Russell T Davies may have ruled out a return to Doctor Who, but that doesn’t mean the former showrunner is going to let Steven Moffat get away with rewriting his era’s canon – especially when it comes to the Doctor’s love life.
First, some background. In last month’s issue of Doctor Who Magazine a concerned citizen wrote in to ask Moffat, “How valid are the Doctor’s marriages to Elizabeth I, Marilyn Monroe and River Song? Technically they’re all dead, so he’s a widower. But he could easily time travel back to when they’re alive. So is he a bigamist or not?”
Moffat went through each marriage and presented reasons why the Doctor isn’t, with his reasoning for Elizabeth I – the marriage of note here – being that while we saw them get married in The Day of the Doctor, the marriage possibly wasn’t valid because they hadn’t consummated it. But wait… didn’t the Tenth Doctor make it obvious in The End of Time that, thanks to him, Elizabeth I’s nickname of The Virgin Queen was no longer – “ahem” – fitting? Given that he is the guy who wrote it, T Davies thought the same. So, of course, he wrote back in the following issue, which is out today.
He said, “I love your list in DWM 482 of the Doctor’s many wives. Did you ever think we’d be having that conversation, 10 years ago? But… what’s this? His marriage to Queen Elizabeth the First was unconsummated? But, but, but… in The End of Time Part One, the Tenth Doctor arrives on the Ood-Sphere to greet his old friend Ood Sigma with the words, “Got married. That was a mistake. Good Queen Bess. And let me tell you, her nickname is no longer… ahem.” So, what does that mean, boss? What can it possibly mean?? Steven, what does it MEAN??? Thank you.”
Moffat’s reply, of course, is a lot of fun, with him ribbing his predecessor about his current Channel 4 dramas Cucumber and Banana, and T Davies’ recent revelation that Moffat invites him to write an episode of Doctor Who every year.
“Oh for God’s sake, PAY ATTENTION. You’ve gone soft up there in Manchester. Practically tofu, I’d say. Probably all that lazing about, never writing any episodes for me, even though I wrote six for you. Yes, SIX. Actually, no, SEVEN. Time Crash counts too – and it was for charity. But never mind, oh no, I’ll just type on and on and neglect my children, that’s fine! Okay, the facts. I said the marriage was unconsummated – and so it was. You saw for yourself in The Day of the Doctor – he ran straight off after the ceremony. Would we have put that on television if it wasn’t true? But I never said – not once, not ever – that the relationship was unconsummated!”
“Yes, Russell! I went there. Even as you gasp and clutch the furniture for support, I am writing in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine, about pre-marital shenanigans! I realise you’ve probably never heard of such unsanctified naughtiness – glancing at your resume, I see you write mainly about fruit and veg for Channel 4 – but it does go on, you know. Well, outside of Manchester. So there you are. You may sleep again. The Doctor’s boast in The End of Time (oh, and thanks for that title, just before I took over) and my statement that his marriage to Elizabeth was unconsummated are in no way contradictory. True fact! Accept my True Fact. Back away in shame at your wrongness. Actually, write me a story, and we’ll say no more about it.”
So, there you have it: The Clash of the Showrunners. Here’s hoping that T Davies writes back next month. Or, better yet, writes an episode with some complicated marriage plots.
Alongside ‘bantering’ with Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat also answers the question of just what the Doctor’s ‘One Rule’ is and whether Amy Pond and Rory Williams were among the dead that were resurrected as Cybermen in Dark Water / Death in Heaven. Elsewhere, there’s also a feature on the makings of Mummy on the Orient Express and an interview with Doctor Who’s very first director Waris Hussein about the making of lost story Marco Polo.