The youngster who designed the Abzorbaloff for the Doctor Who episode "Love and Monsters" has taken a retrospective look at the controversial story and his involvement in the show. David Tennant's debut season as the Doctor contained some of the most memorable adventures in Who history, including "The Girl in the Fireplace" and "Doomsday" but it also featured some episodes that attracted a raft of criticism from fans. "Love and Monsters" was one such offering.
This Doctor-lite tale focused on a group of ordinary people searching for the mysterious Time Lord and having a great time getting to know each other in the process. That is until Peter Kay's Abzorbaloff appears, providing the resources needed to track the Doctor down but also turning the fun club into a gloomy and exhausting workforce. "Love and Monsters" was poorly received after airing, with fans criticizing the vastly different story and distinct lack of Doctor. The design of the Abzorbaloff monster also came under fire, but the villain was actually created by the then-9 year old William Grantham, who had won a competition to design a Doctor Who monster.
Over 12 years later, Grantham has posted a video discussing the merits and flaws of "Love and Monsters" on his Channel Pup YouTube channel. Grantham admits to being a biased fan of the episode and maintains that at least some of the criticism was undeserved, particularly when it comes to his own monster. He argues that while the mix of comedic and straight characters may have been unbalanced, the story itself is intelligent and the cast was incredibly strong. Grantham also suggests a better name for the episode: "The Forever Man".
Naturally, the video also touches upon Grantham's experience as a child receiving negative comments about his Doctor Who monster design from fans, claiming that he did experience some bullying at school as a result but concludes by saying "it was quite a bit to learn but ultimately I'm grateful for the lesson learned." Grantham also reveals that he originally intended the monster to be far bigger, driven by rage and unable to communicate. This is quite different from the final version of the Abzorbaloff, but the creator himself says that he wasn't disappointed with the end result.
This video certainly raises some vital points about what is a highly divisive Doctor Who episode and, fittingly, modern opinion on "Love and Monsters" has softened considerably in recent years, with many critics now seeing the episode in a more positive light. With that said, "The Forever Man" is definitely a stronger episode title. More importantly however, Grantham's story perhaps act a reminder that even when a TV show doesn't live up to expectations, there are usually still people behind the scenes who have put their earnest creativity and hard work into the production.
Doctor Who season 12 premieres in 2020 on BBC and BBC America.
Source: Channel Pup