Doctor Who News Doctor Who chief Steven Moffat

Published on March 29th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Moffat: “I thought historicals were dull”

A recent interview with Steven Moffat has revealed that the writer and Executive Producer of Doctor Who has a certain disdain towards historical adventures…


Speaking to a group of journalists, the man who runs the 50-year-old TV show was asked if it is possible that a purely historical adventure might be seen in the future, perhaps as a nod of the hat to the series’ first adventure which saw the travellers inadvertently thrown into the distant past.

I don’t think it’s impossible, but I’m going to put my cards on the table here and say I didn’t think those historical adventures were any good, I didn’t like them, I thought they were dull, and as far as I remember them as a kid I couldn’t wait for them to be over to get back to proper sci fi. I’m just being honest, they weren’t my favourite.

That doesn’t mean that we won’t come up with a story that is a historical, but I think they were discarded for a reason, and even before they were discarded they were always reduced to only four part stories, they were regarded as the lesser element of the show.

I think if you’ve got this glittering man in his extraordinary space/time machine just having him visit the past isn’t enough. I don’t think it is. There has to be something as extraordinary as he is otherwise it’s like Sherlock Holmes investigating local crimes, it’s just not enough for our hero.

What do you think? Is Moffat wrong (you might be in agreement with our recent article on this very subject), or would you rather forget The Aztecs?

Head on over to Outpost Skaro where you can enjoy the full interview


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

6 Responses to Moffat: “I thought historicals were dull”

  1. avatar Warrington Carter says:

    He’s wrong because not EVERY story can have monsters in it. It makes for a good change of pace. That doesn’t mean you should have half a season worth of them, or even one every season, but they make a good change of pace.

  2. avatar TimeChaser says:

    I’ll reiterate what I said by way of comment on the previous article on historical stories. I think you could get a rare historical that has a good sense of drama and peril for the characters that can still be just as entertaining as a pseudo-historical with alien intervention.

    I point again to “The Fires of Vulcan” audio vs “The Fires of Pompeii” TV episode. Both are great pieces of drama with a sense of foreboding doom because the Doctor and companion, like the audience, know what is to come, and are unsure of how to escape events. In the audio, the Doctor feels trapped by foreknowledge that the TARDIS will be buried in the lava and dug up thousands of years later. Its just as entertaining as lava aliens trying to take over the world and the Doctor having to stop it by instigating the eruption. In both cases though, the drama is driven by the inevitability of what history says has to happen.

  3. avatar yorkshirened says:

    well, each to this own…..but he’s wrong!

  4. avatar docwhom says:

    I think Moffat is a great writer but, for some reason, whenever he comes out with some theory about writing Doctor Who, he ends up talking complete nonsense. Mostly, because the sort of stuff he comes out with is after-the-fact justification for whatever he’s chosen to write – it wasn’t his actual reason for writing it. Mind you, RTD did the same. They’ve both come up with grand theories on how to write Doctor Who which bear little relation to reality. I just wish they’d get on with the writing and stop trying to sound wise.

  5. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    I too have to disagree with the Moff. The Aztecs is one of the finest Doctor Who adventures ever. I think it’s just a matter of him being such a fanboy and thinking they were dull *as a kid*. It’s sometimes tough to overcome some of those opinions when they’re ingrained into your head as a little one. They could do an entire series of nothing but historicals and I’d wager that, with the right writers, the series would be just as enjoyable as any other, with episodes that rank from excellent to the yearly flop episode. Every series has them.

  6. avatar iank says:

    Very funny stuff coming from the creator of the most boring season of Who ever in series 7. Get a clue for God’s sake.

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