It was great to be able to attend this year’s SD WhoCon in San Diego and present this lecture on “The Difficulties and Delicacies of Writing the First Female Doctor in 50+ years” in which I discuss how successful I think showrunner Christopher Chibnall was in making that transition.
It gave me a chance to talk about the creative work of a showrunner/screenwriter while also reconnecting to some friends we had met at this same convention some 3 years ago – and to talk about one of my favorite subjects – Doctor Who!
I recently presented a talk on Torchwood (Why Torchwood Still Matters) where I highlighted a few ways in which the show (airing from 2006 to 2011) came up with progressive and innovative ideas that are being used by other franchises today.
I always enjoy attending the SD (San Diego) WhoCon because the audiences are so well-informed on the Whoniverse and Whovians love Captain Jack and the crew that made this spinoff program so engaging.
Now I think it’s really important to think about how then the writer/showrunner has to decide which of these episodes will be mine and what do I want to say with mine and even when it’s not mine, I’m going to do the final rewrite. I’m going to do the polish to make sure it sounds like all these episodes are coming from one voice, right, which is really why all of Russell’s stuff sounds like Russell. In fact, anyone here ever read “The Writer’s Tale” which is his book –– oh my gosh i should have brought a copy of it. It’s really thick. A journalist named Benjamin Cook asked him in the last season of the David Tennant era “Could I email you and ask you questions about where you’re at with your stories and then we’ll publish a book out of it” and Russell was like sure whatever. So what you get are things like, okay so what are you thinking about tonight and Russell will go “I don’t know. It just occurred to me what if water was like acid and could kill you? Can I play with that?” and a few pages later it’s like “You know what? I’m trying to do an episode on Mars. What if martian water is actually what could kill you before you know it you get to he’s writing “Waters of Mars.” So you literally watch from the idea through the execution of the story.
Watch this entire presentation