Wednesday, 18 May 2011
DOCTOR WHO: ‘THE DOCTOR’S WIFE’ (POSTSCRIPT)
Regular readers may remember me foolishly committing myself to print by saying of this episode:
”Everything seemed built around her [the Tardis].”
Then later I read the Guardian’s Q+A with writer Neil Gaiman where someone asks…
”Was this the one great Who story you've always wanted to tell?”
…which would pretty much have been my question. Surely this was the Who story which had been buzzing around Gaiman’s cranium since he was a young fan. “When I become a big, famous writer I shall do a ’Doctor Who’ where the Tardis is a lady!” Why, you could see that all over this episode!
But he replies…
”The story actually came about backwards. It began with me wanting to do a story like THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME set in the TARDIS, with the Doctor being hunted. And then I thought, that's no fun, because he knows everything about the TARDIS. It's no contest. It would be more interesting to have a companion be hunted through the TARDIS...
And I thought, Or even have something malevolent possess the TARDIS. But if I did that, I'd need to put the TARDIS consciousness somewhere.
And then I had a story.”
I had pretty much considered the corridor-chasing to be tangential to the main story, in effect a ‘bubble universe’ of its own. (Though of course it added to the tension and was fun in its own right.) We could have had the whole ‘possessed Tardis’ thing without it, in fact Amy and Rory could have been completely cut out of the story… maybe on a second honeymoon somewhere… with little functional loss. We would still have gone outside the universe, met everyone and come home again. Yet, like someone building an extension then figuring they need a house to go with it, that was the bit which came first.
It’s bizarre to think how many times the spark for a story turns out to be a stray spark, outside the main body of the thing.