The mythos of the Doctor’s past might become vital to his near future. Rona Munro, a writer from the original Doctor Who series, will be joining the team for one episode of Season 10. Her classic take could, ironically, give the show the fresh feeling it needs.
Back in 1989 when Sylvester McCoy played the Doctor, Munro penned the 7th Doctor’s final adventure in the classic Who series. The serial, “Survival,” is more fantastical than recent Who storylines have allotted for, so perhaps the ninth episode of Season 10, “The Eaters of Light” — the one Munro will have her hands on — will bring some of that to the forefront.
“Survival” follows the story of the 7th Doctor and his companion Ace on the planet of the Cheetah People. Humans from Earth are being lured there by a mysterious black cat (called a “kitling” by the Cheetah People) and then subsequently being turned into Cheetahs as they give in to their violent predispositions. The more time they spend there, the more violent they become, and it isn’t until the Doctor lets go of his anger that the planet lets him go. Oh, and the Master is there.
And though there were some lion-people in the recent 9th season episode “The Woman Who Lived,” they weren’t nearly as fun as the Cheetah People. Capaldi’s seasons have been lacking in the full-on fun department. Season 10 was revealed as a “soft reboot” for the series, so perhaps bringing Munro and her classic era vibe to the table is part of that plan.
Doctor Who has an infamous problem with hiring female writers. They’re few and far between, which is an issue considering that every major companion the Doctor has had in the reboot has been a woman. Sarah Dollard is currently one of the main writers on Who, so hopefully the addition of Munro indicates a more level playing field in the writers’s room for Steven Moffat’s final season as showrunner. There was a dry spell between 2008 and 2014 when not a single episode was penned by a female writer. Helen Raynor wrote four episodes in the early years, and Catherine Tregenna was hired on in 2014 to write “The Woman Who Lived,” making her the fifth woman to ever write for Who.
Maybe Moffat and Capaldi’s potential final season together will bring back some more lighthearted vibes and female writers with the help of Munro.
Season 10 of Doctor Who premieres in April 2017.