Change, My Dear; or, I’m Sooo Changeable!

Did you see the pace of those shows? They were incredibly, incredibly slow! Really hideous. I dearly loved Doctor Who but I don’t think my love of it translated into it being a tremendously good series. It was a bit crap at times, wasn’t it? … [I, Claudius] had a brilliant script and a cast of brilliant actors. These are two things we cannot say in all forgiveness about Doctor Who. …

Steven Moffat

When I look back at Doctor Who now, I laugh at it, fondly. As a television professional, I think: how did these guys get a paycheck every week? Dear God, it’s bad! Nothing I’ve seen of the black and white stuff – with the exception of the pilot, the first episode – should have got out of the building. They should have been clubbing those guys to death! You’ve got an old guy in the lead who can’t remember his lines; you’ve got Patrick Troughton, who was a good actor, but his companions – how did they get their Equity card? Explain that! They’re unimaginably bad. Once you get to the colour stuff some of it’s watchable, but it’s laughable. Mostly now, looking back, I’m startled by it. …

My memories of Doctor Who are based on bad television that I enjoyed at the time. It could get me really burned saying this, but Doctor Who is actually aimed at 11-year-olds. … If you look at other stuff from the Sixties they weren’t crap – it was just Doctor Who. The first episode of Doctor Who betrays the lie that it’s just the Sixties, because the first episode is really good – the rest of it’s shit. …

It’s not that I don’t like it, but I wouldn’t care to show it to my friends in television and say look, I think this is a great programme, because I think they might fling me out! … The basic principles of it, some of the moments or ideas, are so great they can dupe you into believing the programme was better than it really was. It was actually pretty shabby a lot of the time, which is a shame. … Doctor Who was not limited merely by the limitations of the times or the styles that were prevalent then. It was limited by the relatively meagre talent of the people who were working on it. … Mostly they were middle-of-the-range hacks who were not going to go on to do much else.

Steven Moffat, 1995

At the time [of the (above) interview] I had no real connection to Doctor Who at all (goodness, was the world ever so?). If I’m right, it’s available somewhere on the internet, and oh God, it’s vile. Well, I’m vile. Full of myself, pompous, and dismissing all the writers of the old show as lazy hacks. Dear God, I blush, I cringe, I creep. I walked out of the interview, high on my own giddy genius, and wrote Chalk, one of the most loathed and derided sitcoms in the history of the form. The thing about life, you can always rely on it to administer a good slap when required.

Find it, read it, hate me – I did.

Steven Moffat, 2009(?)

I hate this orthodoxy that Doctor Who suddenly became good in 2005 – that’s not true. I didn’t fall in love with that show because it was rubbish – it was because it was brilliant. … If you haven’t [seen the first episode] and you entertain the idea that Doctor Who was ever anything but brilliant, go and watch it. It’s absolutely astonishing – 25 minutes of magical television. … Those of us who grew up venerating it and loving and not regarding it as a silly thing, we became middle-aged and we put our love into this show.

Steven Moffat, 2010

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