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TrekToday - Robert Picardo On Writing The Holodoc

Robert Picardo On Writing The Holodoc

By Christian
April 13, 2001 - 12:44 PM

Robert Picardo (the Holodoc) has been one of the Voyager actors most actively participating in his character's development, even contributing to the story of last year's 'Life Line'. According to the actor himself, that's mostly because the Doctor is just a very interesting character to develop.

"I have maintained a strong interest in my character because there have been interesting twists and turns all along the way that have kept me engaged," Picardo told TrekWeb. "I also find it fun and challenging to try and speak in his voice whether on the written page or to ad lib as The Doctor now. I've lived with him long enough and have a sense of how he thinks and what's important to him and how he goes about accomplishing what he wants to, to sort of spin Doctor-type dialog out of my own brain. And that's pretty much the genesis of the book, to have a little fun with creating my own Doctor-speech and ideas."

That book is 'The Hologram's Handbook', which Picardo is currently written together with Jeff Yagher. Expected to be released in 2002, it will be a humour book containing essays written in the style of the Doctor, as well as 'Far Side'-style cartoons by Yagher (story).

Other cast members have been far less interested in their characters, but Picardo said that wasn't entirely their fault. "I think that a lot of their interest of lack thereof in their characters has lot to do with how interestingly they've been written for. It's certainly true that The Doctor has gotten as interesting a variety of storylines as any character on our show, for which I am grateful, and were I in their position and had less interesting/challenging material for me to work on, then I don’t know exactly how I'd feel about it."

One storyline which Picardo still finds interesting is that of his character's lack of a name. "I think at some point it occurred to the writers that it would be great to resolve the name issue very late in the game, and I remind you that we are now very late in the game," he said. "The whole notion of an indecisive computer program who is given the opportunity to choose a name and then can't make up his mind, I think is quite funny, and I'm glad that we kept that alive basically the whole series."

"I don't think that it detracts from The Doctor at all," he continued. "I think that what's fun about it is that there is no analogy in life that a fully formed, fully sentient, fully educated individual would be unnamed and have to go through the process of selecting a name, have to do that as an adult. We're all given names before we're even conscious of what it is and what it means; if as an adult we could select our name I think it would be a very difficult thing to decide upon. I think that is a particular storyline unique to Voyager that you haven't seen a precedent for in the other Star Trek shows. Even Data had a name, from the beginning."

The full interview, which was conducted by TrekWeb's Steve Krutzler, also contains Picardo's thoughts on characters that were less popular than he thought they should have been, such as Neelix, but also his feelings about how the writers have handled Voyager over the past seven years. Click here to read it.

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