It seems impossible to believe but it has been a decade since Doctor Who returned to TV screens back in 2005. The series remains a high-point of Nu-Who thanks to the outstanding performance of Christopher Eccleston as the Time War-weary Doc who finds unexpected salvation through his friendship with English shop girl Rose Tyler. As great as Eccleston’s Doctor was, viewers felt cheated because the character regenerated at the end of the season.
In a way though, Nine’s adventures are continuing.
Just released from Titan Comics, Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor – Weapons of Past Destruction is a five-part mini-series set between the episodes “The Doctor Dances” and “Boom Town.” In the adventure, the Doctor, Rose, and Captain Jack Harkness stumble upon an adventure in which, obviously, the fate of the entire universe hangs in the balance. What is so gripping about the debut issue is how much it feels like a lost Eccleston episode (albeit one with a budget massive enough to allow for giant robots and space vehicles).
The reason this comic succeeds so perfectly is the writing of Cavan Scott and the art of Blair Shedd. Along with co-writing the reference book Doctor Who: Who-logy, Scott worked on a variety of Doctor Who audio adventures (including co-producing several featuring the wonderful Iris Wildthyme expanded universe character). We recently had a chance to interview him about bringing the Ninth Doctor back to life. Here’s what he had to say:
Can you give readers a hint as to what they can expect in your run?
Running. Alien battles. Explosions. Hovering octopi. Separations. Surprising reunions. Dinosaurs. Weapons from the Time War. Secrets. Lies.
How did you get involved in this project?
I was working on Titan’s Adventure Time title and made inquiries when they won the Doctor Who license. I met up with Doctor Who editor Andrew James and he asked me which Doctor I would like to write for. I immediately jumped in with the Ninth and it went from there.
How daunting of a task writing for the Ninth Doctor, as he is the contemporary Doc that viewers know the least about?
It wasn’t that daunting as I’ve written for this TARDIS team before, in the 50th Anniversary audio Night of the Whisper, which I wrote with Mark Wright. I’d enjoyed writing for the Ninth so much then, that I couldn’t wait to get back to him.
Will the Ninth Doc crossover with any other Doctors?
Not in this series, but you never know who might pop up if you keep your eyes open.
How different is your approach for writing for Doctor Who comics as opposed to scripting the Big Finish audio plays?
Pictures! Oh, you don’t know how wonderful it is to be able to actually show things. That sounds so obvious, but in audio you have to go out of your way to describe what’s happening without having the characters give a running commentary. Actually, writing Judge Dredd on audio was brilliant as he announces everything he does.
Might Iris Wyldthyme appear in these comics?
I’m afraid not. But I’d love to read an Iris comic by her creator, Paul Magrs!
Since comics don’t have to worry about budgetary issues like the Who TV show does, do you find the ability to literally do anything with these characters makes writing for them easier or harder?
It’s all very easy to go mad – and poor old Blair Shedd the artist has to draw it all! But we’ve enjoyed pushing things further than the TV budget would allow, such as the Unon, our space centaurs. They just wouldn’t have been possible on the TV so it’s fun seeing what we can do with them.
What has been the toughest challenge in creating the series so far?
Not so much tough, but I’ve tried really hard to make the 9th Doctor sound like the character Christopher Eccleston played. He has such a distinct way of talking, so unique. I hope it comes across on the page.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the Ninth Doctor’s upcoming adventures?
Only that it’s been fantastic working with Blair. He knows just the right question to ask at the right time to bring the best of the scripts and move the story along. And I love how much detail he puts into each panel.
The first issue of Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor: Weapons Of Past Destruction is available now.