Comics and Doctor Who have long been allied among fans and subject matter. But the first of the three Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials, “The Star Beast”, went even further, boasting strong comic strip roots. The episode, which aired November 25, was written by Russell T Davies and directed by Rachel Talalay, but as the title card shows, it’s based on a story by Pat Mills and Dave Gibbons. 

That story actually debuted as a comic. “Doctor Who and the Star Beast” originally appeared in Doctor Who Weekly way back in 1980 and was reprinted in Doctor Who Classic Comics in 1994 and the Doctor Who Classics IDW graphic novel collection in 2008, among other places. (If you’re a curious completist, you’ll also want the audio adaptation of the comic Big Finish put out in 2019, adapted by Alan Barnes.) 

That version of the story starred the Fourth Doctor, as played by Tom Baker. Now we’ve got David Tennant back, not as the Tenth Doctor (again) but the Fourteenth. Catherine Tate co-stars as Donna Noble, and together they encounter the furry white Meep, based on the comic book look originally drawn by Gibbons. 

Although Disney is now showing Doctor Who everywhere but in the UK and Ireland, where it airs on BBC, the comic book creators got full credit as well as payment for their creation (unlike some other comics-to-movies adaptations) As the BBC reported, 

[Dave Gibbons] praised the production team for how they treated the original comic creators. He said in addition to a set visit, they were invited to the premiere screening in London, where he met showrunner and writer Russell T Davies. “I think it’s very enlightened how they dealt with me and Pat. It surpasses every experience we’ve had elsewhere,” said Mr Gibbons.

Both creators were also happy on Twitter, and Mills made an appearance on the Word Balloons podcast to talk about the episode. 

Gibbons wrote: “So happy with last night’s #DoctorWho episode. A great experience for me and @PatMillsComic Meep meep!”

And Mills wrote: “I’ve nothing but praise for the BBC, Bad Wolf, Russell, David Tennant and the production crew on Star Beast. They were all brilliant. But the original comic publishers –no surprise– don’t come out of it so well. I didn’t get a bean in comic royalties.”

That’s Panini who are identified as the cheapskates in the second part of the tweet. However both Mills and Gibbons have other things going on. 





While it was a reminder that media can credit comics creators properly, it was also a chance for many to celebrate the cuteness of the Meep, including director Talalay, whose TL is almost all Star Beast all the time right now! 

And in case some future time lord comes across this post and XTwitter is no more, here are the photos we’re talking about: