Doctor Who chief Steven Moffat and a Dalek.

Making Daleks Scary Again!

It’s easy to forget just what  tough job Steven Moffat and his colleagues have. Basically, they’re in charge of making sure the right people are working on the show, from catering and other facilities on location to providing SFX and post production after the cameras stop rolling.

Doctor Who chief Steven Moffat and a Dalek.Obviously there is a hierarchy and some delegation; but the buck stops at the top. So if Steven Moffat invites an unsuitable writer into the show, the individual concerned is more than likely going to have some difficulty settling into the task and being able to produce the required number of drafts in the necessary style for television.

This subject cropped up at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival on Saturday.

“If it’s your first television show you have written you are going to screw up royally, I tend to favour highly experienced television writers for the sake of my sanity. We do go outside of the circle … it’s a tough old job. No brand new TV writer should be tackling this one. It’s hard.”

But not, one imagines, as hard as that old chestnut of “making the Daleks scary again”. Did they ever stop being scary? If so, why? It’s arguable that the last time they really made an impact was in the Army of Ghosts cliffhanger, and it took a remarkable story (along with 17 years off-screen) like Dalek to breathe fire back into the legendary villains.

“Kids are supposedly frightened of Daleks but they take them to bed. Is there a way we can make them scarier, get them back to being more monstery?

“I hope they will leave them outside their bedroom doors, was my response to that. There is a tremendous temptation to go kitch and sweet with the daleks. You shouldn’t. They are insane tanks.”

That’s a brilliant way of putting it – so let’s hope that Asylum of the Daleks does the job!


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