The striking Doctor Who episode ‘Oxygen’ all started with a single email…
Writer Jamie Mathieson has taken to his personal website to illuminate just a little of the work that went into creating the episode ‘Oxygen’. He’s shared the text of the original treatment email he sent to Steven Moffat – a mail that started what he calls the “long and winding process” of getting the concept to the screen.
You can certainly see that a lot has changed. Written in around an hour, very little of Mathieson’s original concept made it to screen; the threat ended up being very different to his “large crystalline space parasites, a cross between Geiger’s Alien and tardigrades, acting on pure instinct”, with “Siren/mind control” ability to get inhabitants of a space station to open airlocks.
“The Tardis materialises in an elephant’s graveyard for spaceships in the middle of nowhere. All floating, tumbling inert in a loose cluster. All drawn there by the same distress call and then drained of energy. The crews are being picked off by creatures stalking through the wrecks, leaping through the vacuum between ships, heard scrabbling and scratching on the hull.”
and ended with “Some sort of queen creature nested in a nearby asteroid that they have to locate and destroy to free the ships and escape.”
Also, the action appears to have become very much more contained than his original proposal – in fact, little but the finite supply of oxygen remained from his original concept (“very ‘The Thing’ in terms of claustrophobia and mistrust”, as he describes it) as it slowly morphed into the ‘zombies in space’ thrill-ride it became.
You can read our review of ‘Oxygen’ here
Or, you can read seven things we loved from the episode here.