Moffat Promises "13 Episodes In 2014".

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by StCoop, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. StCoop

    StCoop Commodore Commodore

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  2. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Well I can’t see the article without subscribing so can’t see the context. One would hope he means 13 episodes broadcast, but I realise this may not be the case.

    As an interesting aside, I wonder if this means there’ll be a series of 12 episodes + a Christmas special making 13?
     
  3. StCoop

    StCoop Commodore Commodore

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    Steven Moffat, Faith Penhale & Marcus Wilson
    31 October, 2013 | By Robin Parker


    The show’s lead writer and producer, and BBC Wales head of drama, about Doctor Who’s next chapter.


    Steven Moffat has a mantra for the writers on Doctor Who: ‘Act like you own it’. Which is quite magnanimous of him, given that as showrunner he, if anyone, is the show’s custodian right now. But what he is saying to them is that there is no space for standing still when you’re working on a juggernaut of this size. With every episode, it has to up its game.


    For this reason, he can’t bring himself to think of the 50th anniversary episode as big – and make no mistake, at 75 minutes, in 3D, with John Hurt joining both Matt Smith and David Tennant, and airing in 75 countries simultaneously, it is big.


    “But a big episode is not the one where you say ‘it’s big’,” he says. “A big episode can be anything that moves the plot along. My main thing was that as much as we celebrate the past, we can change the narrative. You can’t tell a story by being frightened about it.”


    As ever, the plot is shrouded in secrecy ahead of its broadcast on 23 November, beyond some teasing trailers, but Moffat says setting himself the challenge of telling a story that, unusually, centres on the Doctor, energised him. He had 3D elements in mind from the start and says he’s giving nothing away when he reveals that it exploits this added dimension to offer “the best ever entrance into the TARDIS”.


    Producer Marcus Wilson says the special is a line in the sand that demonstrates “the future of what we can do”. He adds: “When I read a Doctor Who script, I want it to contain impossible ideas. When I read this one, I was going around the office saying: ‘how the hell am I going to do this?’.”


    Moffat picked up the baton from Russell T Davies in 2008 and for much of the time since, he has stretched himself between Doctor Who and Sherlock, which he co-runs with Mark Gatiss. The issue of his own succession comes up regularly, but having recently cast Peter Capaldi, he’s committed to at least one more year on the show. He’s been a fan since childhood, but has the hard graft lived up to his dreams? And how do you stay fresh on something that has so much invested in it, both as a global brand and as a cherished show for its passionate army of fans?


    “When you start off being a fan, that doesn’t go away,” he says. “If I hear people on the radio talking about Doctor Who, I perk up. When they were speculating about the new Doctor, I found myself getting drawn into the rumours even though I knew it was my job to cast him. It is as great a job as my eight-year old self thought it was – and as huge.”


    But there’s a restlessness to his approach, a fear of getting bored, of boring the audience, of doing things by numbers. He’s introduced complicated arcs, chopped up series into halves and stripped things back to single-episode, fast-paced ‘blockbusters of the week’.


    “On any series, you start out raw, then you become an expert and you get slicker – but before it gets too polished, you’ve got to remember to keep enough rawness so you’re not just churning them out,” he explains.


    For Capaldi’s first season, he promises something different again, and fans will take comfort in his commitment to at least 13 episodes in 2014. The announcement of Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Sightseers) as director of two episodes met with a hugely positive response and, coupled with Capaldi’s arrival, there’s a new sense of swagger in the air. It’s a huge plate-spinning exercise for Moffat – you can’t help but wonder whether there’s an inch of office wall visible behind a sea of Post-it script notes mapping out his time- and space-spanning plots.


    “There’s always a point in production, usually half-way, maybe two thirds, through a series when you realise you’re juggling at least one aspect of each show at once: maybe a press launch for one, another in the edit and I might not have written the last one,” Moffat says. “You wake up in the night thinking about 13 emergencies, each of them equally calamitous. As a lifestyle choice, it’s questionable.”

    Wilson pinpoints the problem – in many respects, a nice one: “Any time I can get Steven into the building, he adds value.” Moffat has on occasion found himself in Roath Lock at one moment talking Doctor Who – looking at a special effect, meeting a writer or actor – then turning around in the corridor to discuss an issue on Sherlock.


    “One of the hardest things for me to do is work out when I’ll have time to write,” he laughs. “A whole week can disappear when I haven’t had a moment to sit down. I was amazed recently when I got a script ready in time for the tone meeting.”


    The team joke that no one ever gets a day off on the show. “It’s an addiction and a way of life,” says BBC Wales head of drama Faith Penhale. “If it wasn’t for Doctor Who, we wouldn’t have this building in Cardiff, and it’s hugely important to the BBC in general. The anniversary should be a moment to celebrate what the BBC does best. It was a brave commission in 1963, this odd sci-fi show, real creative bravery. It felt like even more of a risk bringing it back in 2005, and it’s our responsibility to keep inventing, to find imaginative ways to move the show on.”


    Moffat is conscious that the pool of Doctor Who writers is currently quite small – in its most recent series, three of them penned two stories each – but that’s the price to pay for working on a show of this scale. Where Davies famously rewrote vast tranches of scripts, Moffat employs only experienced hands and appears to practise a lighter touch, though he says he’s open to more names if they can fit some tough criteria.


    Five of the seven writers on the recent series were established showrunners – Moffat himself, Gatiss, Neil Cross (Luther), Toby Whithouse (Being Human) and Chris Chibnall (Law & Order:UK and now Broadchurch). (The others were fantasy author Neil Gaiman and Sherlock scribe Steve Thompson.) And, Moffat says, it’s a certain type of experience he’s after.


    “You have to know the limitations of TV and how far you can push them,” he says. “It takes a childlike imagination and you need to be the kind of writer who writes this sort of thing, not – like a great many brilliant writers – one who writes masterful observations of reality. I want them to have good reasons why, say, badgers have become intelligent.”


    With these old hands, he can treat it like a collaboration and ideas will flow in both directions, as long as they check their egos at the door after the first draft is handed in. “You need humility to tackle the second draft,” he says. “My general rule of thumb is that a good script note will make a writer happy.”
     
  4. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I guess they'll show 13 episodes at Comic Con and we'll have to wait until 2018 to see them.
     
  5. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Ts for posting the article StCoop

    :guffaw:

    But what about the most important question, will Paul McGann be in them!?:p
     
  6. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The leaked BBC e-mail that led to the premature announcement of Matt Smith's departure said 12 episodes in the autumn. That plus the Christmas special makes 13 in 2014.
     
  7. Mr Awe

    Mr Awe Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Can't read it because you have to subscribe--oh, see the text now. But, I'm guessing that based on the leaked email, it's more a case that he was told there would be 13 episodes in 2014, and he is going along with it. Well, the email didn't specify 13 but indicated it would be a continuous run for the season. So, the 13 episodes is new information.

    Mr Awe
     
  8. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I would like to see the internet burn, so I hope its this.
     
  9. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Just read this on GallifreyBase, pray it's true. A new Doctor needs the momentum of a full run.
     
  10. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I definitely wish they would get some new writers to help Moffat out. I usually love the heck out of his stuff, but the other episodes (with some exceptions) never quite feel up to the same level.
     
  11. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Unfortunately "Doctor Who" can only handle one psychopath per writing room :)
     
  12. Emperor-Tiberius

    Emperor-Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    But why not invite the likes of Paul Cornell back to pen an episode? He's not written for a while, and his episodes are all considered modern classics.
     
  13. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Cornell seems pretty busy with comics and his new novels these days, though I feel like he wouldn't turn down Doctor Who. Davies did do a lot of rewriting on "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood," though.
     
  14. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Cornell addressed this recently in an interview with Radio Free Skaro. The short answer is, no one's asked him. Considering that he's an old friend of Moffat's, that does seem odd, but perhaps Moffat feels that Cornell is too busy or his vision doesn't mesh with Moffat's dark fairy tale take on the franchise.

    I disagree that "Father's Day" is a modern classic. "The Family of Blood" almost works; it suffers from the Return of the King ending problem. That may be an issue; Cornell knows how to tell a good Doctor Who story, but the television format doesn't play to his strengths as a writer.
     
  15. StCoop

    StCoop Commodore Commodore

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    I think we can resign ourselves to the same old names again doing all the writing.

    And no women of course, because they're icky.
     
  16. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Let's hope with the exception of the Christmas special they are shown back to back.
     
  17. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, even as a fan of Moffat his reliance on big names (and let’s be honest his mates) has always annoyed me. RTD seemed keener to bring up and coming writers on board. Of course that conversation with Moffat does address part of that, RTD seemed to do a huge amount of rewriting to bring episodes up to scratch and SM seems keener to have people he can trust to deliver a strong episode without much interference. Whichever you think is the better way it does at least suggest it’s a bit more than jobs for the boys.

    There needs to be more women writing in sci-fi generally. I am right in thinking that there has only been one female writer since Who came back in Helen Raynor? so it isn’t like RTD was hugely more inclusive. Hopefully this is something that will change.
     
  18. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What about Rob Shearman? Is there any particular reason why he has only written one (hugely successful) Doctor Who TV episode?
     
  19. StCoop

    StCoop Commodore Commodore

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    You can find a detailed quote from him out there but basically he doesn't want to write any more DW (in any medium).
     
  20. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    True. http://www.denofgeek.com/tv/doctor-...riting-doctor-who-and-resurrecting-the-daleks
    Still, he'd be a pretty good showrunner, in my opinion, if he ever changed his mind.