The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Monday, 3 May 2021


Okay, things have been going on. I’ve started my own audio production company, Average Romp, which has released its first episode of its first series, Dick Dixon in the 21st Century. I’ll blog on all that in more detail next week; today, instead, I’ll just do a quick plug for the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine and its special edition Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition.


In the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, number 564, I have an article about the Eighth Doctor’s adventures in spin-off media after the 1996 TV Movie. What The Eighth Doctor Did Next. Now, this is a very big subject, and one which could barely be encompassed by a series of articles ten times the length. So it’s more of an overview, drawing together threads, a taster palette if you like. There’s also a bit on the elephant on the room that has never been discussed – were the books, audios and comic strips really an influence on the TV series? Or were they just picking up on the same things that were going on at the time? Again, this is a subject that really could be an article in itself, but the short answer is, “Not really”. Books may have had giant spaceships appearing over London, but then, so did Independence Day and V and The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. And, yes, occasionally the TV series may tread on the toes of the spin-offs, or pull out rugs from under those toes, but that goes with the territory. As Timothy Zahn said about Star Wars; “We were allowed to play in George Lucas’ driveway. If and when George backs his truck out and runs over our stuff, we have no cause to complain.” And the same applies to Doctor Who. You just have your fun and hope that when the truck is backed out the wheels happen to miss your own action figures.

So, yes, a fun article to write. I could have had more interviewees but there wasn’t time or space, cos it’s an issue packed with loads of other good stuff. There’s even an article by someone very close to my heart (which I had nothing to do with, I hasten to add).

Out on the same day is Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition number 57, all about Writing Doctor Who. Now, I have quite a bit in this, as I writing the framing articles (for want of a better term) discussing how Doctor Who scripts were, and are, developed from original pitches, through to outlines/storylines, to scene breakdowns, to draft scripts, to rehearsal/readthrough scripts and finally to camera/shooting scripts. Giving lots of examples of Doctor Who stories along the way.

This was, as you might expect from my article on this blog, a bit of a dream job for me. I don’t have every existing Doctor Who script and of those I have, I haven’t quite read all of them all the way through, but I very nearly have. So I’ve got lots of interesting things to say – previous fan researchers have detailed things like deleted scenes and script changes before, but usually only to describe them in ‘making of’ articles. What I find interesting is the question of why stuff got changed; why scenes and dialogue were rewritten by script editors or changed in rehearsals, why scenes were dropped. Of course, these reasons can usually only be inferred – although sometimes there are interviews and correspondence which gives you some details. So, in the various articles, I explore that a little, looking at The Mind Robber as one case where we have all the script editors notes on the outline so we can pretty much exactly see why the changes were made to the scene breakdown.

And so on with other stories, trying to pick out examples of things that had never been reported before, or at least which I don’t remember being reported before (not the same thing). Such as some dialogue about Peri tap-dancing in The Caves of Androzani which made it all the way to the rehearsal script before someone realized how naff it was.

That’s the thing with putting together these articles. You can always go into more detail (what is now termed ‘granular’). I could write a whole book on stuff not covered by DWM Archives and Fact of Fictions, the Complete History and the various DWAS Production Guides. Maybe one day!

So please rush out to your nearest good newsagent or WH Smiths, or order the publications online.