We continue our weekly creator spotlight with Episode Eight: The Improbable Mirror, written by Sam Maleski (you can view his dedicated spotlight here), story by Henry Lovett, and illustrated by the wonderful Valentina.
Writer: Henry Lovett
How did you come to Doctor Who? What’s your journey with the show?
I found the show in 2010 when I decided to look in on Matt Smith’s first season and ended up hooked instantly. Give it a couple years and I’ve caught up all of the new series to that point and not long after that the classics too. I’m in it for life now!
If I had to choose who “my Doctor” is it’s one of Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, or Sylvester McCoy, but John Hurt, Jon Pertwee, and Colin Baker are right up there too. In the companion department, the Brig is number one followed by Wilfred and everyone else comes third.
What is your favourite thing about the show?
Two words. First word, Steven. Second word, Moffat.
Really it’s the sheer variety of what the show can do. Is it a big space opera, or is it something more character based, or is it both? I like it when it can be both. So like I said, give me something written by Steven Moffat and I’m a happy fan. Although if it’s got Jon Pertwee or Sylvester McCoy in it then I’m very very pleased as well.
So, what’s it like writing for TUA? What are you most excited for?
Seeing what we can do when we’ve got a blank slate for new adventures away from the Doctor with someone who wants to be like them but in her own different way. There’s so much potential to explore, and the series that we’ve developed looks set to deliver on it. There’s some enviably strong talent involved (especially the writers of the stories that mine comes in between) and I can’t wait to see the final product.
How did your episode come to be? Where did you look for inspiration: Doctor Who itself, other places, bit of both?
Like I said before, we’ve got someone who wants to be in the Doctor’s role but is not the Doctor. I considered what it would be like if Clara found herself somehow in opposition to one of the Doctor’s previous selves and it evolved from there into something I think is much more compelling than that. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the way I push Clara into that kind of territory is very cruel and consequently I am very proud of it.
Sum up your episode in 3 words!
Untrustworthy Trustworthy Face.
What’s your journey with Doctor Who? Did it inspire your art?
My journey with Doctor Who is probably no different from other people's. I have to say however that I got to know the series only a few years ago, not long before the 50th special actually. I remember that I binge watched the whole (2005) series in like two weeks, what to say, I fell in love and I fell very hard. Then the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi, came along and since he was my "first Doctor", the one I proudly followed from the very beginning, he will always have a special place in my heart. I followed quite intensely on social media the making of series 8 through the new pictures with him and Jenna and that was it for me. I started drawing them, more and more every single day. And I still do. I was a bit rusty at first (for personal reasons I abandoned drawing for a few years) but they both gave me the purpose to start drawing again and the strength to improve myself every day. I have to thank Doctor Who in fact, especially Peter and Jenna's characters, which eventually have led me to contribute to a Doctor Who book, The Women Who Lived. I wouldn't say that Doctor Who inspired my art, but I'd say that my art revolves around Doctor Who.
What are you most excited about when it comes to doing art for this series? What do you think are/will be the greatest challenges?
I think this series is fantastic already. I mean the fact that different people from all around the world are working together in order to create something like this is simply wonderful. I love Clara and the prospect of being able to draw her on some adventures is so exciting but also quite terrifying I may say. I think that capturing her energy and personality can be quite challenging but I'm here for it and I will do my best to do her justice.
Can you give us some non-spoilery teases about the look of the episode and the art you’re going to provide for it?
I'm giving you three hints. A bit dark, emotional and very... Clara.