Derek Ritchie (‘Wizards vs Aliens’) interview

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With filming due to begin very soon in Cardiff on Wizards vs Aliens, Russell T Davies’s new action adventure series for CBBC, CultBox caught up with the show’s script editor Derek Ritchie to find out more.

> Order Series 1 on DVD on Amazon.

From the dark side of the moon, aliens are scanning the Earth searching for magic and are prepared to destroy everything in their path to get it. All that stands in the way of Earth’s imminent destruction are two 16-year old schoolboys, Tom and Benny. It’s Wands vs Ray Guns; Magic vs Science and Wizards vs Aliens…


What stage is production at now?

“At the moment we’re just a week or so away from starting filming, so anticipation in the Production office is high with new developments every day as casting, prosthetics, locations and the MOST AWESOME of sets are all getting close to completion.”


Can you give us any hints about what to expect from Wizards vs Aliens?

“The first thing to expect is fun! WvA is a big, bright show with a real spirit of joie de vivre at its core.

“It’s going to be similar to The Sarah Jane Adventures only in the respect of being an adventure show with strong character-driven narratives, and big moral themes. But this is a new universe, and the conflict between science and magic, ray guns and spell books, is already inspiring very different stories from SJA, and giving us a lot of scope in a very, very rich new fictional universe!

“So expect thrills and adventure, some incredible new creatures, and an introduction to the wizardly world of magic on Earth!”


What does your role as script editor involve?

“As Script Editor, I started working on the show in November and it’s my job to work with the writers and producers in getting the scripts to their best possible state, ready for shooting. We go through a drafting process whereby notes are given from producers and I work with the writers in incorporating the changes to their episodes.

“I also filter in practical constraints or amendments that arise as we get closer to shooting, as well as fielding writers’ queries, concerns and conundrums!

“In addition, I have to have a broader objective view, ensuring character and story arcs work across the series, and that our fictional universe has its own internal logic to maintain the magic of our shiny new world.”


What else have you got coming up?

“Only the excitement of Wizards vs Aliens – that’s going to keep me very busy for the foreseeable!”


What would be your dream show to work on?

Doctor Who! It’s what inspired me to get into the business in the first place, and it’s a childhood ambition to get my name somewhere in the credits for at least one episode! Oh, and if they ever need crew on Fringe or any Battlestar Galactica spin-offs, that might be pretty awesome too!”


Are you looking forward to Wizards vs Aliens? Let us know below…