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Bring Back… Robert Shearman

Guest contributor Tim Manion thinks it’s long overdue for 2005’s Dalek writer to return.

dalek-Robert-Shearman-eccleston-2005

It’s 2005. Doctor Who has been off TV screens for 9 years and silence has fallen on the Whoniverse. A whole new generation has grown up with no hand to take and be told to “Run”. Doctor Who has become a easy joke of pipe-cleaner monsters and Dalek impersonations on comedic TV panel shows. All seemed lost. Then one day, the big wigs at the BBC decided it was time.

When I was 9, my dad called me into the living room, excited as a child at Christmas, to watch a ‘new’ show called Doctor Who. Fair enough I thought. Anything that could get adults excited could be worth the watch. From that point on I was hooked. But, the thing that struck me looking back now is, how on earth did Christopher Eccelston, in a war veteran, man of action-style, appeal to children? The answer is pure and simple, legacy.

Obviously the charm and wit of the Doctor was a big appeal, as was the complete madness of aliens, time machines and spaceships on Earth’s doorstep. It was all just mind-blowing. But what impressed, and still continues to tug my heart strings, was the enigma.

The Doctor: “It’s like when you’re a kid, the first time they tell you that the world is turning and you just can’t quite believe it ’cause everything looks like it’s standing still. I can feel it…”

The best example of this has to be the episode “Dalek”. It was possibly the best episode of 2005, and in my opinion, the Daleks’ entire history. Hear me out with this. Growing up it was hard to avoid images of Daleks and aforementioned cheap laughs at Doctor Who monsters, to someone not having experienced the show before. The Daleks sort of felt like a novelty. Older fans would say they would “hide behind the sofa”, but how could they all have been scared of a pepper pot on wheels? The new generation were in for some serious education.

Robert Shearman had worked with Doctor Who before, writing audio stories and short adventures. It was by Russell T Davies’ request that Shearman write a story for the ninth Doctor, and what a story he delivered (a loose adaptation of his Big Finish audio story Jubilee.) The reaction of the Doctor (beautifully acted by Eccelston) when confronted with his mortal enemy was perfect for showing a new generation just how much history and pain and suffering in a way that would frighten children and give adults the chills. It’s one thing to be scared of monsters, but when the Doctor shows his darker side it makes him so rich and deep and… real. This is why he appealed, we had seem him cry in The End Of The World and now we would see him bounce back from the darkness and be strong.

This episode is also brilliant for the way it captured not only the relation between the Doctor and the Daleks, but also the sheer power and ferocity of them. Just one Dalek was such a powerful and relentless killing machine to take out an entire army. Its eye had such a cold and silent stare, along with its broken voice and hate; it was such a beautiful yet tragic creation. An image I think is missing in their recent episodes. (Ok, Asylum of the Daleks was pretty good).

I would love too see Shearman return for Series 8, it would be so fitting. Just like when Doctor Who had to be re-introduced in 2005, he captured the Doctor in a way that summed up and re-invented the character and his greatest enemy in one episode alone. With Capaldi’s Doctor bringing in quite a more dramatic change than previously it would be fantastic to see this type of character definition again.

So could Shearman write for a new monster, or another old classic? Needless to say, i’m sure it would be chilling scary and cause us to fall in love with the Doctor all over again.

Happy birthday Robert Shearman.

Step back in time...

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114 comments
gunslinger19
gunslinger19

Watched this the other day, im always so impressed by almost every aspect of this story! the characters are so perfectly crafted, particularly Vanstatten, a villain type that doctor who needs more of. and the dalek was just perfect. its just a shame that they cant have that effect when theres more than one of them :D

Salyavin
Salyavin

Simply one of the great Dalek stories of the last 50 yrs. The perfect way to bring back The Doctors biggest enemy for Nu Who so much so that I would personally exterminate anyone who thinks that it could of being done any differently. This story was so good, with great elements in it for both old time fans and also to hook in new fans as well. Loved it!

RandomComments
RandomComments

Of course, the main issue is that Shearman doesn't want to come back.

Creepy_Ghoul
Creepy_Ghoul

Maybe Shearman is the right person to bring back The Rani to the show.

TimManion
TimManion

@Rob Shearman Hey, Robert, Im so pleased that my article in tribute to Dalek is appreciated! I honestly believe it is my favorite episode of Doctor Who ever, and to me it always will be. For this episode really captured the imaginations of millions of fans and children everywhere, and it will always be special to me. It made the Daleks dark and The Doctor darker. Thanks again, and thanks for such a powerful piece of fictional writing! Happy Birthday! Tim.

The Mind Probe
The Mind Probe

I think it's still the best Dalek story of New Who... in fact, I think it's one of the best Dalek stories ever (along with Genesis and Revelation).

bringmeknitting
bringmeknitting

"Dalek" was the episode where the Doctor Who revival really became something very special for me. It's lovely to read Rob's own responses and he is very modest, but honestly I would love to see him write for the television series again, for "Dalek" was brilliant. Paul Cornell too! :)

DawnTime
DawnTime

Great episode watched it last week actually as have started to watch all eps from 2005 again.  Never get bored of this one, Thank you Rob.  I was wondering at the time if we would see you back for another ep.  Will never forget the line" you would make a good Dalek"

Doctor von Wer
Doctor von Wer

Guys, remember that time when Rob Shearman came here and spoke to us? Unforgettable.



Frank the Bunny
Frank the Bunny

Met this great man in 2012; he provided a commentary for his episode. I am all for a return from the amazing Robert Sherman.

Mikeyboss182
Mikeyboss182

Dalek was the episode that turned me into a Doctor Who fan and it's still to this day my personal favourite Dalek story.  

PeterGecko2
PeterGecko2

I simply have to agree. Shearman wrote a true classic and in my opinion one of the best Doctor Who episodes ever. For the love of Akhaten, BRING HIM BACK!!!  

bobbycook03
bobbycook03

Met him once! Great guy. Had a good long chat about the daleks! And the master- and the psycholigy of the TARDIS. And..... never mind

StephenAHayes
StephenAHayes

This episode was Alright, adequate, average... Something beginning with "A".

Nowhere near as great as Asylum of the Daleks

The Living Angel
The Living Angel

I just hope that the next Dalek story, will involve Davros.

Polyphase
Polyphase

For a humble "not very experienced TV writer" I must say some of the lines made me shiver and  have stuck in my head ever since :)

The Doctor: All right then. If you want orders, follow this one.

The Doctor: Kill yourself.

Dalek:The Daleks must survive!

The Doctor: The Daleks have failed! Why don't you finish the job, and make the Daleks extinct? Rid the universe of your filth! Why don't you just *die*?

Dalek: [evenly] You would make a good Dalek.

Rob Shearman
Rob Shearman

Oh, thanks again, everyone, for the kind words and the birthday wishes. And it's so lovely and funny to read about the impact the episode had all those years ago - at the time, of course, it was all about flying by the seat of my pants and hoping it wouldn't be terrible! You never think that for some people watching it might be their way into the series, and that years later they'll be watching other Doctors during an anniversary special! - you just hope it'll all be good enough you might make it to a second season. (And Clara, I promise you - I feel very guilty about putting the Doctor and Charley through all that in Scherzo - at the time I just thought it was a little bit humorous, really, I didn't expect Paul and India to make it so real and traumatic!) I don't think writers should pop up and waylay conversations about their work - it makes it harder for people to feel they can say negative things, that they hate Dalek, or think I'm an idiot. This was a birthday indulgence, and I'll go back to my shy lurking. But when a friend on Facebook directed me here, it really did give me a lovely boost, so cheers. :)




minipulator
minipulator

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  The only time I have ever been even a little afraid of the Daleks.

Nightmarish
Nightmarish

Agree with everything here. Dalek is my favorite episode of series 1, also just a masterpiece, showcasing Who at its best.

Galactic Yo Yo
Galactic Yo Yo

And "Dalek" doesn't even begin to cover his Doctor Who work, as his Big Finish stories have all been astounding. Especially the mind-bending "Scherzo" and "The Chimes of Midnight", which is one of the best Doctor Who stories of any medium.

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

.A classic example of why less is more, and why a single, well written Dalek is far more powerful than thousands of (bad CGI) Daleks flying through the sky!









Rob Shearman
Rob Shearman

Oh, thank you so much for the lovely article - and the kind enthusiastic comments! That feels like a pretty good birthday present! I absolutely adore Doctor Who, and I'm overwhelmingly proud that I got to write a script for it (and terribly chuffed, too, that all these years later, when there have been over a hundred stories since, that it's still well thought of and not lost in the melee!). I keep in touch with Russell and Steven, and I'm hugely fond of both of them - and certainly if one day the circumstances were right to return to the show I would. The honest fact is, though, is that I'm not a very experienced TV writer - my background was in theatre and radio, and these days I mostly write books - so I can't quite see why anyone would be queueing up to get me back. And I think I'm right in saying that if I returned now there would be *no* writer in the show's history who would have taken such a long break between scripts! (I'm quickly working out on my fingers to see whether Louis Marks is longer - nope!) So, you never know, it's not impossible - but I'm really happy to write my own stuff these days, and carry on watching a programme I love very much (and is *still* going strong, I'd never have believed that!) without knowing *too* much of what is going on before it hits the screen. :)



Clara Laurinda
Clara Laurinda

@RandomComments  Perhaps, but he didn't seem THAT clear about it. Sounded like he still has an open mind about it, if he were asked.


Clara Laurinda
Clara Laurinda

@TimManion @Rob Shearman  Thank you Tim for a wonderful article and it must be thrilling to have the person you wrote about respond so happily as well! WOW! Well done.


TARDlSkey
TARDlSkey

I hold your episode above all other Dalek stories of new Who. It is one of the most brilliant, and frankly rare stories now, that feature such a wonderfully character-driven story. The whole concept as a whole was an absolute joy to watch and see unfold. So, thank you! :)

TimManion
TimManion

@Rob Shearman  Hi, Robert. I just want to say thanks. Thanks for sparking an interest in young Who fans everywhere! I appreciate all your positive feedback on my article, because when I look back, Dalek is and always will be to me, the perfect Doctor Who episode, sure many episodes are fantastic, but this one means so much more to a lot of Doctor Who fans who grew up with Eccleston being the first Doctor they had ever seen, and certainly, the most terrifying Dalek too!



GibbyBlogger
GibbyBlogger

@Rob Shearman Rob, you're a legend and an extremely talented man! You have given us so many great Doctor Who stories: 'Scherzo' will probably forever be my favourite Big Finish audio; 'Dalek' will probably forever be in my top 10 TV stories; 'The Holy Terror' and 'The Chimes of Midnight' are now both absolute classics. If I grow to be half as good a writer as you are, I'll be very happy indeed. I hope we do get more from you in the future when you're ready and willing.

Hope you had a great day yesterday! :D

Esterath
Esterath

@Rob Shearman  You deserve that boost, Dalek was the best episode of Series  and it really helped viewers (and me) finally realise that this was Doctor Who. Doctor Who was back. And lo and behold, we all fell in love with Doctor Who, starting our incredible journey and or that we thank you. 



Kiki Kiki
Kiki Kiki

@Rob Shearman  Mr. Shearman, please come back!  I've always loved "Dalek" as one of my all-time favourite episodes (and the one that got me hooked), and would love to see you write for Peter Capaldi :D


Judge Claude Frollo
Judge Claude Frollo

Rob replied to me

OMYTOLKIENOMYROWLINGOMYLEWISOHMYAGATHACHRISTIEOHMYARTHURCONANDOYLE

Happy Birthday! :D

Sir James Bond
Sir James Bond

@Rob Shearman You've brightened up a cold, damp Winter's night for so many people. Thank you so much for spending some time with us. :) 


I've yet to see a negative review of 'Dalek' anywhere, either in print or online. It came along at just the right moment and really gave Series One a good, mid season, kick up the a*se. There was such excitement at the time of transmission, not only amongst the fans, but also with the wider viewing public and the press. And that wasn't just due to the anticipation surrounding the return of the Doc's arch enemies. No, it was primarily down to the magnificent way they were orchestrated. Sly, calculating, uncompromising, unstoppable. Everything a Dalek should be. 

Bravo sir, and thank you once again. 

p.s. I've always wondered, just what was the standby, alternative, enemy you came up with? 

DrOswald
DrOswald

@Rob Shearman  Happy Birthday Rob. Thank you for producing one of the most amazing Doctor Who episodes ever. It was really scary as a kid, and helped seal my love of the show.

beskar
beskar

@Rob Shearman  Good on you, Rob. In Dalek you actually made Daleks seem tough and threatening; something that a lot of Dalek stories fail to do!!!

TheIdleIdol
TheIdleIdol

Tremendous. Indulgence or not, thanks for taking the time to interact - unfortunately, it's not every day that our favourite writers grace the fan-sites we frequent (for better or worse!), so it's an honour that you've stopped by. I must admit, I suspected fraud or parody when I first saw your name appear in the comments (I still have my suspicions that you might secretly be Chris Chibnall playing mind-games with us...), but if you are who you purport to be, then happy (now slightly-belated) birthday and all the best! Dalek still remains one of the greatest episodes of the revived show, and I'll literally be oscillating with excitement if and when you ever write for Doctor Who again. Keep being awesome. 


TimeMasterX
TimeMasterX

@Rob Shearman I've watched Doctor Who for the past 9 years, your episode got me interested in Big Finish and in the Classic series of Doctor Who. Thank you for directing me to hours of good quality entertainment. Happy Birthday! Hope it's a great one. 

Chris502
Chris502

@Rob Shearman  Thanks for taking time out your birthday to appreciate this article and interact with the fans here :)

TheOncomingHurricane
TheOncomingHurricane

@Rob Shearman  Dalek was the point where DW became such a huge and and incredible part of my life. Thank you, thank you so much for that. 

TimManion
TimManion

@Liana21  If this man was given one single Cyberman, we would all die XD

Polyphase
Polyphase

@Galactic Yo Yo Do you think it's possible/desirable for one of these to be turned into a script for TV ?
I often wonder why this is never done

JonathanDean
JonathanDean

@Rob Shearman  "Dalek" was a pale imitation of "Jubilee", and it was an amazing episode. You really don't give yourself enough credit, and I would be beside myself with joy if you ever wrote another episode (or, fingers crossed, a two parter). 

WhoPotterVian
WhoPotterVian

@Rob Shearman  Majority of us Whovians really want to see you write another episode. I'm a big fan of your Dalek episode, just like whoever wrote this episode and feel it is by far one of the best new series episodes.     Steven Moffat or any future showrunner after him would be daft not to ask you to write for the show again at some point. Fingers crossed it'll happen eventually!




Doctor What and Where
Doctor What and Where

@Rob Shearman I don't care if you've not written for TV or BF for a long time, you need to come back. As a fan of Dalek, Jubilee, and of course, Chmes at Midnight, I would love to see your words embrace this new Doctor's world. Consider it a challege, perhaps?

Hibernus
Hibernus

@Rob Shearman And thank you very much for your post here, Sir!

Please rest assured, I for one am at up at the head of the queue clamouring to see another script from you!

Chris502
Chris502

@Rob Shearman  Happy late birthday! Without your story I would have never been intrigued by the Dalek as a six year old and would have never fallen in love with the show. I cannot thank you enough. Hope you had a great day.









Judge Claude Frollo
Judge Claude Frollo

*dies*

Rob I love you okay

Just don't ever do that to Eight and Charley again

Kiki Kiki
Kiki Kiki

@Rob Shearman  You are fantastic, and "Dalek" is one of my all-time favourite episodes of Doctor Who.  Mr. Shearman, on behalf of Whovians everywhere, please come back!

Nightmarish
Nightmarish

Happy birthday! "Dalek" is a true masterpiece, and also very scary, something that's hard to achieve with daleks these days. We need more stories like it, preferably from your genius.

sontaran17
sontaran17

@Rob Shearman  Oh My God its actually you---- Happy Bithday Mr Shearman!! And thankyou for such stunning work!

Sir James Bond
Sir James Bond

@Rob Shearman Blimey, I'm just chuffed to have featured in the same 'comment' section with you. 

Happy Birthday, and thank you for thrilling, scaring, exciting and caring!

Moxx
Moxx

Happy Birthday, Mr Shearman! You wrote a real corker of a story - I can really see Dalek going down as the BEST Doctor Who of the 2000s in many decades to come. You're a legend, an absolute legend, to say the least! It's wonderful that you pay us a visit, assuming you're you, because, well, the internet and all that. Most importantly, thank you for making my childhood that bit better! :D

Pockydon
Pockydon

Happy Birthday, and thank you for writing a wonderful story that made the Daleks truly terrifying!

Polyphase
Polyphase

@Rob Shearman Your one script for Doctor Who is a highlight for me I hope you are asked to contribute again one day :)

RandomComments
RandomComments

Yeah, he's no Eccleston, and he doesn't have any issues with production or the show (that I know of), more of an "I don't have a story, and want to do other things."

But at least we can enjoy the stories he's left us with.

Well, some of them anyway...averaging stories I like and dislike, he actually comes out fairly...average:

Chimes of Midnight: Brilliant

Dalek: not a fan of the ending, personally. Good, but not extraordinary

Holy Terror: absolutely terrible, and it wasn't the fault of the companion "being" a Penguin.

I haven't heard Jubilee or Scherzo yet (though I intend to)

On second thought, this mightn't be the fairest way to rank writers, as Moffat, for example, has written some of the best stories in NuWho, and some frankly horrible ones as well.

All IMO, of course.

Clara Laurinda
Clara Laurinda

@Clara Prefect  Your response made me smile! Thank you for that and for inspiring Rob Shearman to respond! Wow! I am proud of my fellow Clara!

TheIdleIdol
TheIdleIdol

Absolutely! As Galactic Yo Yo said, Dalek was loosely adapted from an audio, and of course Blink was adapted from a comic strip and Human Nature/Family of Blood on a novel. If the story is good enough and translates well on-screen, there's no barrier whatsoever to prevent adventures from alternative media being remade for television. "Desirable" is a much more subjective matter though (obviously).

Galactic Yo Yo
Galactic Yo Yo

I mean, that's what happened with "Dalek", which was based on a Sixth Doctor audio, so I suppose it could happen again. "Chimes" would make for a good TV story.

Judge Claude Frollo
Judge Claude Frollo

Thanks! :D

Now where was I? Yes...

OHMYFROZENOHMYLORDOFTHERINGSOHMYGKCHESTERTONOHMYSUZZANECOLLINSOHMYVERONICAROTHOHMY-