In today’s bonus not-so-mini minisode we are joined by the lovely Ella Watts, director and producer of DOCTOR WHO: REDACTED! Our fantastic conversation covered topics such as the origins of Redacted, what it’s like to make an audio drama podcast, what we love most about Doctor Who, how Redacted is unique in the Doctor Who space, and what we need to do to get more seasons!
Talia Franks: Hello and welcome to the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey podcast!
Lucia Kelly: I’m Lucia Kelly, expert at applied analysis and I bring the charm.
Talia Franks: And I’m Talia Franks media critic, fanfic enthusiast, and broadly benevolent voice of reason.
Lucia Kelly: And we’re here today with a Wibbly Wobbly Minisode!
Talia Franks: Today we’ll be talking about Doctor Who: Redacted, because Ella Watts is here!
Ella Watts: Hello! I see what you did there, by the way. I enjoyed that Shawna reference. That was excellent. That made me very, very happy. Oh my gosh. This is already a good start. Hi, I’m Ella. My pronouns are she/her. I am the director and producer of Doctor Who: Redacted. Nice to meet you.
Talia Franks: Yeah! Nice to meet you too.
Talia Franks: Reminder that time isn’t a straight line. It can twist into any shape and as such, this is a fully spoiled podcast. We might bring things in from later in the show, the comics, the books, the audio dramas, BBC press releases, podcasts, or even fan theories and articles.
Lucia Kelly: With that out of the way, sometimes you have to step up and do the weird, scary, impossible thing, because someone has to, so let’s get in the TARDIS!
Talia Franks: (Transition wobbles) So, Ella, you already introduced yourself a little bit, but do you want to describe a bit more about your background, how you got involved with Doctor Who, past projects that led you to Doctor Who: Redacted?
Ella Watts: Yeah, for sure. Also I have to say the “weird, scary, impossible thing.” I wrote that! So I’m like very, like, I’m like fully like, oh my gosh. That just made me so happy. Yeah. Okay. So I am a podcast and radio producer and director. I worked at BBC studios for a few years, which Doctor Who fans will know is, the production company that has been making Doctor Who for the last few years.
Ella Watts: It is affiliated with the BBC, but not part of the BBC, which is a weird, very technical difference that not a lot of people get, but essentially it’s a private production company. In that company I was part of their audio team, which used to be the radio comedy team, which used to be the light entertainment department in house at the BBC.
Ella Watts: So my department historically made things like The Mighty Boosh and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and, more recently, makes a lot of radio comedy for BBC Radio Four here in the UK. I was also a consultant for BBC Sounds, which is the app, that the BBC makes on specifically audio drama because my other hat is that I’m an international audio fiction expert and community coordinator.
Ella Watts: I wrote a 10 year overview of the English language audio fiction industry back in 2018, which was published by the BBC and I’m generally an advocate for indie drama podcasts and the people who make them.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, no, it’s really weird because I first knew you as a director for Zombies, Run! (Ella and Lucia laugh) That was my first introduction to you! And I’ve been using it for years now. I’m pretty sure that I was one of the like — I got into it in like 2014, 2015? When it had just started and like, it got me fit. It still keeps me relatively fit, um — (Lucia breaks off laughing)
Ella Watts: That’s incredible.
Lucia Kelly: But it was such a cool, innovative idea. I do a bunch of free marketing for you guys, because I love it so much, but like the way I often introduce it to people is “It’s an interactive radio play.” Like “You do exercise and you get story. It’s great.” And yeah, I’ve been loving it from jump, so thank you.
Ella Watts: Oh, I’m so glad to hear that.
Ella Watts: I can also say a genuinely lovely thing is that everyone behind the scenes at Zombies, Run! is just incredibly nice. It’s a really good company. The people at Zombies, Run! are like, a really good company. They treat workers really well. They care a lot about workers’ rights. And it’s really neat, like, yeah, whenever I get a new script, I’m like, “Oh, I know that this is gonna be good because it’s being curated by this team, and that means that I can just relax and do my job,” which is really cool.
Ella Watts: But yeah, no check out Zombies, Run! I’m a voice director at Zombies, Run! It’s wonderful. I mean, it’s already been introduced but yeah, it’s an app you can download for free. There are subscription options, but you literally never have to use them. You can use it for years. I used it for years before I started working for Zombies, Run! just for free, and now, because I work there, I get a little discount and I’m like, “Ha ha ha! Now I get all of this extra content.”
Ella Watts: But yeah, in terms of how I got involved with Doctor Who, the Doctor Who brand wanted a podcast. They wanted something specifically to cater to women under 35 and working class people because they felt that those communities were underserved by their existing body of media. (Talia mhmms)
Ella Watts: So they felt like there were some communities that they were serving really well with extended media properties, but there were others, like, audiences who were being left out. So they were like, “We want a podcast, but it has to be specifically for women under 35 from working class communities.”
Ella Watts: And what actually happened was I was brought into a meeting room and no one told me that it was the Doctor Who pitch meeting. And as people are introducing themselves, they’re explaining like what we can and can’t do with the podcast and who everyone is, and I’m just writing down, like making up ideas for an official Doctor Who podcast, like in the five minutes before someone asks me to speak, whilst everyone’s introducing themselves.
Ella Watts: And I pitched a couple of different ideas, but the one that they liked was basically Buzzfeed Unsolved, but Doctor Who, which I just thought would be really funny, and then for six months, I had this kind of two page document that I shopped around a bunch of internal places at BBC.
Ella Watts: And I had a screenshot of Ryan and Shane from Buzzfeed unsolved. And I was like, “This is what would be good.” This was back in 2019, and then eventually people took me seriously enough to give me some money for a pilot, and I went and approached Juno and then she actually came up with I don’t know, characters and a story (Talia and Lucia laugh) and something more than just the general premise of what if a paranormal podcast for Doctor Who. And we recorded the pilot and then a bunch of stuff happened, including, but not limited to a global pandemic, Chris Chibnall leaving Doctor Who, Russell T Davies coming back to Doctor Who, and with all of these kind of both big changes in the world, full stop, but also big changes in the world of Doctor Who, Redacted just didn’t really have a place to go because it was like, “Oh, well, is Russell’s era gonna want it? Does Chris want it?” Like “When does it come out? Does it come out at the end of Chris’s era? Does it come out earlier? Does it wait until Russell’s era starts?” We didn’t really know. And we didn’t know if Russell would want it to exist at all, so it was like “Where is it gonna fit in?”
Ella Watts: And then in January, this year, BBC Sounds confirmed that they did wanna pay for it and they did want it to be made. And then I had two weeks to cast the entire thing and —
Lucia Kelly: Oof!
Ella Watts: — Yeah! Which was brutal. And then two weeks to record the entire thing. And then three months to produce the entire thing, which in the world of audio drama is a very short production timeline.
Ella Watts: I would normally take six months even for an indie project. But now here we are, and it’s been released, and the last episode comes out this Sunday when we’re recording, but I don’t know when this episode comes out, so maybe, I mean, time is not a straight line, wibbly wobbly timey wimey.
Talia Franks: That is wild to me that you had such a short timeline.
Talia Franks: It’s really, really great though. This is honestly probably one of my favorite podcasts. Also, I mean, I’ve been a big Doctor Who fan for forever. It’s so unlike a lot of Doctor Who, but it’s also exactly like Doctor Who. It is Doctor Who. It’s exactly what I’ve come to love from the series, but it’s also so much more, and it’s just fantastic. Every week I listen to it and I’m like, “This is amazing.” Like every week, I’m like, “Oh! This is the best episode!” Because each episode just feels better and better. (Talia laughs in delight)
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, it’s fascinating hearing you say that specifically the goal was to appeal to women under 35 and working class because listening to Redacted, like Talia says, it’s this weird, bizarre feeling of being catered to? (Lucia, Talia, and Ella laugh) And it’s like, “Wait, hang on. Is this what it — I can understand how white men get power mad! This feels great!” Like —
Talia Franks: Yeah!
Lucia Kelly: And it feels like Doctor Who but made with people like us in mind instead of the default, which is really fun.
Talia Franks: Yeah. It’s honestly so great to feel really seen by the show. And I am very much looking forward to and hoping — Well, one, hoping that there’s gonna be more, either more of Redacted itself or more audio dramas in this style of a podcast.
Talia Franks: Because one of the things too is that Big Finish is great, but it’s also not very accessible, so I love how really accessible this is. It’s free. We can listen to it right in the app or even just online. And also there’s transcripts. Oh my goodness. I love transcripts so much. They make my life so much easier. That’s one of the reasons we have transcripts for this podcast, because honestly the fact that so many podcasts don’t have transcripts drives me bananas, honestly.
Talia Franks: But the point I was trying to get to is I really like how accessible this medium is, and I really hope to see more of, if not this specific podcast, then more in this style. And I also want to see more of these characters and characters like them in the show itself.
Talia Franks: I really love how it includes so many explicitly queer characters. It includes working class characters. I really want to see that in main Doctor Who, and I’m really excited, especially like with the 60th and the inclusion of Yasmin Finney and finally getting to have more trans characters in the show, and I feel like Redacted is really pioneering that, and I really love that. Now we’re just gushing, cause we love this show so much. (Talia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, no, it was so heartwarming and just gave me such hope. First of all, you fall in love with Cleo instantly. (Lucia laughs) Like, she is such a great character —
Talia Franks: Absolutely.
Lucia Kelly: — but also the fact that the entire show revolves around the fact that Cleo is undisputably the Hero. It’s placing working class trans women at the center and putting a spotlight on them and pushing them up and praising them and giving them the time that has been so long denied and it’s just really heartwarming to listen to and know that even though it’s happening slower than it should, wheels are moving, and it’s moving in the right direction.
Talia Franks: Absolutely.
Ella Watts: I’m really, really, really glad to hear you both say that. It – It means a lot, and obviously this was a big part of the reason for doing it.
Ella Watts: I also wanna say on transcripts, I agree! I would love to see more podcasts using transcripts, and I think it’s important just to shout out Caroline Mincks, who does a lot of activism in the at least audio drama and audio fiction space about providing transcripts. Cara is deaf and does a lot of deaf activism around how you can make transcripts more accessible and more interesting.
Ella Watts: The BBC doesn’t usually provide transcripts for podcasts, and so having transcripts at all was a little bit of a fight that I had to do. And I’m glad that we got them, but also I have this thing — we were talking before we started recording about how you feel your work changes over time.
Ella Watts: And even now as a producer, I’m looking at stuff and I’m like, “Ah, and I would change that. They would do that differently. And I wish this was better. And ah, God dammit.” And yeah, like there’s, there’s a lot that I would change about our transcripts, just to make them better, but I’m glad that we got them at all. And I hope that they have been helpful for people.
Ella Watts: I started off writing them, but then another producer called Georgia Keating took over for me. I just really appreciate the fact that like, I, (Ella laughs) I was so strict, Georgia mostly produces radio programs for like national radio, right? Like, she’s quite a busy person. She’s quite an ambitious person. And she’s really good and creative producer. She came into this from producing TV comedy. She’s this incredible woman.
Ella Watts: And then I’m being like, “Okay, but you have to do the transcript right. And I need you to know that like, it won’t be good enough if it’s just the script and also you need to make sure that you do this right. And if you think that there’s an emotion here that’s not clear in the script, then you do need to add it. And like also just, you need to make sure that you change the sound effects. And also I need you to describe the music.” I gave her like, such a detailed set of instructions for this thing that she was doing to me as a favor in her free time around producing national radio.
Ella Watts: But she’s this amazing woman who puts so much care and attention to it and, and emails me each week being like, “Okay, so this is what I did here. And this is like what I hope people find it useful and stuff.” And I don’t know. I just I feel like, shout out to Georgia because she hasn’t really got credit for it because we’re just in the same company and that’s not often how it works, but I, I do think if people have appreciated the transcripts, Georgia Keating is the reason we have them and she’s really cool.
Ella Watts: And she’s also a woman who’s a comedy producer and a drama producer who’s interested in making queer, feminist, intersectional stuff. So yeah, just shout out to Georgia.
Talia Franks: Yeah. Thank you, Georgia, cause I really love the transcripts and I love how detailed they are and I can only aspire for at some point our transcripts to be that good cause we’re still learning.
Talia Franks: Like we were just saying before we started recording that we are still, like, we only just had our one year anniversary. We’re still a very new podcast and we’re still, learning how to do this whole podcasting thing. So, we’re definitely new.
Lucia Kelly: That was another thing that I think, for you and I Talia specifically, was so joy giving about Redacted specifically is that, you know, we’re amateur podcasters listening to amateur podcasters and all the little sort of details and in jokes, and just, it’s a very knowing, and loving, wink to people who produce their own stuff. And it’s just really joy giving be like, “Oh yeah, I know that, (Lucia laughs) we’ve been in those kinds of meetings.”
Talia Franks: Yeah. Redacted definitely feels like a bit of a love letter to fandom in the way that it talks about how there are everyday people who pay attention to what the Doctor is doing and are picking up the pieces and noticing and following trails and clues and creating podcasts. It’s such a great expression of seeing how fandom works and how it’s really evolved too, because we got to see in the show, like we had LINDA and we had Clive, and all that in the early show. And now we’re seeing it as a podcast and how it’s evolved into the modern era.
Talia Franks: We were wondering if you could tell us a bit about, what might the average person not know about what goes into making a production like Redacted and what is a day in life of making the show like at each stage?
Ella Watts: Okay. Gosh it’s really, really hard to like, assume knowledge or lack of knowledge. So to you, the person listening, I apologize if you know this stuff already, I’m just gonna cover as many bases as possible, just in case there’s a thing you didn’t know, you didn’t know. In the words of Cecil Baldwin, “We fear what we don’t know, we fear what we don’t yet know we don’t know.”
Ella Watts: Um, Okay. So, obviously there’s a couple of things. So first of all, we shaped the story. So that started at a couple of points for us because we had an unusually long development period before actually making the show. Normally when you pitch a new podcast or radio show, you have like, maximum about a year before you actually start producing it.
Ella Watts: We obviously move a lot faster than TV and film because our budgets are normally a lot lower. Our teams are smaller. And even if we are making something on a theoretically large stage, it’s not a box office thing. And so, normally you’d have a year of development time and then you make your thing and that’s gonna be three to six months, depending on what it is. Might take up to a year if it’s like really massive, but that’s gonna be something that’s over 20 episodes. And that’s quite unlikely in the world of commercial drama. Just because Indie drama can kind of do a Magnus Archives and make 200 episodes because not everyone’s being paid and certainly not at the start. Whereas with commercial drama, you know, I have a responsibility to pay people union rates.
Ella Watts: And I am just not given enough money to pay people to make 50 episodes of anything. I don’t have that much money in my budget. I’ve seen people being like, “Oh, I wish there was more of the Doctor in the show” I do too. We did not have the budget to pay Jodie Whittaker to be the Doctor for three hours, like that’s just not a thing that we can do.
Ella Watts: Um, And she was lovely and we got her for two hours and that was the entirety of the recording session we got for her. And it took up a substantial portion of our budget but yeah, so we were in development for quite a long time. But normally the way you shaped things is like, in the way we did, it was like I said, I came up with a general premise of being like,
Ella Watts: I know who the audience is. I know what the story is that I wanna tell. I wanna tell a story about the people left of camera in Doctor Who, so the people who, when the camera pans around, you see everyone panicking with Santas in a shopping mall. I wanna talk about the people who are running away, who we never go back to, but whose lives have been irrevocably changed by this weird thing that happened to them, often very traumatizing thing that happened to them.
Ella Watts: And then I approached Juno to be our lead writer and because she was our lead writer, I was like, “Okay, so what do you wanna do?” Like, “These are the things that I wanna do. This is the audience I wanna appeal to. These are the parts of the story that are really important to me.” So I talked a lot about like, for me, I think that a trope that science fiction or fantasy often falls into is making fantasy privilege?
Ella Watts: And that’s partly because a lot of the people behind the scenes, both in production and commissioning, just because of the way the world is, are often white, cis, straight, middle class, often men. So they relate to stories about privilege more than they do about stories about marginalization, and so they’re like, “Oh, well, I assume this is very relatable.” And it’s like, “It’s not.” Like, there is a very small minority of people in the world who are white, cishet, rich men. Like it’s a tiny, tiny group of people, but there’s an assumption that everyone will relate to that. And so what you often get in science fiction and fantasy is a character who is nominally working class is nominally marginalized, but then they’re secretly an alien prince! Or they’re secretly a super genius! Or they secretly have access to an incredibly expensive super computer! Spiderman now has access to billionaire equipment!
Ella Watts: And that immediately undermines it because if you are a normal person who’s ever had to like, work for a living or like your parents have been working whilst you’re growing up or you feel like you didn’t just walk into a job, you didn’t just get into uni and it was super easy. You didn’t just have a friend who told a friend that you were good at something.
Ella Watts: Then it’s really alienating because it’s like, actually my life isn’t like that. I didn’t one day find out I was an alien prince and then everyone wanted to give things to me. I have to make rent. And I worry about that every month. That’s a thing that is in my life. And so when I was talking to Juno, I was like:
Ella Watts: “So I wanna tell Doctor Who story, but I don’t want us to do this fantasy privilege thing. I want these people to be normal human beings. There’s nothing special about them. They’re not aliens, they’re not magical. They don’t secretly have access to robots or whatever. They are just people, real people.” And I had approached Juno because I ‘d obviously done research into a bunch of different writers before approaching Juno, but I’d read her novel, The Good Doctor, which was the first piece of fiction that had the Thirteenth Doctor in it, which is a novelization.
Ella Watts: And I’d listened to her Torchwood Big Finish audio dramas. And I’d also was aware of her just as an activist and also her other young adult writing. And I was like, if I wanna make something that appeals to young women it’s hard to think of a better choice than Juno Dawson, than someone who appeals to young women, but also knows Doctor Who like the back of her hand and really cares about Doctor Who. So I approached her and I was like, “Hey these are the themes and things that I wanna deal with.” And she started coming up with characters. She started coming up with like, Cleo, Shawna, and Abby. We had that coffee. And then we had a writers room with Catherine Brinkworth and Sasha Sienna who were two of the writers in our writers room in the series, who write episode four and episode five.
Ella Watts: And I just booked a meeting room for, I can’t remember if it was two or four hours, but I had a whiteboard and we just plotted out the series. And we’re like “These are who the characters are. This is roughly what their deal is. This is what the plot is gonna be. These are the things that are exciting to us. How does that fit our themes? What themes are important to us? What do we want to say with this story? Why are we telling this story now?”
Ella Watts: Then from there we kinda shaped it into a pilot. Juno wrote a script, I edited it. So in audio a producer has a lot more hats than they do in visual media. So I am like, script editor and I am producer and I do some marketing stuff and I’m the director, and I do like, lots of different things.
Ella Watts: So we go through it, but I will say, with Juno scripts, one of the really amazing things about getting to work with her is that she is so hardworking and she has so much love for Redacted and Doctor Who that, with the other writers, I would kinda script edit their stuff, with Juno it would just be like “Juno here’s my notes.” And she would go do it and she would bring a script back to me. Then we get to actual production. So I have an executive producer who is called James Robinson and he’s quite an experienced drama producer. So it’s his job to be like, “Hey Ella, I know you really wanna do this thing, but that’s not gonna work in audio.”
Ella Watts: And I’m like, “but are you sure James?” And he’s like, “yes.” And I’m like, “okay, fine.” And so make like little tweaks based on what James has said. Then we get into actually lots and lots and lots of development at the scripts, big writers room with everyone to discuss the overall plot to decide which episode who’s doing, and where they’re picking up from and where they’re handing over to in terms of our overall storyline. Hammering out that plot and refining it like this, I’m trying to condense like a two years worth of work, but like lots of stuff like that.
Ella Watts: And then from there working on the scripts like internally, so we take the scripts away from the writers. Do them a little bit further based on notes from the Doctor Who brand, because we’re working with an existing franchise. We have to make sure that stuff is in line with Canon and that people are being referred to correctly and stuff like that.
Ella Watts: Then we get to actually casting, getting people to audition, reviewing people’s existing work, because we had an extremely short timeline, like I said, two weeks to cast the entire series. Rather than the kind of formal auditioning process that you would get again in something like a film or TV essentially like what happens a lot of the times that an audio producer is like, I mean, part of my job is being a producer is being aware of who’s an interesting actor, who’s an interesting writer, who are people I wanna work with. And part of my ethical responsibility is to find people who might not already be very well known. So to make a conscious effort, to be like, I’m going to attend showcase nights of new talent who are actors or writers and stuff.
Ella Watts: But that means that I do have a database of writers and actors that I wanna work with, who I’m like, “Okay, I know this person is doing something interesting. So I wanna ask them if they’d be interested in this project.” So I reviewed a lot, a lot of material for everyone who we might consider approaching for Redacted.
Ella Watts: And then had a conversation with them and we ended up settling on the cast that we have. And then for recording, we recorded at a studio called Sonica studios in Clapham in London, which is an amazing radio drama recording studio. They also do all kinds of audio recording for animation and for video games and stuff like that.
Ella Watts: And what’s really cool about them is that they’re very COVID safe, which, we were recording in February 22. And so we were still concerned about COVID, I mean, I’m still concerned about COVID, but like that, that was like a, definitely more of a dangerous time. And so we had separate rooms in the building.
Ella Watts: So each of our actors recorded in their own room where they could shut the door and they could be in an isolated, safer space. And then they had a, a screen in front of them and they essentially had like a zoom call within the building so they could see each other and they could hear each other on their headphones, but they’re in separate rooms. And then when we break, we would go outside.
Ella Watts: And then from there, obviously it’s the process of directing. So, we’re gonna record these scenes from these episodes in this order, at this time, keeping an eye on the schedule, and there’s some level of work that goes into deciding what order we record scenes in.
Ella Watts: So for me, I had a couple of things to work with, which was that Charlie hasn’t acted before. And also that Charlie, Lois, and Holly had never met each other before. And I needed them to sound like best friends. And so I organized the schedule so it wasn’t always linear. We don’t start at episode one scene one, I’m like, okay, well I want the Blue Box Files to be at the end of the first week.
Ella Watts: So by that point, Charlie and Holly and Lois have got to know each other, so they sound like they’re actually friends and actually making each other laugh because they have spoken to each other. Whereas if we started with that, I think it would’ve sounded very stiff. And similarly, we of start off with the exposition heavy, early season stuff because I’m like, it doesn’t matter if there isn’t lots of emotional depth in that, because really we’re just conveying a little bit of plot information and it’s an interstitial piece where it’s not doing too much heavy lifting in the drama, so we can start off with that, to let Charlie warm up into like, she’s acting now.
Ella Watts: And then when we get to the kind of heavier, more emotionally complex pieces, like I put them into the second week because I’m like, okay, these are the moments where she’s gonna need to feel a little bit more confident in her own performance and be a little bit more in touch with the character and who she is and what her journey is.
Ella Watts: And so if she spent a week getting to know this person that she’s playing, then she can tap into that a little bit more. So, record, direct. Also, I think that we do an audio drama that people uh, may or may not know, I shared a video of this on Twitter, is we record a lot of like crowd scenes , or what we call wild tracks.
Ella Watts: So with every single actor that I got in, I made them be a ghost for the ghost scene. I just made them heavily breathe on mike for like, 60 seconds (Lucia laughs quietly) . Everyone did a slightly different version of that. It’s very fun. For every crowd scene, every restaurant, every street and stuff, we had people just having a one-sided conversation with themself.
Ella Watts: So there’s no point where we are just using like a random crowd noise. Those crowds are made up of all of our actors putting on different voices and stuff, including me. People will come up with like ridiculous nonsense and we’d be like,
Ella Watts: “Okay, so I need you to now be having a conversation as if you’re in a cafe.”
Ella Watts: “I need you to now be having a louder conversation as if you’re in St. James’ park.”
Ella Watts: We’d get them to be police officers in episode eight. Uh, so, you know, “I need you to get out of a car, be confronted by a mob of static ghosts. Think that you are there to save two women who say that they think they’re about to be murdered and then get painfully dissolved by living static” was a fun direction to give people just generally having people be screaming. (Talia laughs quietly) And then finally the video that I shared on Twitter, which was like “you’re in a postapocalyptic crowd.” But you know, I needed about three minutes of audio. So I like, I needed them all to have a little story.
Ella Watts: So I’m like, “okay, so I need you to start off like quite quiet. Like you’re talking to friends, you maybe calling someone you’re with like a family member, you’re with a partner, you’re with a kid, and then oh no, like a car just crashed, and now that the shops are fire ,and now there’s ghosts, and there’s static ghosts, and there’s army soldiers, and ah!”
Ella Watts: And then also in episode nine and we’ve got UNIT soldiers coming in. So then the last thing I would get everyone to do is be like, “okay, so now you’re a UNIT soldier. So where, before you were playing the crowd that was panicking. Now I need you to be this soldier coming in and being like, “don’t worry, ma’am it’s okay!” like “I’m here to help!” kind of thing. And like just generally like giving each other instructions.
Ella Watts: And with the UNIT soldiers, I had everyone finished their bit of recording by being like, okay, so either you, yourself are painfully killed by living static or you watch someone next to you get painfully killed by living static.
Ella Watts: So you need to perform for me either screaming pain or screaming fear, but I just need that, at the end Get all of those things together, which is yeah, such nonsense, such nonsense, and I tell you what it’s a shame that you can’t actually hear the conversations that they’re all having, because a lot of them took it as an opportunity to just essentially do a two minute comedy bit where they were just, like, make up this ridiculous conversation about something. (Talia laughing quietly) so me and Juno are just like sitting there, laughing our asses off as they’re just saying absolute nonsense.
Ella Watts: But yeah, and then the last thing that’s important for me to record an audio drama is just people existing. So for especially Holly, Lois, and Charlie who play Cleo, Abby, and Shawna, like, I need them to breathe. Breathing is a very cliche thing in radio drama. It can be very overused, but at the same time, we also don’t want it to feel like someone’s just appeared out of nothing. And if you don’t have them as a physical human being existing in the room before they start speaking, that is often like a bit confusing of “Oh, where did they come from?” like, “how did they just appear?”
Ella Watts: And so having nonverbal sounds of them just existing means that you can feel a little bit more like their presence is there. So starting out with just like normal breathing and then being like, “okay, now I need sad or scared breathing because something’s happening.”
Ella Watts: And then being like, “okay, now I need you screaming or running” or like “we need sounds of you running and making an effort, climbing over a wall as you run out of your flat” kind of stuff. And some of that they would record in the scene, but then we also would get a clean take of those sounds outside of the scene so that we could put them in.
Ella Watts: So for example, there’s a scene in episode six where Cleo finds her dad’s stuff and she smells the gloves. But that deep breath in was a deep breath in that Charlie did in a separate track that we added to that so it sounded like, you know, it’s all like going there and you can like hear that and feel that um, but that’s the way that we kind of put these things together.
Ella Watts: And then, once we’ve recorded, I, as the producer, and James as the exec, do a dialogue cut. So we pick our preferred takes of each of the scenes. I put together little things like those nonverbal sounds. And I basically put all of the audio of all of the actors into an episode in the order that it’s supposed to be.
Ella Watts: Sometimes I might script edit in that dialogue cut. So I might cut a line or change a line if I feel like it’s not working. And then I send it off to a sound designer who does notes. In our case, in Redacted, we had two different sound designers. So we had a very cool queer trans producer called Arlie Adlington who made a lot of the like signature sounds of the series.
Ella Watts: So the redaction, the distortion, that kind of staticy hissy, the singing kind of sound. And the ghosts were made by Arlie, like the scene with Cleo’s mom was Arlie, and then we’ve got David Thomas, who’s a very experienced Radio Four kind of producer. And he would build the broader world of there’s traffic, and they’re running downstairs now, and a door is opening and stuff like that. And so we hand it off to them. Then give them notes. Each of the Redacted episodes had four to six rounds of notes, which is quite a lot, but it’s because I’m a control freak. And then once we’re happy with it, we send it off to our commissioners at BBC Sounds, but also to the Doctor Who team to make sure that sounds are correct.
Ella Watts: So for example, we’re talking to the Doctor Who team and they’re being like, “Well, the Sonic mascara in this episode needs to be slightly different so it’s in line with Sonic devices”. I also remember having a note on that, early on in the scripting where like, “it agitates molecules with Sonic vibrations to the point of volatility” or something because someone at Doctor Who was like, “you have to have Joel explain how it works.” And I was like, “I have a degree in medieval history and I am just gonna make up how this works and that’s fine.” So anyway, and now I got to write how a Sonic device works.
Ella Watts: It’s definitely makes sense. I promise. (All laugh) Um, the, the egg and science class thing where Cleo like says in that episode. “Oh yeah, we exploded an egg in science class.” That was me going, “I remember when we exploded an egg in science class. I’m sure I can just apply this to Sonic devices. (Lucia and Talia laugh) That’ll be, that’ll work.”
Talia Franks: We we, we always get into an argument on this podcast about, uh, how I think the Sonic Screwdriver is a magic wand and Lucia doesn’t believe in magic. (Talia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: I don’t believe in magic within the Doctor Who universe specifically. (Ella mhmms) I understand that it’s a sci-fi fantasy world, but it’s shopped as a sci-fi show.
Lucia Kelly: So you need to make the science make sense. This is, I believe, a small and reasonable request, but it does make me feel easier in my heart, cause Talia and I share, with our editor Dee as well, we all edit the show together. And I feel like I’m notorious for being very, very particular about how the episode sounds and getting really anal about it, including my breathing, which I am so, so paranoid about. (Lucia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: I have definitely gone in with a fine-tooth comb and just muted my breathing every single time. So the fact that (Talia laughs) that’s actually deliberately put in, in audio drama makes me feel a lot better. But it’s so amazing to hear, please continue, it’s so amazing to get this in-depth detail and really, thank you.
Ella Watts: I’m glad. But, but yeah. I mean, so once we got the sound design notes, we handed it off to a commissioner, get approval from the Doctor Who brand. I got sent the TARDIS sound files. Well, it’s kind of a spoiler, but I got sent the TARDIS sound files and the fact that I have the stems of how to make the TARDIS sound on my computer, that really, the official TARDIS sound.
Ella Watts: I was like, I don’t think that I’m allowed to have this legally. (Lucia laughs) I feel like I need to get permission from someone like, I also got, this is, this is a bit of a tease, but I did, I do also have audio stripped from the TV show from an earlier season that we use in episode 10, for reasons. And I went through this whole folder of this audio that I had from various episodes picking which clip we were gonna use.
Ella Watts: And that also felt very, I was like, I watched this TV show when I was growing up and now I have the audio file from the recording of that TV show. And I’m picking a clip to use and yeah, wild.
Lucia Kelly: Oh wow, that sounds like kid in a candy store, kind of feeling . (Lucia laughs)
Ella Watts: No, I swear to goodness, me and David Devereux, who composed our theme tune, we’re quite close friends. Also they’re like a massive Whovian, massive Whovian. And so I quite often will just be like texting them, being like. “You’re not gonna believe what I just got.” and I’ll like record a little bit of the audio, on my phone, on a voice note of what I’ve got.
Ella Watts: And they’re like “What?!” And I’m like, “I know!” (Talia laughs) Um, But yeah. And then we release it and then I don’t really have much to do with the marketing or visual assets and stuff. That’s handled by BBC Sounds.
Ella Watts: But I can input a little bit. So, our art had its own background fiasco that I’m not sure I can talk about that much, but we ended up just getting a friend of mine called Zach who is a lovely bi man, to make us the graphic that we have with the assets that we had in like kind of an emergency. And he was teaching at Bournemouth University, so he was in a classroom, at work, making the art for Redacted, just for us cause we needed it really, really fast, like in a day turnaround. And he’s just like texting me, being like, “Is this okay?” And I’m like, “Uh, yeah!” But yeah, like BBC Sounds actually handles that side of things. And then obviously the transcripts.
Ella Watts: So when an episode is finished, we do the transcript because obviously we move sound design and music around. And so it might be that we’ve changed something from the script or we’ve added things that were in the script and we changed the dialogue. And so, the transcript script gets written after the episode has been delivered and approved.
Ella Watts: And then we actually upload them on Mondays or Tuesdays, but we don’t let you see them until Sunday. So I’ve heard the final version of each episode at the start of each week. I listened to episode 10 on Monday. So it’s all finished now and I know what’s gonna to sound like and then we share those previews with press reviewers.
Ella Watts: So there’s a couple of reviewers out there who’ve also now heard episode 10 who will be able to post something on Sunday and then yeah. And then the episode goes out and then I’m slightly unprofessional on Twitter because I’m a nerd. And I’m excited about there being Whovians who are listening to our show so. That’s not part of my job though. That’s just a thing I do cause I’m me. (Talia and Lucia laugh) Um,
Lucia Kelly: And we love it.
Lucia Kelly: Like it’s been, cuz that’s the other thing of course, is that there’s been such an influx of people interacting, and making art, and doing podcasts, and all this sort of stuff in response to this show.
Lucia Kelly: And I guess, were you expecting that kind of fan response or was there anything that really prepared you for it? Or I dunno like —
Ella Watts: Oh my gosh.
Lucia Kelly: What, what’s it been like?
Ella Watts: I, oh my gosh. Okay. So when I was 14 years old, I wrote my first 150,000 word Doctor Who fanfiction. (Talia laughs) And when I was 15 years old, I wrote the sequel to that, which was another 150,000 word Doctor Who fanfiction. And… that was the first time that anyone did fan art of my writing was someone did Doctor Who fan art of my Doctor Who fanfiction. And then yeah, like 15 years later, I wrote a script for the Doctor and then directed and recorded the Doctor being the Doctor in an episode that I produced of her being the Doctor and that was wild.
Ella Watts: So I am a Doctor Who fan, and we were trying to encourage people who hadn’t watched Doctor Who before to check this out. And so we’re trying to not make it exclusively for people who have very deep knowledge of Doctor Who. I wanted to be accessible to people who don’t, but there’s a lot of references to Doctor Who fans and to the experience of being a fan that I wanted to include, because I wanted this to be a bit of a love letter to Doctor Who fans and specifically to people in the fan community who are like me. So like women, and queer people, and raging anarchist lefties, and people who love the things about the show that I love.
Ella Watts: And… so I, I put so much time and care into this. I’m 28 years old. It took me three years to make this. That’s a significant percentage of my life. And it went through so many changes and it had to be approved by so many people. And before the first episode came out, I was terrified. I was like, I’ve seen how the Doctor Who fandom can react to stuff and it’s not always pretty.
Ella Watts: And I was so scared that people would hear it and they would hate it. And they would be like, “this isn’t real Doctor Who,” or “you’ve made all of these mistakes” or “who the heck are these people?” or just that prejudice would come into it and that they would be awful to Charlie because she’s trans or Lois and Holly, because they’re Black.
Ella Watts: And, like, I… I had this weird, double thing where on the one hand, I was very nervous because this is also technically my first professional commission as a producer. So I’ve worked on existing other shows, but I’ve never had something commissioned from me. And normally when you start out in drama, you start out with a 10 minute standalone drama on Radio Four. And I started out with a 10 episode Doctor Who audio drama.
Ella Watts: And so I was just like, well, like, I kept saying to my friends, like if people hate it, like, I live in the world and experience misogyny and homophobia, and people will just be able to say, “well, they gave it to a young woman and it was her first big thing. And they shouldn’t have done that.” Like, I’m a very easy scapegoat for if everyone hated it, and that was really scary. And then on the other hand, I was so furiously protective of Charlie and Lois and Holly and I was kind of like, “yeah, well, I don’t care if they hate it. I don’t care if everyone is awful about it. I’m just gonna be like, no, you know what? Like they were amazing and you’re wrong!” And I had this thing, which I, I said to my partner just before it came out where I was like, “to be honest, even if the entire world hates this, if there is one single trans person who listens to this, and it means a lot to them that an actual trans woman written by a trans woman is playing a trans character in this show”
Ella Watts: rather than, I, I love the illusions to the doctor’s transness, but I think it’s such a shame that in the TV show throughout Jodie’s run, we’ve never actually had a significant trans character played by a trans actor in the show. And so we can have all of these jokes of like my references to gender change or, or, or joke or a lie.
Ella Watts: But in that episode, there are no trans people. And so being like, oh, well, there are all these lovely trans themes, but also trans people still aren’t seeing themselves in the show. And I’m so excited for Yasmin Finney. But like, when I was pitching the show, when I was making the show, we didn’t have that.
Ella Watts: And I was like, “okay, so if we make the show and one person finds it meaningful, one 14-year-old writing fanfiction is like ‘this is the thing'” Like, I am not gonna go into the controversy about John Barrowman, but like I grew up in a very religious household and a really unhealthy family. And I, the first time that I encountered the idea of bisexuality was Captain Jack and I was like, “oh! You can kiss like, more than one gender. That’s cool. I’ll figure this out later.” And…. you know, it’s like if one queer kid like listens to the show and it’s ” oh shit, like I can just be that I can do that and I can be happy and I can have friends and I can be loved and I can be heroic” then. I didn’t care if 10 million people hated it because it would be worth it for that one person. (Talia mhmms)
Ella Watts: And I’d made that decision before the show came out. And then this show came out and people like actually liked it. And people liked it who were my age, like young people liked it, queer people liked it, but also a thing that genuinely surprised me and gave me a lot of hope for the future of the world was a lot of older white men liked it, like older, white men, Doctor Who fans, because Doctor Who has always been a safe Haven for everyone who considers themselves to be different in some way, whether that’s neurodivergence or queerness or class because the Doctor loves everyone. And the Doctor doesn’t care if you have a shit job or if you’ve had a hard time or if you’re trans or if you’re queer or if you’re autistic, the Doctor’s like, “Yeah. And some of my friends have 16 tentacles. So? What are you doing with your life? Are you kind?” (A doorbell rings) Oh, sorry.
Lucia Kelly: The joys of podcasting. (Lucia laughs)
Ella Watts: Sorry about that. I have the world’s most aggressive doorbell and it’s like, it’s, it’s a problem.
Lucia Kelly: No worries.
Ella Watts: But basically just in summary, I, I realized that like the Doctor Who fandom was there for us.
Ella Watts: And I really genuinely, I hoped that queer people and women would like it. And it’s been amazing seeing people be like, “this feels like me” because I’m like, “cool. It also feels like me.” So I feel like we’re talking to each other. And there’s a quote from The History Boys, which is
Ella Watts: “The best moments in reading are when someone describes something so specific that you had thought unique and special to you, a way of thinking or feeling. And it feels as if a hand has reached out and taken yours.”
Ella Watts: And for me, like that’s what art is about. It’s about communicating and it’s about expressing things that we find hard to express in any other way. And it’s about saying, I live like this and you live like that. And our experience is, are fundamentally different, but I want to connect with you in some way.
Ella Watts: And that’s what matters. And this is a silly sci-fi comedy show. That’s about an alien fetus in a jar, but it’s also about making people feel like they’re not alone.
Talia Franks: Mm-hmm.
Ella Watts: And so I’m glad that. It did that for people. And it means so much to me every single day. But the thing that I was surprised by, and also really moved by was seeing how many people who are like “this isn’t for me. And it’s not about me and I’m still gonna support it.” And how many people came out of the woodworks to be like, “yeah, like I’m a straight man. And I showed this to my daughter and now she knows what the word transgender is. And also what the word redaction is and she’s very excited” (Talia laugh) and having people be like, “I’m a 57 year old non-binary person. And this is my favorite piece of Doctor Who content” and having people be very seriously recommending Redacted to each other who are like two men on Twitter using full punctuation and semicolons, but very sincerely being like, “you should take this seriously and you should check it out. And people who are rude about this are wrong.” And the amount of love and solidarity and community that has come out of it has been really incredible. And I did not expect it, but I am so grateful to have had it. And even if we never make any more, even if this is the end of the show and we just did this thing once I still think it was very much a thing worth doing.
Ella Watts: And I am glad to know that.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. I often pitch our show. I often pitch Wibbly Wobbly as “My friend and I talk about Doctor Who, episode by episode, and we put way too much thought into it.” And as we’ve done the show longer and longer, that pitch feels like not only selling ourselves short, but selling both the show and all of the other fans short as well, because it’s true, like this show, as silly and ridiculous as it seems, means a lot to people and it explores so many avenues, it’s got such a wide capacity to reflect our own universe back to us in ways that we could have never seen possible, and it’s been such a joy to experience that all over again with Redacted.
Talia Franks: Yeah, definitely. Cause, Doctor Who is, it’s meant so much to me for so long. I mean, it’s so integral to myself that I even got a Doctor Who tattoo. Yeah, It uh, it has the quote from “Demons of the Punjab”, it says “love abides in the face of everything.” And I mean, it’s also got the spiraling clockwork from the Peter Capaldi intro which was inspired by fan art (Talia laughs while saying um) so it literally comes full circle or full spiral, whatever you wanna call it.
Talia Franks: But Doctor Who means so much to me and to so many other people, and that’s part of why we do this podcast, but part of why so many people do their own podcasts and that’s again, why as we said, we’re so invested in Redacted because it’s about fans making a podcast about, this blue box (Talia laughs) that they’re so interested in and that you know, sparks curiosity.
Talia Franks: It’s interesting because it’s this idea that the Doctor — people talk about how the Doctor ruins people’s lives or whatever (Talia laughs) is like a common thing. But I feel like the Doctor also makes people’s lives better and more enriched, even though disaster is always around. (Talia laughs)
Talia Franks: Which honestly the turmoil and effects of the Doctor’s actions is actually one of the reasons also that I love Juno Dawson’s book, The Good Doctor which you mentioned it before.
Talia Franks: It’s actually one of my favorite books in the Doctor Who extended universe. Because it’s about the Doctor, like saving the day or whatever, like doing their thing, disappearing for 600 years and realizing that, oh no, she fucked up. (Talia laughs)
Ella Watts: I actually got Jodie and Juno to sign that book for me. When I recorded with Jodie, we had Juno in as well and I got them both to sign my copy which was like part of the whole reason that I got Juno to be on this podcast to write for it.
Talia Franks: Amazing.
Ella Watts: Because I, I love that. I, when, whenever I get to the end of that book, it, it like, it made me cry a bit when you get to the very, very, very last, like little epilogue bit.
Ella Watts: And there’s the story between the two characters talking about like the Doctor, again, that’s a myth and a story, but like from a different perspective at the end, it’s a, it’s a good one.
Talia Franks: Yeah. I love that book and that book is also one of the reasons why I was so excited about Redacted when it was announced.
Ella Watts: It’s interesting that you say that about The Good Doctor, because one of my favorite Doctor Who novels quite early on growing up was The Infinity Doctors, which is this incredible Doctor Who novel that I really recommend where its, I can’t even remember which Doctor it was, cause I read it when I was like 15, when I didn’t even know about all of the other Doctors. I was just like, “Oh yeah, there’s David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston. And what do you mean there was Doctor Who previously?”
Ella Watts: It was in my school library and I borrowed it, but it’s like the Doctor on Gallifrey, and it explores like Gallifrey and class, and the Time Lords and class, and colonization and imperialism. And it also talks about the Doctor and the Doctor’s family —
Talia Franks: Mm-hmm.
Ella Watts: — And, it’s also a lot about the Doctor and the consequences of the Doctor’s actions and the way that the Doctor can inspire faith and hope, but also can be quite destructive in the way that they move through the universe. And one of the things that’s really incredible about it is that the Doctor has a wife who was actually murdered. And he’s been mourning her, but he’s been secretly mourning her, and he hasn’t told his student he’s mourning her because she was essentially low class and he wasn’t supposed to marry her, and that was why she was killed. And he has this infinity room, hidden in his quarters that you can get through to through a mantle piece, which is just full of thousands and thousands and thousands of candles where he’s lit a candle for every day that she’s been gone.
Ella Watts: Just thousands of them. And then a thing happens where someone’s TARDIS gets tied up in some kind of space event and gets twisted and essentially makes a parallel reality. And the person who was in the TARDIS becomes a God of that reality, but the reality becomes so big, it keeps expanding, that now they are essentially functionally a God and can impact our reality as well. And this God shows it to the Doctor. And in this parallel reality, the Doctor’s wife is still alive. And so he goes through into this other world and the God’s like, “yeah I mean, you could save the universe you came from, but if you let my universe take over, then you get her back” and he has this conversation with his wife about what he’s gonna do, and if he’s gonna go back to this place where he has experienced pain and prejudice and sadness, but also is full of so much life and wonder, or if he’s gonna hide in this world where he can pretend that none of those bad things ever happened.
Ella Watts: And it’s a really good book, but I think about it a lot when I think about the Doctor, because I also think that one of the things that I love about the Doctor is the Doctor has a terrible life. The Doctor is miserable, the Doctor hates themself a lot. And also the Doctor never, ever lets the suffering and bigotry and discrimination and pain that they see, they never, ever, ever let it stop them being kind and good. And they’re very much the definition of someone who is kind on purpose. And I think for me, there was a thing that a reviewer called Alistair Stewart said about Redacted, which was, it’s one of my favorite things that anyone’s ever written about anything that I’ve done, and even about Doctor Who, where he was like,” Who at its best is about people who are forgotten by the world and choose to be kind anyway.” And yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. It’s, I mean, I’m adding that book to my, to be read list immediately. But it, yeah, we have not had this conversation yet, but cause we have not yet discussed The Beast Below. But we very briefly talked about how I, so there’s a moment in the beast below where
Ella Watts: I remember.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Ella Watts: I’ve written so much fanfiction. I yeah, (Lucia and Ella laugh)
Lucia Kelly: but I actually really hate that line because I have a very firm belief in — so basically just for people whose memories are a bit hazy this is the episode where there’s a giant star whale and London is on top of it and eventually at the end, when everything’s resolved, Amy turned to the Doctor talking about the star whale, but actually talking about the Doctor being like “all that pain, all that suffering and all it did was make it kind.”
Lucia Kelly: And I hate that line because it’s never the suffering. It’s never the trauma. It’s never how the world pushes at you. It’s how you live. And it’s what you choose to do. And I’m a very firm believer in the fact that the traumas you experience do not create your personality, they reveal it. And it’s been again, so lovely listening to a Doctor Who product that reflects that philosophy rather than The Beast Below philosophy.
Talia Franks: Yeah. This also is reminding me of one of my favorite quotes from “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”, which is when Yaz asks whether or not the Doctor has family. And the Doctor says that she lost them a long time ago and then Ryan asks how she copes with that.
Talia Franks: And she says, “I carry them with me, what they would’ve thought and said and done. I make them a part of who I am. So even though they’re gone from the world, they’re never gone from me.” And that quote really resonates with me, especially because especially “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” that episode because my grandmother recently died and Grace dies in that episode.
Talia Franks: And it’s just that whole emotion and sentiment and everything. Just yeah, it really resonates with me and it, it’s one of those things again, where Doctor Who is a show that makes me feel like it’s very relevant to my life and it’s very much something where the lessons that I learn from Doctor Who, from the show, from Redacted the podcast, from the books that I’ve read about Doctor Who, from the Big Finish audios that I listened to, all of them are lessons that I’ve also learned and internalized and I feel, and I vibe with, yeah. So that’s just . Yeah.
Ella Watts: It gets me that you brought up that quote, cause that was a big moment for me when I fell in love with Jodie was that quote, where I was like, there were a couple of moments in that episode, I remember when I first saw the trailer for Jodie’s Doctor, and I just cried at just the trailer and then the episode came out and I loved, I loved “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”. And there were so many moments. That’s the moment when she jumps off the crane where it was like, “Okay, it’s the Doctor.”
Ella Watts: Um, But yeah, that line is absolutely the one where I was like, “Oh no, this is the Doctor, the Doctor, this is everything the Doctor is (Talia mhmms) in all of her grief for all of her joy and all of her love.” and I think also to what you said, it’s important to me that the Doctor is angry and the Doctor gets angry about injustice.
Ella Watts: And I think, there are so many things that I cannot say about the Doctor Who brand, but —
Lucia Kelly: We won’t tell anyone (Lucia laughs)
Ella Watts: I, I think that there can be a tendency among anyone who’s lived in a group that experiences privilege like I’m white, and cis, and pretty middle class, or at least I have been, that like, “you should just turn the other cheek” and “why aren’t these protestors doing it both peacefully and palatably to me personally?” And… we’ve seen again and again and again, that that’s a rhetoric of control and a rhetoric of oppression.
Ella Watts: Not least in the ways that when people do peacefully protest, that hypocrisy is proven whether we’re talking about the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. Or the fact that Colin Kaepernick taking a knee wasn’t seen as palatable enough.
Ella Watts: So I do agree that being like “your suffering makes you nice. And that means that you’re gonna be nice to me. And that means you’re gonna be palatable to me. And that means that no matter how much you’re hurt by the world that you live in and the people who are cruel to you, you’re still gonna be very palatable and calm and nice and obedient to me” is a terrible, terrible message that I’m not particularly interested in.
Ella Watts: What I am interested in is essentially hopepunk storytelling and defiant storytelling and saying “yeah, I live in a world where there’s an enormous amount of cruelty and suffering and injustice. And I refuse to believe that that’s the human condition.” Human beings aren’t the disease. Capitalism might be. It is not human nature to be cruel. It is not human nature to be bigoted. That is an excuse that powerful people use to do cruelty. I think that human beings very often, almost always want to be kind and they want to love and to be loved and whether that’s romantically or platonically, people want to care about one another and want to be cared about.
Ella Watts: And, you know, Ursula K. Le Guin, like “the lie of the artist is that suffering is interesting and goodness is boring. Whereas there’s a terrible banality to evil.” It’s not interesting. It’s much more interesting to me to say actually they won because they were kind. And they won because they cared and they won because they loved and they didn’t win because that was easy for them, because being kind was easy for them, and it didn’t mean that they weren’t angry because they are, it meant that they were angry and they chose to be kind in this moment and that was heroic because they had a right to be angry.
Talia Franks: Mm-hmm
Ella Watts: Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Ella Watts: Now I’m just talking about storytelling.
Lucia Kelly: No, yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s so reflected in Redacted, not only on that sort of big picture scale, but also in this beautifully human, small, sort of domestic way. Like, oh my gosh, Cleo and her parents, that storyline hit so close to home for me. (Lucia laughs) Um, and it meant so much to see it reflected back in a way that made me feel heard and made me feel like, “Oh God, I’m not alone. And this is actually something that a lot of people go through and they can be heroes.”
Lucia Kelly: And the whole way that everyone’s supporting each other and we’re calling out the shitty boyfriend and all this sort of stuff where it really is, the minoritized people supporting each other and making themselves heard and doing it in a way that isn’t palatable.
Lucia Kelly: And isn’t a way that’s necessarily easy for people to consume but is feeling like coming home to the people who relate to it. And —
Talia Franks: Mm-hmm,
Lucia Kelly: — it’s just been a joy. So thank you so much for everything that you’ve done and everything the rest of the team has done as well. I think it’s very easy for people who aren’t in this sort of line of work to think that it’s the work of you know, one or two people, it’s always such a team effort (Talia mhmms) and it’s so beautiful to see everything that’s been made (Transition wobbles) ,
Lucia Kelly: Is there anything, any other projects that we might look forward to from the future or things that you’re looking forward to working on? If you had the universe at your fingertips, what would you choose? And where can we find you? .
Ella Watts: Gosh. Okay.
Lucia Kelly: I know I —
Ella Watts: Well.
Lucia Kelly: — threw three questions at you at once, but — (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: Yeah.
Ella Watts: No, no, no. It’s all good. First of all what I’m working, what I’m going to be working on, I’ve signed so many NDAs. There are so many things I wish I could tell you. And I can’t (Lucia laughs) but um —
Talia Franks: That’s what, that’s what I expected your answer to be. I was like, ” Oh no, Lucia’s asking about what she’s about to do.” And I’m, like “I bet she signed NDAs.”
Ella Watts: (Talia and Ella laugh) I can say that I also do Indie podcast things and there is currently a Buffy-style queer story set in the Peak District in the north of England that I narrated using a game called Thirsty Sword Lesbians that is out right now uh, in a show called Realms of Peril and Glory.
Ella Watts: So if you wanna listen to me being really queer with one of the writers of Redacted and just doing a kind of camp, queer Buffy Fest then Yeah. That’s a fun thing.
Ella Watts: I made a queer, hopepunk RPG game called Upriver, Downriver, which is about sailing on a magical river and also about rebuilding peace in the ruins of war. I’m a voice director for Six to Start, which is the company that makes Zombies, Run!, which is a wonderful fitness gaming app.
Ella Watts: That is also an interactive radio play. I’m absolutely gonna use that going forward. Thank you very much. (Lucia and Talia laugh) Um, And yeah, in terms of what I would love to work on, gosh, I would love to make more of Redacted and the decision about whether we make more of Redacted is being made this month.
Ella Watts: And folk at Doctor Who are really interested in us making more, but BBC Sounds need us to have enough people listening. Because the BBC is paid for by taxpayers. And if they spend taxpayer money on something that taxpayers don’t listen to, then they are failing to do their duty as a public funded broadcaster.
Ella Watts: So they have to be like, (Talia mhmms) we are actually serving the audience who’s paying for it. And so, me, and Juno, and Charlie, and Lois, and Holly, and everyone on the team really, really, really want to make more Redacted. We can only do that if enough people listen. And right now we don’t quite have enough, but we are like very close to a cusp.
Ella Watts: I haven’t been given exact numbers, but I’ve been told like, it’s nearly enough, but not quite right now. And so, there are lots of things that I would love to work on, but if you’re listening to this what I would really appreciate you doing is just telling a friend to listen to Redacted.
Ella Watts: They don’t even have to listen to the audio. If they’ve just download the app and click play and then just put it in another room or put it in a drawer, that’s fine. But just please tell your friends, tell your bus driver, tell your mum, tell your cousin, please just, the word mouth is the best way to advertise a podcast and get it out there.
Ella Watts: And we really need people to listen to the show. If you would like us to make more.
Lucia Kelly: And play it on every you unique device, you own. (All laugh)
Talia Franks: Yes!
Lucia Kelly: Do that for our podcast too please.
Talia Franks: Yeah, no, go listen to Redacted, it’s Pride Month! (More laughter, and Lucia faintly exclaims “Yay!”)
Ella Watts: Listen to Redacted for Pride. We have, we have a— actually that’s a spoiler. (Lucia: ooo) I was gonna say something, but nevermind. Um, it’s like something about the nature of the redaction, which is a joke I’ve made a lot to the production team, but I can’t tell you because then it would tell you about how the redaction works and —
Talia Franks: Okay.
Lucia Kelly: We almost got them to crack folks. We almost did it.
Talia Franks: Almost did it. No, but this episode is quite likely to come out, I’m not actually sure if this episode just didn’t come out before the last episode comes out because we both have to work.
Lucia Kelly: Very much, “I think I can work in one hour. Twice a week today. Can you work any other time?” (Lucia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: (Singing) Three person production team.
Talia Franks: Yeah. Lucia works fulltime and I work part-time, so that’s why I’m the Executive Producer, because I have more time. (Talia gives a small laugh)
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. Talia does so much for this. I turn up. I’m the charm. (Talia laughs more) I edit some of it and then I fuck off. (All laugh)
Ella Watts: I’m, I’m just here to be sassy and make quips, like listen. (Talia laughs in earnest)
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. But thank you so, so much for coming to meet us, it has been such a joy to meet you and talk with you. We were talking before we started recording that we were afraid that we would use up all our time, just chatting before actually pressing the button because it’s been so fun to talk to you and we could talk about things for hours.
Talia Franks: Yeah. So just real quick before you go, where can people find you on the internet?
Ella Watts: Oh, yes. So people can find me on social media, on Twitter and Instagram @gejwatts, where I will post about all of my various projects. I’m old, and I’m still figuring out how to use Instagram, which Charlie finds funny.
Ella Watts: But yeah you can find me Instagram and Twitter. Like the places where I will be. And I’ll be sharing like stuff about the show. I’m gonna be sharing a video from recording episode 10 on Sunday which is a bit where they made me cry because (Ella sighs) it makes me cry. And yeah, you can also find out about any projects that I’m doing, podcasts that I’m doing queer stuff.
Ella Watts: Yeah.
Talia Franks: Well you should definitely go follow!
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, again, thank you so much for coming on. It’s been such a joy and you heard them folks tell everyone, tell everyone, listen to Redacted (Lucia claps for emphasis) as many times as possible because I need a season two, and I know you guys need a season two as well, and I’m gonna be so looking forward to just whatever your next project is, even the stuff that you can’t tell us because of NDAs. (Talia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: So thank you so much. We hope to see you around.
Ella Watts: Thank you for having me.
Lucia Kelly: Thank you for listening to The Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Podcast.
Talia Franks: We hope you enjoyed this adventure with us through space and time.
Lucia Kelly: You can find us elsewhere on the internet on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram @WibblyPod. Follow us for more Wibbly Wobbly content.
Talia Franks: You can find out more information about us and our content on wibblywobblytimeywimey.net, and full transcripts for episodes at wibblywobblytimeywimey.net/transcripts.
Lucia Kelly: If you’d like to get in touch with us, you can also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talia Franks: Please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts and other platforms as it helps other people find us and our content.
Lucia Kelly: If you’d like to support us, you can send us a donation at paypal.me/wibblypod
Talia Franks: Special thanks to our editor, Dee who has been a vital member of the Wibbly Wobbly Team.
Lucia Kelly: That’s all for now. Catch you in the time vortex!