Doctor Who interview: Steven Moffatt
The BBC provided Nerdage with this interview with new “Doctor Who” executive producer and lead writer Steven Moffatt. Read on for his take on casting the Doctor, the first day of filming, and more.
Steven Moffat is a BAFTA-award winning writer whose career in television has spanned more than 20 years and produced some of the UK’s best-loved television dramas in that time. But more than that, he is a Doctor Who fan who has just been handed his dream job – in charge of this iconic drama series.
“I suppose I could say the reason I started working in TV is because I was such a huge fan of Doctor Who,” explains Steven. “I was absolutely fascinated and thrilled by the show. I wanted to know how the TARDIS disappeared, how all the special effects worked and why the Doctor changed. As a viewer you want to know why he looks different; it’s a show that compels you to look behind the scenes. In fact, over the years I think I’ve bought every single issue of Doctor Who Magazine since it launched.”
But there was a long period when Doctor Who was not on screen; did Steven ever worry that he wouldn’t get the opportunity to achieve his lifelong ambition and write for the show? “I tumbled through the door of children’s TV, became quite a cool children’s TV writer for about 48 seconds in 1989 and they basically axed Doctor Who that day!” says Steven with a chuckle. “After 26 years, just when I thought I’d finally get to write for the show, I missed out by an afternoon.”
The transition to lead writer and executive producer
However, fate was obviously on Steven’s side and in 2005 Doctor Who was resurrected and has become one of the biggest shows on UK television under the guidance of Russell T Davies. “The transition has been strange and has lasted a long time for me; since I first got an email from Russell about the job in fact,” explains the Paisley, Scotland born writer. “We’ve been saying goodbye to each other for two and a half years now – we’d really better stop before one of us drops dead in a desperate bid for closure. I hugely enjoyed working with Russell and every time I came back to Doctor Who during those years it was an absolute treat. I knew this job was going to be difficult; I was never under any illusion about it. I could see that Russell was getting tired and he has acknowledged he is a workaholic. I’ve managed to take up workaholism, but it never sits quite as easy with me.”
The actual moment of regeneration was, of course, the pinnacle of that transition and Steven’s first chance to write for the new Doctor. “It was Russell’s courtesy to allow me to write Matt’s first scene when the regeneration happened and he was adamant about that. He’s a fan like I am and he’ll always be motivated by that. He wouldn’t like to think as a member of the audience that the old writer had written the new Doctor. In our heads that’s where the new era begins, that’s what matters to us.”
Casting the Doctor
Doctor Who has already had multiple incarnations on television, so casting the perfect actor for the lead role
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