Vincent and the Doctor has long been considered to be among the greatest episodes of the modern Doctor Who era – with the script having been hailed as one of the most poignant in the show’s history.
And acclaimed screenwriter Richard Curtis, who penned the episode, has now revealed the particularly touching reason behind his writing of the episode.
Tweeting from Emma Freud’s account during last night’s watchalong of the episode, Curtis said that the episode was intended as a tribute to his sister, who had tragically died a few years prior.
Curtis wrote, “So – here’s the thing – the key reason I wrote this episode – was out of love for my sister Bindy. She was a gorgeous and brilliant person, 2 years older than me. She loved Vincent Van Gogh and life. She couldn’t have been more full of generosity and joy.
“But half way through her life she was hit by depression and intermittently it hurt her for the rest of her life. And a few years before this show, like Vincent, she took her own life.”
He continued: “That was me trying to show Bin how glorious she had been in our lives – and how nothing could change that” and added, “taking her own life wasn’t a failure by her, or a rejection of all of us. It was, as they say on Love island, what it was.”
After the watchalong was complete, Curtis also urged people to take care during the ongoing lockdown – sharing a message via the Who Lockdown account that encouraged people to seek support if they found that their mental health was being negatively impacted by the current situation.
He wrote, “If you yourself have problems, be understanding and tender with yourself – your mental health issues should be taken as seriously as any other physical illness. They are not your fault at all.”
Last night’s watchalong was the latest in a series of live events that have been organised during the lockdown – with further episodes set to be given the same treatment in the coming days and weeks.
Doctor Who returns to BBC One for Revolution of the Daleks in late 2020/early 2021. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide.