Nice little interview, but I’ll single out this bit for, uh, reasons:

You’ve talked about the fan perception that Billie Piper’s Rose was treated exceptionally among Doctor Who’s companions but how you yourself never really were consciously trying to write her as being special. Donna Noble grew into being a very distinct companion, but with Ruby, there’s a textual uniqueness to her pretty much right from when we’re introduced to her. What’s been some of the thinking behind your approaching your evolving approach to fleshing out companions?

I think with Ruby, it’s not so much her character or her spirit but that she has a stronger story than I’ve ever given a companion before, and it unfolds in this huge way. But Rose, Donna, Martha, and now Ruby do have one thing in common, which is that I’m initially presenting them as the most ordinary people. That’s the joy of Doctor Who. I think one of the strengths of Star Trek — and I’m a very big Discovery fan — is you’ve got to be the best to be aboard the Enterprise. You are the elite. You are the best of the best of the best. Even the Lower Decks are very good. I think that’s true of American society, which is very aspirational.

Star Trek always feels very demotic and down to earth, but if I was alive in the 24th century, they wouldn’t let me on the ship. They’d say, “No, you’re banned. You’re a fire hazard. Get out.” But the joy of Doctor Who is that the TARDIS could land on a street corner and take anyone. That’s what I used to think when I was walking home from school every day — stepping into the TARDIS and escaping the ordinary. There was nothing wrong with my life and nothing to escape from, but who doesn’t want to go to those endless horizons? That’s what my companions have in common.

Ruby, bless her, turns out to be wonderful and brave and, yes, very special. But her actual life’s very small. She lives with her mum and her gran. She’s earning 50 pounds playing a keyboard in bars. She’s living a low-key life before she meets the Doctor, and it’s only after she embarks on these adventures that her specialness comes to the fore.

  • @StillPaisleyCat
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    English
    227 days ago

    Dr Who has consistently overturned British class expectations, which continue to reflect deep societal divisions.

    It’s always been about representation but in a different sort of way than Star Trek. It recognizes that privilege does still exist, but the Doctor and their Tardis select companions on an entirely different basis, often just by luck.