The wife of the time traveler HBO maker talks about grooming criticism

“Certainly in the version of the TV show, he makes it absolutely clear that he’s just a friend.”

Ahead of its upcoming premiere on HBO, the wife of the time traveler creator Steven Moffat discussed criticism that the show promoted grooming.

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

For context, the series follows the relationship of Clare (Rose Leslie) and Henry (Theo James) – with the added twist that Henry is, you know, a time traveler. From Henry’s perspective, he first meets Clare when they are both in their twenties. From Clare’s perspective, she meets Henry when he is in his thirties and she is six – and he continues to appear in her life throughout childhood and adolescence.

Macall Polay / HBO Max

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s based on a 2003 novel that was made into a movie in 2009.

“A man over 30 who essentially raises his wife-to-be, from age 6, to be his perfect partner has even more awkward connotations now than it did in 2003,” according to a Time review. “The couple starts what the series would like to call a friendship, but I prefer to think of it as outright grooming,” reads another review from Roger Ebert’s website.

“That’s not what the story is in the book or the movie or the TV show. He is married to her,” Steven told TV Line.

“He meets her as an adult, he falls in love with her, he marries her, and then, through no fault of his own, is thrown back in time and confronted by the child version of the woman he already loves. In fact, in the version of the TV show, he makes it absolutely clear that he’s just a friend.”

According to Steven, when Henry visits six-year-old Clare, he’s “a responsible man, so he has really strict rules about this” — like not saying he’s her husband-to-be.

There’s apparently even a conversation going on about who groomed who in one of the episodes. “When one changes the other, Clare Henry changes,” Steven continued. “As a little girl, Clare is exactly the same person as when you see her in her seventies. Henry flows around Clare like a river around a rock. He makes himself the man she wants him to be because he loves her.”

Macall Polay / HBO Max

The Time review says of the scene: “The show only tackles this in the most hilarious, fleeting way: The term ‘grooming’ pops up and hangs in the air, an item checked off the update to-do.” -list.”

Well guess we’ll see when the show hits HBO Max on May 15th?

Leave a Comment