Stephen Gallagher wrote ‘Warriors’ Gate’ and ‘Terminus’, but is now better known for the Patrick Stewart-starring ‘Eleventh Hour’. Below are some quotes from interviews, and from his blog, about his time working on Doctor Who – you can read his blog here, and you should, it’s very interesting.
“Probably the most robust way of doing a weekly time travel series for TV is to have a big machine, a team, and an agenda. Or a fault in the machine that repeatedly drops the main cast into new and dangerous situations. Time Tunnel immediately springs to mind… In the UK we have our own Doctor Who, where the hero makes random jumps through time and space and happens upon a local adventure wherever he shows up. Originally this was because his time machine was busted and he’s hopping around trying to get home. In his current incarnation he’s the ultimate tourist, so far from his home that his home’s no longer there. Doctor Who mixes sf and historical episodes; my memory from when I worked on it is that the historical episodes were fewest in number but always drew the higher ratings.
“Even the Bolton Chronicle stopped calling me ‘The Man Who Killed K9’ more than twenty years ago.
“I don’t think they’d ask me (back to Doctor Who), and I don’t think it would be that great an idea. They’ve got a new team of young writers who grew up with it, had the hiatus, worked off their hunger and are now doing all the things they wanted to do. I think that’s what’s making it successful. I’m old guard now. I’ve moved on to other things and so has Doctor Who. I honestly don’t know what I’d do in new Who. I enjoy it as a viewer, but I don’t hanker after contributing to it.
“The success of (new) Doctor Who has altered all British television, it’s that significant. It sent a shock through the industry that it could be popular with the kind of people you wouldn’t expect it to be popular with, and it reawakened an awareness that entertainment TV is the highest thing you can possibly aim for. You can do issue-driven stuff, you can do worthy stuff, and all those other kind of irritating things that happen in other dramas that disappear down the pan extremely quickly, but, if you can’t hold and entertain your audience, you’re achieving nothing.”