Before the BFI screened Doctor Who: The Movie as part of their ‘Doctor Who’ season, the first of two panels gave numerous writers for the show, the fanzines and novels, the chance to discuss their love for it and why they continue to come up with Doctor Who stories in so many forms. The panel included Andrew Cartmel, Nicholas Briggs, Justin Richards, Gary Russell, Jason Haigh-Ellery and Marcus Hearn.
Cartmel, who was a script editor and writer for the seventh Doctor, explained that there was no big dramatic finish when the series came to an end. To him, the ratings were impressive, especially as it was going up against Coronation Street. He explained that, when it did end, ‘it was just silence’. The writers had been thinking about where the show could go next. It just wasn’t to be.
What followed was what fans have come to call ‘the wilderness years’ but this wildnerness did not seem to touch the panel who all had plenty to say about the fandom. Russell speculated that ‘everyone who grew up watching Doctor Who wanted to do something creative’. Everyone on the panel had at some point worked on fanzines or some other medium. Some had written Doctor Who novels and many of the panel also run Big Finish Productions, the company that works on audio stories which continue to expand the Doctor Who universe even further. Richards said that it’s a ‘very open format’, explaining that there are always more stories to tell. Haigh-Ellery also speculated that the Doctor will always be with us in some form or another, just like Sherlock Holmes.