Saturday, 24 May 2008

For One Week Only

Where the testes meet the guillotine.

I wrote that article three days ago, but since then, the game has changed somewhat. On the day of Steven Moffat's ascension to godhood, my pretend-agent sent me the news in an e-mail headed "Bet You Wish You Hadn't Made That Comment About Blink Now", to which my response was: 'What comment about "Blink"?' Remember, I never go anywhere near the newsgroups, not even in a "lurking" capacity. So when it turns out that an off-the-cuff comment I made three months ago has not only become notorious, but has actually provoked a response from the New God-King himself, I have to feel a certain level of… actually, I'm not sure what. Puzzlement, mainly. What, you've never heard of exaggerating for comic effect…? More importantly, though, it puts this week's Secret Plan in a rather different light.

Now, at the end of last year, I wrote a full-length Doctor Who script. I did this purely to see whether I could write a workable TV story under laboratory conditions, and I never even bothered showing it to anyone: my logic was that if ever I needed Doctor Who material for any reason (say, if BBC Books ever deigned to employ me again, or if Big Finish ever wanted something that didn't involve Silurians at the Earth's core), then I could easily cannibalise it. But this plan has now been completely scotched, since the script in question was - is - set in a great big cosmic library. Which means that it's going to be wholly redundant in seven days' time. So, given that there isn't a proper Doctor Who on telly this week, I decided to post it on-line as a sort of replacement bus service… or at least, a highly elaborate piece of fan-fic.

However, I now know that people remember me saying something along the lines of 'I could piss a better script than "Blink" in my sleep'. This changes the tone of the whole affair: it's not so much a question of putting my money where my mouth is as putting my generative organs on the chopping-block. Everything I've ever said is going to stand or fall on this, isn't it…? The fact that Moffat (of all people) was the one who forced the crisis, by writing a real TV story about a great big cosmic library, is an added irony. If "irony" is really the term I'm looking for, rather than "cruel yet inevitable twist of fate".

So, if you want to read the script, then it's at the following address. For one week only. (And thanks to Dave Howe for the web-space.)

Bear in mind that I wrote this as a personal challenge, which means that I made various rules for myself before I started. Specifically:

- It had to re-boot Doctor Who from scratch, sending the programme in a direction that was as far-removed from the Russell T. Davies version as possible, but that was still palpably the same series. It's basically the first episode of a wholly theoretical season, which introduces a new line-up of regulars, and which may or may not feature David Tennant as the Doctor.

- It had to do everything I keep going on about in my "Doctor Who Should Do This" blogs, while avoiding everything I keep going on about in my "Doctor Who Shouldn't Do That" blogs. But just as importantly, it had to be exactly the kind of thing you'd expect me to write, without actually re-using any of my back-catalogue.

- I had to write it in three days. This was partly because I didn't think I could justify spending more than three days on something that was (supposedly) never going to see the light of day, but mostly because it was Christmas week, and I wanted to finish it before "Voyage of the Damned". (In the end, it took four days. Like "Voyage of the Damned", it also features a precarious-catwalk-over-an-abyss sequence, but there the resemblance ends.)

- I had to do it properly.

Enjoy the castration.