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Monday, 6 June 2011

Neil Gaiman Interview: Bringing the Old Girl to Life

Hello. In the most recent edition of Doctor Who Magazine, Neil Gaiman was interviewed about bringing the Doctor's closest friend, the TARDIS to life. At this point I would usually put a link to read the interview, however, Doctor Who Magazine does not have a website and so the only thing I can do is tell you to read DWM Issue Number 435 to read the interview and more. Let's start:

So, did you always intend to make the TARDIS flesh in your episode?
It was very upside down. That wasn't the first bit of the idea. I was thinking about The Most Dangerous Game - and it's still an idea I might go back to one day, with the Doctor. The idea of somebody hunting the Doctor, and the idea of going deeper and deeper into the TARDIS. But somebody said to me, "Oh, they're going to do a novel like that." But I still liked the idea of going deeper into the TARDIS, and making the TARDIS dangerous, you have to ask yourself questions. What's made the TARDIS dangerous? The TARDIS' soul is no longer the TARDIS' soul? Okay, so where is the TARDIS' soul? Well it's in somebody. And at that point, that was all I needed to start making a story...
How would you describe the relationship between the Doctor and the TARDIS? In this episode, it almost has touches of a love story...
I don't know that it's a love story. She's the constant. He's been calling her 'old girl' forever. We've known really since The Edge of Destruction - so William Hartnell's third story - that the TARDIS was intelligent. In drafts of the script where we needed Idris to say more, one of the lines she actually sais, she quoted William Hartnell: "The machine is not intelligent as we think it is intelligent..." That has been a constant forever.
Once you gave the TARDIS a voice, how did you approach the portrayal of their relationship?
What I tried to write was something that took us through every spectrum of couple, including, you know, the point where he's saying "You're not my mum," and she's saying, "You're not my child," - that's kind of what they are, there's a little bit of that. And she's also kind of his girlfriend, which Amy picks up on and reacts to. There is no woman in his life who can ever quite compete with the TARDIS. Even, you know that if the Doctor fell in love again, if you got another Madame de Pompadour turning up and she said, "Leave your TARDIS and come live in my little house..." He might do it, but he'd be incredible miserable. And one day he might just walk down to the blue box, open the door and press the button and he'd be off again. Because this is the love of his life, this is the thing he loves doing, and this is where he loves to be. And they are a couple. Not a romantic couple, but she is his best friend and his only constant.
And that's the point you make with the final scenes of the episode.
There are versions of that where it was a much, much longer speech from Amy - especially when it was Episode Eleven last year (The Doctor's Wife was originally scheduled for Matt Smith's first season), and we're heading into The Big Bang, and we think the TARDIS is going to be destroyed - at that point it was very much Amy getting to say,
"I'm one of hundreds of people who have travelled with you. And one day, I will be eaten by a monster or I will go away and get married, something will happen to me and I won't be with you anymore. But the two of you are going to go on till the end of time. It's always going to be a boy and his box." And when I took that line out, which was kind of sad in the first draft, and thought, "Well, hang on, we've moved it to the following season..."
And so I decided to make it more upbeat. And so I decided to make it a bit more upbeat. So, then I wrote the Doctor's response to that, where he says,
"You say that as if it's a bad thing, but it's the best thing there is." And it is, for him. You don't want to see it as a tragedy - this guy of in his box - for him, this is the best thing it could possible be.
To read the interview, read Doctor Who Magazine Issue 435. It is worth £4.50 and you can find the interview on page 32.

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