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A perfect Sunday with... James Moran
The perfect Eggs Benedict, Jessica Fletcher and being a vinyl bore!
Every week, a top writer, artist or creator reveals how they’d fill their perfect Sunday, sharing their favourite comfort reads, movies, food… anything that would make their weekend great.
Today, it’s the turn of Doctor Who: The Butler Did It scriptwriter, James Moran.
James’ perfect Sunday… brunch
I don't really do breakfast, usually just coffee (and as many chocolate digestives as I can dip without drying out the entire mug), but I DO do brunch. Sunday in particular. I love a standard fry-up, but favourite has always been Eggs Benedict. I'm obsessed with it, finding the perfect one. The eggs have to be right. The meat can't just be ham, it should be juicy bacon. The muffins can't be too thick, slightly crispy. And the Hollandaise sauce has to be the right consistency, freshly made, with just the right amount of lemon. I've had so many bad ones. But several amazing ones. Weirdly, I've never made it for myself, probably because I know I won't even make the top 50. I could go on about this.
James’ perfect Sunday… read
I've always been a huge Stephen King fan, and I spent many happy childhood Sundays just sitting on the sofa reading his latest, then forgetting the time and having to unravel myself from the cramped position. He's the one author now I can just get lost in, instantly on the first page. I'm very excited for the new one, Holly, out in September, all about Holly Gibney from the Finders Keepers trilogy which I recently devoured. The characters are so real to me, I firmly believe they actually exist, and get traumatised when they're injured or killed. I recently loved Broken Light by Joanne Harris, beautifully written and packed with tension. And I'm currently most of the way through The Kenneth Williams Diaries, an 800-page delight.
James’ perfect Sunday… comic
My favourite comic has always been and always will be Preacher. I keep meaning to do another re-read of the entire set, but I need to find a time when I can devote several days to that and nothing else. It changed what I thought was possible in comics. And then I found Sandman (quite late to that party) and that just blew away the remaining notions I had about what comics could do. They can do *anything*.
James’ perfect Sunday… movie
Again, I go back to my childhood, when the perfect Sunday movies were big, bold blockbusters you could watch in the afternoon with your family, usually with car chases and explosions. I can rewatch The Blues Brothers endlessly, when it finishes I can just start it again immediately, it's got everything. If we're talking Bond movies, my favourite has always been Live And Let Die, but I'll happily watch any of the Roger Moore ones. I grew up with him as "my" Bond, so for me he's the best one, and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise (or rather, my stunt double will, with the camera occasionally cutting to a close up of me looking concerned).
James’ perfect Sunday… TV binge
You can't go wrong stumbling across one of those weird channels called something like Trip To Yesteryear Nostalgia (+1) who always seem to have a Columbo marathon on a Sunday afternoon. We found a Murder, She Wrote marathon the other day on one of those random channels, and that is always solid gold. I've put a Jessica Fletcher reference into several things of mine, most recently in my 9th Doctor story, out on 3rd August... And yes, I really did make Christopher Eccleston, respected star of stage and screen, say those words (you'll know when you hear it!)
James’ perfect Sunday… podcast
I'm not a huge podcast person, never seem to be able to focus properly, which is entirely my issue, I realise. I like the Smartless guys, and Rob Lowe's podcast, but lately on the way back from the school run I've been hooked on Guys We Fucked, a sex-positivity/relationships/dating show hosted by two of the funniest women alive, I regularly hoot with laughter walking by myself along the road, I must look even weirder than usual.
James’ perfect Sunday… album
It's not everyone's first choice for relaxation, but Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon always relaxes me and puts me in a quiet mood of contemplation. There's just something about the sounds, the music, the way everything flows together, it's sort of dreamlike and other worldly. I'm a huge Floyd fan, I love the Wish You Were Here album too, and Animals, in fact all of them. Something about their weird soundscapes just puts me in a sort of trance, really. I recently got the vinyl edition of Dark Side live at Wembley Pool, so I'm saving that for a quiet Sunday afternoon. I always thought vinyl bores were just pretending it sounded better, until I got one and instantly felt the nostalgia. Obviously, the sound isn't technically "better", but it feels more alive. This is the most middle aged paragraph I've ever written, and I'm fine with that.
James’ perfect Sunday… treat
I recently got into ale and football after spending most of my life thinking they were both rubbish. When it gets to that point on a Sunday afternoon when you can justifiably crack open a nice ale, that's the sweet spot. Even better if it's a nice day outside so you can sit out and sip it, but if not, stay in and hope there's a good match on. I also really enjoy playing the ukulele badly, and banging out a few chords on a guitar, also badly - it's important to have creative hobbies when your main job is a creative thing, a hobby you don't ever have to be good at. I'll never be any good at playing either instrument, but they make me happy, and that's the important thing. You don't have to make everything into a job. Life's too short.
Doctor Who: The Butler Did It by James Moran is out now from Big Finish.
The Doctor lands at a spaceship repair port on a dusty planet to tune up the TARDIS engines. But someone has poisoned an old friend of his, and now everyone at the station is a suspect.
It's time to round up the clues, get out the magnifying glass - or sonic screwdriver - and check the butler's alibi...
James wrote the movies Severance, Cockneys Vs Zombies, Tower Block, and episodes of internationally acclaimed TV shows such as Doctor Who, Torchwood, Spooks, Primeval, Spooks: Code 9, Crusoe, The Sparticle Mystery, Crossing Lines, and Eve. He has several more upcoming film and TV projects in development, including Sequel, produced by Joe Dante, and directed by Danielle Harris.
His other work includes 5-time Streamy Award nominated web series Girl Number 9, and several short films which he wrote and directed. His first short, the award-winning hit Crazy for You (Best Horror/Sci-Fi, Crystal Palace International Film Festival), starred Arthur Darvill and Hannah Tointon, screened at huge festivals across the globe, and is now part of anthology feature film Minutes Past Midnight, and has been licensed by Shorts International for television and online use in various territories.
His latest short, the multi-award-winning Blood Shed, stars Shaun Dooley (The Woman in Black, Gunpowder, Doctor Who, Misfits) and Sally Phillips (Veep, I'm Alan Partridge, Smack the Pony, the Bridget Jones movies), has played over 50 festivals around the world, including BAFTA and Oscar qualifiers such as Encounters, Seattle International Film Festival, Nashville, Underwire, Dublin International Film Festival, and many more.
His hit web series, Mina Murray’s Journal won the Best Screenplay award at Dublin Web Fest 2016, and screened at HollyWeb in Los Angeles, and Vancouver Web Fest. James also directed several popular Turn Off Your Bloody Phone idents for FrightFest, and contributed script work to cult hit feature film The Borderlands, released in the US as Final Prayer.
He is co-director of production company Moranic Productions, with his wife, fellow filmmaker and screenwriter Cat Davies. He has written several articles for film & TV websites, and is a regular guest speaker at film schools, conventions, seminars and conferences around the world, doing panels, Q&As, interviews, and writing workshops.
Come back next week for a new perfect Sunday with Rob Williams. In fact, make my Sunday by subscribing to the Cavletter today!