This is the last of four BBC America press interviews with Doctor Who cast and crew, counting down to the premiere of the show’s new season on BBC America, April 17th @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. Enjoy!
Piers Wenger and Beth Willis have taken on executive producer duties, alongside Steven Moffat, from the outgoing Doctor Who team of Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner. Here they reveal the challenges they have faced with taking on such a hugely successful series and why it’s so important for Doctor Who to evolve.
“It has definitely been a big challenge taking on this show because we love it so much and why tinker with something that has been as popular, successful and brilliant as it has been?” says executive producer Beth Willis. “But at the same time we are terribly aware we have to look forward and work out how the show is going to survive in the future. In 2005, the team looked at what was fresh and new then and we have to do a bit of that ourselves. Looking at the episodes we’ve filmed so far, we’re starting to see the impact of those changes; what the team has managed to achieve is pretty thrilling.”
Fellow executive producer and Head of Drama for BBC Wales, Piers Wenger, agrees and adds: “The thing which is most important to us is telling a good story at the end of the day; that’s always the thing the audience is going to be most demanding about. Beyond that, any changes we have made have been motivated by giving the show the best production values money can buy. It’s the nation’s favorite, and that means it deserves the best.”
The advances in technology over the past five years have inevitably enabled the program makers to use more sophisticated techniques and create awe-inspiring visual effects. However, a new lead writer and Doctor are undoubtedly what viewers will feel mark the dawn of a new era for the hit series.
“The fact that we have Steven Moffat [executive producer] writing it and Matt Smith [The Doctor] starring in it gives the show an inevitable element of change,” explains Willis. “However, the one thing that hasn’t made us scared about this change was reading Steven’s scripts. I feel deeply honored and excited to be in a position to be working with such great scripts. It doesn’t really matter what color you use, where the camera is or how you position a light; Steven and Matt are brilliant, which has made mine and Piers’ jobs much easier.”
Renowned as the most dedicated and passionate fans in the world, it seems Whovians certainly have a lot to look forward to. But would Wenger and Willis consider themselves part of the loyal following?
“Steven, myself and Piers were some of the most excited people in the country when we found out Doctor Who was coming back in 2005. Well, in truth, Steven was probably the most excited, but Piers and I weren’t that far behind him!” laughs Willis.
“I’ve always been a fan and I was even accused at the age of eight of shoplifting a copy of Doctor Who Magazine from my local newsagents – completely wrongly I hasten to add,” confesses Wenger. “I was accused of it probably because I was in there all the time reading them!”
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