Prior to BBCi’s premiere of “Scream of the Shalka,” Doctor Who Magazine asked star Richard E Grant to comment on the legendary character he was taking on. “Ooh, I don’t know,” Grant answered, parrying the question and bracing for an inevitable onslaught of audience critique. “What I do know is that a huge number of people have very strong ideas about what he looks like, who should play him, who’s the best person that has played him, and all those sorts of things.”
There is something prophetic in his reply, of course. To this day, a great many viewers have strong opinions regarding the webcast and Grant’s performance as a would-be Ninth Doctor. None can deny, however, that the troubled but lively Doctor glimpsed in “Scream of the Shalka” stands apart from all other incarnations. Grant’s distinctive persona has inspired the driving spirit behind each and every one of this role-playing campaign’s stories, from “Ghost Town” to “Catatonia,” allowing us to explore a mythology entirely independent of the saga that continues to unfold on television.
Today, on the occasion of the actor’s fifty-eighth birthday, the official Doctor Who site has been kind enough to share a celebratory announcement, remembering that he “thrilled us as the Great Intelligence” in episodes such as “The Snowmen” and “The Name of the Doctor.” Lest the internet forget that he was also the Doctor himself for a brief and peculiar moment in Doctor Who history, we have decided to celebrate the occasion by imagining what Doctor Who Magazine might have looked like had Richard E Grant’s adventures taken hold. For us, Richard E Grant is the Doctor, and he’s earned the traditional cover proclaiming this. As for the feature articles, behind-the-scenes photos, and all-new comic strip adventures to be found behind such an enticing cover, you’ll just have to use your imagination.