Doctor Who: Chris Chibnall on series 7 extra scene, P.S.

News Louisa Mellor 21 May 2013 - 08:34

We spoke to Doctor Who writer Chris Chibnall about the story behind P.S., the series 7 extra scene featuring Brian Williams...

Our heads may be full of series seven finale The Name of the Doctor, but think back to mid-series closer The Angels Take Manhattan, and the unassuming extra scene following up the story of Brian Williams that followed six weeks afterwards.

Written by former Torchwood showrunner Chris Chibnall, the additional four and a half minutes weren't filmed, but sparingly animated with a voiceover by Arthur Darvill, and arguably, are all the more poignant for it.

We asked Chibnall how the terrific P.S. (which you can see below) came about...

Is it right that that P.S., the wonderful Doctor Who extra scene that came after The Angels Take Manhattan, came about because it was lobbied for by fans?

No, no. When I was writing, oh let’s think – different show, different timeline – when I was writing The Power of Three, no it was before that, it was once we’d done Dinosaurs On A Spaceship. Steven [Moffat] knew how the Weeping Angels episode was going to end and we knew that Brian would come back in The Power of Three, and Steven was saying look, ‘I feel terrible, because I really want to finish off what happens to Brian but it just will not fit in Angels and it would feel really odd to put him in that’, and I just said, ‘Look, I’ll write a scene for the DVD’.

So I was writing that for the DVD box-set for that part of the season, and I probably wrote that at the same time as I was writing [series seven mini-prequel] Pond Life, so it was way, way, way before the season went out. Because we knew, when we saw the rushes of Mark Williams in Dinosaurs, what a beautiful performance he gives, and how he feels so connected to those characters, we knew how important he’d be in the cubes episode. Only we didn’t manage to shoot it because Mark Williams was off doing Blandings for BBC One, and that was the only reason it didn’t get shot.

So it wasn’t budget, just availability.

Yeah, it’s always the most bland thing that really knackers you in the end. It was just that Mark [Williams] was filming in Northern Ireland, and he’s wasn’t going to come back for a two-minute scene. Then, as this season was going out we said, ‘Ooh, I wonder if there’s anything to be done about that?’ and they put it into an animation at a later date, which was really lovely, but I’d written it six months before.

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Disqus - noscript

I'd genuinely prefer that it wasn't filmed, as it was. Not because I don't like the scene, not because I don't think that Mark Williams would have nailed it, but just because having it animated in that way makes it that much more heartbreaking. Like the Snowman.

That was very nice, it was like watching an old time cinema show with moving cards, which unfortunately I can't recall what it's called.

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