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.

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?

Pearl Mackie discusses the possibility of staying on for series 11

In an interview with ITV’s this morning, earlier today. Pearl Mackie was asked about her experience as part of team-TARDIS. When asked by Eamon Holmes, about Peter Capaldi’s departure by and whether she would like to stay on for series 11. She said:

“I don’t know, I mean it’s not up to me. Peter is such a wonderful Doctor, and I think the dynamic that he and I have playing The Doctor and Bill together is something that really works. That’s not to say it wouldn’t work with a different Doctor. But, yeah, it’s always a new adjustment, getting a new Doctor. Inevitably the dynamic is different because your different actors. And different characters.”


Pearl has quickly endeared herself to critics and fans alike, with some already dubbing the the best companion of the Nu-Who era. It certainly would be a shame to see her depart after one series.

Episode 171:Texting, snogging and vegan wraps

On the latest exciting installment, Martyn and Gerrod discuss the return of Doctor Who and look at episode one of series 10, The Pilot.

Is it a success, or has Steven Moffed it up again?

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

Follow the Bad Wilf team:
Pete – @BeeblePete
Martyn – @BadWilf
Gerrod – @Gerrod_Edward

Also check out the official Bad Wilf Vlog.

Trailer-Doctor Who series 10

The BBC have released a trailer for the upcoming series 10 of Doctor Who. I have to say, the trailer looks impressive. Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie seem to have great chemistry, it reminds me of The Doctor and Ace dynamic. I’m optimistic for the series a head.

Series 10 begins on April 15th.

Some thoughts on the way the BBC handled Class

It’s no secret the Doctor Who spin-off hardly broke ratings records, when it premiered on the IPlayer a few months ago.
It’s recent terrestrial broadcast didn’t fair much better either, pulling in just 0.94 million when it aired on BBC One earlier this week.

Even though it did manage to build a fanbase. A second series looks unlikely. Members of the cast have even been retweeting a petition for a new series.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to look at the way the BBC handled the show.

From announcement to broadcast, the BBC have handled the show rather poorly.
I mean, logistically speaking. Who in their right mind launches a spin-off show, that doesn’t feature pre-existing characters (in a lead role), when the main show has been off the air for a year?

Yes, I know Star Trek did shows set in the same universe.
As did CSI, but those were different. Those were expansions on already familiar concepts. If you call a show CSI:Miami, there’s instant brand recognition, same with Star Trek.

With the upcoming Star Trek:Discovery, we already basically know what to expect. We can guess the key ingredients.

Just what is Class to the average channel hopper?

When Torchwood launched in 2006, Doctor Who was at its height of popularity. It featured a recognisable character from Doctor Who. There was brand familiarity.

What the BBC have essentially done, is give a Friends spin-off, to a character that never appeared in Friends. Mental.

 

Sean Pertwee reveals he was asked to be in Doctor Who

Since Doctor Who returned to our screens in 2005, we’ve seen the appearance of both of Patrick Traughton’s sons. Fans have often expressed their desire to have Sean Pertwee appear-in either a cameo, or as the third Doctor.

In a recent interview with the radio times, Pertwee revealed that he was actually approached to appear in series 9. But due to his commitments with Gotham, he was unable to do so.


Here’s what he had to say:

“I’ve been asked before – I was asked actually last season. I couldn’t do it because of Gotham. I’d love to be in some capacity be involved, as an ode to my father and to Roger Delgado, who was my dad’s best friend, who was the Master.

It’d be an honour to be involved in something like that. You know, it’s a big thing! Doctor Who’s a massive thing in America now, and also they’re looking to the older Doctors, which I think is really kinda cool. They’re looking back as well, not just forward.”

 

Matt Lucas to join Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie for Doctor Who series 10

The BBC announced today that Matt Lucas will be reprising his role as Nardole, in series 10 of Doctor Who. Lucas will appear in the opening episode, which is penned by Steven Moffat.

Commenting on his return to Doctor Who, Matt Lucas, said:

“I’m chuffed to bits that Nardole is returning to the TARDIS for some more adventures. I loved acting with Peter and I’m excited to work with Pearl.”

Filming begins next week and will see the official arrival of Pearl Mackie, as Bill.

Steven Moffat, lead writer and Executive Producer, added:

“Delighted and slightly amazed to be welcoming Matt Lucas back on to the TARDIS – and this time it’s not just for Christmas, he’s sticking around. One of the greatest comedy talents on planet Earth is being unleashed on all of time and space.”

Stephanie Hyam will play a guest cast role in the new series and is recognised for her performance as Lily Clarke in Jekyll & Hyde. She’s also appeared in Peaky Blinders, Murdered By My Boyfriend, and Sherlock.

The opening episode of series 10 is written by Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat, executive produced by Brian Minchin, produced by Peter Bennett and directed by Lawrence Gough. The second episode in the new series has been crafted by award-winning screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

Doctor Who will return in December 2016 with a Christmas Special, followed by the new series in 2017.

Barrowman teases Doctor Who return

A couple of hours ago, John Barrowman posted a teasing video on his Facebook page. The actor says:

“I will be back in Cardiff in about a week and a half. But I’m not telling you what for!”

Coincidentally, production begins on the Doctor Who Christmas special, in Cardiff in just over a week.

As New companion actress Pearl Mackie is still contracted to ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ until the end of  June, it’s very unlikely we’ll meet Bill in the Christmas special.

Peter Capaldi had previously stated:

“I don’t know whether she would be involved in the Christmas special, because it’s so specific, the story we’re doing with the companion.”

Personally, I would love to see Barrowman reprise his role as Jack in the Christmas special. It’s been five long years since we last saw him in Torchwood. Although Barrowman has recently played the character again for Big Finish.