Horror author Joe Hill — the son of literary legend Stephen King — has revealed the harsh rejection he received from the BBC when he pitched them an idea for a Doctor Who episode.
Hill, who has won awards for his works including debut novel Heart-Shaped Box, is a fan of the long-running sci-fi series and said fantasy author — and one-time Who writer — Neil Gaiman helped him to craft his pitch.
The BBC were seemingly unimpressed, however, and Hill told podcast The Horror Show that he received a curt email, stating: “We have never let an American write Doctor Who, and if we were going to, we wouldn’t start with you.”
Hill said: “Is that not the most smoking rejection of all time?
“I remain in awe. It’s still my favourite rejection.”
The 47-year-old writer described himself as a “Doctor Who geek” and said he particularly enjoyed watching the David Tennant era of the show with his children.
He said: “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.
“So, I spent a month and a half working on three pitches, and man, I have never imagined harder in my whole life.”
Hill said he was fortunate enough to be around Gaiman — who wrote 2011 Matt Smith episode The Doctor’s Wife — for the weekend, and the fantasy specialist helped to edit and refine his pitch.
Excited at the prospect of achieving his dream gig, Hill then sent the pitch off “with trepidation and my heart in my mouth”, only to receive the potent rejection several weeks later.
Hill has achieved tremendous success outside of Doctor Who, winning several awards for his novels and comic books.
His 2010 novel Horns was adapted into a film, starring Daniel Radcliffe, and a Netflix adaptation of his comic book series Locke & Key recently premiered on Netflix.
Doctor Who is currently airing the twelfth series since it was rebooted in 2005, with Jodie Whittaker now portraying the lead role.