In an interview in the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine , producer Russell T Davies has been hinting at his plans for season four of Doctor Who, and season two of Torchwood – and it’s bad news for those of you who are hoping for more "darkness".
Looking back at the third series of Who, our favourite ginormous Welshman says:
“It does get very dark, series three, as it progresses, and I think there’s a little element of fun missing. I love those final three episodes, but part of me misses a great big Dalek/Cyberman war – the fun of it! I’m sure that fandom was luxuriating in that run of ‘Human Nature’, ‘The Family of Blood’, then ‘Blink’, which was very dark, and then the darkness of bringing back the Master. Fandom might think that’s the way forward... but it’s not. Next year we’ll be pulling back from the darkness. Absolutely. The greatest mistake with TV drama is to presume that darkness=good. And if you're expecting Doctor Who to head further that way just because of the success of ‘Human Nature’ onwards, that’s not going to happen. Sorry.... we’re starting at Christmas, with a big, fun spectacular, and then the first few episodes next year are going back to the colour and liveliness of ‘Smith and Jones’ and ‘The Shakespeare Code’. More fun! Those are my instincts.”
He also discusses how there’s still work to be done on Torchwood, and identifies “more fun” as a key element in the second season.
“The key to series two is that we’ve absolutely cracked it with episode one – there’s more fun. Everyone worked so hard on series one, and it was done so fast, and darkness, again, is the thing that you grab hold of when you’re working that quickly, cos there’s a lot of story in darkness. It became a very dark series. If you watch the first episode, it’s got a pterodactyl, and an invisible lift, and a very witty Captain Jack... but we lost some of that, because of the speed of production. However, the first episode of series two is rip-roaring. It’s the sexiest adventure we’ve ever done, and Chris Chibnall’s finest hour.”
“I know there are certain sections of fandom who’d love us to say, ‘We’ve completely revamped it, and reinvented all of the characters,’ but we haven’t, actually. We like those five characters, we love that cast, there are still no two-parters in it, we’re keeping one-off stories each week, some sad, some funny, some lively, but a general sense of fun. Why don’t they have more of a laugh? That’s the natural thing that falls out of a script when you’re working fast.”
Davies also reveals how a Donna-ish “placeholder companion” called Penny (“30, a bit Bridget Jones... jilted, probably divorced”) morphed into Donna herself after Catherine Tate met BBC One controller Jane Tranter to discuss other projects, and talked non-stop about how much she’d loved doing Doctor Who.
Finally, some chewy bullet points of filling Who news for ya:
* Donna’s mum and dad Sylvia and Geoff will be back in series four.
* The crux of one of the stories is “when we travel into the past, why can’t we stop such-and-such terrible thing happening?”
* As well as the return of the Ood, there’ll be “a couple of monsters from the old days”.
* The legendary Sir Bernard of Cribbins (bows ceremonially) has a cameo role in the Christmas special.
* Christopher Benjamin will guest star in the Agatha Christie episode. Benjamin played theatrical impressario Henry Jago in fan-favourite classic Who serial “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”.