Long time readers of this blog will know that I’ve been looking back at my diaries from ten years ago, just as we were prepping to shoot Robot Overlords. We needed more money to make the film and it looked like the BFI were coming to our rescue…
Thursday 23rd May, 2013
Jon (Wright, director) says the BFI thing is looking good. They want to give us a creative director to look at the script. Basically someone to be their eyes during production, and in return we get our VFX budget and writing fees back. Sounds good to me.
We might be losing Eros (Vlahos, actor who was originally cast as Nathan). His agent can’t get the dates to work with filming for Da Vinci’s Demons (a show that Eros was working on at the time). Be a shame to lose him, but Jon’s already looking at other kids.
I resumed work on the (Robot Overlords) novel. Still waiting for the nod from Gollancz… But it’s good to be writing again. I get glum when I’m not.
Katie (my then agent) has sent my stuff to the Doctor Who people! Were were both doubtful they’d even consider me, but they seem to be quite receptive.
We were assigned a creative director — he was credited as an Executive Producer — in Chris Clark, who was terrific when it came to honing the script in the frantic days before the shoot began. More of that soon.
And yes, sadly, we did lose Eros who was a terrific actor, but we did get the brilliant James Tarpey to play Nathan and now I can’t imagine anyone else doing it. But if you’re curious, you can see some pics of Eros on our test shoot day here.
I have no recollection of the Doctor Who thing. Needless to say it never happened. I’m not a huge Whovian, but it felt like a good after Robot Overlords… Though, let’s be honest, it’s the only original* science fiction show on the Beeb, so it’s not like I had any other options. I have a theory that the BBC treats science fiction like religious programming: they have one original show (Doctor Who… and when that wasn’t on it was Red Dwarf) and that’s it. Doesn’t exactly seem fair when there’s countless gritty dramas about cops, but such is the fickle nature of televised drama.
*Original being the important word here. Don’t come at me with ‘But they did His Dark Materials etc…’ That’s based on a bestselling book series. I’d love to see more new and original SF&F on the Beeb, but it’s not going to happen while Doctor Who is fulfilling the geek quota.