frank moffat

My favourite thing about the resolution of Smile was how Frank Cottrell-Boyce had the Doctor telling a story, which is one of my favourite recurring thematic motifs in the Moff era - the Doctor being a storyteller.

“There’s no such thing as the Doctor. I’m just a bloke in a box telling stories…”

The story of the Fisherman and the Haddock being used to explain the consciousness of a sentient robot species which thinks on a very different level to humans was like explaining Asimov through a fairy tale.

That is so wonderfully Doctor Who to me.

Poetry. Quantum physics. Same thing…

Notes on Smile

All in all, I enjoyed this a lot more a second time around: 

  • The two tear emoji suddenly becoming a skull is actually a really effective scare, even the second time around I find it disturbing 
  • Really digging Murray’s synth-y score here  
  • Bill is superb in this episode (though there’s a plothole surrounding her I’ll get to later) but four moments are amazing in particular; she suggests she could steal the TARDIS (in episode TWO), ‘bloke utopia’, the Doctor having really high blood pressure; and finally, getting distracted by a bust of Nefertiti (hopeless gay sunshine child, honestly). 
  • Twelve also gets some absolutely wonderful moments, mainly in response to Bill but his sad expression when discussing the Algae Emperor and pretty much all his emoji badge scenes are personal highlights 
  • Supporting cast is really wasted, which is a shame as these are really good guest actors 
  • This arc seems really intriguing so far, I like how we learn a tiny bit more with each episode, it’s really effective at building intrigue and whetting the appetite 
  • I’ve just noticed the Bowie reference. It may be a really dark joke as well, given the title of Ashes to Ashes is a quote from a phrase used in the English Burial Service (and considering what happens to the setup team, it’s quite apt) 
  • Capaldi and Mackie are an incredibly talented TARDIS team and we are so very lucky to have them, and the emoji badges are such a great device to get the best out of them early on in their run. Additionally, Capaldi’s attack eyebrow emoji badge is absolutely hilarious. 
  • It’s slightly unfortunate that this episode relies on several commonplace Moffat era themes and iconography, which has been done better elsewhere (the refugee humans in The Beast Below to name one example). This isn’t really its fault though. 
  • Initially, I didn’t like the idea that the robots were capitalists/into taking rent, largely because someone (possibly Jack Graham) wrote that it’s troubling that current sci-fi writers can’t seem to see a future without capitalism and from that perspective it remains a disappointment. In this though, I’ve been persuaded by some very clever people over at @doctorwhodowntimeblog that there’s actually a compelling argument that this episode shows capitalism as one of the reasons why utopias can fall apart (colonialism being another), and in that, the restraint in not making the robots communists and leaving that bit of cynicism undercutting the happy ending works. Criticising it for this would be akin to criticising Hell Bent for not being a Gallifrey story (a very silly thing to do). Besides, the rent gag is funny. 
  • Plothole one: how does sci-fi savvy Bill not recognise what the sleep pods are…Cottrell-Boyce goes a little generic companion here. 
  • Plothole two: if there were multiple ships (see The Ark in Space/The Beast Below), how is this going to be ‘the end of the human race’? It seems like that line was added to raise the stakes unnecessarily when ‘the end of them’ would have done fine (and considering the resolution to the episode it helps even less). 
  • Speaking of, the episode fits together better than I originally thought, thematically and plot wise, but the complete switch in tension from potential human genocide to ‘the robots are slaves’ is either insufficiently set up, clunkily executed or both. The reset button is fine in comparison (though the mind wipe is a little iffy after the end of The Pilot) 
  • Plothole three: why do the Vardies get mad at the emojibots being destroyed given those aren’t actually the sentient part? Unless they’ve developed a certain sentimental attachment themselves there’s no explanation for this. 
  • I’m loving mischievous TARDIS, I think she wanted Bill because she wanted to travel with the Doctor again (she must have been really bored tbh) 
  • Politically, I really really don’t like the idea of the Doctor as a policeman. Furthermore, it’s actually wrong. I recognise that not everyone will share my views of the police, but this is a perfect time to imply that he’s better than them. Police support is always qualified and they will usually only help you if your rights are infringed upon by a private citizen, and if that private citizen is powerful they may well help to cover it up. The nature of the system is such that someone can be a good cop or a good person, but they can’t remain both. Sooner or later either one will be compromised (Andy in Torchwood illustrates this pretty well). Additionally, they exist to defend the system and therefore aren’t going to be on the front lines with you in a revolution, they’re going to defend it. The Doctor, on the other hand exists outside of the system, and his help is almost always unqualified and is usually supportive of revolution against oppressive systems. In fact, the Doctor overthrows the system here, which a policeman could never do. This may mean the episode actually supports this reading, which I didn’t realise when I started out writing this.
Doctor Who Series 10 - Here Are All The Episode Authors

Doctor Who: The Fan Show recently revealed the final episode authors for Doctor Who Series 10.  We now know each of the episode authors for the entire series.  They are as follows:

  • Episode One - by Steven Moffat
  • Episode Two - by Frank Cottrell-Boyce
  • Episode Three - by Sarah Dollard
  • ‘The Haunted Hub’ - by Mike Bartlett
  • Episode Five - by Jamie Mathieson
  • 'Extremis’ - by Steven Moffat and Peter Harness
  • Episode Seven - by Steven Moffat and Peter Harness
  • Episode Eight - by Toby Whithouse
  • 'The Eaters of Light’ - by Rona Munro
  • Episode 10 - by Mark Gatiss
  • Episode 11 - by Steven Moffat
  • Episode 12 - by Steven Moffat

Doctor Who Series 10 is expected to air in April.

You know that interview from, I think it’s late 90s or early 00s, with Moffat.

And he makes some very nasty rude comments about early Classic Who and the actors in it.

But it’s never taken too seriously as criticism against him, because it’s an outdated quote, people’s opinions change, he wasn’t very much in the public eye so wasn’t as careful with what he said. It was nearly 20 years ago it’s not relevant. All this is true.

Well, I saw him today, and he was doing an interview with Peter and one of the producers at the radio times festival and he said, and this is a quote not a paraphrase this is genuinely what he said, and I think they filmed it so you can probably watch it later on.

“Hartnell is in the toilet compared to the show today.”

So if you wanted an up to date 2015 quote proving he lacks respect for early Classic Who and is generally a tactless person there you go. No need to use the outdated one any longer.

He said a number of negative comments about previous Doctors and episodes, but I don’t think it’s fair to paraphrase or use hearsay against someone. So until they release a recording I don’t feel comfortable playing he said she said he might’ve said.

Comedian and TV host Frank Skinner to guest star in the new series of Doctor Who:

Room 101 host Frank Skinner is the latest name confirmed to guest star in an episode of the new series of Doctor Who this Autumn.

Skinner says: “I love this show. I subscribe to Doctor Who magazine, I’ve got a TARDIS ringtone, a five-foot cardboard Dalek in my bedroom and when I got the call saying they wanted me to read for the part, I was in the back of my tour bus watching episode three of The Sensorites. I am beyond excited.”

He is currently touring the UK with his stand-up show Frank Skinner: Man In a Suit, alongside presenting the Saturday Morning Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio. Skinner previously appeared in the one-off Doctor Who 50th anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.

Steven Moffat, lead writer and Executive Producer, says: “It’s no secret that Frank’s been pitching vigorously to get into Doctor Who for a while. He’s been volunteering to be “third monster on the left” as long as I’ve been in this job. But now, in Jamie Mathieson’s sparkling script, we finally have a part that can showcase all of Frank’s famous wit and charm. Hopefully he’ll get out of my garden now.”



Doctor Who Series 8 Q&A Highlights - Doctor Who

Matt Lucas to join Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie for Doctor Who Series 10

The BBC have released the first details surrounding Series 10 of Doctor Who including cast, writers and a confirmed filming start date of Monday 20th June.

Details from the press release follow:

Squeak! Squeak! Squeak! The bumbling duffel-coated Nardole is back!

Following his hilarious appearance in The Husbands Of River Song, Matt Lucas returns to Doctor Who from the opening episode of series 10, which starts filming next week in Cardiff (Monday 20 June).

Commenting on his return to Doctor Who, Matt Lucas says: 

“I’m chuffed to bits that Nardole is returning to the TARDIS for some more adventures. I loved acting with Peter and I’m excited to work with Pearl.”

Bringing her energy and zest to the show, Pearl Mackie embarks on her first week of filming as she takes up the role of the Doctor’s companion. In her first major television role following her West End appearance in The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time, she’ll be bursting on to screens in the opening episode.

Steven Moffat, lead writer and Executive Producer, adds: 

“Delighted and slightly amazed to be welcoming Matt Lucas back on to the TARDIS - and this time it’s not just for Christmas, he’s sticking around. One of the greatest comedy talents on planet Earth is being unleashed on all of time and space.”

Stephanie Hyam will play a guest cast role in the new series and is recognised for her performance as Lily Clarke in Jekyll & Hyde. She’s also appeared in Peaky Blinders, Murdered By My Boyfriend, and Sherlock.

The opening episode of series 10 is written by Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat, executive produced by Brian Minchin, produced by Peter Bennett and directed by Lawrence Gough. The second episode in the new series has been crafted by award-winning screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

Block 2 writers are Sarah Dollard (writer of acclaimed episode Face The Raven) and Mike Bartlett (multi-award-winning Doctor Foster).

Doctor Who will return in December 2016 with a Christmas Special, followed by the new series in 2017.


Audience video from the Radio Times Festival in which Peter discusses his hair issues

Most of the rest of the Q&A is also posted on you-tube (parts 2-6)


Moffat Appreciation Day

One of my favorite things about Series 8 was the ambition. After all, Doctor Who thrives on ambition, on new ideas, and on uniqueness. Two stories in particular struck me as highly experimental and unique: Listen and In the Forest of the Night. What makes stories like these so valuable is that they push the limits of what Doctor Who can do into new territory, showing that, even after 51 years, the show is infinitely versatile and capable of trying new things. Doctor Who is a show that can transcend such limitations as genera or formula, so its extremely valuable that we get episodes like this that show just how different this show is. Episodes like this are a reminder of the magic of the show, and of what sets it apart from any other.