Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Day I Met Moffat (and don't forget Mark Gatiss, Gareth Roberts, Tom McRae etcetera etcetera)

Today, the last day of November - Christmas is upon us, people! - I travelled up to London for a book signing at Shaftesbury Avenue's Forbidden Planet Megastore. The signers? Only a bloody horde of some of Doctor Who's most prestigious - and several sadly unsung - names! I'll make a list of them soon. I love lists and I'm sure you do too so get ready for some list-action!

Travelling to and around London was an adventure in itself. The hour long train journey spent talking with a friend was I thought delightfully Sherlock Holmes - if the Sherlock Holmes stories featured boring modern trains rather than the really cool Victorian ones.
Once in London we had to tackle the Tube. For someone who can't remember ever having used it before, it struck me as being oddly enclosed and claustrophobic. Though I did see Jon Culshaw (the impressionist who does a great Tom Baker among others) whilst waiting for the train. It's especially eerie as I'm reading Neil Gaiman's novel 'Neverwhere' at the moment set in a magical undercity beneath London where, among others, vicious creatures dwell in the dark of the railway tracks. Mind the gap!
Obviously, arising from the depths of London Below to the striking, bright, loud, busy, teeming with life London Above was a bit daunting but we managed to navigate ourselves through the great behemoth buildings to find our destination without much problem.

After waiting for the best part of an hour outside we finally got in and met (prepare yourselves, list-fans):

Steven Moffat - Well, you're all probably aware of him. The Moff is of course Doctor Who's Head Honcho. The man from whose head it all comes from. Needless to say as an aspiring writer and massive Who fan, he is a great inspiration. One of my all-time favourite writers.
Before going in I went over several things I wanted to say to him in my head. However, when it came to it, when Steven Moffat, the frogging lead writer of Doctor Who and the creator of Sherlock, is actually sitting in front of you wearing a big smile and saying 'hello! What's your name?' in his warm Scottish tones, all I could muster was '....Christian. Lovely to meet you...Thank you.'
Pah! I would go back in a time machine and try again but Moffat's episodes have shown me how messing with your timeline is a very bad idea - blowing holes in the time continuum the size of Belgium and whatnot. Besides, he was a really nice guy. Replying to my shyness with something like 'Well, there you go.' in a friendly way.

Mark Gatiss - Basically Moffat's second in command. The writer of the spooktastic episodes 'The Unquiet Dead' and 'Night Terrors' as well as wartime romp 'Victory of the Daleks'. In my opinion, he's a genius. I've never read or seen anything of Gatiss' I haven't liked, from his fabulous Lucifer Box novels to the terrifying Crooked House series to his co-creating the modern-day Sherlock. Sadly, due to the swiftness of the signings and the way it was laid out, I didn't get to say anything to Gatiss. Just a signature and a smile. But that's enough for me.

Gareth Roberts - Perhaps the most reliable of Who writers. Roberts' episodes are always hilarous, dramatic and touching in turn. He's great at doing the middle episodes that don't have some big event going on. Like the Agatha Christie pastiche 'The Unicorn and the Wasp' or the hilarious 'The Lodger'. He was a really nice guy. He took the time to say hello and had a nice bit of banter with Steven over the state of the Moff's handwriting of my name.

I could talk about everyone just as much but for the sake of your patience I'll just give you the pictures and who they are.

Tom McRae, writer of TV episodes 'Rise of the Cybermen/ The Age of Steel' and 'The Girl Who Waited'. I think he wins the award for best handwriting.

Ben Cook - Big Doctor Who journalist, regular contributor to Doctor Who Magazine and Radio Times plus co-author of 'The Writer's Tale' with Russell T Davies. He had the best hair of the bunch (perhaps cos several were bald) - Russell Brand style but bright red, really red!

David Bailey - Writer of several Doctor Who short stories and audio stories. Nice touch with the bow tie I thought.

James Goss - Writer of several Doctor Who and Torchwood novels and talking books
including 'Dead of Winter' and 'Blackout'. He was probably the quietest of them. Still nice though.

Clayton Hickman - Co- writer with Gareth Roberts of Who short stories, audio adventures and an SJA episode. Also, the ex-editor of DWM and the guy who designs the Doctor Who DVDs.
He's also, as you may have guessed, the editor of this book.

Paul Lang - Designer of this book.

David Llewelyn - Writer of several Doctor Who and Torchwood novels including 'The Taking of Chelsea 426' and 'Trace Memory'.

Jason Arnopp - Writer of numerous Doctor Who audio tales and a regular DWM contributor.

Gary Russel - Much like Clay Hickman, someone who gets involved in every bit of Doctor Who. He was the producer of Big Finish's Doctor Who audio adventures, the former script editor of both Doctor Who and SJA and is the writer of many Doctor Who novels. He also said he'd follow me on Twitter What a nice man!

Phew! Well, I hope you enjoyed that. At the time of writing the clock has just struck 00.00 on the 1st December! Seasons greetings, everyone!

And remember to watch 'The Doctor, the Witch and the Wardrobe' on Christmas Day by the wonderful Steven Moffat.

I've met him, you know.


  1. The one adventure I never had ... :(

    1. Don't be sad for the adventures you didn't have. Be grateful for the ones that you did. ~ Mangled Dr Seuss-based saying. :)


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