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Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale is a 2008 book collecting e-mail correspondence between Russell T Davies, executive producer and head writer on the revived Doctor Who series, and Benjamin Cook, a journalist and writer for Doctor Who Magazine. In the first edition, the e-mails date from between February 2007 and April 2008 and cover the period of broadcast of Series 3, and preparation and production of Series 4, linking in with Davies' decision to move on from Doctor Who after the 2009 Specials. Interspersed are photos, illustrations, and script excerpts.
Although widely referred to simply as The Writer's Tale, the official title of the book incorporates Doctor Who.
The book includes a foreword by Phillip Pullman, writer of the His Dark Materials trilogy. Introductions by both Davies and Cook outline the concept of the book, and also reference the success of the Journey's End season finale, which occurred after the final e-mail exchanges in the book.
"It's such a hard job. Writers never talk about how hard it is, out of the fear of being pretentious. 'Try being a nurse or a teacher,' people say. No - try being a writer! Try sitting with every doubt and fear about yourself and everyone, all on your own, with no ending or help or conclusion... At the same time, writing can be the most wonderful job in the world. When I'm happy with a script, I'm happier than you can ever imagine. Delicious! What I mean is, writing is never easy."
- Foreword by Phillip Pullman
- Introduction by Russell T Davies
- Introduction by Benjamin Cook
- Key to References
- Who's Who
- Chapter One: Definitely Maybe (18.02.07-06.03.07)
- Chapter Two: Catherine, Kylie, and Dennis (06.03.07-15.04.07)
- Chapter Three: Bastards (17.04.07-09.05.07)
- Chapter Four: Int. Spaceship (11.05.07-26.05.07)
- Chapter Five: Live and Let Die (26.05.07-08.06.07)
- Chapter Six: The Rewriter's Tale (15.06.07-10.07.07)
- Chapter Seven: Fire and Brimstone (10.07.07-21.08.07)
- Chapter Eight: Structure & Cosmetics (22.08.07-03.09.07)
- Chapter Nine: The Great Escape (03.09.07-06.09.07)
- Chapter Ten: Still Fighting It (06.09.07-18.10.07)
- Chapter Eleven: Steven Moffat's Thighs (19.10.07-07.12.07)
- Chapter Twelve: Holding the Line (07.12.07-20.12.07)
- Chapter Thirteen: The Christmas Invasion (21.12.07-31.12.07)
- Chapter Fourteen: Day Old Blues (05.01.08-21.01.08)
- Chapter Fifteen: Time for Heroes (22.01.08-04.03.08)
- Nineteen Days Later...
- Appendix 1
- Appendix 2
- Works Referenced
A behind-the-scenes look into the production of Doctor Who in 2007 and 2008, told through correspondence between the show's executive producer and a journalist.
- Many excerpts from Davies' scripts for Series 4 and the 2009 Specials, including scenes not broadcast and early concepts, as well as the complete script for the Tonight's the Night mini-episode.
- Details of characters and plots never realised on screen, including aborted plans for a new companion in Series 4, a season outline featuring storylines not used, and early plans for the Torchwood: Children of Earth mini-series and The End of Time.
- A number of original illustrations by Davies.
- The book originally started out as an idea by Cook to write a series of articles for Doctor Who Magazine detailing the process between the creation of several episodes of the new series. As the amount of correspondence grew, this changed into the idea of creating a book, instead.
- At 512 pages (including the index), the first edition was the single longest officially licensed Doctor Who-related book published to date (fiction or non-fiction). The release of the second edition of the book, The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter, increases the page count to 704.
An official website for the book was posted at TheWritersTale.com. In conjunction with the release of both the first and second editions of the book, Davies posted his original scripts for all the episodes he wrote from Voyage of the Damned through to The End of Time to the book's website.
In 2014 the Writer's Tale website was taken down and the domain redirected to the website for Doctor Who: The Encyclopedia, though externally archived versions of the Writer's Tale site and script downloads remain available.