Richard E Grant graced the cover of Doctor Who Magazine only once, during the weeks leading up to the premiere of the BBCi webcast “Scream of the Shalka.” Doctor Who Magazine #336 (November 2003) offers us a glimpse of what might have been. Peel away that proud, attention-grabbing orange label that proclaims the series is “Set for BBC TV Comeback!” and we’re left with a cover that suggests Grant’s moody Doctor is the future of Doctor Who.
During the course of the issue’s infamous interview, an otherwise enthusiastic Grant confessed his inexperience: “I’ve never seen Doctor Who. And I’ve never read it. I’ve never read any of the Doctor Who books. I feel like a complete—I don’t know—fraud, really.” Producer James Goss was a bit more confident about the animated adventure and its hero. “Richard E Grant is the ‘now’ of Doctor Who,” Goss declared, looking to the future. “No one knows how his story is going to end, or what the next step will be. It’s very exciting.”
There were no subsequent adventures, of course. Fate had other plans for the celebrated Time Lord, and the Ninth Doctor soon adopted the face of one Christopher Eccleston. “Scream of the Shalka” became trivia and Richard E Grant never earned the traditional Doctor Who Magazine cover proclaiming that he “is the Doctor.” As the Nth Doctor’s thrilling adventures continue in our ongoing role-playing campaign, this blog will have to take a stab at imagining just what that might have looked like. No one but the game master knows how his story is going to end, or what the next step will be…