19 September, 2008

"Doctor Who" writers interview

Writers' Guild:

What is about a man in a police box hurtling through space and time that’s proved a hit with generations of viewers? David Lemon spoke to three Doctor Who writers to find out

Were you all big fans of the original series? Was it the old cliché of hiding behind the sofa as a kid?

Robert Shearman: It's hard to exaggerate how big a Doctor Who fan I was. Between the ages of 12 and 15 it was the biggest thing in my life. The funny thing was, I never much enjoyed sci-fi but Doctor Who never felt like sci-fi. It never stayed still long enough to develop much of a coherent house style. It was as likely one week to be horror, or another to be a comedy, or another to be a straight historical adventure, as it was to be something set on a spaceship. I think that's what appealed, really. That it was never the same show twice. It took a firm hold of my imagination and, although I outgrew it a little once I found girls, it never completely went away.

James Moran: I've been watching Doctor Who my whole life and have always been a science fiction fan: Star Trek, Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Quantum Leap, The Prisoner – most of the usual suspects. I grew up watching Tom Baker and then Peter Davison and, while I did get scared a lot, I never hid behind the sofa (it was impossible, because our sofa was against the wall.) I don't know how all these people claim to have hidden behind their sofas as kids, unless they all lived in massive, Friends-style apartments with the sofa in the middle of the room. I suspect many of them didn't actually watch the show and are retconning their own childhood to jump on the bandwagon. And that sentence probably tells you way, way too much about me.

Paul Cornell: I tried to the write for the original series but I was much too young and had no experience. It went off air for 15 years and in that 15 years I actually became a TV writer so that if it did come back, I could write for it. I kind of deliberately got into TV and started getting TV credits so I might do that, at the same time as writing books and audio plays. I got to know Russell T. Davies and, basically, loads of writers who were also Doctor Who fans grew up together through fandom. We always wanted one of us to bring the show back if we could and Russell got big enough to swing it.

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