Saturday, 2 January 2010

Let's Hear it for Who!

It was excellently done. And, as is the way with excellence, once it's gone, it's hard to imagine anything ever being done that well again. I'm not talking about Late Beethoven here, but Dr Who.

One might envy Matt Smith landing the role of the new Doctor, but not for having to take over from the man who was probably the best ever. The manner of David Tennant's leave-taking said it all. This was no bog-standard "regeneration" in which the Doctor, being a Gallifreyan, merely changed his face: this was a death, with all the attendant pain. The Doctor paused, wistfully: "I don't want to go," he said. His body first glowed, then exploded. The pillars of the Tardis fell in, the windows smashed outwards - one was reminded of the events immediately following Christ's death on the cross. Then straight on to the resurrection: Matt Smith picked himself up, wondered if he was a girl, discovered that he wasn't, and picked up the role where Tennant had left off. If the trailer below is anything to go by, we're in for another good one.

Which would hardly be surprising. Tennant is an excellent actor (he packs a mean Hamlet in his spare time). But, much as I think he was the best Dr Who ever, it would be wrong to him single out. If one person could be singled out as being responsible for reinventing Dr Who, it's probably Russell T Davies. Tennant's predecessor, Christopher Eccleston, did an excellent job too - possibly an even a harder job than Tennant's, as he had to revive a role that had been mothballed for years by the BBC. And it's not just about individuals, it's about the whole production. As anyone who has watched the behind the scenes programmes, Dr Who Confidential can see, the show is produced with unbounded creativity, commitment and energy.

What exactly is Dr Who? These days TV pads the gaps between the reality shows with entertainment masquerading as drama in the form of realist soap, hospital dramas and whodunnits. For me, Dr Who is the opposite. It's drama masquerading as entertainment. It is itself: there is nothing quite like it.


The 10th Doctor's 10 Greatest Moments. A great link for Who fans (worth it for the clip from The Christmas Invasion), but none of them are from my favourite episode (well, it's a two-parter):


the watercats said...


Watched the last episode of David tennant's thing last night and was hoping that they were going to make the doctor old, in my opinion the only way they could have gone with the new doctor. When he changed into a young bloke, who appeared to be acting in a very similar manner to Tennant's character I was disgusted, the whole lot of us were. Tennant was such a natural in the role, anyone filling in is going to always be compared and they ain't gonna win! I was secretly hoping alfred might be warped into the new doctor, he'd have been brilliant..
Anyway.. Our house has already made up it's mind the new doctor is pants.. the writers on the seies are fecking fantstic though.. we're hoooooge fans!... I'm babbling now.. hope you had an excellent new year and the tiny whiskies did their job! cheers!

The Solitary Walker said...

I remember watching the very first episode of Doctor Who!

Yes, Tennant was very good indeed as Hamlet - bags of furious energy.

Elisabeth said...

I loved the old Doctor Who but I look forward to seeing a revived version. It usually takes time to reach us here in Australia but it'll come and then, oh joy.

These trailers suggest to me that it will be terrific. I'm not sold on things never changing. So young or old, a good actor and good lines, good production etc will win me, most likely.

Thanks for this,Dominic.

tony said...

have You Ever Been To The Photographic Museum in Bradford ?those little-wee booths (almost Tardis Like!) Where you can sit+see reruns of Old TV programmes including those of previous good Doctors? Facinating how the Formula Itself keeps reinventing itself.
British Telly At Its Best!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I am not a doctor who fan, sadly, but I have seen the trailer for his death so often that I think I nearly know the story! Incidentally, David Tennant is also playing Hamlet and I believe getting rave reviews. Maybe there is somesimilarity in the roles?

Golden West said...

I've never seen Dr. Who, but am a huge fan of British TV. Currently watching season 2 of Life On Mars - love Philip Glenister. And Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe is one of our all time favorites. I'll have to give Dr. Who a go.

Dominic Rivron said...

watercats: It's not noooooooooo! It's whoooooooooo! :)

SW: I think I do, too.

Elisabeth: Just wait! It's awesome.

Tony: I have visited the museum, but not seen that, that I can remember (it was a long time ago).
Did go to the IMAX cinema next door. Brilliant.

WG: There has been a little, I think, since he's been doing Hamlet! Perhaps I'm imagining it.

GW: Do. As Tony said, above, British Telly at its Best.

ArtSparker said...

I am very much looking forward to Stephen Moffat taking charge - Haven't seen this most recently past series, just speaking from the "Blink" episode.

Dominic Rivron said...

So am I. Moffat has written several cracking scripts - including Silence in the Library.

Rachel Fenton said...

Something just flew over my head. No TV in this house but I'll take your Christmas tv special as the litmus and visit youtube!

Get Off My Lawn! said...

I can't get past the image of the big nosed guy with the long scarf from the 70's. Light bulbs for special effects, visible feet showing under the daleks... I just can't watch the Doctor any more. Haven't since those he was no longer the doctor. Tom Baker? Was that his name?

Totalfeckineejit said...


Dominic Rivron said...

RF: Worth watching. (I think you have to be in UK to watch episodes on the bbc site).

GOML: Yes, it was Tom Baker. The new series,I think, is a very different kettle of fish. The sets don't look like they're cardboard for a start.

TFE: As he is wont to answer this question: '"The Doctor". Just "the Doctor"'. Your 1 word comment got me googling the origin of the name. An interesting search...

swiss said...

ah dominic, i can't agree. there are so many reasons but to voice them would be like being in an episode of the big bang theory. which is just better in every way.