‘Doctor Who’ thing of the day: a show this popular inspires bizarre rumors (re Johnny Depp and a missing script)
I avoid posting Ain’t It Cool-type rumors or unsubstantiated gossip, but I think it’s worth pointing out that when it comes to a show with such a devoted cult following as Doctor Who, rumors are always rife and frequently must be eyed with deep skepticism. Like two that crossed my path in the last few days. (I guess everyone is already suffering from end-of-the-season withdrawal.)
First, I stumbled across a WENN report over this past weekend about a supposed mishap regarding the script for the upcoming Christmas special:
Filming for the Doctor Who Christmas special has been thrown into jeopardy after the top-secret script reportedly went missing.
I couldn’t find anything at the Daily Star about this, which doesn’t surprise me, because this is absolutely preposterous. I can believe that a copy of the script that was either missing or stolen would be a concern -- some meanspirited pain in the ass could post the thing online or something, thereby spoiling the story for everyone else -- but it’s impossible to believe that a month before shooting was to commence (assuming that’s even true) that there would be only one copy of a script in existence. Apart from the ridiculousness that Steven Moffat doesn’t have a secure and regularly backed-up computer system, at this point in preproduction things like costumes and sets would already be well underway, which typically does require scripts for the artists to work from.
Maybe I’m wrong about this -- maybe Moffat is able to keep things so close to the vest that only he has the only copy of a script until actual shooting commences. But I doubt it.
And then there’s this. Reader Joseph sent me a link on Friday to a site called Lady, That’s My Skull -- this appears to be a relatively low-traffic site devoted mostly to comic books, and it’s where I grabbed that Photoshopped image of Depp in front of the TARDIS above -- that was pointing to an “article” on content mill site PubArticles that insisted that:
International film star Johnny Depp has been confirmed to play the part of time traveling Doctor Who in the big screen treatment of the same name slated for a Summer 2012 release.
This sounds completely absurd, and not only because the Doctor has never been a physician. So if this is a fake -- and how can it not be? -- it’s not even a plausible one. But content mills pay their writers only based upon high pageviews, so what better way to steal a lot of traffic by reporting on a “scoop” about a popular franchise that no one else seems to have managed to get? (PubArticles is particularly repulsive: it promises writers that we can “Sign Up & Submit Articles - Absolutely Free!” Imagine that: PubArticles does not charge you to give your work away!)
I emailed my contact at BBC America asking if this is legit, and heard nothing in reply.
Several readers sent me a link to the blog Tor.com, which picked up on the PubArticles story:
The grain-of-salt quotient on this idea is MASSIVE, but it’s not like Russell T. Davies hasn’t introduced huge, odd-sounding concepts to Doctor Who before. He’s also admitted in his book The Writer’s Tale to routinely lying to press about story elements.
Until we get some more concrete confirmation from someone willing to be named, I’m calling bullshit on this.
(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)
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by MaryAnn Johanson
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