“‘Tis nature’s law to change”, as John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester wisely said. Writing in the seventeenth century he wasn’t talking about Doctor Who but change is, of course, the one constant in the programme. Eventually, everyone who works on the show will move on: actors, writers, technicians, showrunners…
Whilst there’s no sign of Steven Moffat moving on just yet, what with Series 9 due to hit the screen in a couple of months and the recent news that he’d signed up for a further series, the day will inevitably come when he decides it’s time to do something else. We’ve discussed possible replacements in some depth here at Kasterborous in our ‘Man Who Would Be King’ series but today it’s all about you. What would you do if, unlikely as it may sound, the BBC chose to put you in charge of your favourite show?
Previous changes of leadership in the Doctor Who production team have led to significant new directions being pursued in the tone and style of the programme. Think of Jon Pertwee’s debut in Spearhead From Space, which, along with colour filming being used for the first time, established the show’s new, earth-bound setting and slicker feel reminiscent of the classic ITC shows of the previous decade, once Barry Letts’ and Terrance Dicks’ influence was felt.
Philip Hinchcliffe took over as producer with a clear plan to take the Doctor away from UNIT and back into space. The stories he and script editor Robert Holmes oversaw, influenced in many cases by literary and cinematic classics, have endured as some of the very best in the programme’s long life.
Later still John Nathan-Turner’s era burst into life with a new title sequence, a new colour palette for the Doctor’s costume and an emphasis on more serious story-telling, ditching the comic whimsy of the Williams/Adams period.
Moffat himself has spoken of the need for such a long-running programme to constantly re-invent itself and has overseen not one but two significant changes of tone and style. Matt Smith’s debut in The Eleventh Hour heralded what some have described as a ‘fairy tale’ feel for the next few years, with the mysteries of the girl who waited and later the impossible girl (not to mention River Song) serving as enduring arcs which would span multiple seasons.
Just when he felt things were getting a little too cosy he went and shook things up again, delivering a new acerbic incarnation of the Doctor who would no more eat fish fingers and custard than he’d wear question marks on his jumper. This most recent change is still being played out, with hints in the build-up to Series 9 that the grumpiness will be toned down, allowing the Doctor to rediscover his sense of fun.
So what do you think? How would Doctor Who be different if it was your name on the credits? New writers? New monsters? Old monsters? More multi-episode stories? Series-spanning arcs? Bring back the Ergon? Give us your views below! Be as bold as you like – but remember, this is about you and the future, not any perceived mistakes of the past…