The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Saturday, 7 August 2021

The Director Never Yelled 'Cut'

New things!

Out now, the latest special edition of Doctor Who Magazine, all about Directing Doctor Who, for which I’ve written half a dozen articles. There’s a piece about how to read a camera script – what the various acronyms and terminologies mean – along with five pieces where I take a close look at the direction of specific episodes. And when I say a close look, I mean a close look, a look closer than has been looked before. The episodes in question are An Unearthly Child, episode four of The Seeds of Death, episode two of Terror of the Autons, part three of Earthshock and The Parting of the Ways.


For each of these episodes, I spent far too long going through the whole thing, shot by shot, comparing it against the camera script or shooting script. And along the way I discovered a few things that surprised me. A very clever and ambitious shot in The Seeds of Death that doesn’t quite work. Why those scenes with Mrs Farrell in the CSO kitchen were added. And the fact that someone in the studio control room was calling for extra unscripted close ups of Beryl Reid. It’s amazing what you can find out, and I had lots of fun doing it. I could probably do a similar article about every episode.

Over in the regular Doctor Who Magazine I attempt to justify the ‘holiday’ theme of the latest issue by including a list of Doctor Who related holiday destinations. It’s not intended as a serious location-visitor’s guide, just a light-hearted piece. That said, it is important to update it with the facts that Ed’s Diner in Cardiff has now closed, and that you can only visit the interior of the Temple of Peace by prior appointment, and that there’s not much to see there even if you do have an appointment. 


I also take a look at the character of Dodo, as played by Jackie Lane. While the issue also contains a tribute to the recently-departed actress, I look more at the character she played in Doctor Who, and how she brought consistency and personality to a pretty inconsistently-written and under-thought character. As ‘research’ I watched or listened to all her episodes in one day (skipping all the scenes without her) which really brought that home. 


Meanwhile, over at Big Finish, there’s another one of my stories hoving into view across the pre-release horizon.  It’s part three of The War Doctor Begins: Warbringer, an episode called Saviour. I’m very proud of this one, the script just popped with drama, and I look forward to hearing Jonathan Carley performing my words as the War Doctor. Excitingly, this also means that I have sort-of written for all the Doctors Who in some shape or form (given that I refer to Doctor thirteen in The Library of Time, which I understand counts in the eyes of fandom at large). However, I still have unfinished business! I have yet to write a story for David Bradley’s first Doctor or Tim Treloar’s third Doctor. And I still haven’t written a story with the Cybermen. And there are loads of companions still to be crossed off the list (I don’t have a list).

So, anyway, yes, pre-order Warbringer here.

Looking over this blog, I realise I've neglected to mention a few other pieces I've had in Doctor Who Magazine recently; in isue 563 (April 2021) I had a piece on the ninth Doctor, It's About Nine, while in Doctor Who Chronicles: 1975 I had three pieces; Pages of History, taking a look at the 1976 annual (published in 1975), Tales OF Terror, taking a look at the 1976 Dalek annual (also published in 1975) and Fantastic Beasts, taking a look at one of my favourite things ever, the Doctor Who Monster Book.

I may blog about writing them in due course but I probably won't, because I keep forgetting to update this blog as it is (particularly since Blogger made the whole thing more fiddly), and I'm not sure anyone still reads it! Suffice it to say I take a fascinating, analytical approach to the annuals' authorship, and wallow in a jacuzzi of warm nostalgia for the Monster Book.