Tuesday, October 09, 2018


One of the pieces of advice I hear most relating to TV writing is to have an opinion. But how exactly do you express that opinion of your favourite or most hated TV shows without people hating you for it?

First of all show respect. Whatever you think of the show, whether you love or hate it, a lot of people have shed blood, sweat and tears to get it made. Don't shit all over their hard work. Would you be happy if someone slated the stuff you write?

Equally, don't hide your opinion away. Don't be afraid of giving it. No matter what you say there will always be someone who will disagree with your opinion and slate you for it. That's social media for you. Don't let that put you off. Be polite, constructive and respectful and never be tempted to get into arguments with idiots. Never rise to their bait. State your opinion and if things get heated, walk away.

So let's get to Doctor Who series eleven, episode one. Here's my opinion... brace yourselves.

The introductory episode of every new Doctor is always difficult. There's a new Doctor to discover, new companions to introduce and a new title sequence and T.A.R.D.I.S. to reveal. My first disappointment with the episode was that it felt a little thin, that something was missing. And I'm not talking about the absence of the title sequence and the T.A.R.D.I.S.

It was a very simple plot. A one-sentence concept. Personally, I would have preferred to see less of the new Doctor discovering who she was and more of a substantial plot. Having said that, it did work. They obviously decided to keep the plot simple to keep things moving along while concentrating on introducing the new set up. They clearly didn't want to get bogged down in all that exposition and I'm sure that as the season progresses we'll see more complex plotting and greater character exploration. I just prefer my drama to have more drama, Killing Eve or Bodyguard style.

I'm also not a fan of change. I'll happily admit it. That's just me. Change makes me anxious. Why fiddle with something that works? Why change things for change's sake? Don't get me wrong I love Jodie and welcome a female Doctor. I just wanted there to be a plot reason for her introduction and I was satisfied when Steven Moffat delivered one. What I mean by change is... I hated the fact that in the first episode the title sequence was missing. It's an event. Something every fan looks forward to in every episode, especially with the introduction of a new theme tune and titles with each new Doctor. I love 'woo wooing' along to the theme tune. It's absence was disconcerting. The missing T.A.R.D.I.S. was a little less so but still distracting. They even moved the show's time slot to a Sunday. I can understand that one. Sunday is the evening families are most likely to sit together and watch the show. Both my sons sat and watched it with me. I think that's the first time ever. They absolutely loved it.

Having said all of that, I did enjoy the show. I'll certainly be watching next week with my family and I'm looking forward to all the surprises Mr Chiball and gang have in store for us.

So remember, you can have an opinion, it's important to have one, you just need to be considerate when expressing it. And more importantly be respectful of other people's opinions especially if you don't agree with them.

Happy writing!


debbiemoon said...

"Diversity overload"? I think you mean "showing Britain as it actually is"? Honestly, mate, if you're not trying to be racist I don't get what your point is, and if you are...

Dominic Carver said...

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not racist. I'm a little offended you think that might be the case.

I've seen how positive discrimination (in all its form and not just related to race) can have a negative effect, which is why I think it doesn't help promote diversity and inclusivity. Promoting COWBOYS CAN FLY as an LGBT led and themed feature got us nowhere. It wasn't until I pushed it as a coming-of-age story of friendship that people sat up and took notice. It's a sad fact that even in this day and age people still push back against diversity. I wish that wasn't the case but it is.

Noel Clarke as the first black companion and Captain Jack's introduction didn't cause this much discussion or uproar at the time and yet they have been accepted just the same.

Dominic Carver said...

I spent several days planning and writing this blog. I chose every word carefully and deliberately. I agonised over the obvious flack I was going to get for posting it, especially the insertion of the words 'diversity overload', and yet I still did. I wanted to prove that it's easier to shit all over someone else's hard work and that restraint and level-headedness is far harder to achieve than attacking someone for their views with your own, just because you think you are right. Everyone thinks they're right. I had no idea just how spectacularly that point would be proved, especially on Twitter.

It seems it's far easier to attack people with your opinion that it is to remain and contribute positively. Quite a few people latched on to the words 'diversity overload' and 'positive discrimination' and implied I was a racist for writing them, while happily ignoring the parts of my blog where I said, "Don't get me wrong I love Jodie and welcome a female Doctor,' 'Diversity and inclusivity should be encouraged,' and that' I did enjoy the show.' Funny that!

I once went to a job interview and was asked what 'equal opportunities' meant to me. I answered that it was not being discriminatory just because of someone's colour, religion, sexual orientation or gender. Imagine my surprise when I was told I was wrong, that it was actually about assessing each individual's complex needs and not labelling them just to make it easier for yourself. Those are wise words now and even more so considering they were actually uttered seventeen years ago. I live my life by them and even though I might occasionally say the wrong thing or unintentionally step on people's toes, I always try to treat everyone I come across with the same respect even when I disagree with them.

That is the true point of my post and I'm disappointed not everyone got it, even some people who I thought would.

Unknown said...

I think the issue is Dominic that you set out to discuss the episode the make a big sustained point about diversity overload. And yet that wasn't part of the script or programme. The range of characters were just there in the story (which is proper inclusion). Their race or gender or whatever were not drawn attention to at all. At no point did the Doctor go "oh this is great, I've never had an Asian companion before. It simply wasn't an issue in the script at all. Even the Doctor's new gender was mentioned in passing only. So it is hard to see where your diversity overload or 'trying too hard' argument is coming from.

Nick Jackson said...

Whilst I don't think the show suffered from diversity overload, I understand what you were saying and didn't read anything from it that could be considered racist. And as you also said: you enjoyed the episode (me too, btw).

Marnie said...

Hmmm, normally a fan of your blogs Dom but not sure what you mean by 'diversity overload'? Are you suggesting that either Mandip Gill or Tosin Cole didn't get their parts on merit?

For me , the potential pitfall of using three companions is not the casting, but creating enough story for them, and the Doctor, to do each week in a 45-minute episode, that will also have to cater for guest stars, monsters etc.

This is something Dr Who has historically struggled with, and presents a much more pressing problem for Chris Chibnall et al than the colour of the cast's skin.

I'd have hoped by 2018 that would even be an issue.

Besides, you've still got Bradley Walsh representing the middle-aged white dudes ;-)

Dominic Carver said...

I was asked to reread my blog and after doing so realised my poor choice of words could be interpreted in a way other than the one I intended. I would like to apologise unreservedly to everyone offended by the post.

There is no excuse for making such a grievous error and I won’t try to provide one. I also won’t attempt to amend the offending section of my post but have instead removed it entirely. I have left the rest of the post intact as its message is more poignant today than it was yesterday.

Once again, I apologise to those I offended, that was never my intention. In the future, I hope to choose my words more wisely.