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Published on March 30th, 2014 | by Christian Cawley

Mark Gatiss: The Doctor Could Meet Jane Austen!

We seem to have been chatting about Mark Gatiss’ trip to Brazil throughout March, a trip with BBC Worldwide to promote Doctor Who and Sherlock in South America’s biggest economy where popularity for both shows is steadily increasing.

Indeed, we shouldn’t overlook the trip – as well as promoting the show, it could prove to be a dry-run for future events in the country featuring the stars from both shows.

Among the many quotes to have been collected in Gatiss’ travels there, the following possibility was offered when the writer revealed he was penning two scripts (something he’s since clarified):

One of the things which new Doctor Who sort of invented was the idea of a celebrity historical – Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Winston Churchill, Shakespeare. There’s three writers there so I think Jane Austen stands quite a quite a good chance actually…

I’m not quite sure what the adventure would be. Maybe an alien posing as Mr Darcy.

Having Jane Austen haunted by aliens posing as her characters might well be the way to go, but would you prefer a different writer – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, perhaps?

(Cbnfoz, via


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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+.

17 Responses to Mark Gatiss: The Doctor Could Meet Jane Austen!

  1. avatar Simon Magellan says:

    Great comment on another site – “I had to look up Jane Austen as I’d never heard of her. She’s apparently a romantic novelist. Dreary”

    I was left somewhat speechless.

    • avatar James Lomond says:

      Blimey. That’s concerning. …I hope the doctor doesn’t visit Austen. The Agatha Christie and Shakespeare episodes were terrible. It’s just too much camp even for Who. Unless she were a brilliantly written, played-straight character with the fact of who she was only coming out later and any relevance of the story to her writing sufficiently subtle and not overbearing the whole narrative- *then* it might be ok. I’d rather he visited Scott of the Antarctic or Captain Cook or somet’. If they go ahead with it i hope I’m proved wrong…

      • avatar Hunith says:

        “Terrible”? I think they are among the very best NuWho episodes! What is “camp” about them? They are brilliantly written and hilariously played and a great way for children to become aware of two wonderful authors and the time they lived in, and the same goes for the Van Gogh episode btw. I can’t wait to see the Doctor fangirl about Austen!

    • oh dear. Someone ought to tell Mister Rochester about this, as well. Specifically the Timothy Dalton Version. Man, i LOVEd the Christie episode. CLASSIC WHO all the way, that one.

      • avatar Fatma says:

        You are aware of course that Mr. Rochester is a Charlotte Brönte character not a Jane Austen character.

  2. avatar Kate says:

    Wow who doesn’t know who Jane Austen is!? Even if you don’t like her you have to give her props for all she accomplished during her writing career. I think it would be really cool to have her in an episode. I have to say bringing in historical figures has been very interesting. I think the episode with Van Gogh has been one of the most popular (and one of my favorites) and I loved the Agatha Christie one as well.

  3. avatar Simon Magellan says:

    Personally, with the exception of the Christie ep, I think the historical character stories have been excellent – the Vincent one in particular. Given Austen’s work has already been used to kick start a whole new genre (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies leading to literary horror/sf cross overs) this could potentially work well. But I’d also like to suggest the likes of Conan Doyle (a Sherlock without Sherlock) and Wells, or maybe -to get away from the Brits – Burroughs?

  4. avatar Ranger says:

    It makes me shudder to hear Austen described as a mere romantic novelist – that’s like saying Da Vinci was quite good at drawing. I loved the Christie episode, just as a comic runaround, not sure it would work with Austen though.

    • Austen would totally steal the TARDIS out from under the Doctor’s nose.

  5. avatar DonnaM says:

    Dear me, what do they teach in schools these days?

    Personally I enjoyed both the Shakespeare and Christie episodes – I found them entertaining romps and every series needs a couple of lightweight, undemanding stories. However, I really don’t fancy the premise Gatiss is suggesting here.

    • avatar simon magellan says:

      Probably shouldn’t say this but I work in a college and speaking one day to an English teacher discovered she didn’t know what a suffix was…

      By the way, to clarify my comment above – I meant Edgar Rice Burroughs not William – though the latter might make for an interesting episode!

  6. avatar mrjohnm says:

    “The Shakespeare Code” is one of my favorite episodes of the new series. I also enjoyed “Vincent and the Doctor,” but I have to admit that “The Unicorn and the Wasp” was a little less impressive. I don’t really care for Austen and don’t think an episode with her would be successful. However, an episode with Doyle would be cool. Or maybe even have the new Doctor meet Dumas!

  7. avatar J W says:

    An episode with Arthur Conan Doyle would be interesting. Capaldi would look very Sherlockian in a deerstalker and long coat. Perhaps he serves to inspire Doyle to create Holmes much as he inspired H.G, Wells to in “TIMELASH”

    • I seem to recall a snippet of info somewhere that said The Ripper would feature somehow in Capaldi’s era. OH GOd I hope so. It’s about time we saw the Doctor go there. Plus, just like in that comic, he could be the ‘Doctor’ that was blamed for the murders! ;) HAPPY DANCe. Love me some historicals.

      • avatar simon magellan says:

        I’ve never been comfortable with shows that attempt to give an explanation to the Ripper – I feel it demeans the tragedy of the real victims, the women he (or she) murdered. It may have been 125 years ago but it doesn’t diminish what happened (for me anyway).

        I felt the same, by the way, about “Let’s Kill Hitler” which I am afraid I felt trivialised the evil of the Nazi Regime.

        Just my opinion though.

        • Couldn’t agree more. It’s like someone in 90 years time trying to turn Peter Sutcliffe’s crimes into a jolly sci-fi romp, or trivialise Hindle and Brady’s sick escapades. Or even Savile.

          I have to say, though, that there needs to be more triviality concerning Nazi Germany. By this I mean it’s about time we were given the chance to reappraise exactly what went on, and how those millions of people somehow fell asleep at the wheel and let those monstrous politicians, perverts and propaganda masters in. I wonder what parallels we might see…

        • avatar mrjohnm says:

          Simon, I remember reading somewhere that a family member of a Titanic passenger felt the same way after watching the Christmas special with Kylie. And while I understand what you’re saying about trivializing such tragic events in our history, the idea of using historical events of any kind for the basis of fiction has been around for a long time and is probably going nowhere. Just watch a Shakespeare play to see what I mean. Or maybe an Indiana Jones movie!

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