The BBC announced on Friday Frank Cottrell Boyce is the final writer for Series 8. And you should be glad of that. Because Boyce could potentially be the next Neil Gaiman. Not in the sense that he writes one fantastic episode, followed by one disappointing episode, but in the sense of him being maybe the most prolific writer on the team. He won the 2004 Carnegie Medal, the de facto award for children and young adult literature awarded annually. It’s basically literature’s academy awards. He also won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, which is similar but only Britain-based.
Some of the novels he’s written include Millions, in-which two boys must decide what to do with a million pounds in a Britain transitioning to the Euro. It’s an adaptation for his screenplay of the same name. This person can write screenplays and prose, which is important in a show as imaginative and conceptual as Doctor Who. His second novel, Framed, was also short-listed for the same awards.
His screenwriting career has been just as significant. He’s also been a writer on long-rival show Coronation Street. His film writing career was made with Butterfly Kiss, which Roger Ebert gave a positive review, particularly with regard as to how the character’s names relate to both sides of one person. Variety called it a ” breathtakingly original meld of road movie, lesbian love story, psychodrama and black comedy”. So really, he can do anything if he wants to. And that’s not just an advantage for Doctor Who: it’s a requirement. Another of his originals include 24 Hour Party People, about Manchester’s music scene through the late twentieth century, which shows his understanding of British culture in the seventies, eighties and nineties. Perhaps he’ll be writing a historical episode set during that time? We don’t have enough of those, Father’s Day being one the few, and the rest being contemporary. It would be nice to return to that era. Alternatively, there’s Revengers Tragedy, starring Christopher Eccleston, Mark Warren and Derek Jacobi. A strange mix. In researching just about everything he’s ever written, I find Code 46, a science fiction about the dangers of nanotechnology. This makes me think that my previous prediction could be the opposite of what he’s written, and that we might end-up with a hard sci-fi set in the near future. Now if it does relate to the finale somehow, I can see Cybermen being included. But perhaps his greatest feat was God On Trial, which examined the philosophical implications of a world in-which God allows his people to be exterminated by people that also worship him. Has God broken his covenant? While this is another period drama, it’s about a specific group of people in a completely different period and location, and asks questions rather than just being accurate. That description applies to everything Doctor Who is about. Any time period, encountering any person of any belief, fighting evil and seeing how they react to it based on their culture. Rufus “Peter Eccleston” Hound, eat your heart out. A review from The Telegraph implies that Boyce wrote something against what he himself believed, and that open-mindedness is perfect for writing this show, given that it takes place in all of time and space. You need to be fairly open-minded to handle that, especially as that review went-on to say anyone in the audience would feel what they believe becoming questioned and compromised.
He also wrote the Olympic opening ceremony. So that bit with James Bond was his script. Writing about it in the Guardian, Boyce said “Russell T Davies, the man who saved television, told me: ‘It changed my idea of the possible.'”
His script involves a cast of mostly child actors, so there’s the possibility his episode will be Doctor-lite, which is a disappointing possibility. If that’s not the case, the thought occurs that perhaps the Doctor and Clara have been regressed into children, and must go on an adventure to make themselves adults again. (Cue life message about growing up, blah blah blah).
Regardless of what happens, I don’t want to know the details of episode ten until it’s broadcast. Unless the script leaks. I have in fact read Deep Breath‘s script and confirm it’s just Warriors Of The Deep all over again.
I wish him luck. Please, Mr. Boyce, and I know I don’t need to say this, but… don’t muck it up.
“I was flabbergasted to be asked to write an episode – partly because I’ve been so absorbed in the last few series that I’d sort of forgotten that it wasn’t real.”