There are many exciting steps along the way to having a chapter you’ve written about a beloved television show accepted into a book collection.
First you see the Call for Submissions, have an idea and send in an abstract.
Then they tell you they like your idea and want to include it in their collection.
Then you write the chapter and they send back minimal notes.
Then (that’s today) they send you the artwork for the cover and you smile all over again knowing other fans of the show will be reading your ideas as they consider the importance of the show to our culture.
All those steps (except the cover page) happened recently on a couple of upcoming collections I’m contributing to but the other day this cover came along for Doctor Who: New Dawn: Essays on the Jodie Whitaker Era and I couldn’t be more excited that a show I originally watched on PBS back in Ohio and followed all these years then made their lead character a female and then I had the chance to write about how a writer could go about making such a culturally important change.
My essay is entitled ‘She is wise and unafraid’: writing the first female Doctor and a diverse universe for her to protect
Female producers are pretty important, too. And they HAVE been around for a while.
Over on the BBC, Verity Lambert helped invent the longest running sci-fi series IN THE WORLD. My fav: Doctor Who. And after 50 years they have a female Doctor in the person of Jodie Whittaker. Lambert would be so proud. — Rosanne
There are few people who can claim to have left as indelible a print on British television as Verity Lambert. In a career that would last over forty-five years she would play a critical role in bringing a wealth of classic British serials to the screen, and one truly global phenomenon — Doctor Who.
The daughter of a London accountant, Verity entered the world of television via one of the few routes available to women at the time, or at least to those for whom acting held no interest — secretarial work. Blessed with a good education and eighteen months of secretarial school, she was able to find work in the press office at Grenada TV in 1956. Shortly after that, she moved on to become a shorthand typist at ABC. Further secretarial moves soon followed, as Lambert tried to engineer a move away from administration towards production. Her break finally came in 1958 with that appointment as a production assistant on Armchair Theatre.
Why are the Brits so much better about creativity in challenging technological times – AND at making fun of themselves? In this short Zoom-filmed set of 15 minute shorts we find Tennant and Sheen (of Good Omens) playing exaggerated versions of themselves as two actors who are forced to rehearse an upcoming play (Pirandello’s “6 Characters in Search of an Author”) on Zoom due to the lockdown. — Rosanne
It is not, overall, a great time to be an actor. Or a director, or a musician, or a writer for the stage or indeed almost anyone involved in the creative arts. The practical effects of the pandemic – and its gross mismanagement – on planned productions (postponed indefinitely), theatre finances (which depend on packed, not socially distanced, houses) and freedom to gather, rehearse, collaborate and generate ideas are already being felt, but their ramifications have hardly begun.
Individual actors have found ways to continue to provide entertainment and add to the cultural conversation (Samuel West, for example, began a series of beautiful and restorative poetry readings requested by followers on his Twitter account, to which more and more actors have added their voices as the weeks have passed), but the brightest chink of light in the darkness so far, and reaching the widest audience, has been offered by the small screen.