Mark Gatiss has confirmed he’s writing an upcoming episode of Doctor Who.
The writer and actor was speaking about his Series 1 episode, The Unquiet Dead (2005) and revealed:
“It seems so natural now (as I write my ninth episode – ten if you count the un-produced one!) but the forty five minute format took some getting used to. Growing up with four and six parters and cliffhanger endings was how Doctor Who worked so that was a challenge. Also just the sheer speed of a new episode. I remember in an early draft I had the Doctor and Rose coming out of the TARDIS and then going back in again for several scenes. Russell said ‘why do they do that?” And the answer was, because that’s what used to happen!”
The unproduced one, presumably, is one set in a museum during the World War, which was batted back because it would’ve come shortly after The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances (2005).
I wonder if he’ll have written the sequel to Sleep No More, Gatiss’ contribution to last year’s series; honestly, I really liked it, but even I admit it was poorly received, so a follow-up might not be ideal. Then again, it’d be great if Mark could give us a sequel that forces people to re-evaluate the first part…
This fascinating interview was by WhoSFX, and he talks about the reaction to the Gelth:
“I went on Radio 4’s ‘PM’ after it went out as there’d been a lot of complaints. Eddie Mair asked me how I felt about terrifying the nation’s children and I said ‘I’m thrilled!’ That, to me, was always so much of Doctor Who’s appeal. It scared the life out of me when I was a kid but in a delightful way. Like being on a rollercoaster. ‘The Daemons’ scared the pants off me (especially Bok the gargoyle) but the Doctor’s presence reassured me. I was over the moon about the ‘sting’ into the titles with the zombified Mrs Peace walking into the camera. Those eyes! That face! That awful groan. It was genuinely scary.”
Ah, but he’s a known horror fan, so we shouldn’t be surprised by his love of ghost stories, and the delight he takes in scaring further generations.
— Who FX (@who_fx) June 4, 2016
He also talks about the leading man, Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston:
“I’d worked with Chris on the third series of The League of Gentlemen and remember him saying ‘Thanks for asking me to do this. Everyone thinks I’m a miserable b*stard!’ So I suppose I wasn’t surprised that he wanted to do something so different and outside his comfort zone. His casting also sent a very clear message that the new show meant business. I think he was a wonderful Doctor… I’m pretty sure I wrote at least the first draft (it was called The Crippingwell Horror originally) without a Doctor cast, based on Russell’s thoughts on what kind of person the new man might be. After that, I do what I always do which is to try and get the actor’s speech patterns and mannerisms in my head. Chris’ ‘bluntness’ and his northernness were the immediate obvious differences as was Russell’s insistence that the new Doctor not be ‘a posh boy’!”
Head over to WhoSFX (and scout them out on Twitter too; they’re an essential follow), and read the full interview.
What do you think about Gatiss returning? Which stories of his do you enjoy most? Up for a sequel to Sleep No More?