STUDENTS enjoyed a visit from a Doctor Who scriptwriter.
Writer and playwright Robert Shearman visited the University of Chichester earlier this month to share his experiences. The talk was led by Prof Alison MacLeod and Dr Adam Locks.
Shearman’s talk focused on both his short stories, which have won the World and British Fantasy Awards, the Edge Hill Reader’s Prize and the Shirley Jackson Award, and his work on Doctor Who.
He began with a reading of one of his short stories.
“He did it very theatrically, acting out the story and came across as a very charismatic character,” said student Irina Dumitru.
“His story was amusing and judging by the laughter in the audience, everyone enjoyed it.”
Students asked him what the most important things were to him as a writer.
He said the first thing would have to be timing.
“If you write too quickly, the stories are raw. But if you leave them too much, they’re overcooked.”
When asked how you know you’ve made it as a writer, he replied: “Never. Just remember every single other writer feels the same as you, they feel like everything they’ve written so far is dead.”
The second part of the talk started with a clip from the 2005 episode Dalek.
Robert told the audience: “I became a fan when I was about 11. Before that, I was quite afraid of it. I couldn’t watch Tom Baker.
He said one felt a different responsibility when writing fiction for television because it was so much more expensive.
Although he wrote the Dalek episode, he has never seen it all the way through.
Although Robert is a fan of Doctor Who, he said he stopped writing for the show because he is ‘not a good TV writer’.
“When I wrote Dalek, I still had a lot to learn and I didn’t want to learn on a show that I loved. If I did television again, it would be my own show.”
Nevertheless, he has been asked to write for Doctor Who again and he is considering this.