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Published on November 14th, 2010 | by Andrew Reynolds

Writers Vs Writers: The Fightback!

Doctor Who writers have leapt to the defence of the show after Cracker and The Street writer Jimmy McGovern criticised the show and British TV for its ‘tongue in cheek’ approach to drama.

Head Writer Steven Moffat and Matthew Graham (Fear Her) have counted his arguement  that drama doesn’t take itself seriously anymore, that writers are lazily relying on rehashed crime series and fusty costume dramas.

Moffat tweeted:

“The tragedy is – no the irony – I DO take Doctor Who seriously,” he wrote. “That IS me being serious. Hmm. Just lost the argument, haven’t I?”

While Graham using the profile of Monastic Productions, the company he founded with Ashley Pharaoh, who co-wrote Life on Mars, also turned to Twitter to attack the veteran screen dramatist:

“Jimmy accusing Doctor Who of irrelevance,” he said. “Perhaps the Doctor should rape all of his companions and turn the TARDIS into a crack den.

Jimmy – some dramas are about northern people raping their sisters because of the legacy of Thatcher’s government. Some dramas are about eccentric time travellers whisking their accomplices off on magical adventures. Some dramas gently and delightfully explore the social morays of the classes in 20th century England. Some dramas brilliantly and compellingly examine the interconnecting lives of residents in a single street.”

Graham added:

“Jimmy, you are a compelling, humane, acerbic and brilliantly relevant writer. One of our very best. But when you grumble about good shows that entertain millions and ask for the spectrum to be reduced you sound like the enemy of creativity. Worry about your own work and keep your nose out of other people’s.”

McGovern’s latest drama Accused begins on November 15 9pm on BBC 1

(Via Digital Spy)

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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

One Response to Writers Vs Writers: The Fightback!

  1. avatar castellanspandrell says:

    Thanks for raising this one, which I read with interest following Jimmy McGovern’s comments (published) last week.

    I took it that McGovern didn’t necessarily have it in for Dr Who as a concept (at least going by the comments I read), but rather the way it tells its stories.

    If the latter’s true, then I wouldn’t entirely disagree with him. I’ve always liked my Who – and other dramas- to be full-blooded meat; I’d take Caves of Androzani over The Unicorn and the Wasp or Love & Monsters any day. I don’t like tongue in cheek Who and I don’t agree with many people’s conception that it’s only good when it’s tongue in cheek.

    If he’s just having a pop at Who in general, then I think this is the perfect riposte: “But when you grumble about good shows that entertain millions and ask for the spectrum to be reduced you sound like the enemy of creativity.”

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