Interview-Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat

HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU WERE TOLD OF PLANS TO NOVELISE NEW SERIES DOCTOR WHO EPISODES?

RTD: I was very excited! I’d collected Target books as a kid, so it felt like closing a circle. And I wanted to test myself too, I was interested to find out what the process would be like. And to look back on an old piece of work after 13 years was fascinating.

SM: Well, surprised – I knew nothing of the plans, because this all started around the time I was leaving. The biggest surprise, though, was that I actually wanted to novelise The Day Of The Doctor. I had a hell of a time on that script, I had no idea I wanted to revisit it!

WHAT DID THE ORIGINAL TARGET DOCTOR WHO BOOKS MEAN TO YOU, GROWING UP?

RTD: I loved them. I’ve still got them all, on a shelf here in my office! In the days before DVD or streaming, they were the only official records of an adventure. And they were so mysterious, detailing stories we thought we’d never see again. Some we still won’t, because they’re missing from the archive. I can probably tell you where I was, which shop I was in when I bought it, for every single one of my Target originals.

SM: Every time I’d go to a bookshop – and I was a keen reader, so I went a lot – I’d head straight to the Doctor Who book section. Because I’d stared at all the book covers I already owned with such manic intensity, they were carved into my brain like wounds – so I could tell from right across the shop, by the tiniest variation in colour or artwork, if there was a new one on the shelf, and if there was my heart would leap. Then, sometimes, I’d wake up. So you could say I was – y’know – over invested. I think that’s the polite way of putting it.

WHAT ELSE DID YOU READ AS A CHILD? DID THE ORIGINAL TARGETS LEAD YOU INTO OTHER SERIES OR AUTHORS?

RTD: I read anything and everything. Enid Blyton! Tolkien. C.S. Lewis. Agatha Christie. Dune. Jaws. I was a voracious reader, I still am, I was trying D.H. Lawrence by the time I was 11. A lot of young readers will tell you that Targets led them onto many other books, which is brilliant, but frankly, I was there already!

SM: I’m very old, so I was already a voracious reader before the Target series got started – I loved the Narnia books, and The Hobbit, and especially Tom’s Midnight Garden. Reading and Doctor Who were my two favourite things. But the thing I wanted more than anything was to combine my enthusiasms. I longed for there to be Doctor Who books! There were Star Trek books, so it didn’t seem fair there weren’t any Doctor Who ones. And then, suddenly there they were. I was on holiday in Cornwall, in a little town called Mevagissey, and in a shop called Dunns there was a solitary rack of books which I’d always walk round and round, looking for something to read – then one day my Dad grabbed and my arm and pointed to the bottom row of paperbacks: Doctor Who And The Daleks, Doctor Who And The Zarbi and Doctor Who And The Crusaders. I was so happy!

HOW DID YOU APPROACH THE TASK OF NOVELISING YOUR OWN SCRIPT?

RTD: It was tricky, I wanted to capture the essence of the TV episode, but I didn’t want to repeat it. I’d long since lost the scripts! I’m always asked to give away Doctor Who stuff for raffles and prizes, so everything has gone. I found a transcript online, and someone found me a copy of the very first draft. But I didn’t always look at them. I was a bit more freefalling. Or rather, I wanted to add stuff to most of the dialogue because I knew fans would know a lot of it off by heart already, so there had to be new things to discover.

SM: I just sort of started. I had a few ideas about how it might translate, but really, as with any writing, I just dived in. I found the shooting script on my hard drive, and was shocked to see how much I’d altered it during filming. Quite often, I’d have to watch the DVD and transcribe useful bits of dialogue, because I found I had no written record of really quite important scenes. Then, of course, you find the parts that don’t quite work in prose. The shock of seeing David and Matt together, John Hurt as the Doctor, surprise appearances by Tom Baker and Peter Capaldi – you have to find a way to make those moments work in a book, without surprise guest stars, which can be a challenge.

HOW DID THE EXPERIENCE OF WRITING A NOVEL COMPARE TO WRITING A TV SCRIPT?

RTD: It’s all hard work! But it’s a different focus. That became clear with the character of Mickey, Rose’s long-suffering boyfriend. On screen, played brilliantly by Noel Clarke, he flies past, he’s wonderful, he’s fast and fun and furious, but when a novel goes inside someone’s head, I had to give him more focus. Also, bear in mind, on TV, I knew I had 13 episodes to tell Mickey’s story, but in a one-off book, I had to complete him a bit more.

SM: When you write a screenplay, you make the audience a witness to events. When you write a book, you make the reader experience them. You go from the grandeur of spectacle to the intimacy of inside someone’s head. I don’t think either is better than the other, but they are different. Twists and turns, suspense, humour – they all work in different ways. You’re aiming for the same effects, but by other means.

IN A WORLD WHERE THE ORIGINAL SHOW CAN BE ACCESSED IN A DOZEN WAYS ON DEMAND, WHAT PLACE DOES A NOVELISATION HAVE?

RTD: New stuff! Newness. Sheer newness. New action, new dialogue and new insights. A fan might have seen something a dozen times, so I felt honour-bound to add things that could only be found inside the pages of the book. And I know what fandom feels like, there’s nothing we love more than discovering something new about something old.

SM: Well, we’ll find out, won’t we? Back when the Targets started, those books were our only permanent record. The shows were on your telly exactly once, and then disappeared forever, like smoke up the chimney. Back then, Terrance Dicks would give us perfect, prose replicas of the originals, scene for scene, line for line, and very brilliantly done. He’d also do sly little fixes on the plotting when he felt inclined. But a few years later – from about Peter Davison on, I think – we all had VCRs, and we could keep the originals exactly as they were so we didn’t need the prose replicas. So the Target books changed – more of the original writers got involved, and they became more like alternative versions. Perhaps that’s how it will go now? As I say, we’ll find out.

WERE YOU TEMPTED TO ‘GO BIGGER’ WITH THE ACTION, UNFETTERED BY BUDGET?

RTD: Oh, a bit. A lot! Bear in mind, there’s a great big invasion of London by shop-window dummies at the end, so I’d paved the way for some epic action. On screen, the London Eye just sits there in the background. In this version, it’s a lot more involved! I loved writing that stuff.

And writing action is hard – seeing a bullet fly on screen is easy, describing it in prose is much harder, so that was a good test.

SM: Sometimes, yes. I don’t think it’s the big difference. In a way, many of the finest creative decisions in Doctor Who are direct responses to budgetary limitations – there’s a reason the Doctor’s space ship looks like a phone box, and he spends a lot of time in dark tunnels – so its good to go epic, so long as you don’t lose the signature style. I’m not the first person to say it, but the clash of the epic and domestic is a big part of what makes the show what it is.

REVISITING AND RE-PRESENTING PAST WORK – DID YOU FEEL NOSTALGIC?

RTD: I just felt old! But I felt mighty proud. Rose was the first episode in 2005, and for all the changes to the show, it’s fundamentally still the same show.

SM: Too soon for me. Day was only five years ago, and I’ve barely finished as showrunner. I don’t think I’ll ever feel nostalgia for Doctor Who, exactly – I think it will just carry on being my favourite show on TV, and I’ll have fond memories of having worked on it once.

WITH THESE NOVELISATIONS UNDER YOUR BELT WOULD YOU CONSIDER WRITING FURTHER BOOKS – EITHER FOR WHO OR SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY?

RTD: I think it’s more exciting to consider something new, now. I really loved writing this, and I think the chance to write brand new stories with brand new characters would be exhilarating. One day!

SM: Hugely enjoyed writing the book. Very much indeed. So yes, I hope I get another go at prose, in whatever form.

Paul McGann returning for an eighth Doctor spin-off

In a shock turn of events, the BBC announced today that they will be launching a new Doctor Who spin-off. The show will focus on the eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann.

The eight-part series will consist of 45 minute episodes and, is from Twilight author Stephanie Meyer. The series will be exec produced by Steven Moffat, Peter Capaldi, and Brian Minchin and is a co-production between BBC America, BBC Cymru Wales, Netflix and, Fox. Production will begin in Cardiff, late 2016.

Stephanie Meyer said:

“I am thrilled and honoured to be part of the Doctor Who universe. I can’t wait for people to be re-introduced to Paul’s magnificent Doctor. I’m confident the audience will love the all-new villains and aliens. Who knows? Some classic friends and foes may also appear.”

 

Steven Moffat said:

“No one has ever captured the written word quite like Stephanie Meyer, and now we’re bringing her brilliant story-telling into the Doctor Who universe.”

Paul McGann added:

“They’ve [BBC worldwide] been trying to get me back since 2013, but things are only as good as the person running them. So, I cancelled everything else-when I heard Stephanie was involved.”

Production is thought to begin in September.

Price: £33.99
Was: £40.00
Price: £34.95
Was: £40.00

 

Steven Moffat publishes day of the Doctor script, that featured Christopher Eccleston

The former Doctor Who showrunner has made the first draft of the day of the Doctor script, available for the charity project A Second Target for Tommy. There are a couple of changes.

Moffat says:

“While novelising Day of the Doctor, I went back through all the many drafts of the script, and I found this version of the barn scene.

The Moment is clearly not Rose Tyler in this draft, and the barn itself has a different, erm, origin. If barns can be said to have origins.

But the other big difference is the one that people might get a kick out of. Hope you enjoy, but please do keep in mind this is the roughest of early drafts…”

THE NINTH DOCTOR

Don’t sit on that.

RAGGEDY GIRL

Why not?

He strides over to her, grabs her arm.

THE NINTH DOCTOR

Because it’s not a chair, love – it’s the most dangerous weapon in the universe.

THE NINTH DOCTOR

Listen. A very bad thing is gonna happen here and I’m not sure how it’s gonna work. But I don’t think you want to be here when it does, okay?

RAGGEDY GIRL

…you’ve got a funny face.

THE NINTH DOCTOR

You should see the other fellas.

RAGGEDY GIRL

I like it though.

THE NINTH DOCTOR

Thanks, it’s new. Not sure about the ears yet, they just sort of kept going. Now, you need to get away from here. You need to pick a direction and just run –

RAGGEDY GIRL

You sound clever

THE NINTH DOCTOR

Not clever enough to figure out how this thing works, so could you give us some hush?

Christopher Eccleston opens up a little more about Doctor Who

It’s no secret that Christopher Eccleston has a turbulent relationship with Doctor Who, he’s previously hinted at reasons as to why he left. But in a recent interview with the radio times, he opened up a bit more about the tensions behind the scenes.

He said:

“My relationship with my three immediate superiors – the showrunner, the producer and co-producer – broke down irreparably during the first block of filming and it never recovered. They lost trust in me, and I lost faith and trust and belief in them”

He then spoke about the stress involved with making the series:

“Some of my anger about the situation came from my own insecurity. They employed somebody, who was not a natural light comedian”

Speaking about Billie Piper he said:

“Billie, who we know was and is brilliant, was very, very nervous and very, very inexperienced. So, you had that, and then you had me. Very, very experienced, possibly the most experienced on it, but out of my comfort zone.”

You can read the full interview, in the latest edition of The Radio Times.

 

David Tennant talks about the moment he found out Jodie Whittaker was The Doctor

David Tennant is currently doing the press rounds for his new film, You, Me and Him. With series 11 of Doctor Who currently in production, inevitably questions about Jodie Whittaker have been asked. Here’s what he had to say:

“I suppose I was wondering, because Chris Chibnall used to write Broadchurch and Jodie Whittaker was on Broadchurch, so I was beginning to put two and two together a little bit before I found out the news.

Chris [Chibnall] called me and said: ‘The new Doctor would like to chat, is that okay? I’ve given her your number.’ I said, ‘all right,’ and the next phone call I get, Jodie’s name comes up.

It was wonderful because she’s so right for it and she’s so ready for it.

I think what the world will discover is just how funny and anarchic and crazy Jodie can be and that I’m sure she will channel into this part with great aplomb – it’s going to be fantastic.”

Matt Smith would like to return to Doctor Who

Matt Smith is currently doing the press tour for the second series of The Crown, obviously the question about Doctor Who was raised.

Speaking to MTV Smith said:

“I’d come back. Yeah, if the timing was right. I think we’ve got to give a few years to Miss Whittaker to get the TARDIS under her belt, as it were, and then yeah – one day.”

When asked if he has any advice for Jodie Whittaker, he added:

“I will tell Jodie what I told Peter [Capaldi] – listen to no-one.”

Episode 187: Gareth David-Lloyd interview

In which Martyn chats to Gareth David-Lloyd about his latest project, Black River meadow. They also talk about the Ianto Shrine.

You can support Gareth here.

You can follow Gareth on Twitter.

The podcast can be accessed via different places, including Audioboom, Player fm and Itunes.

Follow the Bad Wilf team:

Martyn – @BadWilf

Pete – @BeeblePete

Gerrod – @Gerrod_Edward

Also check out the official Bad Wilf Vlog.

Interview-David Bradley and Claudia Grant

Recorded, at MCM London 2017, here’s the full press panel with David Bradley and Claudia Grant.

Both talk about their involvement with An adventure in space and time and Big Finish. David talks about his experiences on the upcoming Christmas special, twice upon a time.


Episode 185: Capaldi’s balls

In which Martyn and Gerrod discuss an important issue, as well as the 2002 werewolf movie, Dog Soldiers.

Martyn also tells the story, about the time he caused a major secuirty alert at the Dutch Embassy.

The podcast can be accessed via different places, including Audioboom, Player fm and Itunes.

Follow the Bad Wilf team:

Martyn – @BadWilf

Pete – @BeeblePete

Gerrod – @Gerrod_Edward

Also check out the official Bad Wilf Vlog.

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Cover revealed for Dr. Tenth: Christmas Surprise!

The Doctor Who and Mr.Men mashup’s have proven to be very popular, over the past few months. In October the Tenth Doctor and his companion Donna Noble will star in a brand new story – Dr. Tenth: Christmas Surprise!

Christmas Eve, and the Doctor and Donna are sipping at mugs of hot chocolate. Donna looks to the Doctor and announces, “I hope I get a surprise for Christmas.” The Doctor knows what he has to do.

The new book features Adam Hargreaves’ take on David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, seen here for the first time in his iconic Mr Men style! Continuing the greatest mash-up in the Whoniverse with a Christmas adventure, the Tenth Doctor stars alongside much-loved companion Donna. Dr. Tenth: Christmas Suprise will publish on 17th October 2017 and is now available for pre-order here.