Friday, August 22, 2014

Moffat Column for DWM #477

JIM TAYLOR asks: I was just wondering what is the question you thought we should all be asking about Sylvester McCoy in DWM 475? Meanwhile, LEE ZACHARIAH thinks he knows what the question is, and asks: Why is Sylvester McCoy so damn great?

Jim, Lee's question may not be entirely the one I was looking for, but I like it so much, I'm going to answer it anyway. The night of the 50th - of which I've written much angst elsewhere - my handsome clever son, Louis, was sitting next to me in the audience. We were surrounded, as you might imagine, by the great and the good, and he was as cool as ever about that. But then I realised that even he had his limits, because he grabbed my arm and said in awe-struck tones: "Is that Sylvester McCoy???" He spent the rest of the evening demanding a meeting with his favourite Doctor, and eventually I fought free of the press, and got a message to the man himself. I took Louis upstairs, and when Sylvester saw us approaching (and this is why he's great), he leapt up on the sofa, spun his walking stick like a question-marl umbrella, and windmilled his arms as if he was about to fall over. The Seventh Doctor reborn in an instant, and about to fall off a sofa, as my son raced to his rescue.
Sylvester was a truly great Doctor. If you belong to the dwindling number who think anything different, go and watch Remembrance of the Dales, or Survival, or Ghost Light, and pop back here when you've got time to make your apologies. Actually, go and watch Battlefield. Ignore Angry Andrew and Boring Ben last month - what do they know, just because they made it? It's got a cool monster, great gags, and the best-written Brigadier ever. And Knights from another dimension, which is all I need for a decent evening. I think, when I was young and pompous, I didn't quite get how good this era was but I'm glad I do now. And I'm even gladder that Sylvester McCoy didn't stop being the Doctor, just because he left the show.

Many viewer wrote and asked: In The Day of the Doctor, when all the Doctors save Gallifrey, how come the Seventh Doctor appeared both in his question-mark jumper and - looking a little bit older - in his brown jacket and waistcoat? Did he turn up twice?

Oh, it's a Sylvester fest today, isn't it? A Sylv Fest! There you go, a convention title - have it for free, but make sure you invite me. Okay, I've been prepping this one since I noticed the mistake just that bit too late to fix it. But what am I saying?? Mistake?! As if! No, no, it was the time differential shorting out, just like in Time Crash. He was being shunted through his life span by the presence of all the other Doctors. What, he changed his clothes you say? But that's happened before - it's part of the TARDIS, part of him. Haven't you seen the first regeneration? Or Tom Baker's boots turn into Peter Davison's shoes? Ha, I'm on fire today, no question can fox me!

DAN asks: In The Day of the Doctor, the Doctor says he has been preparing for this "all his lives" before his other incarnations arrive to help him save Gallifrey. How did the previous Doctors know what was going to happen, and how were they told? Surely the only one who could have known was the Twelfth?

The Doctors sent a special message back along their time spans, to summon their other selves. I'm quite surprised you haven't noticed that happening throughout the older episodes. See if you can spot all those moments. Write in!

FINLAY WORRALLO asks: Obviously you haven't cast the actors who will play Doctors Thirteen to Twenty-Four yet. But do you have an in-universe reason why they didn't turn up to help the others save Gallifrey?

It was about how long they needed to keep the calculation going. They only needed 13 life-spans, so only the first, erm, 12, erm, 13, erm, whatever-it-is-now-sorry, showed up.

ADAM ORFORD asks: The Twelfth Doctor doesn't like the colour of his kidneys. So what colour are they, for him not to like the,?

They are froon. This is an entirely new colour, which only the Doctor can see.

MARIA SCHMIDT asks: Could you please share with us some more details of the minor characters' backstory? I mean characters like Jenny (how did the Doctor save her when they first met?), Strax (what exactly was he punished for, how exactly did he meet the Doctor?) and Tasha Lem (how, when and where did she meet the Doctor?).

I quite like there being things we don't know - but some of those, if they make good stories, might come up later...

LOUISE POND asks: Does the Doctor use a toilet, and if so is there one in the TARDIS?

We don't want to think about that, do we? Shame on you! But I like your name, so you can stay. Get your mind out of the toilet, though.

PAUL JOHNSON asks: Does the Doctor have a setting on his sonic screwdriver which he uses to make the clothes he and his companions wear, remain clean and undamaged? That could explain why Rose, Amy and Clara never get ladders in their tights.

You've been spending a lot of time looking at legs, haven't you? Behave!!

SIERRA SEIDLER asks: In The Angels Take Manhattan, when the Doctor, Amy and River go into the hotel, why didn't they smash the angels? Can the Angels reconstruct themselves?

Yes, they can. Oh, they can. Next time you're on a beach, remember that sand is basically ground up stone. And be careful where you put your towel. Oh, hang on, that's not bad...

JAMES WHITBY asks: In The Bells of Saint John, Clara told the Doctor she was given his phone number by 'the woman in the shop'. This has never been explained. Who was the woman in the shop?

Keep watching! There will be an answer!

MIKE BOND asks: Over Amy and Rory's final episodes it's established that the gaps between the Doctor's visits are getting longer. By the time they meet Kate Stewart, it's July 2016. How then can Kate meet Clara and the Doctor in 2013 in The Day of the Doctor?

Ah, yes, well, good point. Some may think that question has no good answer. But as I believe I mentioned earlier, I'm on fire this month and can answer ANYTHING, oh yes. Sadly, however, I've run out of space...

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