Earlier in the week I conducted an interview with the creator of Christel Doctor Who, Captin Franko, who discussed the success of his first series and also what we can expect to see from the Doctor and Tabitha in his upcoming second series...
B: What inspired you to initially create your own animated Doctor Who series, and what do you hope your series offers fans?
CF: When Doctor Who returned to the Television in 2005 I was immediately hooked (again) and I had been doing some little bits of writing on and off in my spare time. It really didn’t take long to put my two hobbies together. I began to write a number of short stories about the Ninth Doctor and Rose but when David Tennant came along I stepped up my plans and decided to see if I could put a whole series together. My initial ideas were very grand and completely ‘un-writeable’.
The series that you see today is probably about the 18th version of what I originally started out with. As the series has developed I hope that it has given people the chance to experience Doctor Who in a slightly different way. I wanted to put my own slant on it and so I wrote in my own version of the Eleventh Doctor. This was a Doctor that I could shape and not have to worry about what was happening in the real ‘canon’ of the television series. Obviously I try and stay as close as possible but it gives me more freedom to play about with the Doctor, and more obviously the interior of the TARDIS.
B: The first full series of episodes were released last year, and proved to be a great hit with fans – what do you think was your best achievement when creating the series?
CF: If I had to pick one thing out from the series as a whole it would probably be the plot arc that I managed to weave into the whole 13 episodes. It was subtle, yet it worked, and completely took people by surprise. I had people sure that Davros was coming back... so when Rassilon walked up to the TARDIS doors I would like to think that it took a lot of people by surprise! I must say some of it happened as spur-of-the-moment writing. I knew where I wanted to get to but the way that I did it was changed with pretty much every episode I wrote. In the end it all worked out fine.
B: Your spectacular spin-off series ARNIE is coming towards the end of its first series – what inspired you to create the idea of the mysterious android, and had you always planned to create a whole series about him?
CF: If I’m honest ARNIE was born out of a need for a sixth episode for Series 1 and a considerable amount of luck. I had written 12 stories and still had a space. I also had a number of ideas to choose from. When I eventually chose to tell ARNIE’s story I began fleshing the back story of the character out in my head and decided that it was something that was just not going to fit into a single episode. Thus, the spin-off series was born. The whole idea that he somehow knows the Doctor and the Doctor does not know him plays nicely in hand with the fact that he does not know who created him. Plus I have also been able to use the series to seed certain plot arcs for upcoming stories that will span the entirety of the Christel Doctor Who universe.
B: If you were given the chance to go back and change anything from Christel Doctor Who, would you decide to do anything differently?
CF: I wouldn’t change any of the stories, because I think as a series of stories they play well together. The changes I would make are more aesthetic. I would have uploaded the episodes through YouTube from the start. Yes, it would have meant splitting them in half, but with the quality you get it is more than worth it. ARNIE Series 1 has proved that and indeed I shall be uploading Series 2 of Christel Doctor Who through YouTube. I would also change the subtitles in the first few episodes, as they took a while to get right and I can’t help but worry that it took away a little from the storytelling side of things.
B: What were the challenges you faced when designing the stories for the upcoming second season, and what surprises are in store for the Doctor and Tabitha?
CF: Probably the biggest worry for me at the moment is that Series 2 will be as well received as Series 1. I got some really good reviews for Series 1 for which I was very grateful, and I am working my hardest to make sure that Series 2 is even better. As far as surprises go... that would be telling, but I can tell you that this is the year of the Trojan and that the Doctor’s hearts will be broken. The plot arc is a lot less subtle this time around, but should hopefully smack you clean between the eyes when all is revealed. This is also why the finale to this series runs to 3 parts instead of the traditional 2. Oh, and of course, nobody knows just what those pesky guardians of time are up to yet!
B: Thank you for taking the time to complete this interview Captin, and I wish you all the best with the release of your second series!