Moffat: Day Was My Most Difficult Script Ever
Steven Moffat has admitted how difficult and terrifying he found writing The Day of the Doctor and the expectations upon his shoulders.
In a lengthy interview from the Radio Times he says: “I don’t think I’ve ever worked on anything that was as difficult, terrifying and as much of a responsibility as writing the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who. I wanted everybody to love it. I knew that was impossible, but I wanted people – from those who had never seen it, to the absolute diehard fans who hate every episode I’ve written – to love it. So it was monstrously stressful and very hard: the uncastable cast, the impossible brief, the unwritable script…
“I can remember sitting with my wife saying, “I can’t tell if it’s good any more, it could be rubbish – I’ll have to leave the country. I’ll have to fake my own death.” And then going for a meeting with the producers the week I was meant to hand the script in, and we were still trying to assemble the cast. We all just sat there, thinking, “This is impossible, this can’t ever work!”
“All of these problems, of course, had been 50 years in the making. There was, I reasoned, only one story to tell if the Doctor was to meet himself – this had to be the day when he saved himself. And in the whole history of Doctor Who, there was only one day he needed saving from.
“There was a tremendous crime committed during the Time War that the Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith Doctors have all referred to, but we’ve never seen it played out or seen the consequences of it. When we got John Hurt, with that extraordinary voice, I knew we could make his Doctor face that day – the most terrible day of his life. We would finally witness that moment.
“By the time we discover him, the John Hurt Doctor has been fighting the Time War for centuries. He doesn’t call himself the Doctor, and doesn’t behave like him, either – this is our hero as a dark and battle-hardened general. I think it’s nice for a hero to have a dark chapter, although it’s a chapter we will probably never see again because that somehow isn’t Doctor Who. “