The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Happy Hour

The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine is a bit of a tribute to Steven Moffat and what I like to call the ‘Steven Moffat era’. There’s an interview with the great man himself, and erstwhile editor Tom and I chased up various people to say nice things about him, including the predecessor Russell T Davies and successor Chris Chibnall.

My main contributions, though, are a Fact of Fiction on The Eleventh Hour and a piece entitled 20 Amazing Things About Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who. It’s like a listicle, but with a round number (important) and not bothering to put the items into any order of precedence (because whatever we decided would be arbitrary and annoy people).

It was a fun piece to write – I went back and re-watched every single Moffat story as ‘research’, which was no hardship at all – and it’s an interesting challenge to try to come up with new angles, new insights, and new things to say. To go, “Hey, did you notice this incredibly cool thing? You did? Oh. Well, I only just noticed it myself, you must be more observant than me”.

Of course, it’s all about the good stuff. We could all make our own lists of things that didn’t quite work or things that weren’t to our taste. Which might be fun, it might even be constructive, but it wouldn’t be appropriate for a magazine celebrating Doctor Who and Steven Moffat’s contribution. I daresay if you want that sort of thing it can be found on the internet.

However, inevitably with this sort of article, there are things that didn’t quite make the top 20. Things that were just ‘bubbling under’. I compiled such a list, but there wasn’t room for it in the magazine, so here it is now.

We don’t have to stop at twenty. We could keep going...

The Silence
Madame Kovarian
Asylum of the Daleks
The Name of the Doctor
Deep Breath
Danny Pink
Dark Water/Death in Heaven

(Most other things were covered within the article – for instance, Osgood is mentioned as part of The Day of the Doctor).

For the Fact of Fiction on The Eleventh I had access to various early drafts of the script. It’s always fascinating to see stuff which got cut or altered; without speculating as to the reasons, it’s usually fairly obvious and dull like budgets and schedules. I was particularly interested to find out that the part of the story that has always felt a bit iffy – the Atraxi spaceship appearing over the village green – was a last-minute bodge-job fix because several chunks of that section hadn’t been recorded due to bad weather. It’s also amazing just how much stuff gets cut; odd words here and there, that you would think were essential, reading the script, but which turn out to be redundant.

It was also interesting to see how many different iterations the ending of the story went through, as ideas were rewritten, dropped then brought back again. Right at the end of the article I mention one such idea – something that’s never been revealed before, because it’s a bit embarrassing – and break with Fact of Fiction protocol by expressing an opinion on it. Yes, I went there. So look out for that.

There you go. Two excellent reasons for buying the latest Doctor Who Magazine.

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