"Together at last!" Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat aren't exactly breaking the laws of time, but they are bending them a little. The two former Doctor Who showrunners have given their first-ever joint interview: an exclusive Q&A for DoctorWhoTV…
To celebrate last month's publication of four new novelisations of Doctor Who television episodes in the style of the classic 'Target' books, Russell (who's novelised his 2005 TV episode Rose) and Steven (who's adapted his 2013 episode The Day of the Doctor) sat down with journalist Tom Spilsbury to discuss million-pound bestsellers, Lego massacres, resurrecting Doctor Who at the wrong moment, and a "ridiculous romance with Elizabeth I" – and the interview (video below) is everything we could have hoped for, complete with some good-natured teasing.
Explaining how he delivered his novel on time, Russell tells Steven:
"For once, I started months before it was due, which is very rare. Do you know that can happen? Have you ever, ever done that in your life?!"
But the two showrunners have a lot of love for each another too. Of Steven's The Day of the Doctor novel, Russell says:
"There's so much that's new in yours. It's brilliant. It's like three novels in one! I love it… It's a movie-sized idea… It's very, very clever… It's like Tristram Shandy… Part of the reason I envied Steven's book so much is that you can get into the Doctor's head."
Russell has penned a Doctor Who novel once before (1996's Damaged Goods). However, The Day of the Doctor is Steven's first. He says:
"I had a whale of a time. I quite like the fact that loads of the heavy-lifting is done… It was my very, very first go, and I was incredibly happy with it – up until the exact moment I read Russell's! When I read it, I thought, 'Oh, that's how you do it. Oh, look, it's got your funny backstories, character, [and] not 17 twists a page!'"
And Russell reveals that JK Rowling's Harry Potter novels reminded him to flesh out his characters' backstories:
“I think Harry Potter was a great lesson in this: that people love backstory. You're kind of brought up to think, 'Oh, don't have backstory. It's very off-putting. Science fiction's very dense. People don't like a lot of that.' Rubbish! We now live in a world where the richer the text – the denser the text – the more there is to grab hold of in it."
The full interview with Russell and Steven is 16 minutes long. Tom Spilsbury tells us:
"What a lovely day it was, interviewing two of my very favourite people… well, I say interviewing, I didn't need to do very much. Russell and Steven were so relaxed and on such good form, I couldn't go far wrong!"