DOCTOR WHO “The Time Cuckoo” by David Gilbank & Paul Renhard
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Watch the Fan Fiction Table Reading “The Time Cuckoo”
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