H O P E A N D G L O R Y
“The opening twoparter is a good one for not letting you know where the story’s going to jump. In effect it starts with the Doctor going missing – it’s a search for the Doctor, and it gets quite Star Wars- y during that. Then there’s a brilliant underwater base in the next story – it’s about time we had an underwater base! – plagued by ghosts. I’ve always wanted to do ghosts in Doctor Who. Ghosts plus time travel always strikes me as a very strange idea. You could meet your own ghost… The opening episodes, the first four, are quite a tumult of events – you don’t settle for a moment.
“After that you’ve got one by me and Jamie Mathieson, which is about Vikings, where you meet the Maisie Williams character. It’s a really good Doctor- Clara one, that one. It’s quite emotional.
“Then Cath Tregenna comes in and gives us a brilliant story with Rufus Hound as a highwayman – and a very different take on Doctor Who. She’s written such an eloquent and heartfelt and very character- driven episode. An unusual episode for us. Then there’s a two- part Zygon story, which feels like we did a finale in the middle of the show. It’s got that kind of scale and gravitas and fun. And real drama. Sometimes you can do things in the middle of a show, or at the end of a show, that you can’t do in the first few episodes, which have to be quite inviting. This one is maybe a bit more challenging. It’s written by Peter Harness – and me, a bit. It’s a sort of global urban thriller, quite different in tone from anything we’ve done before. It’s an idea I had ages ago. I constructed, in part, the 50th anniversary story as a prequel for it, as a prologue [ laughs]! You’ll see the set- up. This is not a short- term plan. This plan’s been around forever.
“Episode nine is a very unusual idea from Mark Gatiss. It’s a very unique idea for Doctor Who. I think it’s terrific. Episode ten is by Sarah Dollard, who’s a terrific new writer – she worked with Toby Whithouse on The Game – and she’s given us a terrific idea. This one leapt out at me as ‘ Why haven’t we done this already? This is so Doctor Who we s hould be d oing this immediately!’ She’s a great new Doctor Who writer, which is very exciting. And then we’re into the finale, episodes 11 and 12… That was a challenge [ laughs]! I’m not saying very much about them, but there’s plenty to say, god knows!”