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  • Archive for November, 2009

    A shaky start to November

    2009 - 11.09

    So far, on average, November and I do not get along.

    Tomorrow we are third of the way through, which means Christmas is close enough to be both terrifying and exciting at the same time.  You know how it is – December is Game Over, the End of Days for 2009, but there are enough exciting seasonal attractions to almost forgive the years’ imminent demise. November is when denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance jump you in quick succession. In case you’re living somewhere where the weather is balmy 30-something degrees, allow me to remind you that in the winter isles, it is now dark at 4:30pm and grey as my ‘white’ socks after years of colour washes.

    I keep a writing diary, which – on the rare occasions when not much writing happens – becomes a ‘why I’m not writing’ list of thinly veiled reasons and lame excuses.  Welcome to November. It started out something like this:

    Sun 1st November
    I slept. And sulked. And watched Sarah Jane Adventures. And did Sky work. And blogged about SWF. And tried not to think about S&R. Oh, the foulness of the mood, you’ve not seen anything like it.

    Mon 2nd November
    Changed the name of S&R to ‘Life with Me’ – let’s see how long that lasts. I started to explore what has to happen next, had a small nervous breakdown and went off to teach Balance instead and then wandered around the History office like a lost soul, desperate to apply myself to anything but the task at hand. Success!

    Tues 3rd November
    I slept, and taught, and helped Sue out in the VL office (read: sorted out my taxes, NI contributions, Fit Pro QWs etc), went back to bed, sulked, watched more Sarah Jane Adventures, had a chat with Bram and Meg, missed Trudi like hell and then read the rest of Unseen Academicals. Tomorrow is, after all, a new day.

    …and went on in a similar vein until Friday. Oh wait, on Wednesday I started ‘The Problem List’ (acceptance began to infiltrate the gloom). It’s two pages long, and expanding.

    But actually, a corner has been turned. Friday was beginning. The last two days I’ve gleefully knackered my morning pump classes. Today I collided with a car, but what are a few bruises? I am indestructible once more. November will be conquered, December embraced, and I’ll be jockeying 2010 in a fast jump from the cooling ashes of 2009.

    Weeeeeell, in theory. Although first there are two pages of The Problem List to be ignored/lost/’accidentally’ over written/forgotten…cripes…

    SWF: The Moff on the New Who

    2009 - 11.07

    International Screenwriters Festival: 29th October 2009

    There’s a very different relationship between new Doctor Who show runner (although is he really? Kate Harwood absolutely insisted that the BBC has no show runners, only ‘lead writers’, as they can’t afford to pay them enough to justify the title) Steven Moffat and the UK’s best-known DW journo, Ben Cook. Ben’s close friendship with Russell T Davies turned out a terrific book The Writer’s Tale (a must-read tome for those interested in the realities of the commercial scriptwriting process), which will soon spawn a sequel, covering the writing and broadcast of Series 4. They banter. They laugh. A lot.

    Steven, however, came across as almost a little spiky to start with, testing Ben’s journalistic skills with a fair dollop of opening sarcasm. But then again, Ben opened with the most hotly contested – and apparently misplaced – Doctor Who rumour on the net: will Steven’s Who be darker than Russell’s?

    “Why? Because Coupling was so dark. So was Press Gang,” was the sarcastic reply – and that just about says it all, really. What Steven Moffat actually does best is funny – but isn’t it funny how easily that can be forgotten? “I’d argue that Russell is the one who does dark. Look at Midnight. I never wrote anything that dark,” Steven continued – and thereafter began to relax into an extremely entertaining interview.


    SWF: Doctor Who Day (hurrah!)

    2009 - 11.07

    International Screenwriters Festival: 29th October 2009

    On Day 4 of the Screenwriters Festival, you could have attended sessions on taste and offensiveness in humour, films with a social conscience, porn, getting sued (these three sessions not being linked in any way, shape or form), marketing yourself through social media… or Doctor Who, Doctor Who, and more Doctor Who.  For the last day was weighted rather heavily towards the Once Upon A Time Lord thread, and was a little thin on the ground for anyone not up for adventures through time and space.

    Fortunately I am an ardent fan of all things Who, so after three days of quite serious talks and sessions, I was quite content to tag around after the assorted Who crew.

    Classic Who Panel

    Under the watchful eye-plunger of a classic Dalek, lurking at the back of the stage, self-professed Who fan Jason Arnopp hosted a panel of writers Terrance Dicks and Bob Baker, producer Philip Hinchcliffe and script editor Andrew Cartmel.  More entertaining than educational, the session threw the earlier workings of the BBC drama departments into grave disrepute, all activities apparently centering around the free BBC bar until work absolutely had to be done. From the many tales of Dicks and Baker, it seems Doctor Who could only ever have been made by accident rather than plan, and indeed Dicks denounced the whole script department as an utter ‘shambles’.