Spending Doctor Who’s 50th with Gaiman, Palmer, and Darvill


What a thrill to spend the Day of the Doctor in an auditorium in New York City with Neil Gaiman, who as you know has written episodes of Doctor Who; his wife Amanda Palmer, who doesn’t understand Doctor Who (“When you’re married to a man from England, you have to watch Doctor Who,” she said); and Rory Williams himself, Arthur Darvill, who popped over from his Broadway performance of Once to hold cue cards as Amanda Palmer sang a song written by a 15-year-old girl about Neil’s episode The Doctor’s Wife. 

Neil Gaiman spent the entire show dressed in a Doctor-esque U-boat coat, and read from his Doctor Who short story. The quartet played the Doctor Who theme song. And the encore was Amanda Palmer singing a song called Bigger on the Inside.

Not to say that the entire three-hour event was about Doctor Who. There was a smattering of people in the audience who admitted to not knowing a thing about it, and that is perhaps largely to do with a divide between Amanda’s fans and Neil fans (or perhaps boyfriends and girlfriends being dragged along to a show they knew nothing about). Amanda and Neil sang other songs, sometimes as a duet, about Amanda’s house, sinners, Judy Blume, psychos, and making whoopie. Neil read stories and poems about boring lives and clocks. We even got a very strange 6.5 minute cameo from Meow Meow that included members of the audience invited on stage to caress her legs as she sang.

I still find them an odd couple. I’m not sure I understand it. Amanda loves when the structure of the show gets fucked up. Neil is so much happier when it doesn’t. A metaphor for their marriage, Amanda said. But as Amanda said during the question-and-answer bit, she embraces the idea of being an artist who is largely misunderstood.


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