Last night, here in Melbourne, Australia, the ABC treated us to one of the most awesome Doctor Who episodes ever — “The Doctor’s Wife”. What made it so awesome? Well…
Excellent characterisation. Subtlety. Witty dialogue. Great acting and excellent direction.
And most importantly — A BRILLIANT SCRIPT
In a nutshell, it is the story of the TARDIS personified as a woman. How’s that for an amazing premise on which to base an episode? Who could possibly come up with a concept so stunningly simple and complex at the same time?
The answer: Neil Gaiman!
Yes, that’s right, THE Neil Gaiman — the writer who gave us the Sandman comics as well as bestselling novels such as American Gods and The Graveyard Book. Although he has dabbled in script writing before, it’s not something that he’s particularly known for. Pity. Because he is rather good at it. Anyway, since Gaiman is mostly known as a novelist, I thought it was a pretty good excuse for me to pen a Doctor Who post for this bookish blog.
Okay… so you may have guessed by now that I am a fan of Gaiman’s writing. And if you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you must know that I am an enormous fan of Doctor Who. So the two of them combining was a big thrill for me. The episode is sitting on my TiVo waiting for a second viewing. And, of course, I’ll get the DVD when it’s released. And if Gaiman happened to write a book about it… I’d buy that too. 🙂 Yes, I’m a sad fanboy.
Television writing often seems to suffer from a lack of attention to detail and plot points being resolved either too neatly or without due logic. The previous week’s episode of Doctor Who, “The Curse of the Black Spot”, is a good case in point. Gaiman’s episode, however, has none of these flaws and is, in many ways, a perfect Doctor Who episode. It is a self-contained episode and yet it adds significantly to the series mythology. It is, at heart, a simple concept, but it is handled with wit, subtlety and a degree of complexity. It is fun, exciting and emotional. Everything you could possibly want.
I think that what this episodes shows, is that a good writer is a good writer no matter the medium he is writing in. Gaiman has proved, over and over again, that he is equally adept at handling comics, short stories, novels and scripts. Long may he write!
I also get the impression that Gaiman must be a fan of the show, as his episode was sprinkled with references to the show’s past — from the sounding of the cloister bell to the junkyard setting which harkens back to the very first episode of the series.
With “The Doctor’s Wife” now over, I am hoping desperately that this will not be Gaiman’s only encounter with the Doctor. I would dearly love to see him write more episodes. I would also very much love to see him take on a Doctor Who novel. Time will tell! And I shall hope.
Catch ya later, George
PS. Follow me on Twitter… or I’ll write another Doctor Who post.