10 Things We Learnt From The Doctor Who Panel @ MCM London Comic Con


This was not just any old panel. This was a Doctor Who writers’ panel. With a director too for good measure. MCM London Comic Con was proud to bring on stage Rachel Talalay (director of both last season and this season’s two final episodes),  Sarah Dollard (Writer of season nine’s upcoming “Face The Raven”), Mark Gatiss (writer for new Doctor Who nearly every season since it came back) and Stephen Moffat (current head writer, which translates into American as showrunner).

Here’s a few things we learnt:

1 When asked about this seasons use of two-parters, Steven Moffat said that he wants to do things differently, although not all the time. After 10 years of a series it’s important to mix it up and not always have things resolved at the end of an episode. Individual (stand alone) episodes are fine, but it’s good to mix things up.

2 Mark Gatiss was tight-lipped about his ninth season episode “Sleep No More” but went on to say it’s the first one of his that’s set in space, and it’s in the 38th Century. It’s a found footage episode and Reece Shearsmith will be appearing, as will “space spectacles”.

3 Moffat was very appreciative of the passion of fans for the sonic screwdriver and he mentioned an online petition calling for its reinstatement and (tongue-in-cheek) said it was very successful because the sonic screwdriver will be back but currently, every kid with glasses is Doctor Who and, “every pin-brained celeb walking into a party with shades is cosplaying Doctor Who”.

4 Sarah Dollard’s episode is “Face The Raven”. Rigsy, from the episode “Flatline” will be returning and it’s based on a “Real world strange thing” that struck a chord with her as something the Doctor would be involved in.

5 Talalay will be directing final two episodes. The penultimate one mainly focuses on the Doctor and is a stand-alone, “45 minutes of the Doctor talking”. She said it’s an unusual episode, incredibly complex in ways that can’t be explained and might not be obvious on watching.

6 Maisie Williams “might be back in episode 10” teased Moffat but categorically stated later that she is not the new companion.

7 With regards to Clara’s exit, Jenna asked for there not to be a crossover between companions (although Moffat prefers the term “co-stars” or “co-lead” to companions and reiterates this at various points) as it’s too sad for the old “co-lead” to be working alongside their replacement.

8 The two-parter starting next week will be seen through the eyes of Osgood (Ingrid Oliver).

9 There was some general discussion on the difficulties of writing for Doctor Who – it’s flexibility can make it hard to write, said Moffat, and it’s easy for writers to become “Who’d out” says Gatiss. Gatiss also reveals that he has a notebook of ideas which Moffat said is “full of the most terrible things”.

10 Moffat spoke of the difficulty of the first series for each new Doctor, not knowing if they will be liked; that they’re freer to be themselves by the second. Peter Capaldi didn’t want to play the“ twelfth” Doctor, he wants to be “The Doctor”. He isn’t that keen on a having a “costume”, and wants to wear whatever the Doctor happens to throw on that day.

Doctor Who Panel 2

Pick of Fan Questions

Any chance of Capt. Jack returning?

Moffat said they will only bring back characters if there is a story. He loves Captain Jack but decisions like that are always story driven first (the return of River Song in the Christmas special this year being an example).

How long will Doctor Who continue?

“Forever,” said Moffat. Doctor Who is “part of British culture like Robin Hood and Sherlock.” On a more serious note he inferred that the show’s immediate future at the BBC is secure for a rosy future.

Possibility of female Doctor?

Moffat says he answered this at San Diego CC, but his attempts at wit were misreported (he had pointed to Michelle Gomez and said something like, “There’s your answer,” by which he meant, “Yes there could be be a female Doctor, but some people interpreted as, “That’s all you’re getting.”)  So he was very adamant at MCM that he was very clear with this answer: “Yes.” But he added there’s no vacancy at the moment and it may never happen but it there’s no reason why it shouldn’t artistically or commercially – he believes an audience would happily accept it: Missy proved that.

By Sam Constantas



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