Q/A Eddie Robson

We're asking, they're answering.



Eddie Robson, writer, doing the cheesy tourist thing in Liverpool

What's your desert island Doctor Who story?

Enlightenment. It used to be Inferno but I've seen it too many times. It's hard to say whether anything more recent could supplant it - it's hard to make comparisons between stories I watched endlessly when I was a teenager who had time to watch things endlessly, and stories I've only seen once or twice.


What would actually be amazing, if I was marooned on a desert island, would be to have all of Doctor Who and then I could finally watch it all in order, which I've always wanted to do but never had time. It would almost be worth being marooned on a desert island for that. But not quite, there'd be the inconvenience of having to forage for my own food, probably developing skin cancer, never seeing my family, etc. And of course I'd miss any new episodes that were being made, so I still couldn't say I'd seen all of Doctor Who in order.


Who's the best actor that should have played the Doctor?

Eric Cantona. I dunno, loads of people. Don Warrington would've been a great choice in the 1980s. I really wanted Tom Hardy to get the part after Tennant left, but that was exactly the moment he started getting big film roles.


Who is the sexiest Doctor Who producer?

Verity Lambert was, easily.


Who's the most famous Doctor Who related person you've got in your phone contacts?

Paul Cornell.


Ian Levine. Discuss.

We all owe him a huge debt for his work with Bad Boys Inc.


Do you have all your Doctor Who DVDs in transmission order on your shelf?

Yes, of course. Unless my kids have been moving them around again. I've never understood why some people mock systems for filing books, CDs, DVDs etc. If you've only got 20 DVDs it's not an issue, but if you've got hundreds you can't find the bloody things without a system.


Which single episode would you like to be recovered?

I'd take anything. When they found those episodes of Galaxy 4 and The Underwater Menace, I heard other people say it was a bit disappointing because they weren't exactly top of anyone's most-wanted list. That literally never crossed my mind, not just because I love 60s Doctor Who and I'm grateful to have anything back, but also because an episode may turn out to be much better or worse than you expected when you actually see it.


But I'll play along and say The Myth Makers: Horse of Destruction. The Myth Makers has a terrific script, very funny - until the last five minutes, where it's suddenly a bit horrifying, and that's the one bit that doesn't come across as well on the surviving audio. Also, Maureen O'Brien is ace and I'd love to see her last episode.


Which is your favourite regeneration scene?

Androzani or The Parting of the Ways, easily.


What are the best and worst things about Doctor Who fandom?

The best thing is that it's so full of creative people. I think Doctor Who attracts and inspires creative people more than any other TV show. Which is a great thing in itself, and it also means it's a great place to meet people like that, and collaborate and so on. I owe a big chunk of my career as a writer to being a Doctor Who fan. It's like the Masons, but more sinister.


The worst thing is that people can feel over-entitled. I think that was intensified by the 1990s wilderness years, it felt like the BBC didn't care about the show any more so we felt it had become ours. But it was never really ours.


On a scale of nought to ten, how much do like Katy Manning's DVD commentary contributions?

Haven't heard any of them. *tactful face* I've probably listened to about ten DVD commentaries in my entire life. Not just Doctor Who ones, commentaries on anything. They're often interesting but I've got vast quantities of unwatched DVDs, so it seems a waste of a couple of hours to watch something again with the commentary on.


Has a Doctor Who story ever made you cry?

Yeah, several new series episodes. And Ghost Light once, for some reason, when I was a bit drunk. I think I was just in tears at its sheer brilliance.


Name a Doctor Who story you've never seen.

I've seen them all, except the missing ones. And those two episodes of Galaxy 4 and The Underwater Menace. I've only seen Colony In Space once, on UK Gold the morning after a party when I was a teenager, and people kept talking, so I don't remember that one very well.


Have you ever thought about Doctor Who during sexual intercourse?



What evidence is there in your home that you like Doctor Who?

Aside from the DVDs arranged in transmission order, there's a high shelf containing all the New and Missing Adventures in publication order, DWMs scattered about the place, and VHS copies of the Doctor Who stories I've never got around to buying on DVD. There's also the action figures of all 11 Doctors, which were a Christmas present my sister bought for my elder son, but if he ever loses interest in Doctor Who those suckers are mine.


What percentage of your friends would know what "the Cartmel Masterplan" or "UNIT dating" means?

25% maybe? That doesn't include my wife. I was amazed when she knew the Rani was an evil Time Lady. She once asked me to explain where the Cybermen came from, then zoned out during the (very brief) explanation I gave, so she asked me to repeat it, then zoned out again, then asked me to repeat it and zoned out again. It's an automatic reaction she's developed when I start burbling about Doctor Who.


I run into this problem of some friends knowing this stuff, whilst others don't, on Twitter. I've got a chunk of followers from my Doctor Who writing, a chunk from my comedy writing, a minority who follow me because I once tweeted something mildly interesting about football or The Beatles, and some people I actually know. And with only 140 characters to work with, there often isn't room to explain what a "Nightmare of Eden" actually is. So I tend to just tweet Doctor Who stuff without context, which probably baffles a lot of people, but sod it. Life's too short to explain stuff to people who almost certainly don't care anyway.


Give us a hint of the most scandalous behind the scenes Doctor Who gossip you know.

I don't know any Doctor Who gossip. Nobody ever tells me anything. I don't know why, I'm quite trustworthy.


Eddie Robson, 49, has written various plays for Big Finish (including the recent The Jupiter Conjunction and The Jigsaw War), and his name can be found all over Radio Four's comedy output. Eddie's new radio pilot, The Resistance, starring Katherine (hubba hubba) Parkinson and Julian Rhind-Tutt, airs in early July.



Q/A: Eddie Robson
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