Monday, 12 June 2017
Mark Gatiss was forced to re-write latest episode after Brexit
Empress of Mars, episode nine of the BBC series' 10th season, was not supposed to be about the Ice Warriors, but the most controversial UK referendum of recent times instead, according to Mark Gatiss.
The storyline was penned by the veteran Doctor Who writer, who has been with the show since 2005, and will be one of his last before bowing out. While the episode trucked along with a fairly standard plot of the team heading to Mars, it ended on a high with a special surprise cameo by 1970s alien character Alpha Centauri.
The writer first revealed that he'd planned something different altogether, telling Doctor Who: The Fan Show host Christel Dee: "I was going to do a sequel to Sleep No More (2015 episode) - I wanted to do a sort of Yeti thing of doing two stories about the same monster.
"And then… Eras are coming to an end all around us here - you can hear them crashing! I said to Steven, 'Can I just do the story I've always wanted to do - the Ice Warriors on Mars?'"
The 50-year-old then shared that the influence of The Curse of Peladon nearly led him to tell the story of a world that could have existed if the 2016 referendum had ended a different way.
Gatiss said: "The Curse of Peladon with Ice Warriors, 1972, is about Peladon joining the Galactic Federation and it is a very gentle satire about Britain joining the Common Market (now known as the European Union).
"And, by extraordinary coincidence, into my lap fell the coincidence of writing an Ice Warriors story as we leave!"
Viewers noticed that in one sit-up-and-take-notice scene, when the Doctor (played by Peter Capaldi), Bill (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) arrived on the red planet in 1881, they met a bunch of Victorian soldiers and discovered the Ice Warriors. What followed was a loaded exchange that includes the Doctor saying: "Don't belong here? We're British! Mars is part of the Empire now!"
And in a later scene, the Doctor gave Iraxxa some very poignant, and prescient, advice. He said: "Fight for the future, not a dead past," which seemed to refer to the Leave campaign in the referendum.
Via the Daily Express by Roxanne Hughes