Doctor Who season six starts this week, and there are so many reasons to be excited, including Mark Sheppard and more River Song. But there's also the fact that award-winning fantasy author Neil Gaiman has written one episode.
We were lucky enough to get a few minutes with Gaiman at Wondercon and here's what he told us about his philosophy of Doctor Who.
Steven Moffat has described his Doctor Who as being sort of dark fairy tales. Do you think your episode plays into that?
I don't know. Is it a fairy tale? Kind of? But I'd hate to point people in the wrong direction. I mean, I think the basis of Doctor Who is fairy tales. There is that magic of, "Here's the magic blue box, and it's going to show up, and there's a bloke in it." And I hope that my episode is a kind of a weird game-changer in a way. You always want to take what's been done before, and make it a little more magic when you give it back.
Your episode takes place in a spaceship graveyard. How do you feel like that's different from other graveyards that you might have written about in the past?
I think, for me... Doctor Who begins in a junkyard. The entire story. Forty seven years ago, the very first episode was set in a junkyard. And so, trying to decide where I want to set my episode, and write an episode that really was a love letter to Doctor Who, the idea of setting it in essentially the Totter's Lane at the end of the universe, seemed like a really good place to start.
You mentioned the episode is a game changer. Will this episode make us see the show, as a whole, in a whole new way?
I think any good Doctor Who episode is going to make you see the show in a whole new way. Because the glorious thing about Doctor Who is, everything that works adds a little bit to the mythos. And you know, some of the shows that have added the most to the mythos didn't actually change anything. They were things like "City of Death," where you just go, "No, this actually... Here is the platonic ideal." "Blink." "Girl in the Fireplace." It's a perfect Doctor Who episode. The fact that the Doctor falls in love isn't what makes it work.
And so for my episode, I hoped that what will work is kids watching it, hiding behind cushions and hiding behind the sofa. And I hope it'll be the equivalent of what my daughter did when she was watching one of the episodes where she wound up quietly, silently soaking my T-shirt with tears while she was watching. I would like it if, somewhere, maybe a kid will do that. That's, I think, the most important stuff that you do to the mythos, which is that you give somebody something glorious to remember and take with them.