|“Doctor Who” writer, Steven Moffat, entertains the audience.|
The Doctor Who panel got off to a fast start – as in fast audio during the promo video of “Doctor Who.” It wasn’t quite Mickey Mouse voices, but it wasn’t Doctor Who voices, either.
“We’re taking the show in a new direction,” Julie Gardner, executive producer of “Doctor Who,” joked.
Russell T. Davies was rumored to attend the panel, but he was unable to attend, Gardner told the crowd. “It’s for a good cause – he’s writing “Torchwood.””
Steven Moffat, “Doctor Who” writer, was then brought on stage. On his flight over he was working on episode one of series five. Gardner told the crowd that it was a private joy of hers to have her email ‘ding’ and see an email from Moffat awaiting her.
A fan asked Moffat how he became an expert on “Doctor Who.”
“I watched ‘Doctor Who’ devotedly – I decided against relationships with friends,” he laughed. It was the first of many jokes from Moffat, who seemingly had a one-liner answer for every question before actually answering the question.
“It’s hard to take yourself seriously. It was terrifying, you have to treat it like a job…” Moffat said of getting the job of writing the Doctor, and then quickly changed tones. “No you don’t, that’s rubbish! You treat it like a fanboy and a toy you’ve got to play with!”
Moffat then told a story about how in England, you hear a lot of parents using “Doctor Who” as a way to discipline their children. This has given the show an unusual psychological edge.
“You hear a lot of, ‘If you’re not good, you’re not going to see ‘Doctor Who,”” Moffat said. “And then you get to watch it, and it makes you think, ‘I was good!'”
Gardner was asked how they like shooting the show in Cardiff.
“We’re like ninjas, they barely know we’re there,” Gardner joked. “(The people of Cardiff) have been amazing. The locations are great, there’s so much variety. They let us drive tanks, they let us blow things up… and they respond with a smile.”
Gardner talked about the difficulty of changing the many sets that Moffat writes.
“We spend all this time cutting between 18th century Versailles – not easy in Cardiff, by the way – then we cut to a spaceship, then we cut to a horse jumping through a mirror,” she said. “My revenge? I tried to cut the horse. But it kept coming back!”
Moffat was asked if he ever writes with the actors in mind.
“That would be an insult to the actors,” he said. “They influence the characters in subtle ways. But the Doctor is the Doctor.”
A fan wanted to know how it felt to be handed the torch as the lead writer on “Doctor Who.”
“I want you to know, there’s not an actual torch,” he joked. “It should be daunting, but it’s just fun. It’s not a real job. It’s not working in a hospital. It is work, but anything fun takes work. Women, for instance.”
Moffat was put on the spot and asked what his favorite time in Doctor Who history was.
“The fifth season is looking pretty good,” he deadpanned.
Moffat was asked what he uses for his inspiration. Specifically, did he have a creepy childhood?
“I know I had an uneventful childhood,” Moffat said. “The inspiration is watching ‘Doctor Who.'”
Gardner asked Moffat if he had trouble getting into the country.
“I don’t know if you know this about America, but you hate us! There’s all these people working at the airport, and their job is to send us back!” Moffat laughed. “They took me to a room of 20 people who were definitely guilty. They asked me, ‘Where did you go to university?’ I said, ‘It was an al Queda training cell!’ Then they asked me if I had ever been in the military. ‘Why are you here?’ That’s like asking someone, ‘Why are you in my house?’ I said, ‘Comic convention.’ They said, ‘Is that what you are?’ I said, ‘What does that even mean?'”
Moffat was asked who his least favorite Doctor Who was.
“I don’t understand your question. There’s only one Doctor Who, they’re all brilliant!”
A fan asked what Moffat and Gadner’s favorite episodes of “Doctor Who” were. Neither panelist would comment on their favorite, but they both talked about episodes they found special. For Moffat, that episode was “Christmas Invasion.” For Gardner, that episode was “Utopia.” Gardner said that episode surprised her the most, and she likes it because so much momentum was built for the end of the season.
It was asked of Moffat if he would ever put an old Doctor Who in the current series to be in an episode across from the current Doctor Who.
“There’s no rule against it… You just have to be sure there’s a reason to tell that story,” Moffat said. “I’m not for or against, it’s just ‘is there a story to tell?'”
Moffat was asked if there was a vision in his head when he creates alien worlds.
“You do have a vision in your head – what the art department comes up with is a lot better,” Moffat said. “I hate it when people say, ‘They got exactly what I visualized!’ No it isn’t. You wrote, ‘Show monster with a big fang,’ and they nailed it.”
One fan wondered if there was ever a joke that was deemed too British for the show.
“Yeah, and you know what we do? We put it in anyway! And then we get stopped by immigration,” Moffat laughed.
Was it possible for Moffat to write something that frightened even himself?
“I get scared of not finishing a script,” Moffat laughed. “No, I know the script too well. I don’t scare myself, no.
“‘What are you so scared of?'” Moffat asked out loud to himself. ‘…I thought of something.'”
The panel then ended with a longer sneak preview clip of the Christmas 2008 show. The short clipped showed Doctor Who on Christmas Eve 1851, with cyber-men marching through a cemetery.
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