The Long Game

The Long Game
Is this a cry for help?
Is this a cry for help?
Season: 1
Episode: 7
Vital statistics
Air date 7 May 2005
Written by Russell T. Davies
Directed by Brian Grant
Episode guide
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The following transcript is based on actually, literally, true events. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent.

"Oh hey Rusty, how's things?"

"Not so good, Steve. I just got a rejection letter."

"A rejection letter? For what, and from whom?"

"Well, Steve, as you know, last year, in 1986, Andrew Cartmel was hired to script edit Doctor Who, that show you and I both love."

"Nah, I hate it now. Have you seen it lately? It's rubbish. They should have never made the Doctor a Scotsman. And why did you say the year like that?"

"It's called Exposition Dialogue, Steve, look it up. Anyways, a month or two ago, I sent Cartmel a script, my first!"

"Oh wow, I didn't know you could read and write."

"It's about the Doctor and his companion going to a news station in the future and discovering it's all full of evil editors who want to control the world. It's a pretty strong Rupert Murdoch allegory, if I do say so myself. In the end, the Doctor and his companion blow up the evil Rupert Murdoch alien. Since Rupert is such a stupid name, I thought I should give the monster a really ugly name, y'know?"

"Like 'Grade'?"

"Nah, like--"

"Like 'Saward'?"

"No, I mean--"

"Oooh, ooh, like 'Levine'!"

"No, god Steve. Let me finish, would you? Although, y'know, there might be something to that... a big fat stupid ugly alien with a hideous babyface, we could say it's one of the Levine... no, that doesn't work, it would have to be, like, the Gravine, or the Jabeen, or the Slitheen, something like that."

"Sure, that sounds like a keeper."

"Anyways, I thought it as all going well and then I got this rejection letter from Andrew."

"He didn't like the script, huh? Did he say it was rubbish?"

"No, he--"

"Did he say it was barely readable gibberish?"

"No, it--"

"Did he say it was a scarcely plotted series of bizarre, ugly images with no thought for coherence, characterization, or consistency? Did he say it was mostly an excuse for budget breaking spectacle strung along by a series of boneheaded decisions, capped with a nonsensical deus ex machina at the end? Did he recommend you never work in actual writing, and that you stick mostly to something you'll do little damage at, like sweeping floors at barbershops and washing dishes in orphanages?"

"No, he said it was prosaic!"

"Prosaic? Rusty, I would call you a lot of things, but I would never say you were prosaic."

"Thank you, Steven. He said I should stick to writing something more in my field of interest, something about a man worried about his marriage, his mortgage, his dog."

"So he wants you to write season 16 stories?"

"I can't believe he rejected my script! That guy's a complete jackass!"

"I'm sure he's a fine professional, just like myself. Actually, there's a question Rusty, did you and I actually know each other in 1987?"

"That little twerp! You know what I'm gonna do, Steve?"


"Yes! But aside from that, I'm gonna become a great television writer! I'm going to become the biggest writer of dramatic television in all of Britain!"

"It's good you're starting with something small."

"We both know this show's doomed already, it's probably not going to last another two years. And when it inevitably crashes and burns and the franchise transitions to a series of hit-or-miss novels, that's when it's vulnerable."

"... vulnerable?"

"In five years, ten years, eighteen years, however long it takes, I'm going to have the clout and the pull and the authority no one else will. I will get the rights to Doctor Who and put it back on the air."

"My god, Rusty, you've gone completely mental over this minor spec script rejection, haven't you?"

"And then, I'll completely infect the show with my own vision! Emotional, character-driven stories! Long term consequences for actions! Spinoffs! Sexuality! Homosexuality! And you know what I'll do?"

"... more cocaine?"

"I'll air this script, I'll put it right on television and make everybody watch it. And just to rub the little snot's face in it, I'll never hire him to write for the program, even if he's still writing professionally as of 2015!"

"You mean you will... erase him from Doctor Who?"

"Yes, Steven, I will play the Long Game. Some day, my friend, I shall be known as the man who brought Doctor Who back... and Andrew as the man who lost it in the first place! MUAHAHAHA!"

"I would figure people would blame JNT for his series of boneheaded decisions over the years that inevitably lead--"

"The man who brought Doctor Who back..."

"Oh forget it."


Cartmel was right.

No he wasn't, this episode is maximum level comfy! Sure, it's probably Eccleston's worst episode, but it's still better than at least 70% of anything from Matt Smith's era.