Neil Gaiman on ‘Doctor Who’

The acclaimed novelist spills some details on his upcoming episode of the long running sci-fi series.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Last weekend at WonderCon, Neil Gaiman was among the guests on hand to discuss the upcoming sixth season of "Doctor Who."

Gaiman is best known for his best selling fantasy novels and his seminal comic book series, "The Sandman." But the popular writer is also a self-confessed "Doctor Who" fan whose enthusiasm for the series is infectious.
While speaking with Canada's Space network after the "Doctor Who" panel, Gaiman gave a very interesting account of his upcoming episode and he shared his insight into both the episode and the franchise in general.
"I can tell you that [the episode is] called 'The Doctor's Wife," explained Gaiman. "Michael Sheen gets to be a glorious guest villain. I got the beautiful and wonderful Suranne Jones playing somebody who may turn out to be an old acquaintance of the Doctor's with a new face. And I got to play with 47 years of 'Doctor Who' mythology. There really is a weird level on which I can say to people "well, I got this from 'War Games' [and] this I actually took from an old William Hartnell episode that I loved and remembered."
Gaiman also spoke glowingly about Matt Smith's performance as the Doctor and the way that Smith demonstrated his range while filming his episode.
"In my episode I got to be really proud because I got to write scenes where Matt got to be vulnerable and I got to write scenes in which Matt got to be disturbed and upset and experience things that The Doctor doesn't normally get to experience and Matt breaks your heart," gushed Gaiman. "He's just wonderful."
Although Gaiman's episode was originally supposed to have been made for the fifth season, Gaiman indicated that the episode was better for it thanks to the inclusion of Arthur Darvill's Rory Williams.
"When I wrote it as episode 11 [of season 5], Rory didn't exist," related Gaiman. "At that point, it was just a Doctor and Amy two hander. And I love the fact that I've got Rory. And I got to write Rory. Honestly, some of the very, very best lines exist because Rory's in there. And because somebody says them to him or he gets to say them."
"My favorite one — and I will probably get in trouble for saying this — [is] where Amy says 'I told you to keep an eye on the Doctor,'" continued Gaiman. "[And Rory says] 'He'll be fine, he's a Time Lord.' And she looks at him and says "It's just what they're called. It doesn't mean they know what they're doing."

Crave Online's Fred Topel also briefly got to speak to Gaiman at WonderCon and managed to sneak in a few questions of his own.
Crave Online: Did 'Doctor Who' influence your own writing and artwork?
Neil Gaiman: Yeah, enormously. [Steven] Moffat said look at something like 'Neverwhere' or even you look at 'Sandman' and it’s very obviously [influenced].
Crave Online: What’s it like to be here for 'Doctor Who' instead of your comic book?
Neil Gaiman: Easy, actually. Easy and contained.

"Doctor Who" returns for its sixth season on Saturday, April 23 on BBC America.