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Writer predicts Daleks will follow him to the grave

By Kirsty Topping


Robert Sherman wrote for the revival of the Dr Who series

THE MAN who brought Daleks back to life on the small screen has predicted that Dr Who’s arch enemies will follow him to the grave.

Robert Shearman has just accepted the post of writer-in-residence at Edinburgh’s Napier University and will take up the job next month.

The London-based writer said:

“People will remember me for Dr Who and nothing else.

“It’s got to the stage that when I die I’ll probably have a headstone in the shape of a Dalek. “

Mr Shearman, whose Dr Who work was nominated for a Hugo award for science fiction, insists he is not a sci-fi writer or even that the show belongs to the genre.

He said:

“I don’t see Dr Who as sci-fi, I see it as a comedy show.

“I like the fact that in one episode you can be in 17th century England and the next time there are monsters in it.

“One of my favourite films is Back to the Future and I don’t see that as sci-fi, I see it as a romantic comedy. You can use the techniques of sci-fi to do a lot of stuff.

“But aliens walking about with what look like Cornish pasties on their faces doesn’t really do it for me.

“I have a problem with technology fiction. I don’t really go for spaceships and robots. I can barely work out how to use my iPod so there’s this awkwardness there. “

The current series of Dr Who has been criticised for having overly-complex plots and being too frightening for young children.

Mr Shearman said:

“It’s complex but I think it’s going to be the kind of thing kids will enjoy rewatching and puzzling things out.

“Rather than just having an adventure per episode, It’s expanded the universe. “

Though he admits he was unsure about the casting of the eleventh doctor, Mr Shearman says Matt Smith’s talent has won him over.

He said:

“When Matt Smith was cast as the doctor, I was a bit unsure like everybody else. But I think he’s done a good job. “

And he has not ruled out a return to writing Dr Who episodes with Stephen Moffat, the Paisley-born chief writer of the series.

“It’s not impossible,’ he said.

“I still meet up with Stephen Moffat and we dance around the idea, so it’s not impossible. “

Since Robert’s 2005 Dr Who episode aired he has worked on a number of projects in film, TV and radio and is currently working on a film script, though he refused to discuss the details as the project is in its early stages.

Shearman will take over the one year Napier university post from novelist James Robertson in September and spend around two days a week advising students on the university’s creative writing course.

He says he will not dissuade students from discussing Dr Who with him.

He said:

“I’m sure I will have quite a lot of Dr Who fans but I will be happy to discuss it with anyone. “

Robert was nominated for a top industry award for his work on the Dr Who series when it was revived with Christopher Eccleston as the doctor.

Shearman considers his big break to be down to luck. Having worked with acclaimed playwright Alan Ayckbourn for a number of years, with an output of around one production a year and complete subject freedom, he decided to accept an offer of working in TV

He said:

“I did a little TV show that was set in the 1950s called Born and Bred.

“From that I got Dr Who. It was a long time ago and I got very lucky. Most writers a lot of time trying to have an identity and I am lucky to have one with Dr Who. “

He has since published two award-winning volumes of short stories and is launching a third next week. He will also work on his debut novel while at the university.


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