BBC Rejected Joe Hill, Saying No American Has Written Doctor Who – And If One Did, It Wouldn't Be Him
Horror podcast The Horror Show from comics creator Brian Keene, just celebrated its 250th episode, with guest Joe Hill. Hill is a famous horror novelist, comic book writer and is the son of Stephen King, though it's not something he likes to mention. In this week's episode, Hill discusses the closure of Vertigo, Joe's Hill House imprint, the IDW comic series – and TV show – Locke and Key, Chris's work with Mike Mignola and Chris Sniegowski, but then he moved onto Doctor Who. And will no doubt hit the headlines as a result. Here's a transcript.
BRIAN KEENE: "So…next twenty years. What's one thing you guys haven't tackled yet, that you want to tackle? I'm tackling mine right now. I'm writing a straight western with no supernatural trappings whatsoever. What's the one thing you haven't had an opportunity to do yet that you want to try?"
JOE HILL: "I'll tell you the one thing that I've been wanting to do that I'll never get a chance to do. So, you know I'm a big Doctor Who geek, right?"
HILL: "This is a true story."
CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN: "Okay."
HILL: "So…I'm a huge Doctor Who geek. Watching Doctor Who…watching the David Tennant Doctor Who with my boys was a really happy part of their childhood, and of me being a dad. And I had some ideas for Doctor Who, and I really wanted to write for that show. And my screen agent got me a chance to pitch on it. So, i spent a month and a half working on three pitches, and man, I have never imagined harder in my whole life. I mean, I just worked so hard on these things. And by chance, I actually wound up spending a weekend with Neil Gaiman. We were in the same place at the same time, and hanging out a lot, and he actually edited my pitches. He actually went through the pitches and was like, 'Yes do this. Don't do that. This is a good idea. Hate this idea.' You know? And I'm like, you couldn't ask for a better editor!"
GOLDEN: "Of course!"
HILL: "And so I, you know, with trepidation and my heart in my mouth, I sent in my pitches, and a couple weeks passed, and I got…the email I got back said, 'We have never let an American write Doctor Who, and if we were going to, we wouldn't start with you."
KEENE: "Oh my god!
GOLDEN: "Oh come on! Are you fucking kidding me?"
KEENE: "Oh my god!"
(Hill and Keene burst into laughter)
HILL: "Is that not the most smoking rejection of all time?"
HILL: "I remain in awe. I remain in awe. It's still my favorite rejection."
While Americans have written for the Big Finish Doctor Who audios, novels and comic book strips, it is true that no American has written for the TV series Doctor Who. And it seems that, as of now, none of them will do. Hut hey, maybe Titan and Big Finish would like a look at some of those Neil Gaiman-edited pitches?
Though I wonder if Joe Hill's father had asked, if he would have had a similar reaction from the BBC?