Locke & Key creator Joe Hill, who is also the son of Stephen King, recently detailed that he submitted a number of Doctor Who pitches and was summarily rejected by BBC Studios because he was American.
As a guest on The Horror Show With Brian Keene, Hill and the other featured guest Christopher Golden were asked by Keene, “Next 20 years, what’s one thing you guys haven’t tackled yet, that you want to tackle. I’m tackling mine right now. I’m writing a straight western, no supernatural trappings whatsoever. The one thing you haven’t had an opportunity to do yet that you want.”
Joe Hill responded, “I’ll tell you the one thing that I wanted to do that I’ll never get the chance to do. So I’m a big Doctor Who geek, right? This is a true story.”
He then elaborated, “So, I’m a huge Doctor Who geek. Watching Doctor Who, watching the David Tennant Doctor Who’s with my boys was a really happy part of their childhood, and me being a Dad. And I had some ideas for Doctor Who and I really wanted to write for that show. And my screen agent got me a chance to pitch on it.”
He continued, “So I spent a month and a half working on three pitches. And man I have never imagined harder in my whole life. I mean I just worked so hard on these things. And by chance I actually wound up spending a weekend with Neil Gaiman. We were in the same place at the same time and hanging out a lot. He actually edited my pitches. He actually went through the pitches. And was like, ‘Yes, do this. Don’t do that. This is a good idea. Hate this idea.’ You know? And I’m like you couldn’t ask for a better editor!”
Hill continued, “With trepidation and my heart in my mouth, I sent in my pitches. A couple of weeks passed and the email I got back said, ‘We have never let an American write Doctor Who and if we were going to we wouldn’t start with you.'”
He then added, “Is that not the most smoking rejection of all time.”
The Locke and Key creator continued, “I remain in awe. Still my favorite rejection.”
The adaptation of Hill’s Locke & Key comic book series is currently available to stream on Netflix. The show stars Darby Stanchfield, Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones, Jackson Robert Scott, Sherri Saum, Griffin Gluck, Aaron Ashmore, Thomas Mitchell Barnet, Petrice Jones, and Laysla De Oliveira.
Here’s the official description from Netflix:
“After their dad’s murder, three siblings move with their mom to his ancestral estate, where they discover magical keys that unlock powers — and secrets.”
What do you make of Joe Hill’s comments regarding the BBC’s rejection of his Doctor Who pitches?