Neil Gaiman divulges 'Doctor Who' clues

Neil-GaimanImage Credit: Eric Fougere/VIP Images/CorbisNeil Gaiman’s script for the beloved British Doctor Who is decidedly Doctor Who, the fantasist said this past Sunday, during a segment of the three-day, celeb-infused New Yorker Festival. “Classic Doctor Who episodes are always filmed at some point in a quarry, and I’m incredibly pleased to say they have spent the last week filming in a quarry, in the rain, which is awesome.” The episode is set to air around Easter of next year, and will feature actress Suranne Jones in a guest role as a character called Idris, who Gaiman revealed “may very well be an old acquaintance of the doctor with a new face.”

The tidbit came at the end of an hour of conversation between Gaiman and New Yorker staffer Dana Goodyear, who profiled him earlier this year for the magazine. Speaking to a packed hall, Gaiman unwound a string of anecdotes in practiced style. His explanation of how his fantastically creepy children’s book Coraline came to be started with a line as sinister as any he’s written: “Because Morgan DeFoire lied.” DeFoire, the daughter of Gaiman’s longtime agent Merrilee Heifetz, acted as a litmus test back when the manuscript was still thought unpublishable for a young audience. It was decided that if Morgan and her sister Emily could stand the book without being “traumatized,” as Gaiman put it, Heifetz would reconsider consigning Coraline to the adult bin with all the other horror novels. The girls proved Gaiman right, listening with faces more eager than petrified, and the book went on to claim the loyalty of children around the world, winning two awards (a Hugo and Nebula) and a movie contract, before becoming a musical. At the off-Broadway premiere of the show, Gaiman learned what Morgan DeFoire, seated beside him, had really thought of Coraline.

“I told her, ‘You know, we kind of have you to thank for all this, because you weren’t scared by it. And she said, ‘Actually, I was terrified. But I wanted to know what happened next. I knew if I let anybody know I was scared, I wouldn’t find out.’”

The Doctor Who project is the only known offering in the near future from the prolific writer. No doubt after the episode’s debut, he’ll have another story to tell.

Comments (36 total) Add your comment
  • Shay

    Excited for the episode, but the fact that “Doctor Who” kept getting shortened to “Dr. Who” makes me want to kick a puppy.

    • Katie

      That is exactly what I thought. Don’t write about something if you don’t even know the actual name of the show…

      • Brett

        You all need to lighten up about Dr. W.

      • rose

        you mean DW?!

    • jules

      It appears to have been edited to its rightful appearance.

    • tarc

      Wow, you *really* need a life. If you’d like something worthy getting upset about, I’d watch the news every once in a while.

      • Shay

        Right. I care more about Doctor Who then the rest of the world you idiot. I was commenting about the article, which they fixed b/c even THEY knew it was wrong. Go eat your mom.

    • patar


  • Rion

    Not even Gaiman can get me to watch the disastrous mess that Who has become under Steven Moffatt.

    • John Baker

      I’m pleased to say that I am on the other side of the fence. After a great first season, there was a mediocre second season, an awful third season and a passable fourth (only Catherine Tate brightened that season for me). But under Moffat and with Matt Smith, the show has gotten fun and whimsical — the way I think it should be.

      • Rion

        That’s great for you, but the show was better under Russell T Davies. Oh well—Moffatt can destroy the current Who while I enjoy my Eccleston and Tennant DVDs.

      • rose

        I miss RTD, and David Tennant, but Matt Smith is a brilliant Doctor and its been an enjoyable season

      • jules

        I’m with rose, but Matt Smith is fantastic…wish RTD would jump back in somehow. Imagine the possibilities…

      • Trebornedies

        RTD is writing an episode of “Sarah Jane Adventures” titled “Death of the Doctor” featuring guest appearances of Matt Smith and the return of Katy Manning as third doctor companion Jo Grant. Can’t wait for RTD’s take on the eleventh Doctor.

    • debadwolff

      totally agree with you. the new duo (11 and amy) are awful. but anything gaiman gives us has to be an improvement so will watch with high expectations…

    • Alan

      i, for one, am glad that the melodramatic angst-fest that was RTD’s reign is finally over. and I couldn’t be more pleased not to be shouted at every week by David Tennant’s one-note Doctor. Finally we have an actor playing the Doctor who knows the meaning of ‘subtle’.

    • Julia

      I disagree. I love 11, he’s quirky and funny and loveable. And while Amy can be a bit annoying at times, I don’t hate her. And I love Rory.

  • joesmom

    Glad to hear he has written something for us Who fans. I’m still waiting for someone to pick up his “Ananzi Boys” for a film, which was one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time.

  • Charlee

    One of my biggest pet peeves. It’s “Doctor Who,” not “Dr. Who.” Atleast start off with the full title?

    • Charlee

      YAY! It’s fixed! Many, many thanks. Great article, btw.

  • Tai

    AAAgggghhhhh! I just wasted 20 minutes trying again and again to leave a comment here. EW, I thought you fixed this!

  • darclyte

    I am SO looking forward to his episode. Neil has been my favorite writer for over 20 years now, and I’ve become a big Doctor Who fan. Should be great!

    • Juliana

      I agree, KNIGHTS OF PROSPERITY is hilarious. It’s one of my three fraovite comedies on TV, along with The Office and 30 Rock I have never watched a single episode of any incarnation of DOCTOR WHO and I feel pretty guilty about it. lol One of these days I’ll anchor my butt to my couch for a weekend and dive into some DVDs from epsiode one onward. Should I start with vintage or modern WHO?

  • Dave

    I’m pretty excited about your Dr. Who episode.
    Your Babylon5 episode (Day of the Dead) was one of my favorites, of my favorite all-time tee vee show.
    The Doctor is my #2 fave…
    …classic Who in a quarry!

  • Charles

    Really looking forward to Neil Gaiman’s episode of DOCTOR WHO.

    As much as I enjoyed David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, Matt Smith has already surpassed him as the Eleventh. Smith has restored the Doctor’s “cool to be uncool” quirkiness that Tennant’s Doctor lacked. If more sulking Tennant fans would stop acting like sulking Eccleston fans did when David Tennant took over the role, they might start appreciating how talented Matt Smith truly is.

    • mmkr

      Not all Eccleston fans sulked when the crown was passed to Tennant and anyone who does sulk when they knew all along that the Doctor was eventually going to be replaced…needs to look at their priorities….

  • Old Man

    Bickering about who is the best aside, does his reference to an old acquaintance with a new face mean we finally get the return of Romana?

    • ‘nother old man

      one can only hope!

  • Neal

    Maybe the old familiar person is Ramona, she was one of my favorite time lord. Plus, she could have regenerated several times by now. I love it when they bring back old favorites from the early shows.

  • Bill from Las Vegas

    I know everyone wants to see Romana again, but my bet is that if Idris is a Time Lord she’s the Rani!!! Why should the Master have all the fun as the baddie????

    • SpoilerGirl

      River is the Rani, though.

    • Stoicescu

      You are the most fantastic-est. I don’t think he has my adsrdes, but I’ll email him tonight. Thank you! Now I can look forward to both Neil Gaiman and the simple thrill of getting mail (I do most of my shopping online just to get packages. I’m not even kidding).

  • Jordan T.

    i loved RTD, i loved Eccleston and Tennant, and i love Moffat and Davis (and Amy…and Rory…okay, i’m getting off topic…:p). i didn’t think any news could get me more excited than finding out Moffat was taking over the show. then i found out Gaiman was writing an episode. and the universe felt right. :)

  • ericinwisconsin

    My guesses are:

    1. From “The War Games”? A SIDRAT! (A sort of primitive TARDIS that the War Chief built for the War Games.

    2. Romana! Trapped in E-Space with the vampires from “State of Decay”, poor Romana is now a vampire. She built a SIDRAT to escape and to feed in our Universe.

    Hope I’m right! If I am, do I get a prize?

  • Vic Stathopoulos

    I think Idris is the first Tardis ever built.

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