Wallander writer Peter Harness made his Doctor Who debut tonight with ‘Kill the Moon’, which saw the Doctor and Clara crash-landing on the surface of the Moon, battling vicious spider-like creatures, and facing a terrible dilemma.
CultBox caught up with Peter for a chat about the Doctor and Clara’s dramatic confrontation in the episode’s final scenes…
CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ‘KILL THE MOON’
The Doctor seems genuinely surprised at Clara’s reaction at the end of the episode in the TARDIS and that she’s so upset; do you think this is a wake-up call that he’s had coming all season?
“I don’t know. Because I feel that their relationship has been developing fairly well, despite the fact that he’s spikier and less easy to pin down. She’s certainly coped with it very well, and given him as good as she’s got. But he is a more alien character now, and I think that what he does in ‘Kill the Moon’ – i.e., buggering off and leaving the humans to it – is an illustration of that.
“I don’t disagree with his reasons for doing it, and he probably would have done the same thing in previous incarnations, but not necessarily in the same way. I think that he just gets a bit carried away with the idea that he has to leave them to make their own choice, and fails to think through the emotional consequences – partly, probably, because he’s so convinced that Clara can look after things herself.
“I’m glad that he gets so much stick for it, though, because it wasn’t really the right thing to do; and I think Clara makes him see that, and it clearly troubles him.
“Whether that means he’ll try harder to be less “alien” from now on, I don’t know. But it’s a line in the sand that I doubt he’ll cross again.”
The Doctor is, it’s fair to say, not at his most likeable in ‘Kill the Moon’ – was balancing this something you were worried about while writing?
“I think, aside from the buggering-off moment, he’s more likeable than he’s been elsewhere in the season so far. He’s not as rude as he has been in previous episodes, and in fact, he’s pretty warm in places. But I guess the buggering-off is the big thing.
“And, yes, I was worried whilst writing it. But unless you’re worried, unless you’re not entirely certain that something might be too much, or might just fall flat on its arse, then you’re not really pushing the boundaries.
“As a writer, you need to be on unsafe ground. So I was concerned. But I thought that that was probably a good thing.”
Do you think it’s possible for Clara to keep both Danny and the Doctor in her life?
“I’ve no idea. It doesn’t look like it’s possible as things currently stand. But who knows? I certainly don’t.”
Where did the idea of the moon being an egg come from? It’s so brilliantly bonkers and so utterly Doctor Who that it’s a wonder nobody ever thought of it before!
“Thank you! I don’t know. I had a few other ideas that I was going to go and pitch to them. But it just popped into my head as I was flying over to the UK the night before the meeting.
“I don’t know where it came from. And I thought that it was so obvious that it must have been done or thought of before. So I Googled the hell out of it, and I found that it didn’t look as though it had.
“Unfortunately, when I started watching Game of Thrones a year or so later, I noticed that they mention that in one of their myths, the moon is a dragon’s egg or something; so I thought that people would think that I’d pinched the idea from there. I didn’t, folks! Honest! It was a Harness original!”
What did you think of ‘Kill the Moon’? Let us know below…