Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat

Moffat: The Companion is the Main Character

Everyone loves a hero but does that necessarily mean we identify most with those that go that extra mile rather than characters like Amy or Rose who are meant to be our counterpart?

This is just the debate Steven Moffat has opened with his comment to BBC America (via Digital Spy) that the companion is the ‘main character’ in Doctor Who.

“Its always their story. It was Rose Tyler’s story, its Amy Pond’s story – the story of the time they knew the Doctor and how it began, how it developed and how it ended.”

Steven Moffat, Doctor Who boss, pictured in New YorkThe old incarnation was a Trojan horse – a children’s programme that sneaked some real science in with monsters and mystery – and while that still holds true of the new series Moffat’s comments just reflect the fact that Doctor Who is now a big Saturday night primetime show.

A show that needs to cover as wide a demographic as possible – perhaps those who aren’t tuned in to sci-fi – who need that placeholder character to ask, query and provoke a response from the Doctor and his universe.

It’s like the difference between story and plot – the story is definitely the Doctor’s. The adventures he instigates and the worlds he shows us are part of his wider story and go together to make his personal history. No show could capture the madness of that story.

The plot – the events that go towards making the show what it is week in and week out are the companions – it’s that small section of the overall story that we spend all this time coveting.

It isn’t the companion’s story but that doesn’t mean they aren’t the main character just as it is the Doctor’s story but he doesn’t have to be the main character.

Or as Moffat himself says:

“The story begins again, not so much with a new Doctor, but with a new companion. The Doctor’s the hero, but they’re the main character.”

There’s no reason why you can’t identify with the Doctor in any of his incarnations – the success of the classic series which firmly placed the Doctor as the main focus of the show was based around just that – children and adults identifying with a 900 odd year old Time Traveller.

Moffat himself has a clear idea of who the Doctor is and what he can and can’t do such as spending time alone:

“I thought about the Doctor travelling on his own and it always faintly depresses me. I’m not sure what he does on his own but I don’t think it would be healthy. He’s far too old and he’s seen too much.”



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