Saturday 31 May 2008

The Moff

I’m still shaking. No really, I am. It’s about 45 mins since Silence in the Library finished and I can’t decide if I need a cup of tea or a whisky. Actually I might plump for both. I’m leaving the lights on that’s for sure. And did anyone else get a slight fear of ice cream?

Steven Moffat. What a genius. Ever since ‘Are you my mummy?’ became a national phrase meaning, ‘You are about to get brown trousers’ this genius, this extraordinary talent has been giving us an annual dose of the most clever telly ever seen. Plot lines that are tightly woven, with characters perfectly drawn and all crafted with an understanding of exactly what the most basic scares are for people aged three to 103 and beyond. This is telly that scares the whole family in equal measure. It’s amazing and terrifying and hugely enjoyable.

I remember the wide-eyed fear and not a little bit of boyish anticipation which accompanied the possibility that any character, might at any time, turn into a zombie with a gas mask fused to what was left of their head. Then there’s the chilling riposte to Madame de Pompadour, ‘We do not require your feet’. I have a friend who still freaks out if you put your hands in front of your face and tell her not to blink.

The Moff’s understanding of what scares us witless is not all though. He really gets character and dialogue. And his plots: he makes ‘What on earth is going on? How is that possible?’ into a finely crafted art form. Gotta love the way the final reel explains everything, turning the impossible into a beautiful logical gem. And all the while giving the regulars a lease of life and an extra dimension that just sings.

I wish I had discovered his series Press Gang. My wide-eyed colleauge tells me that one episode was set inside a freezer chest. That’s genius. I loved his series Coupling; better than Friends, and somehow more real. He gets people and character and his plots are perfect, see. Ooooo, and he's written the script for the upcoming Tintin film.

This is going to be a long week. But I’m going to have some fun thinking about what was going on in Silence in the Library. The concluding episode is called Forest of the Dead. It used to be called Rivers Run. What does that tell us? I don’t know. I’m gonna try and work it out, but you know what; I’m not going to be able to. Forest of the Dead will no doubt be wonderfully scary and thrilling, full of character, wit, extraordinary revelations about the Doctor and River Song and a denouement eliciting a national, ‘Oh! That’s brilliant. Just brilliant’.

He’s going to be head writer of Doctor Who after next year. That’s brilliant news. I say an enormously grateful thank you to Russell T Davies. He has created something awesome in the last few years and done what we all knew could and very blimming should be done by turning Who into the wonderful thing it is after a stupidly long time off our screens. But I’m also very excited about whatever Steven Moffat is going to do with this most special of telly formats.

PS I loved The Unicorn and the Wasp.

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