcast Comic Relief. His other credits include creating the well-received British version of the sitcom Coupling, and writing the script for Steven Spielberg's forthcoming Tintin.

When Davies brought Who out of mothballs in 2004, Moffat was brought on as a writer, and his contributions to the series have been standouts. Two of his stories, the two-part "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" and "The Girl In The Fireplace," have won Hugo Awards, and the subsequent episode "Blink" picked up Hugo and Nebula nominations as well as winning a fan-favorite poll. Moffat also wrote the mini-episode "Time Crash" teaming Tennant with Peter Davison, who played the character's fifth incarnation in the 1980s. Moffat's upcoming episodes in the current series are the two-part "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead," guest-starring ER alum Alex Kingston; they broadcast May 31 and June 7 in England and two weeks later in America.

In the BBC press release, Moffat said, "My entire career has been a Secret Plan to get this job. I applied before but I got knocked back 'cos the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven. Anyway, I'm glad the BBC has finally seen the light, and it's a huge honour to be following Russell into the best—and the toughest—job in television. I say toughest 'cos Russell's at my window right now, pointing and laughing."

Davies will stay with the show through the remainder of the fourth series as well as four specials to be made in 2009, when the show's production will slow to allow Tennant to appear in Hamlet and Love's Labours Lost with the Royal Shakespeare Company.