One of the unexpected things for me this year has been a steady rise in my profile - partly in "the business", but also partly in the real world. It's something you can never really prepare for, even when you know what's coming. With Severance, there was a gradual increase, some interviews, the odd photo, all building up to the big FrightFest premiere, where I was on stage talking and everything, and the gobsmacking moment where I was asked for my first autograph. After that, I did two more festivals, on my own this time, and gradually got more comfortable. Each time things go a little bit further. You adjust, get the hang of it, then they go further still. So it's been manageable. Much as I love it, it can be a bit unnerving - not because there have been any weirdoes, far from it, it's just because one day you're an anonymous audience member, then suddenly strangers know who you are. It's cool. Just strange.
And now things are about to jump up several levels at once. I knew going in that doing Torchwood would instantly throw me into the spotlight somewhat. And then again with Doctor Who, but even more so. It's just starting to sink in now. DW is big. Huge. It gets roughly 7 or 8 million viewers every episode. There's a making-of show on straight after, there'll be interviews, articles, all sorts. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for it. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about it, can't bloody WAIT, as the insecure, vain, needy part of me (all writers have it, don't lie, come on) desperately wants it, craves it, like some sort of delicious crack/heroin/Marmite cocktail. Mmm, Marmite. But at the same time, it's going to be something I can't control past a certain point.
When I first got the gig, I got loads of requests for info, interviews, all sorts of things. The first interview I said yes to, but then a few weeks later had to tell them I wanted to postpone for a while (sorry about that again, if you're reading). I put off any others, too, because I was a bit taken aback by the massive response to the announcement. The online and offline response was mostly positive - but there was so much of it, I panicked a bit. My name was everywhere, along with links and discussions about Severance. A couple of casual mentions on the blog got taken out of context and misinterpreted (not in a bad way, luckily), which made me worry about saying the wrong thing and accidentally spilling the beans or something. So I decided to pull back, avoid interviews for at least a few months, and not talk too much about it on the blog. I've never had so much interest in something that I hadn't even started writing yet, and I didn't want to do a cheery interview before I knew if I was even capable of doing an episode yet. What if I did all the interviews, then messed up the script and got kicked off? Extreme example, probably wouldn't happen, but that's what my brain started worrying about. I didn't want to jinx it. And that's why I've been a bit quiet about TW and DW for a while. And probably will be for a month or two. I've now done my drafts of the script, I'm incredibly happy with it, and hopefully it will be filming sometime soonish, so I can step back for the moment and take stock of myself. I'm getting used to the idea now that yes, I'm actually writing for DW and TW, I got there thanks to hard slog, and there's going to be lots of fun ahead. Fun, and probably more free scale-model diecast replica figures that are in NO WAY toys.
Just to clarify: I am *not* saying that all the lovely fans are scary. I am saying that thousands of people suddenly looking in your direction can make a person *feel* scared. Even if those thousands of people are supercool and friendly. You just feel paranoid that your flies are undone or something (which they are, regularly, lately I seem to be forgetting to zip up in the morning). Even now, I'm picking over every word carefully, because it's so easy to imply the wrong thing. Anyway, I'm a fan of the show too, so I would never say anything bad about other fans just being fans. This post isn't a moan or anything, just trying to explain how strange it all is, to go from some anonymous bloke to being "a Doctor Who writer". For the record: everyone and everything is brilliant and nice. Except Hitler, and murderers, and stuff. And Chris DeBurgh. Although early Chris DeBurgh stuff is great ("Spanish Train" etc, come on, admit it, he did really good stuff back then). I'm talking about the "Lady In Red"-era Chris DeBurgh.
So I'm approaching the point of no return. Soon, information about my episode will be out there, and lots of people will want to talk to me about it. It'll be a relief, because it's killing me keeping this all secret, I'm dying for people to know everything. But I'll have to wait a bit longer. Don't know if/when there will be announcements or press releases, but these things seem to pop up regularly. And as soon as it's out there, I'll be in a different place, so to speak. It's a bit scary. But I'm really looking forward to it.