Saturday, 21 May 2011

An open letter to Steven Moffat in which I outline some ideas for Doctor Who monsters, which occurred to me during a recent holiday in Yorkshire

Dear Steven/Mr Moffat/'Moff'

Congratulations on your recent output of high-quality drama. You are a hell of a guy. But, it seems to me, a busy one. Really, it must be all go. Why not relax a little? Take some 'you time'. Put on a pair of comfy slippers and flick through that Bafta awards souvenir programme with a Cadbury's Options while I do some work for you.

First, a small moment of personal regret. I think it's important we can be honest with each other. While I was thrilled to see Kenny from
Press Gang cast in the recent piratical episode of Doctor Who, I must confess I was disappointed not to see Julia Sawalha, aka Lynda Day, editor of the Junior Gazette, cast in the role of the ship's captain – thus denying the world a small fraction of the Press Gang reunion we have been waiting the best part of 20 years for. But I'll forgive you, because a) you didn't actually write that episode, even though you are Da Boss (that's a passing Press Gang reference, which you would obviously get), and b) you must have a lot on your mind.

Anyway. That's enough nostalgia. Let's get to the monsters. Which is like something Doctor Who would actually say. You can have that line for free, if you like.

Monster No 1) Everything's getting smaller these days – Pizza Express pizzas, Wagon Wheels, the number of crisps in a bag of Walkers – right? WRONG. Not everything. Yorkshire puddings are getting bigger. Gastro pubs seem intent on proving their credentials not just in terms of how artfully crumpled their leather sofas are, or how quirkily vintage-looking the wallpaper in the toilets is, but also how ludicrously large their Yorkshire puddings are. I often feel that if you removed a section of one to fit your face through, you could wear it on your head as some kind of officially recognised protective headgear for amateur boxing.

I confess I am often intimidated by the size of the trimmings that come with my Sunday lunch. I am suggesting that, in
Who world, the traditional Yorkshire pudding could be an amorphous, beast of batter that terrorises families as they sit together at the table for their only meal together of the week and torments groups of friends catching up over a pub lunch. It sits silently on their plates, modest in size at first, but gradually growing fatter and more powerful as it feeds off their love and companionship and community until they are hollow, grey and slumped.

It might have tiny mean eyes and an angry, gaping mouth like this:

Monster No 2) Perhaps, like me, you are a sensitive and delicate individual who finds it difficult to sleep in an unfamiliar place. If so, you are probably used to this kind of sight:

The darkness of the foreign bedroom, and the LED alarm clock with its messages of the minutes and hours creeping past in which you are not having delicious restorative slumber. In your head, you perform arithmetic to determine the diminishing amount of time that remains until you must face down a cooked breakfast and tell your host how incredibly well you slept, yes, like an absolute log, thanks.

But what if, through the night, your LED alarm clock is sending you a different kind of message every time you open your eyes. Something like this:

(Apologies for the ropey, wobbly-handed Photoshop.)

Maybe you think your eyes are deceiving you – it's dark, you're tired, maybe you're dreaming. And in reality you're massively short-sighted so all you would actually see would be a soft orange blur. You put your head back down on the pillow and close your eyes. But you feel very strongly that you must open them a second later. And then you see this:

This is ludicrous. You turn over. Pull up the duvet. But you can't help turning back.

Surely turning on the light will solve all this. You get out of bed. You can't find the light switch. You trip over your splayed-open suitcase. Now your foot really, really hurts. You look back at the clock.

Who is trapped inside the alarm clock? The ghost of B&B residents past? And what happened to them? Were they somehow exterminated by demonically overbearing landladies force-feeding them sausages and black pudding before 9am?

Monster No 3) We've established above that the dark can be a bad place. A dangerous place. So you can rely on the light, then? To bring comfort and clarity? To remind you that this is just a cosy room in a bed and breakfast in a small, charming Yorkshire town? Not so much when the light fittings are GIANT SPIDERS descending on silken ropes towards your FACE.


jaljen said...

The clock-notion is inspired. One can hardly believe it hasn't been deployed before. I don't think it could pass as a monster but certainly would add a frisson as a running theme.

The spider gets nul points from me as I'm rather fond of the blighters. I must admit that, for those of a timid persuasion, the light fitting would be likely to elicit a request for another room. "It's charming, charming you have anything north-facing/with a lovely view of the bins/directly over the bar?"

The Yorkshire pudding is genuinely disgusting and a stroke of genius. I expect to see them in the next series. You should at the very least ask for a creative credit.

Alison Cross said...

I like these ideas - especially the clock thing. The photoshopping must have taken ages *impressed face*

If Mr Moffat is reading this, could I ask that he asks people to sloooooowwwwww down a bit when they are talking because quite often, with these terribly cerebral episodes that are en vogue with Dr Who, I often have not a clue what is going on until the denouement.

So, when my son (10) says 'mum - I don't understand what's happening'. By the time I've explained what I THINK is happening, the plot has utterly changed and neither of us have a fecking CLUE what's going on.

What happened to the days of just being chased by cybermen through wobbly sets?

Ali x

Hawthorn said...

Ha ha ha! You made me laugh out loud! Excellent 'monsters' especially the talking clock!

Frances said...

Very clever. Very funny.

Shrimptowers said...

Monster No. 2. Genius.
Monster No. 3. Freakin' scary!

Persephone said...

Fabulous. Steven Moffat needs to see these. And hire you. I'll be the one cheering from behind the sofa.