CEO James Wylder talks to bestselling media critic Christa Mactíre about her Back to the Eleventh Hour series.
First off, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
I’d be glad to! My name is Christa Fenrira Mactíre, and I’m a non-binary transfeminine wolf therian currently living in the area of St. Louis, Missouri, where I’ve been all my life. My pronouns are loup/loupself/she/her.
Your new book is the second in a series chronicling the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who. What got you into the series?
A very long time ago, I found some of the old Target novelizations in my middle school’s library and read through them, not entirely sure what to expect. I must’ve liked what I found because I followed the series from a distance for a few years before starting to watch regularly in 2010.
What made you decide to start writing about Doctor Who?
I started writing about the show for two reasons: first, I wanted to pay tribute to a show that I care about very deeply, particularly this three-year period of it. Second, after spending a lot of time reading other people write about the show, I wanted to try my paw at it myself.
Matt Smith’s Doctor seems to mean a lot to you personally, what about the Eleventh Doctor has made him so effectual?
Everyone who watches this show has their Doctor. Not necessarily the one they saw first but the Doctor who is, to steal a phrase, “seared onto their hearts,” and number Eleven is mine. He’s silly and dorky and loyal to his friends, he’s quirky, he has strange tastes in food and clothes, and he’s clever. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of myself, in fact.
But words alone can’t do him justice: so much of what makes Eleven compelling, and why I still hold him in first place, comes down to how Matt Smith played him. Smith was able to sell the character’s age and his apparent youth all at the same time, while his physicality as an actor makes him a very magnetic screen presence. Coupled with his approach to reading dialogue, he is absolutely the best thing about any given episode, he can sell virtually anything put in front of him. (See: Morbius.)
What do you think sets your book apart from other Doctor Who analysis books?
Lots of Doctor Who analysis books, obviously, focus on the show and what a given episode or season is doing within the context of itself and in the wider tapestry of the show’s history. And to be fair, so do mine!
What my books do though is focus also on the personal dimension: No other person in the world can look at or write about the show in quite the way I can, because I’m the only person who can live my life in all its twists and turns. What you get in my books is this show, filtered through my eyes.
Do you have a favorite episode?
That is a very hard question, because there are so many episodes that can fill up the top 5 or top 10. But if I had to pick just one, it would be The Doctor’s Wife from 2011. It’s got wonderful performances from everyone, a gorgeous script by Neil Gaiman, a compelling villain, a great setting that takes the Doctor back to first principles, and of course, it’s a beautiful exploration into the deep, deep love that the Doctor and the TARDIS have for each other. Companions will come and go, but the Doctor will never truly be alone, as long as they have Sexy.
What do you hope to see from the future of the show?
More than anything, I want the Ncuti Gatwa era to speak to me as loudly as the Smith era did 12 years ago. I’ve grown and changed a lot since then, and as I grow more comfortable with my identity as a queer transfemme enby wolf, I want this show to be as queer as I am. The Smith era will always be my gold standard by which other eras are measured, but it’s also twelve years old now. Times change, and the show must change with it.
Put another way: I want Ncuti Gatwa to mean as much to me as Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi do.
Any final words for our readers?
The Doctor once said, “We all change. When you think about it, we’re all different people all through our lives. And that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve gotta keep moving, just so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.” I try and do that with every word I write about this show, and I think it’s paid off.
Thank you so much for joining us!
Thank you for having me!
You can buy Volume 1 of Back to the Eleventh Hour, which covers Series 5, here, and you can buy Volume 2, which covers Series 6, here.
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