DOCTOR WHO - Would Mark Gatiss make a good show runner?

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Following the news that Mark Gatiss is to pen two new scripts for Doctor Who, Tom Pheby gives us his reasons why he believes Gatiss would make an excellent Doctor Who show runner when Steven Moffat steps down.

With the inevitable departure of Steven Moffat, it's fair to start speculating about who could replace him as chief cook, bottle washer, head writer and executive producer. Now for the devotees of the series, this is a sport we usually indulge in with the Doctor himself but I think it's equally fun to take part in this behind the scenes process, or maybe I just have too much time on my hands? Either way, I believe that the person could be waiting in the wings, surely it's a no brainer to put Mark Gatiss at the top of the list.


Best known for his writing and appearances in the surreal village of Royston Vasey in 'The League of Gentlemen', this talented writer now applies his trade in prime time telly slots and may relish the prospect of a show that has limitless possibilities for his style of creative scribing. I'm more than prepared to wear egg on my face if this should not be the case but if you think about it, not even the most confident man would bet against it.

Mark Gatiss has already been heavily involved on Doctor Who and the Moff's other hit show, Sherlock, and he has provided some of the more sparkling moments and inventive scripts, including Victory of the Daleks, Night Terrors and The Crimson Horror. So by virtue of credibility, merit, experience and connection, it would already seem that he is the heir apparent. It's a move that could open up the doors for dramatic changes (be careful what you wish for!). Although we've yet to see Peter Capaldi in the most daunting and converted role on TV, I suspect that he may well enjoy playing with the character of the Doctor, and relish taking us into uncharted water.


Perhaps this was the whole reason for Moffat encouraging Gatiss to become more involved in the first place, he wants him as his successor. But then again no one can truly say that the Moff is predictable in his thoughts or his actions, he gives very little away, even in terms of the smallest detail, and it would appear that the best kept secrets remain in Wales, where even rumours are in short supply.

The process of selecting a worthy successor must be harder than finding a decent act on 'Britain's got talent' and the decision to accept the position must bring on spells of anxiety and rampant heartburn. It's such an iconic show that there's no one alive that wants to be held accountable for it disappearing from the TV schedules again.

The role of lead writer and executive producer becomes all consuming, as Russell T Davies admitted on numerous occasions, and you have to be involved in 'a love affair' with the show to compensate for missing out on family, friends and bumming about on the sofa in your pants with nothing better to think about than what you are having for lunch.


Gatiss is used to maintaining standards with 'The League of Gentlemen', although written with others it was consistently brilliant, and everything he has written for Who or Sherlock has been splendid. So as much as Moff's guiding hand would be missed, there is champion close by. Mark Gatiss seems an intelligent and likeable chap, but don't be fooled into thinking he will give into opinion at the first sign of trouble because he is quite single minded. Not too long ago in an interview he revealed his secret method when penning a new Doctor Who script...
"Writing Doctor Who, you don't give a monkey's [about the opinion of diehard fans]. You write it for your audience, not for the people who will watch it anyway."
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