Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
The Doctor accidentally picks up Shona and the two investigate a red comet that lands on Earth. The Doctor discovers the Mara are back, and must use their technology against them to defeat them once more.
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
The Doctor: Brian Carleton
Shona: Konstantina Mantelos
Solomon: Anthony Botelho
Vladislav: Jack Comerford
Mila: Andrea Meister
Enok: Jordy Kieto
Get to know the writer:
What is your TV spec screenplay about DOCTOR WHO about?
The Doctor and Shona (last seen in the episode “Last Christmas”), find themselves in Bohemia during the Dark Ages. A tyrant, Lord Ivan, hoards a peculiar red crystal with telepathic powers called the Crimson. Wearing jewels made of Crimson, Lord Ivan and his followers collectively conjure a serpentine gestalt being from the darkest recesses of their minds: The Mara.
Possessed by The Mara, Lord Ivan quickly conquers all before him. He besieges the largest castle (and only cathedral) in the rival kingdom of Vladislav. The Doctor knows that walls, warriors and weapons are no match for the insidious, seductive spell of The Mara.
The Doctor and Shona rouse King Vladislav and his people to fight The Mara through very unconventional means – particularly for The Doctor. The world’s future truly rests on a hope and a prayer.
Why does this screenplay fit into the context of the show?
It’s a traditional good versus evil story with the odd bits of comedy and horror that you’d expect from Dr. Who. I wrote it for the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi – who I think is fabulous – a throwback to the 70’s Doctors, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker.
This story is very much in the mold of classic Doctor Who. You have a historic setting that is disrupted by the presence of a perfidious alien – oh, and then there’s The Mara and a mysterious red crystal. Seriously though, The Mara was one of my favourite Who monsters from the 80’s and I am surprised it has not reappeared on TV (yet). The companion Tegan’s experience with the “evil dream snake” is what made her my favourite during the Peter Davison years.
We all know The Doctor’s companion is a surrogate for the audience and a great companion makes for a great Who story. I chose a character from a recent Christmas special – Shona McCullough (played wonderfully by actor Faye Marsay)– because I immediately saw in her the potential for a long term TARDIS traveller.
How would you describe this script in two words?
What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?
(also Game of Thrones, Mad Men…)
How long have you been working on this screenplay?
Six months (Off and On). So maybe 6 weeks’ worth of an actual research and writing (and rewriting).
How many stories have you written?
Two Features (Housesitting, Guttersnipe)
One Documentary (All About Me)
One Short (co-wrote) (Saved From The Grave)
Next up is my own TV series and this TV spec script was an excellent exercise in writing for this genre.
What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)
In My Life (The Beatles)
What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Time was my biggest obstacle… finding the time.
The second challenge was how to portray The Mara. It is obviously not my own creation, so I wanted to do justice to the original Mara stories with my version.
Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Acting, films, politics, history, rugby and beer (not necessarily in that order)
What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
I had my first feature screenplay analyzed not once, but twice. I was impressed by the depth and value of the criticism. So I did not hesitate to submit my Doctor Who script for analysis and I am pleasantly surprised in the end to have it recognized here. Thank you.
Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
It’s an old cliché but true: Write what you know. That’s why I picked Doctor Who for my first TV screenplay.
Be prepared to take a lot of criticism along the way. Your story (and your skills) will benefit from it.
Procrastination is thine worst enemy.
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com
Camera Operator: Kierston Drier
Editor: John Johnson
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne