For the puzzled and curious. The lost Planet of the Rain Gods sequence from THE DOCTOR’S WIFE, which was drawn by Mark Buckingham as a comic featuring the Doctor and Amy and Rory in the 2012 Doctor Who Brilliant Book, was then rewritten by me as a Doctor/River minisode for the DVD, and then that script was filmed more or less given some limitations of time and budget, does now sort of exist.
(It’s credited to Steven Moffat as writer, but then, they’ve credited me on the box as writer of The Name of the Doctor which he wrote and I didn’t, so there you go.)
Peter Capaldi Thoughts (Rebloggable as requested)
I think Peter’s a brilliant actor (the best conversation I ever had with an actor was a phone call with Peter about Islington, and about how Islington always believes itself to be in the right). I can’t wait to see what he does. I’m glad that we’re getting an older Doctor — we’ve had two puppies, it’s time to see someone older. It’ll change the nature of the relationship with Clara in interesting ways, for a start.
(And here, for what it’s worth, are my other thoughts: Do I think it’s time to cast a woman as the Doctor? Not yet. Not quite. And lord, if and when they ever do that, I want them to keep it the biggest secret in the world until we see it happen on our screens during the regeneration. Would I like a person of colour as the Doctor? Absolutely. Paterson Joseph was the Marquis de Carabas in Neverwhere, because he aced the auditions, and beat all the other actors, mostly white, who tried out for the role. I’d want that kind of performance at the audition for the Doctor. And there are certainly actors good enough out there that it feels like a missed opportunity. Does that mean I’m disappointed by Peter? No, just excited to see what kind of Doctor he makes. He’s an Academy- Award winning director, an amazing actor and I really liked him when I worked with him before.)
Not really. Other than, if I were show-running (I’m not) I wouldn’t cast a woman as the Doctor yet, and it would absolutely be on my list of things to do in the following regeneration. (I was the one who wrote the line about the Corsair changing gender on regeneration, in “The Doctor’s Wife” after all, and made it canon that Time Lords can absolutely change gender when they regenerate.)
Some of that is stuff I’d find hard to articulate, mostly having to do with what kind of Doctor you follow Matt Smith’s Doctor with: someone harder and much older and more dangerous and, yes, male feels right to me, as a storyteller. Where you go after that, ah, that’s a whole new game…
It doesn’t have to feel like that to you, nor am I telling you what to think. We’re talking stories here, and opinions after all, and your opinions are, obviously, as valid as mine.
"Neil Gaiman Would Be Showrunner for Doctor Who, if Asked!" (No I wouldn’t.)
I interviewed Neil Gaiman for Triple J Magazine recently, and asked him about Doctor Who. My editors said the Who stuff wasn’t relevant to the interview, but I think it’s VERY relevant for Doctor Who fans. So here it is!
Paul: …But what about television, which you write for?
Neil: Well… it’s harder. And sometimes, you fail. Sometimes, I overwrite, and sometimes iu underwrite. I’m also now aware that while I might describe something, the set designer may have other ideas. I mean, there’s a sequence in my upcoming Doctor Who episode where I wrote… a bunch of stuff, and then got a message from them saying, we can’t actually even find the location we’re looking for, but we can give you this instead.
Paul: It wasn’t a quarry, was it?
Neil: No! Though I did get to use a quarry in The Doctor’s Wife! Which made me so happy. I got a quarry, and I got running down corridors. I felt like, look! A proper Doctor Who episode! The new one? No corridor running. No quarry. But, there’s lots of strange locations, and I got to rewrite the sequence to take into account the new location. With TV, if it works, it’s like a game of ping pong. And occasionally, you do get really sad. And the hardest thing with Who is writing a script - a great one, with lots of funny moments, great lines - and they’ll give you back a forty three minute cut. And now, your job - because everything is brutally trimmed down and some scenes don’t even exist anymore - is to work out the dialogue that gives it a throughline. It’s like a kind of mad chess game, really.
Paul: If something, god forbid, made Moffat leave as showrunner, would you step up?
Neil: Well… the tragedy is that ten years ago, before Russel T. Davies brought it back, I was trying to get all the people at the BBC circa 2001, just to say, what are you doing with this show? Can I bring it back? And I never actually got a call returned. I sort of got bounced around, and it died, then Russell did it. And I love that he did, because he did it better than I ever could! I… these days, I don’t have the mad drive that I had ten years ago. I like hanging around with my wife! I like having this peculiar lifestyle! I have watched Stephen Moffat for five years now, helming Who and Sherlock, but there was a point where he’d go off on family holidays and spend the whole time indoors, working. I was the same on Sandman! Every month, artists, writers, inkers, readers, all riding on my back. My family would be on the beach and I’d have the curtains drawn. I’ve done that! Now, I love coming in and writing one episode once in a while. And people I know think I’m mad for even doing it, because the amount an episode costs me… I lose a ridiculous amount of money for the time it takes! But I don’t care, I love it! I get to write Doctor Who! But if Stephen showed up and asked me, I’d say yes. Because it’s an addiction for me.
I know it’s not very clear at the end, but I’m actually saying I would say yes to writing an episode once in a while, if Steven Moffat asked me to, not yes to becoming showrunner. (Which I’d say no to.)
chained-prometheus asked: Hi Neil! I was wondering if you could give us Whovians any hints as to how your upcoming Cybermen episode will differ from The Doctor's Wife? Would it be safe to assume that it might be more focused on the horror side of DW? Also did writing for Clara differ much than for how you wrote Amy and Rory in TDW?
It was meant to be scary when I started writing it. I’m not sure that’s entirely how it ended up, though — I got a bit sidetracked on the way by odd things that turned up on the page. So there are scary bits. But then there’s… Oh, you’ll see.
It’s weird, writing companions. They are all SO different. But then, there are things that they have in common. I suppose they have to be smart and resourceful otherwise a) they probably wouldn’t have been companions in the first place or b) they would be very dead companions very quickly.
Clara’s really fun to write. (Amy was also enormously fun to write. Rory, bless him, was also fun to write.) She seems able to keep up with the Doctor. I can imagine Amy — or Sarah Jane, or Rose, or Jamie or pick your companion of choice — doing all the things that I have Clara do in the episode I wrote: but I can’t imagine any of them saying the things she says, in the way that she says them, or dealing with things in the way that she deals.