Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Forget a flashy new director, DOCTOR WHO needs new writers!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The recent announcement that Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Sightseers) is going to direct two episodes of Doctor Who spread like wildfire on the internet, despite the fact Wheatley's far from a household name. (Ask your mum about her favourite moment from A Field in England to see what I mean.) But while it's interesting to see some excitement for a director joining the show (especially one with such a dark sensibility at the cinema), TV has always been a writer's medium. I'd be more excited if the BBC had announced another "celebrity writer", along the lines of Neil Gaiman or Richard Curtis (who both debuted with esteemed episodes "The Doctor's Wife" and "Vincent and The Doctor", respectively).

There are undoubtedly plenty of British writers who would love the chance to write an episode of Doctor Who, if only to satisfy a long-held childhood dream. So here are seven (well, technically eight) British writers I think deserve a crack at writing Doctor Who...

Jack Thorne.

He's the creator of BBC Three's short-lived supernatural drama The Fades, so certainly knows a thing or two about crafting a spooky tale aimed at teens. His background's in the ground-breaking Skins and tough social drama This Is England, so it would be fun to see him apply that outlook to something more light-hearted like Doctor Who.

Abi Morgan.

One thing Who's often criticised for is the lack of strong female writers, so why not sign up an award-wining playwright who won a BAFTA for her work on 1960s newsroom drama The Hour? There's nothing in her filmography to indicate a love of sci-fi and fantasy, alas, but I'm sure she could put together something interesting.

Alan Moore.

Best-known for his trailblazing graphic novels of the 1980s (V for Vendetta, Watchmen, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Batman: The Killing Joke), Moore writing a Who episode would be nirvana to geeks. He wrote comic-strips for Doctor Who Magazine early in his career, and his ensuing comic-book success influenced late-'80s Who adventures "Paradise Towers", "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" and "Dragonfire". I have no doubt a Moore-penned Who story would be unforgettable, very imaginative, and probably more than a little controversial. Although he'd almost certainly be heavily rewritten because I'm not sure "family friendly" is his metier.

Sam Bain & Jesse Armstrong.

They're the hottest thing in UK sitcom, having created Peep Show and Fresh Meat, but let's not forget Bain and Armstrong also wrote the excellent sci-fi hour "The Entire History of You" for Black Mirror. Their story of a world where everyone's memories are recorded and accessible for instant-replays was so compelling Robert Downey Jr himself intends to make a movie based on it! Who has always had a strong comedy backbone, too, so Bain and Armstrong feel like an ideal partnership for the show.

Jane Goldman.

The co-writer of Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class has a big 'geek streak' (like husband Jonathan Ross). She's also friends with Who scribe Neil Gaiman (whose novel Stardust she adapted for the screen), so it's not hard to imagine Goldman writing for Who. I just wonder if her talent lies in adaptation, as she's yet to write anything original. Even The Woman in Black was based on a novel.

Anthony Horowitz.

A prolific children's novelist, most notably with his Alex Rider action-adventure series, Horowitz is an ideal fit for Doctor Who today. You actually have to wonder why he's never been offered an episode, as he's even writing the next Tintin movie for Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson (a job Steven Moffat had last time). Horowitz has all the necessary credentials to turn in good, strong episodes.

Charlie Higson.

Another writer with a comedy heritage (The Fast Show), but Higson's also a popular novelist thanks to his Young James Bond books. More relevantly, he was a key figure behind the underrated Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) TV revival in the early-'00s. That alone's reason enough to get him writing a Doctor Who, as I firmly believe R&H(D) was a creative stepping stone on the way to the BBC having confidence to bring Who back to life. Quite a few episodes had a lovely Avengers feel, too, so Higson clearly knows his British telefantasy.