It’s been something that’s been parodied countless times; a Doctor Who based musical, a Whosical if you will. John Barrowman has said he’d love a Doctor Who musical, a lot of fans would love the idea I’m sure; the real question is though, is there any way that this idea could work?
Of Course It Could!
Don’t worry, that’s not the end of the article; although it would save me a lot of time if it was. In my opinion though, of course a Doctor Who musical could work, but it depends a lot on the way in which it’s made and for what reasons. I don’t think that a West End or Broadway production of a Whosical would be the fairest idea for the BBC to try and push forward. Take Harry Potter as an example for why I think an actual stage show is a bad idea; for years Harry Potter was absolutely massive, and it still is. The audience for Harry Potter was global; which meant that the books and movies could be distributed around the world and everyone could enjoy these at a relatively similar time and have the same experience regardless. In regards to JK Rowling’s latest venture though; the West End show ‘Harry Potter and The Cursed Child’, it is unlikely that even 1% of the Harry Potter fanbase will be able to have the experience as it was intended (and don’t even get me started on the fact it’s a story told across two shows), which to me is unfair. Sure, there’s going to the book of the script, but for anyone who’s not into theatre, reading the script will just be boring, tedious and have little pay off.
For those reasons, I think it would be best that if we ever got a Doctor Who musical, it would have to be televised like the rest of the series to ensure that it reaches as much of an audience as possible; having it televised opens up a lot of questions though; such as should it be canonical or should it be it’s own separate entity? Should the current cast try and tackle the musical? Should it be a live event or should it be pre-recorded? What would be the motivation for them all bursting into song? Now, I know all of this is up to the creative team behind the Whosical; but here is how I think it should work…
First of all, let me clear this up out of the way, this absolutely should be made with the current cast, which at the minute is just Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor but I don’t care, whoever the new companion is would have to be cool with this too before I let them sign the contract, even though rumour is that the person has already been signed. We’d also have to have Michelle Gomez as Missy in it, because this seems like a crazy sort of thing that Missy would absolutely revel in, plus she could sing ‘Hey Missy You So Fine’. Oh, and Peter Capaldi needs to play his guitar.
Next up, is it canon? Now this is the big question for me as it could go down one of two avenues. If it does decide to be canonical, that would put a lot of ideas and potential amazing moments out of action, just so certain aspects stick to the source material; the best way to explain the limitations in it is that chances are you couldn’t have a singing Dalek, Cyberman or Weeping Angel because they’re supposed to be devoid of any emotion, and at its core, the act of singing is just a way to express emotions. Therefore, I think it would be best if the events in the Whosical weren’t considered to be ‘hard canon’. (I’ll get back to why I said hard canon later…)
Another hugely important question you’d need to answer is, what the hell would the story be? And this is another reason I feel that a non-canonical musical would work best. Even though Doctor Who hasn’t really been a part of televised charity events as much as it used to be in the RTD era; I think that a Whosical would fit in perfectly with the silliness and the nonsense of an event like Red Nose Day or Children In Need. It would require very little explanation as to why everyone is singing and dancing all over the place, and it means that we’d get to see the more lighthearted aspects of every character involved. I mean, imagine a solo Dalek performing a love ballad to a Zygon, it would be awfully hilarious.
The reason I said that the idea of a Doctor Who based musical would work best if it wasn’t considered ‘hard canon’ is because I do believe that it could potentially have its place in a canon story. For example, if it was part of a much greater plan, such as the Celestial Toymaker made a return and this was one of his games, or perhaps the Meddling Monk (please bring him back) could have a hand in it, or even a return of the Dream Lord. There are so many ways that you could have a musical aspect in the show, but I think that it would work best if it transpired to be part of a controlled or altered version of reality.
To summarise all of my points; I think that a musical episode of Doctor Who would work, on the grounds that it’s available to anyone who wants to be able to access it, meaning it should be televised. I also think that a Doctor Who musical should feature the shows current cast, whenever in the future it is and it shouldn’t take itself too seriously; I think that there’s a lot of potential for parody and for some truly emotional moments, but the Whosical would have to be very self-aware if it wasn’t going to be considered canon. If it wanted to be part of the canonical show, it would have to serve a great function to the narrative, as just throwing in the musical element for no real reason detracts it’s unique take on Doctor Who as a show.
What do you think? Let me know by tweeting me @GallifreyRchive and use #Whosical so I can find you!