Doctor Who

Doctor Who Magazine issue 551

In the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine former showrunners, Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat, interview each other, discussing their best scripts, leaving the show, and much more!

We have an exclusive extract below, where you can read some of Russell and Steven’s conversation…

Doctor Who Magazine Issue #551 is on sale from Thursday 30 April 2020. It is available to order as a subscription, either physical or digital, here.

Doctor Who Magazine issue 551



STEVEN: What do you think is your single best script for the show? If it’s one that people don’t talk about much, great!

RUSSELL: Hmmm. Gridlock. But maybe today it’s Tooth and Claw. That script works so hard. It’s got my favourite line, where Queen Victoria tells the legend of the Koh-i-Noor, that anyone who owns it will surely die. And the Doctor says, “Well, that’s true of anything, if you wait long enough.” He just demolishes the whole of superstition in one line, pow! So what’s your best script?

STEVEN: Oh, I suppose it has to be Blink, doesn’t it? The script that rewrote my future. Got me offered the Who job, I would think.

RUSSELL: No, I think it was yours from the moment Draft 1 of The Empty Child slammed on the desk. Actually, it was yours before that. You’re Steven Moffat, for God’s sake. I just nipped in like a thief.

STEVEN: My oddball choice would be Listen. It came and went, and I don’t suppose it’s winning any polls – but I thought it had its moments, in its melancholy way.

Your choices: I absolutely love Tooth and Claw. I watched it quite recently – it’s a non-stop barnstormer. But I think Gridlock is a great choice for your best Who script. Love, love that one. My wife was moved to tears by it. This means we both peaked in Series 3 though. In 2007. Thirteen years ago.

RUSSELL: It’s always tempting to ask, what would you change? What monster would you change, what costume, what cast member, what set? But that doesn’t come out well in print, because it always looks like you’re criticising a department. So, OK, pinning it down to you and you alone… what one line of dialogue would you change? Not mine, yours – hands off.

STEVEN: Hmmm. A single line? Not sure. I think I was usually pretty good at papering over bad moments with good lines. I don’t think, in either of our cases, the dialogue was ever a problem. But how about a whole scene? I don’t like Amy coming on to the Doctor at the end of Flesh and Stone. I mean the idea is good and sound – young girl reaches out after hours of deranging terror. But I played it for Coupling-style sitcom laughs. And it doesn’t work. Brilliant episode up till that point. Love the Doctor’s coup de grâce, the scene on the beach with River – even the moment when we cut to Amy’s house feels grand and epic. And then I screw it up with sniggering sex comedy. Bah! Lindsey Alford (as she was then) called me out on it, and I disagreed and stuck to my guns. And I was wrong, damn it. When Brian came on as my co-exec I got him to bring Lindsey with him as script exec, to keep me right. He married well, that boy.

RUSSELL: Why didn’t I call Planet of the Dead, The Sands of Death? We went all the way to an actual desert. Why didn’t I have sands in the title? Sands at Easter, water in November. That genuinely mystifies me!


You can read the full story in the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine (#551).

Doctor Who Magazine issue 551

Issue 551 also includes:

  • Extended Production Notes from current showrunner Chris Chibnall.
  • Composer Segun Akinola reveals his inspirations for the Series 12 soundtrack.
  • In the first virtual Out of the TARDIS, Neil Gaiman answers questions from the TARDIS tin.
  • The Fact of Fiction explores the 1984 classic The Caves of Androzani.
  • A tribute to the late David Collings (Revenge of the Cybermen, The Robots of Death, Mawdryn Undead), including extracts from a previously unpublished interview.
  • How Doctor Who fans around the world are staying connected during the lockdown.
  • A lockdown viewing guide to Doctor Who stories that are available on DVD and streaming services.
  • A look at Birth of a Renegade, a short Doctor Who story from the Radio Times 20th Anniversary Special.
  • A review of the Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 14 Blu-ray box set.
  • Time and Space Visualiser presents a lockdown special, with contributions from former Doctors and companions.
  • Public Image presents a full round-up of how Series 12 performed in the ratings.
  • Part Three of The Piggybackers, a new comic-strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends.
  • Big Finish previews and reviews, news, prize-winning competitions, The Blogs of Doom and much more!

Doctor Who Magazine Issue #551 is on sale from Thursday 30 April 2020. It is available to order as a subscription, either physical or digital, here.