Saturday, April 10, 2010
As for the book itself---The Final Chapter paperback version-- it’s long and addictive. It’s in the form of an email correspondence with Benjamin Cook, a journalist associated with Doctor Who in a number of ways. They claim the emails weren’t rewritten, which means Davies is at times unusually eloquent on how he approaches writing for TV. But the momentum is in the present tenseness of the emails, and Davies is unrelenting on how difficult the writing process was, as well as the hellish schedule involving his other Who responsibilities. He’s funny about it, too, but in the end you wind up being glad that he did leave the series, before he killed himself with overwork.
You wind up with a sense of Davies as a person, including as a gay man. Along the way there are wonderful moments of insight into the scripts we now know in finished form, including a great moment in which Davies solves a plot problem in the finale-- while writing the email. There’s a lot of the nitty-gritty, like trying to make these ambitious specials just as the Great Recession hit, and money got tight. (Apparently it’s still pretty tight, as budgets for the current season have been cut.)
And there are nice little tidbits, like mentioning that Tennant had dinner with Matt Smith and Peter Davison (the fifth Doctor, and dad to Georgia Moffett, who played Tennant’s daughter, but was actually his squeeze. The UK is such an interestingly small place.)
There was a moment in the book when Davies muses on a Doctor Who movie, sort of offhandedly confirming the rumor that one was being discussed. There was the story, or rumor, that Tennant left partly because it didn’t look like a feature film would happen. (In any case, Davies used his feature idea in the finale.)