Or How I Learnt To Stop Worrying And Love Procrastination

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Since Page One

The BBC has just announced Steven Moffat will be taking over Doctor Who in 2010. It’s amazing how this guy keeps popping back into my life every so often.

I would be a different person if not for watching Press Gang when I was young. The story of teenage kids that ran their own newspaper, it was full of great plot twists, fantastic dialogue and…in Spike and Linda…shaped all my young notions of courtship and love. Every 4:30pm I would come home from school and turn to the ABC, and catch up with my friends at the Junior Gazette.

(Favourite episodes: At Last A Dragon – Spike and Linda’s first date. The Rest Of My Life – Spike is caught in a building explosion. The Last Word – when a kid with a gun invades the Junior Gazette. Day Dreams – an imaginary future for the team.)

I didn’t know anything about Steven Moffat at the time. I didn’t know that every episode was written by the same guy. I didn’t know that the vision he had also led to many awards being won. I just loved the show. It was easily my favourite show at the time, as a kid, and it inspired a teenage me.

Many years later, almost ten years later, I came across a show on late night ABC called Coupling. It was an energetic and exciting sit-com about 6 friends, and the adventures of finding a partner in your twenties. The dialogue was super smart, and the show format was inventive – one episode was a split screen all the way through. Another was the same nine and a half minutes repeated 3 times from different perspectives.

It made a big impact on me, at that time in my life. I bought all the DVDs and watched them all. And this is where I realized that the guy who wrote this show was the guy responsible for Press Gang. The similarities were there. The dialogue, the inventiveness of the form, and most importantly the romance.

(Favourite episodes: The Man With Two Legs – Jeff falls in love but ends up telling her that he’s an amputee. Split – Steve and Susan break up, leading to a battle of the sexes over a split screen. Naked – Jeff’s birthday becomes a disaster. Nine And A Half Months – the finale, and a baby.)

Friends and I used the terms pioneered in this show. The Sock Gap. A girl I could not get out of my life, we called her the Unflushable. As I was going out more and meeting more people, all those odd encounters, faux pas, and miscommunications were so well portrayed in Coupling.

He has written four episodes of Doctor Who, and they are easily the best four. The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances won so much acclaim – a kid wearing a gas mask in WWII, the introduction of Captain Jack and all sorts of goodies. The Girl In the Fireplace was such an intricate, beautiful love story that crosses time and space (with lovely French-ness) and finally Blink, which barely had the Doctor at all, but the most brilliant villains (don’t blink!).

By all accounts Moffat’s always been a big fan, and it’s heartwarming for me to see this man, who has brought me so much happiness, getting his dream. The point of all this, I guess, is that I feel this way at all. I feel like I’ve known Steven Moffat for so long. He was there when I met Linda Day and courted her. He was there when I got trapped under that building. He was there when I made a fool of myself in a bar with a pretty girl. He was there when I fought clockwork mechanical soldiers in the far flung future (ahem).

Anyway, good work old friend. Looking forward to seeing you quite a bit more.


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