1. How long have you been interested in Doctor Who? It's a recent thing, actually! I started watching in 2014, because of the marketing push around the fiftieth, and because it seemed tonally connected to a lot of stuff I really enjoyed, like Moffat's Sherlock, or the good ol' McNee/Rigg Avengers episodes. Then I hit a rough patch in my life, and kinda grabbed onto it as a lifeboat, made a lot of friends, started writing about it, and now I've got a (very minor) career in Who-adjacent prose!
2. Why write about Series 11? Because I think it's genuinely interesting, first, and also because it's not really getting that much critical attention. Obverse Books is doing some nice publications (Naomi Jacobs and Thomas Rodebaugh have a book about Kerblam! out this year, and I'm doing one about Arachnids in the UK later), but in terms of Discourse, it's been sparse. A lot of people have been frustrated by ... a perceived lack of depth of the season, in a way? Even among the people who really liked it, there seems to be kind of a "it's good because it's straightforward, fun, adventuring" line. So I think there's a lot of space for critical writing, for trying to show people how it might be deeper than you'd expect. Especially considering that in many ways, it's kind of a key period for the show: the first female Doctor, but most of all the show moving away from structures and themes that had been at its core for almost fifteen years. It's new and confusing - which makes it pretty exciting to dissect.
3. What do you hope readers get out of the book? I don't necessarily want to change anyone's opinions on series 11 - I mean, I'm divided on it myself. But I think that I want to try and show people, as much as possible, that it's still very interesting media - that even something that you might not like, or might not find that complex, can prove surprisingly interesting if you try to consider how it works, how it tries and builds meaning and a symbology.
4. What's your favorite part you wrote for it? Oooooooh. The "Kerblam!" bits were great fun, because I got to be angry and leftist, and that's just enjoyable. "Demons of the Punjab" was kind of emotionally difficult to navigate, it really hit a nerve for me, but I think I managed to both talk about and pay hommage Vinay Patel's work nicely, and I'm very proud of that bit. And the final essay! Which is about Dave Rudden's Twelve Angels Weeping - love the guy, love the book, it was a blast.
5. What would you like to see in the future of Doctor Who? Oh, a lot of things! Michelle Gomez. A Doctor that isn't white. A Doctor that openly identifies as non-binary. A historical about Olympe de Gouges. Weeping Angels ... In a less "fanboy checklist" manner - I think I'd really like to see a Doctor closer to people: Capaldi kind of marked, thematically, the end of a certain vision of the character, and while Jodie has had some nice elements there, like the whole Sheffield, industrial angle, it feels still like she's coded as a privileged aristocrat in a way I'd find really interesting to let go off.
6. How did this book come about? I was writing series 11 coverage for my blog ( @MediaDoWntime - nice place!), and, well, instead of reviews, those came out as giant essays about the episode, and I ended the season with over 20 000 words of material. So I went "welp, I should try and collect those in a self-published e-book, it'd be nice to get some money out of all this stuff", and contacted my friend Jim for tips. He had a quick look over all that, and then told me that actually, he'd love to make a book out of it and publish it himself. So, there I went, rewriting and updating everything I had done over the previous few months, and adding in a bunch of new essays fleshing the narrative out drawing from EU stuff like the books, and by February I had a complete draft. I then proceeded to head to Birmingham New Street Station to go to my favourite Vietnamese restaurant and treat myself to a large phô. It was nice.
7. What do you enjoy about Rachel Johnson's art? Everything? But mostly, she's really good at capturing the vibe of the televised series, I think - not just the cinematography, but also the meaning behind it. The emotional colour, if that makes sense. It's a great cover!