A Private Eye Companion

doctor who noir detective private eye companion mystery frobisher danny pink samuel anderson series 8 episode idea pitch concept

So I mentioned a while ago that when I first saw Danny Pink, my first assumption was that he was some sort of detective. Anyways, since then I’ve been thinking about that, and how it might work in a series… Because, you know, if you’re going to have a detective companion, show them doing some actual detection – and who better for them to investigate than the Doctor?

So, the way I’m thinking this would work is if you use the detective (who probably needs a name. I’ll call him Danny for now) as the viewpoint for the series. Sort of a Doctor-lite set of episodes, similar in style to Blink. That probably wouldn’t be able to sustain itself for thirteen episodes though, so it’d probably be better suited to a split series set up.

Anyway, the very first episode would be quite a standard one. Alien invasion style piece, in a similar vein to Smith and JonesDanny the detective could help Twelve and Clara (just because it’s easy to use them as an example here, it’d work with any other Doctor/Companion set) to sort out the whole thing, wonderful, done. There doesn’t need to be anything specific here, it can just be a pretty generic invasion story.

At the end of it though, there is no offer for Danny to be joining the TARDIS crew, they just leave him there. Now, this could be what prompts him to go looking for the Doctor, but maybe not. Hell, maybe he doesn’t even like the Doctor very much, and thinks he needs to be stopped, which is why he goes looking for him. (But that might be a bit silly)

What I’m also thinking is that it shouldn’t be set in the present day, because that’s boring. If we can, I’d take it outside of England as well, but that might be a bit difficult. I’m leaning towards the 90s, maybe, or even earlier to give it a sort of noir setting. (Doing this first part of the series entirely in black and white would either be the best or worst decision. No inbetween)

So then you’ve got the next five episodes or so, which would all follow a similar ish structure; Danny does some investigating, looking to find the Doctor.

But, obviously, just investigating is boring. No one is interested in that, and it probably wouldn’t sustain all that many episodes… so, the basic structure of the series would be as follows –

  • Episode 2: This one would be a little more detective-y, showing Danny investigating the Doctor and Clara. Alongside that though, he’d have to deal with doing his job. So we could have something of a proper murder mystery detective story. In keeping with the fact that this is, you know, Doctor Who, the perpetrators of the crime could be aliens, or other time travellers, whatever. Potentially, lets say, these aliens were trying to find the Doctor; potentially that’s what prompts him to start his investigation.
    I’m considering whether or not Danny should be working on behalf of a mysterious client, who’s interested in the Doctor. That sets up some intrigue, and gives a bit more weight to the overall plot arc.
  • Episode 3: This time, investigations into the Doctor take on a more central part of the episode. In fact, I’m wondering whether this one should be a more comedic episode; some sequences of near misses with the Doctor could potentially be very funny, but might undermine some of the effect of Danny’s character. Maybe this one could also start to show some of Danny’s family and social life, defining him some more as a character.
  • Episode 4 and 5: Two parter, and much darker in tone as well. This is where I’m sort of leaning towards the 90s setting. Here, Danny would be kidnapped by UNIT – a very dark, gritty, morally ambiguous 90s UNIT, rife with corruption. From there, it’s something of a prison story, with subsequent breakout. How dark can it be made I wonder?  As many boundaries as possible should be pushed for this one. We should feel as let down by UNIT as the Doctor would when he finds out. (Maybe there should be a moment where we expect it to be revealed this is Torchwood or something, but it’s not, it’s definetly UNIT).
    If Danny starts the series as a relatively optimistic, happy guy, these are the episodes where he becomes much closer to the cynical, disenfranchised detective mould.
  • Episode 6: Out in the real world again, Danny is continuing investigations into the Doctor. (Maybe if he was given any family in episode 3, UNIT could have killed them in episodes 4 and 5, meaning this search for the Doctor is all he has left…? Is that too far?)
    Anyways, yes. If Danny did have a mysterious client, they would be the big bad for the episode. (Ooh, what if they’re the Valeyard?) The Doctor and Clara would need to return this episode, to meet up with Danny.
    From there, it’s all pretty simple – another, standard Doctor Who episode. The thing is though, Danny is much more of a pivotal character in this one than he was back in episode 1; the things he’s learnt about the Doctor actually all come in quite useful, etc.
    After that, it’s pretty simple – the day is saved, and Danny joins the Doctor and Clara for adventuring across time and space. (although… I’m not quite sure why he would? Especially if going for the “Doctor is bad” kind of idea with Danny. Not sure)

So… what do you think?

Note: 4 years later, I do think this is a little overly grim, if still a basically interesting concept.

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