Steven Moffat’s final series as head writer of Doctor Who is just months away and it’s likely he’s finished off his last scripts. One of the few pieces of news we have about series 10 is the return of Nardole, who’s portrayed by comedian Matt Lucas. Lucas had never previously had anything to do with Doctor Who before last year’s Christmas Special, where he debuted in The Husbands of River Song. Despite this, I think it would boost his character if Lucas was given more than just an acting role.
It’s pretty obvious Matt Lucas has been asked to return for his comedic value. It’s unlikely we’re going to see a dramatic side to Lucas’ acting this far into his career. So if you want to get the best out of one of the country’s most popular comedians, you need to give him material that is actually funny. If his lines are dry and not even of a high enough quality to class them as jokes, then Lucas will struggle to win the audience round. There are already some murmurs of discontent about his return within the Doctor Who fandom. So let him write his own jokes.
In no way am I saying that Matt Lucas should be allowed to contribute to series arcs, storylines, character development or anything remotely to do with the plot. But he’s undoubtedly got talent, and that talent is the ability to make people laugh. He’s been responsible for penning BBC comedies such as Come Fly With Me & Little Britain, so would it be such a bad idea if Moffat invited Lucas to sit down with him after each script was finished and allowed the comedian to insert his own jokes? Again, these would have to be ok’ed by Moffat, but at least they’d likely be funny.
Look back at the attempts of humour in the Moffat era of Doctor Who and you’ll find some cringe-worthy moments. Remember, Moffat is the writer who named the series five finale “The Big Bang” due to it being the episode where River Song was conceived and not because of the fact the universe was rebooted during that story. And who could forget the Mark Gatiss “gag” where a little boy who gave Strax directions was named “Tom Tom”. Pitiful stuff.
Doctor Who is a family show. In recent years the tone of the show has grown much darker, and I personally have been a fan of that. However, Moffat can’t forget the show’s target audience. Keep it dark and interesting, but remember there are children watching. Drop the sexual innuendos and cheap jokes and let a professional comedian contribute. Give Matt Lucas the writing credits he’d deserve for making the kids laugh and the show will please a wider audience.