DOCTOR WHO “The Time Cuckoo” by David Gilbank & Paul Renhard

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival:

Watch the Fan Fiction Table Reading “The Time Cuckoo”


NARRATOR – Amaka Umeh
DOCTOR – Hugh Ritchie
AMY – Victoria Urquhart
NELSON – Julian Ford
VENTRILLIS – Sean Ballantyne
REGAZZA – Mohogany Brown
HARDY – Isaac Alfie

Get to know writers David Gilbank & Paul Renhard:

Matthew Toffolo: What is your Doctor Who screenplay about? 

David Gilbank & Paul Renhard: The Doctor is forced to kidnap Lord Nelson by an alien race who believe Nelson’s battle skills will help them win a war that has been raging for centuries.

Matthew: Where does this episode fit into the context of the series? 

David & Paul: It was written for Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. Although I’m pretty sure with a bit of tinkering, we could adjust to suit Doctors past and present.

Matthew: Your screenplay ends with a twist and a setup to a future conflict with the Doctor. Do you have episode 2 and beyond of your Doctor Who universe written or outlined? 

David & Paul: Not yet but it’s on our list of ‘things to do’. We’re currently in pre-production on a screenplay that we wrote about sport and love. That’s right a love story mixed up in a sport story. Think Rocky meets Pretty Woman and Love Actually. Or Slapshot in Love. Or something like that. We did it for the money.

Matthew: Who is your all-time favorite actor who played Doctor Who? 

David & Paul: Tough one – it would come down to Tom Baker or Jon Pertwee and we’d probably for Baker just because of The Seeds of Doom! Or Pertwee in the Planet of the Spiders. We did like Davis Tennant too.

Matthew: Who is your favorite non-Doctor character in the series? 

David & Paul: The Daleks. Every hero has to have his or her antagonists and the Daleks are just the best bad guys in fiction. Also liked Mike Yates, Sgt Benton and The Master (particularly Roger Delgado – Moriarty Deluxe). Also have to say I (Dave) loved the Tomb of the Cybermen. A beautifully written adventure with a claustrophobia akin to Alien (made some 10 years later). I love the way the old series (60’s and 70’s in particular) had to rely on storytelling to make up for the sparse FX and miniscule budgets.

Matthew: What TV show do you keep watching over and over again…besides Doctor Who?

David & Paul: The Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy TV mini-series – Alec Guinness as George Smiley. Perfect telly. I also loved Callan. Edward Woodward as a deadeye killer with a whiff of conscience was mesmerising. Loved the rebooted Battlestar Galactica. That story deserved to be re-made and those guys did it. Spectacularly written and wonderful acting. One of the best TV series ever made, scifi or other. I’m also re-watching The West Wing again. It’s like revisiting old friends. Aaron Sorkin has the IQ of Skynet.

Matthew: How long have you been working on this screenplay?  

David & Paul: About three months.

Matthew: How many stories have you written? 

David & Paul: Loads. We wrote a SciFi horror screenplay in 2010 called ‘Cull’ that won several screenwriting awards around the world. Think Soylent Green meets Alien. Its horrifying but a wild ride. We’ve also written several TV series, usually involving gangsters and aliens. We’ve just made a short film that is being well received. We’ve also written a ghost/horror screenplay which is currently doing well on the festival circuit.

Matthew: What motivated you to write this screenplay? 

David & Paul: We just love Doctor Who and the creative possibilities are infinite! We are ambitious writers and thought we could write something pretty exciting.

Matthew: What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay? 

David & Paul: A 9 to 5 job and, clashing personalities. Fortunately Dave is pretty obsessive and is pretty driven to complete projects. Dave finishes. Paul rewrites. Dave changes it back. They argue. They don’t talk for a week. Paul changes it back, Dave sulks. Paul thinks he’s got his own way. Dave sneakily changes it without Paul knowing…and voila a perfect writing team.(I didn’t know you did that!) (Just joking) (Really?) (of course) (I knew it!) (here’s a bottle of Johnny Walker. Drink it now) (Ok, but I will be checking in future) (sure you will, Drink…drink…driiiiink) (I love you) (shut up).

Matthew: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

David & Paul: We both love making films! So far we’ve only had the resources to make short films, but watch this space! Dave loves cricket, physics, Rugby League (Brisbane Broncos), Evolutionary archeology, history, carnivorous plants, digging holes and road rage. Paul likes writing and nothing else.

Matthew: What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

David & Paul: We’re always on the lookout for festivals to enter and this is the only one we know of that would let us enter a script based on an existing TV franchise. It’s always great to receive constructive criticism of your work, it’s the only way to make your writing better.

We accept we probably tried to cram too much into the episode, but we just couldn’t help it!

Matthew: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers? 

David & Paul: We’re really not in a position to offer advice, as we’ve never had anything made, barring our own short films, which are of varying quality. However, the only sage advice is to write! Just start writing, anything. The more you write the better you get at it. We’re both advertising copywriters during the day and we’ve learned that anything down on the laptop screen is better than nothing at all. Also listening to music and listening to the voices in your head is good. Unless they tell you to rob a bank or overthrow the government.

Producer/Director – Matthew Toffolo
Casting Director – Sean Ballantyne
Editor – John Johnson






Watch DOCTOR WHO Fan Fiction Screenplay Reading by Mark Renshaw

Watch the Fan Fiction Reading of DOCTOR WHO “My Doctor”:


NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
MARK – Peter Nelson
MATT SMITH – Andrei Preda
DAVROS/THE MASTER – Jason Martorino
AMY – Meghan Allen
WENDY – Julie Burris

Get to know writer Mark Renshaw:

1. What is your screenplay about?

My Doctor is a special episode of Doctor Who starring almost every incarnation of the famous Time Lord; up to and including Matt Smith. It also features some of his most notorious adversaries, such as the Daleks, Cybermen and The Master.

It begins in a normal every day setting, with an average guy called Mark (me!) eating his breakfast. In bursts Matt Smith in character as the Doctor. Mark is a huge Doctor Who fan, so he thinks this is all a prank, until the Doctor shows him a very real and extremely impossible TARDIS.

Realisation soon hits home, this is no ordinary situation. Mark is in very real danger and the only person who can save him is a fictional mad man in a box.

2. Why should this Dr. Who fan script be made into a movie?

I think this would make the quintessential Whovian adventure. It celebrates everything about Who, both classic and modern. I poured every bit of my admiration, respect and enjoyment for the show into this script. I wanted to write something long-term fans would really appreciate but also people new to the show would enjoy.

I believe this would make a fantastic audio, animated or even live-action production.

3. How long have you been watching Dr. Who? Have you seen almost (or every) episode?

I started watching in the Tom Baker years and I’ve seen pretty much every episode since. I’ve also gone back to watch some of the earlier episodes starring Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell. I even love the old Doctor Who movies starring the legendary Peter Cushing.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Star Wars – A New hope. There was a point in my childhood I was watching it every day.

5. What artists would you love to work with?

I’d love to team up with Steven Moffat and Russell T Davies to co-write the ultimate Doctor Who movie. I’d also love to work with Joss Whedon. I really admire his writing and the characters he creates. Oh and yeah, If JJ Abrams wants any help with Star Wars or for me to take over Star Trek, tell him to gimme a call!

6. How many stories/screenplays have you written?

I’ve been writing as a hobby for many years, so I’ve written lots of short stories and scripts; some fan fiction but mostly original material. I’ve recently finished writing my first original feature called The 12 Step Killers and I’m currently working on a sequel to American Werewolf in London, just for fun and because the idea popped in my head. I have to write whatever pops in my head otherwise it drives me insane.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

When Steven Moffat produced the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, he said something about the fan’s desire to include every incarnation of the Doctor in the special episode was impractical and impossible. I took that as a challenge. I know he includes a shot of all the Doctors at the end of the anniversary special but I felt they could have done more.

Also, as a fan I wanted to take part in the celebrations and was disappointed the BBC didn’t offer any opportunities for fans to participate. So I decided to write this just for myself. It was my way of joining in the celebration of fifty years of my favourite TV show.

8. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?
I have very little time to write, due to this annoying thing that keeps on getting in the way called life. So I have developed a process that works for me. Once I get an idea, I flesh it out in my head during the week. I have conversations with the characters and work on each scene mentally. I’ve found the best time for this is at the gym.

The idea is to have 10-15 pages worth of material ready to go. Then, when I get a few spare hours, I’ll seal myself off from the world, prepare an enormous cafetiere of coffee, fire up some inspirational soundtrack music, pound away at my keyboard and see how far I can get.

Some weeks I don’t get any time to write but as long as I keep on writing when I do, it all adds up and stops me going mental.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love stories. I love hearing them, reading them, watching them. I love music and art, anything which touches me emotionally and spiritually. I’m passionate about anything which helps me appreciate the here and now more.

10. Who is your all-time favorite Dr. Who and why?

Just like in the script, Tom Baker is my Doctor. He’ll always have the most special place in my heart but I really grew attached to Matt Smith. I do like Peter Capaldi a lot, he’s becoming an epic Doctor but I still miss Matt Smith.

11. What influenced you to enter the Fan Fiction Festival? Was the feedback you received valuable?

I wrote My Doctor for myself. As unsolicited fan fiction I knew the BBC couldn’t entertain even reading it, so I never thought I could do anything with it until I came across this fabulous festival. I looked through the website and saw some of the fantastic TV episodes and movies from all sorts of famous franchises and thought, why not give it a go? I’m so glad I did.

The feedback I received was incredible. The guy reviewing seemed to really understand not only scripts but Doctor Who and good, well-rounded stories. The feedback really helped me to write a new draft.

12. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Never stop writing. Never stop believing in yourself. Never stop challenging yourself. Write out of your comfort zone. Write things that scare you, write things that are difficult.

Write even if you only have one hour a month, never let excuses stop you. Never let that little demon that whispers in your ear ‘Why even try? Just give up!’ persuade you to stop.

Let your writing be your art, your message to the world, your legacy. Let your words cut deep, your dialogue speak volumes and make every single element of your script mean something; even if it only means something to you.

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Submit a classic TV show, movie series, or iconic franchise screenplay.

Watch sneak peak teaser of the DOCTOR WHO video on Instagram: