Friday, October 17, 2014

Steven Moffat talks fan service: ‘You don’t give them what you think they want’

As executive producer and lead writer of Doctor Who, Steven Moffat is used to fans expressing strong opinions on his work, for better or worse. But he’s determined not to pander to them.
“You don’t give them what you think they want. That would be mad! The only useful index you’ve got is what you would like,” said Moffat, speaking during a panel session at the MIPCOM conference in Cannes.
“It’s really a strange way to write a story, and an arrogant way to write a story: to give them what they want. You don’t even know what birthday present to give the person close to you! How would you know what everybody wants?” he said.
“I honestly don’t think anybody makes a film or television programme for any reason other than ‘wouldn’t it be brilliant to get someone to pay me to do this?’”

Moffat made it clear that the latter statement was not about greed, but rather positioning himself as a super-fan, trusting his instincts based on his passion for the show.
Moffat sees one of Doctor Who’s current strengths as its emotional grounding: it may go “hell for leather on the sci-fi fantasy aspect” but never forgets to explore the characters immersed in that.
“It is frequently the intimate moments in Doctor Who that make it connect with its audience,” said Moffat.
“It is sci-fi that people who don’t like sci-fi watch. Although we never make any apology about Doctor Who being as science fiction as it gets. We don’t like to have a scene without a robot or a talking slug coming along!”
Moffat also talked about Sherlock, and why he believed modernising it was the right move to take. “Updating Sherlock Holmes, as we automatically update James Bond, was the right thing to do,” he said. “Sherlock Holmes is meant to be pulpy and vital and new.”
He admitted to nervousness in the run-up to the launch of the first series of Sherlock, however. “There was a moment when my new version of Doctor Who was about to come out in the same few months as Sherlock was about to come out,” he said.
“And I thought if I screw these up, all I’ll have to do is shoot Daniel Craig in the face and I’ll have screwed British culture!”


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