Doctor Who – The Gateway Drug

23/11/2013 at 10:18 am (Doctor Who) (, , , , , )


IMG_3513Yesterday, my partner and I had the pleasure of visiting the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Celebration at the ExCeL in London. We’d arrived in good time for the events, herded en mass to the main auditorium. The visitors were split into two groups, Ice Warriors and Weeping Angels, ensuring there was sufficient capacity for the different groups who would see the guest panels at different times.

There was an all-pervading sense of expectation and excitement rippling through the queue as we waited for entry to the first screening. The excitement was mainly due, I think, to many of us not knowing what to expect. I assumed this as I’m not one for doing my homework and tend to turn up at things wide-eyed and confused.

The hanger-like holding area held no visual interest, so we turned to costume spotting. Tenth Doctors slightly outnumbered the Eleventh, there were a few Seventh, a Fifth and a many Tom Baker scarves. Quite a few were dressed as TARDISes, or rather TARDIS dresses and tops. Sadly, no re-constitued fridge boxes were evident. Later that day we’d see the most adorable toddler Sixth Doctor (“He’s a bit grumpy today,” said his mother. “In character then?” I replied.)

The first panel dealt with the special effects of the show. Perhaps not enlightening for older fans, it was undoubtedly great for younger visitors, with its fire and flashes. Which was the point really. The children and families. Yes, I’m a grown up man, but I’m still a fan. My interest in Doctor Who has risen and fallen like the TARDIS’ time rotor (certainly as pubs and… other things grabbed my interest), but it’s never completely gone away, and I was hooked from childhood.

We shuffled into the ‘Celebration Hall’, stepping through the gates of IM Foreman’s junk yard in Totters Lane, touchingly done out to represent the studios of BBC Television Centre. There were the merchandise stands (me = moth, toys = flame) and examples of props and costumes.  Vintage wagons, used for location filming, held examples of make up and wardrobe, while there miniatures and models from the history of the programme.

Events like these cement this love, not just with Doctor Who, but television and performing arts in general. This became particularly clear at the ‘Walk Like A Monster’ demonstration, tutored by show’s choreographer Ailsa Berk. You could see the children get really into it, mimicking Cybermen and Peg Dolls, capturing the jerky, disjointed gait of the latter with enthusiasm. That’s when you realise that if even one of those kids enthusiasm for performance is sparked, it’s been a good day.

I read a tweet, which I regrettably can’t remember who said it, that said ‘Doctor Who is a gateway drug to horror.” That is a perfect way of putting it. For children, it opens up the possibilities of other storytelling, delving into the otherworldly tales, dealing with death and horror in the safe environs of teatime terror. It’s also a gateway into understanding what goes into a television programme that boasts an incredible complexity. There is no other programme like Doctor Who, which can be any kind of show it wants to be.

Doctor Who fans, from my experience, don’t really care about the gossip behind the show as a rule. Not as much as the tabloids would have you believe. We tend to absorb information about how the programme is put together; shooting blocks, writers, directors, producers, and other essential aspects of a show’s production. That’s not unusual for fans of TV shows, but it tends to come later. When it comes to Doctor Who, this interest is piqued very early on. Children will write stories for Doctor Who, but also start making their own short films, design monsters.

I see Doctor Who as a dearly loved friend. I am, and pretty much will always be a fan. That came from my love of the programme as a child.

Am I too old for Doctor Who? All I can say is that there’s no age limit on that kind of adventure.

Happy 50th, Doctor.

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What if ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ happened in Florence, Italy?

24/10/2012 at 9:34 am (Art, Doctor Who) (, , , , , , , , , )


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My Life As A Dalek

12/07/2012 at 7:47 pm (Doctor Who) (, , , )


I do have a thing for dressing up..

NO! I mean, fancy dress.

My birthday is next month, and I’m wondering if I should have a themed birthday. If I do, I need to give guests the heads up. Then there’s the next question, what’s the theme?

I always love the idea of TV and films, and Sci-Fi is a perfect idea. It does help that I’m a massive geek, but it doesn’t have the stigma that it used to. Right?

Guys…?

Anyway, I was thinking, fancy dress costumes these days are so much more varied than years ago.  Even a Doctor Who geek like me has options.

It may slightly break my rules for fancy dress, but come on, I could totally get my extermination on! So I tried on the Doctor Who dalek costume from  online fancy dress store Joker’s Masquerade. I wasn’t really sure about it. It doesn’t really have the immediate bulk of  the metal monsters of Skaro. In fact, from certain angles, well most angles, it’s rather more like a prophylactic.

When you take the costume out of the bag, you need to cut off the Doctor Who licence merchandise tag, and insert the plastic hoop into the hem of the skirt section to give it its pepper pot shape. This is where the condom likeness becomes really apparent. I couldn’t quite get the ends of the hoop to join properly, giving it a bit of a kink (I’m missing a joke here, aren’t I?).

To wear the dalek costume, slide it right over your body. There are two slits on either side to push your arms through and a square cut out for your face. There’s a mesh panel at the back joined with velcro, presumably for you to escape fairly easily for air. Oddly, only the gun is detachable, and connected by a velcro strip. The eye stalk and the ‘plunger’, which isn’t plunger shaped and also looks rather dubious, doesn’t detach at all.

It’s actually quite easy to take on and off, which is a relief. It’s also fairly mobile and you can sit down in it, but don’t expect to have a drink at the same time.

It is a very silly costume, and not really one that’s designed for its accuracy, although it is a lot of fun. If you’re a bit stuck for costume ideas, it will raise a laugh. Especially in the office it would appear.

The Doctor Who dalek costume is available from Joker’s Masquerade, stockists of fancy dress and Halloween costumes now, at a special offer price of £19.99.

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“Not ‘Touchwood’, it’s ‘Torchwood!”* My thoughts on Miracle Day

15/07/2011 at 9:37 am (Doctor Who, Torchwood, TV)


Torchwood has always been a bit of an oddity to me.  It’s a show I’ve watched religiously, but never quite loved.  Of course, I watched it because it was a spin off of Doctor Who, although charged with the task of placing it in a more adult pocket of that universe.

The results were patchy to begin with, as sex, violence and swearing seemed to be lobbed in to create “adult” content.  The results could make the show edgy, but sometimes puerile in places.  This is possibly because Torchwood’s remit is a tough one to adapt within the glorious nonsense of the world in which the Doctor exists.  Over time, more thought provoking stories were introduced, the overtly sexualised element was toned down, making it feel less like a late night Hollyoaks with aliens.

Now we have Torchwood: Miracle Day following the excellent Children of Earth, 2009’s five part Torchwood miniseries.  Children of Earth employed truly sinister elements to create a gripping close to the show’s purely British adventures.  So what of Miracle Day?  Would it be a step back to finding its feet in this new US co-production?  Could Torchwood be littered with ill informed decisions from boardroom suits taking away the very quirks that make the show?  I have to say, I’m not that bothered about its “Americanisation”.  It’s pretty much an American format show anyway; small team of agents who’s job is to investigate weird stuff.  I’m also glad it’s not a “reboot”.  It’s the original characters, with a continuing story.

It’s an interesting premise, as we find out that no one dies anymore, anywhere on Earth.  As the story opens, we’re shown polar opposite worlds.  On one side, the CIA, which looks like a mood lit call center with some seriously big TVs.  On the other, the rugged Welsh coast, shown in sweeping panoramas.  I’m sure Russell T Davies, the show’s creator, has done more for Welsh tourism than the country’s designated tourist board.  We’re also given the first glimmers of the villain of the piece, in the shape of convicted pedophile and murderer Oswald Danes, played by Bill Pullman.  He’s not a hard character to hate already, but – thanks to the rather long “coming soon” clips at the end – the character becomes ever more important.

It was nice to see old favourites back, and played true to their previous characterisations; Captain Jack (John Barrowman) going from Mystery Man to Mr One-Liner in equal measure, and Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) trying to be a laugh, but sliding into serious mode and looking for things to bother her.  What I was also very happy to see was the return of Gwen’s long suffering husband Rhys (Kai Owen) and Gwen’s old Police partner PC Andy (Tom Price).  I can’t be the only one who wants to see PC Andy go stateside, maybe doing a cultural exchange with the FBI.  Or maybe I am.

I still think “Agent Andy” is a great idea for a show.

I also warmed to the new characters fairly quickly – CIA agents Rex Matheson, played by Mekhi Phifer and Alexa Havins as Esther Drummond.  Havins reminded me of Julie Benz of Angel and Dexter fame, and had a wonderful wide eyed quality.  Not sure about the other series regular, Dr Vera Juarez (Arlene Tur), but I’m sure we’ll get to see more of her character unfold as the story does.  She seems to be the “but you can’t do that, it’s wrong” element to ground the characters.

As much as I enjoyed the story as it unfolded, it was not without it faults.  I can handle the nonsense with rocket launchers and helicopters, but it was the key moment in the story that had a bit of a clunkiness to it.  How do you knit together a storyline to bring our heroes back into the action?  It hinged on the scene where Agent Rex has to fly over to the UK, and travel to Wales.  Yes, time is of the essence here, but with the seemingly small gap in a mobile phone conversation, landing at Heathrow, crossing the toll bridge and getting to the Welsh coast all seemed to be so quick.  For Agent Esther dutifully sat at her laptop, hardly any time seemed to pass at all.

There was plenty to like. however.  Particularly for me, the absolute horror of the explosion victim, was grotesque and brilliant.  It really played to the strengths of the show’s format.  I also loved the little scene where Gwen grabs her handgun, then the little pink fluffy earmuffs to protect her baby’s ears.  In fact, I quite liked all the little domestic bits with Gwen and Rhys, showing Gwen’s constant vigilance.  You can imagine what a nightmare she is to live with. Have a day off, love!

In closing, it was nice to give us a teaser of what’s to come, but I feel it gave a bit too much away.  I’m sure most viewers would’ve been happy with:

Shot of Jack on roof top
Gwen jumping off/out of something
Rhys Looking worried
Officer Rex shouting down the phone
Jack skulking with a hand gun
Officer Esther looking worried
Gwen shooting something
Dr Vera Looking worried
Jack and Gwen shooting stuff while jumping off a rooftop
Explosion

That would’ve been fine!  Saying that, very nice to see Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under’s Claire Fisher) becoming a rather important part of the series.

All in all, very enjoyable.  As a first episode, I think it was strong.  I can see there’s scope for telling a few different tales under the Miracle Day arc.  As long as the question of what’s causing the phenomenon isn’t dragged out too long.

*I loved that line in the title of this post – it’s what my mum calls the show.

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Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith

20/04/2011 at 12:18 am (Doctor Who)


Another part of my childhood detached like an iceberg and drifted out of view today.

Elisabeth Sladen passed away at the age of 63. It has been reported that the actor had been suffering from cancer for some time. But being so full of life and energy on screen, it came as a shock to so many. Myself included.

Bringing the character of Sarah Jane Smith to life, Lis – as she was known fondly by those who knew her, and felt like they knew her – became in many ways the ultimate Doctor Who companion. Even if the scripts pushed the suspension of disbelief, Sladen’s performance was always very real.

It was the performance in the Doctor Who story ‘The Brain Of Morbius’ that my eyes were opened to power of playing it absolutely real in even the oddest situations. Sarah Jane has been blinded while helping the Doctor escape (natch). She completely panics, falling apart as she realises that the Doctor will have to take her back to Earth so she can live out her days as a blind flower seller.

Tom Baker’s Doctor helps her to get a grip by threatening to bite her nose, but I absolutely felt her fear. Elisabeth Sladen made cramped studios and quarry pits totally alien environments. Through this portrayal, the alien menaces were truly menacing. And above it all, Sarah Jane Smith was absolutely brave. Even when terrified, she would stand true with the Doctor.

Lis Sladen could portray vulnerability and confidence believably. I can only imagine how tricky it can be to play the part of a Doctor Who companion. There’s a danger of falling between “teatime totty” and “cold fish”. Elisabeth Sladen was a stunning looking woman true, but it was also her warmth that came across on screen. It let you in, and you would love to share the adventures with Sarah Jane and her best friend, the Doctor.

The strength of Elisabeth Sladen’s performance made Sarah Jane as much of the integral backbone of Doctor Who as the TARDIS and the daleks. Bridging both the old and new series, she was one of the catalysts that cemented the pedigree of the new series in the minds of old fans. The episode School Reunion won her many new, younger fans too.

Surprisingly, and disappointingly, Elisabeth Sladen appeared in few other TV roles. Still, the additional spin off series of the Sarah Jane Adventures gave us more of Lis, which was always a pleasure to watch. Appearing with many of the Doctors over the years, from Jon Pertwee and finally with Matt Smith who guested in her show, it proves how much of a mark she made.

Reading the tributes that have been published and posted about Elisabeth Sladen, one thing remained constant; she was always gracious and a pleasure to meet. I really wish I had. Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith, and farewell, Elisabeth Sladen.

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Doctor Who: The Wanderer Returns

28/03/2011 at 9:15 pm (Art, Doctor Who)


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Doctor Beat: Pop music and Doctor Who

02/12/2010 at 10:15 pm (Doctor Who, Music, TV)


With news that opera singer Katherine Jenkins will be appearing in the upcoming Doctor Who special, A Christmas Carol, it seemed appropriate to take a look at the Time Lord’s dabbles with music.

Even from the outset of the series beginnings, there was an idea to feature a character that would be “with it” as part of the crew of time travellers. The idea of having Cliff Richard, or someone very much like him, was thrown around back in 1963. Even early outlines of the show included a lead character called “Cliff”, which was to become schoolteacher companion Ian Chesterton. Of course, it wasn’t until 2005 that a pop star would finally become a TARDIS crew member…

Doctor Who’s first foray into the world of pop, and certainly not its last, was in the 1965 story The Chase. And if you’re going to get a performance of a band on your show in the mid sixties, who would you get? Yup, on the Doctor’s grandly titled Time Space Visualiser there appeared none other than The Beatles. I can only imagine how, in the days before leaks and spoilers, how that would have gone down among the nation’s teens.

That wasn’t the end of the show’s connection with the music industry in the 1960’s. Oh no. Although The Beatles were unknowingly spied upon in the TARDIS, it was felt that young and hip Frazer Hines – the Second Doctor’s companion, Jamie – should bring out a single. About Doctor Who. And call it Who’s Dr Who. It came as no surprise when I read about the single on Wikipedia that it “failed to chart”.

You think there’d be a lesson learned from that, wouldn’t you? Clearly, when you travel through space and time, chart failure isn’t much of a concern. That’s not a hint to get Nadine Coyle to hop aboard the TARDIS by the way. During Jon Pertwee’s tenure as the Doctor in the early 70’s, he too released a single. About being Doctor Who. And call it I Am The Doctor. Think of it as sci-fi’s answer to Anita Dobson’s Anyone Can Fall In Love.

As time went on, the idea that perhaps if you’re in Doctor Who, you shouldn’t attempt a recording career. This is probably a good rule of thumb. There’s nothing to stop those that have a musical career from coming to the show instead. In 1983, Peter Davison encountered one of the most effete pirates to ever appear on screen in the shape of Imagination’s Leee John (no, I’ve spelt it correctly). Lynda Baron, a spacefaring pirate captain, sure. Leee John, cut throat lackey? Erm, not so much.

In Colin Baker’s era, Doctor Who even managed to win itself its own appeal single! Doctor In Distress was written at a time when the show was taken off air to be re-evaluated. The result was a… well, embarrassing farrago, to be blunt. You click on the link at your own peril, but see if you recognise any of the faces. And feel bad for them.

In 1988, jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine appeared in Silver Nemesis.  In a very inconsequential scene, the 7th Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) takes his pyromaniac companion Ace to an outdoor performance.  Before the onslaught of cybermen, nazis and a Tudor witch, the Doctor confesses his favourite type of jazz: “straight blowing.”  Well, I giggled.

Let’s skip to the return of the show in 2005, and the controversial casting of Billie Piper. It seemed the press all had computer keyboards that featured a key that just said “revelation”. Yes, she was very good, but the phrase “Billie Piper is a revelation” was bandied about so much you’d think Wikileaks had nothing on her.

During David Tennant’s time, more pop stars appear. In a tiny cameo, McFly lend their support to the Master’s alter ego, Prime Minister Harold Saxon. Following that, the Christmas special Voyage of the Damned was given an extra burst of hype as it featured Kylie. That really was a big deal, and seemed more than a little surreal. Especially with her appearance on Doctor Who Magazine draped over a dalek, which tied in with the release of her single Two Hearts.  Coincidence? Hmm…

The Streets’ Mike Skinner also made a cameo in the prologue of 2010’s The Time Of Angels.  Having succumbed to the charms of Alex Kingston’s River Song, we find Skinner dazed and confused, a victim of hallucinagenic lipstick.  How very wily.

Which brings us back up to the present, with singing sensation Katherine Jenkins. I have to be honest, I hadn’t heard of her before the announcement she was going to be in the show. Therefore I’ve no preconceptions. The only thing I can say is, you never know how these things are going to work out, but there seems to be more success with pop music going to meet the Doctor, than the other way around.

I mean, how will we look back on Matt Smith’s Glastonbury perfomance with Orbital in 20 year’s time?

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Doctor Who: Live – The Opening Night

10/10/2010 at 9:41 am (Doctor Who)


My boyfriend won tickets to this awesome show through Barclaycard Music on Twitter. What we didn’t realise was we’d get such great seats. To our right, Matt Smith. A little bit behind us, Catherine Tate and Richard Curtis.

I have to say, Catherine Tate was amazing during the interval. Swamped at times with requests for autographs and having photographs taken with families. Very good humoured the whole time and very professional. (Love her!)

So here’s a little video of snatches of Friday’s fun show. Hopefully not too spoilery!

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Doctor Who Review 2005 – 2009

09/01/2010 at 10:31 pm (Doctor Who, TV)


The last five years in the TARDIS

I think this is the most I’ve written on anything…

I’m not saying this to justify it to anyone, and for most regular people it’s just a TV show. For an awful lot of people it’s just not their cup of tea. That’s fine. To each their own. But Doctor Who has been something of a best friend to me since the age of four. Righting wrongs and fighting evil with a sense of humour, intellect, abrasiveness and even, at times, charm.

As the show shuffled into the mid eighties, I have to be honest, I lost a bit of interest. I enjoyed a handful of Sylvester McCoy’s era, and then, in 1989 the show stopped. I was honestly stunned. I felt a little guilty that somehow my negativity towards it would mean that it would never be seen on TV again.

“But Doctor Who is always on…”

Although there was the US funded TV movie in 1996, it was not this that sustained the interest. It was a collection of fans, of writers, novelists, artists, publishers, and so many creative and talented people that kept it going while it was off air. Many of which, quite rightly, have seen Doctor Who through to its present successes.

And so, almost like a spectre that existed out of the peripheral vision of the general television viewing public of the UK, in 2005 Doctor Who returned – a proper series. 13 episodes. Christopher Eccleston!  Billie Piper… Really? Well, for anyone that’s familiar with Toby Hadoke’s one man show, Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf, they will know he captured that moment perfectly: “the pop singer?”

And Executive Producer Russell T. Davies.

Now there’s a name that sends opinions spiralling. You know what? I still want to give the guy a great big hug. He brings in the quirks, the silliness and the soap elements to a TV show that for years people were saying, “if it comes back it should be more gritty.” Why? I love the nonsense side of Doctor Who (yes, they pushed the panto a little too far in the last few years of the original show), and it’s a programme that thrives on it.

It leaps from horror, to comedy, to thriller, sci-fi, fantasy and melodrama, usually within moments of each other. All that was retained. And much like William Hartnell’s original portrayal of the First Doctor, that was so strong and memorable ensuring its success, Christopher Eccleston’s performance was perfect for its return. But then, with an announcement following the success of the first episode, Rose, and a ratings win of around 10 million viewers, it was announced that Eccleston was leaving at the end of the series.

I think this was the first time I’d put myself in the shoes of a football fan. You get a star striker, and he performs fantastically, and then leaves straight away. I was not happy. The remaining 12 episodes were tinged a little by this disappointment. Still, it was a great rollercoaster of a ride, and an impressive first series.

The family connection with Rose Tyler’s boyfriend, Mickey, and mother, Jackie, weren’t too jarring, and gave the companion character some extra depth. I still find the Slitheen, Davies’ farting alien con artists a little embarrassing, but it was a good way to connect to children’s humour; kids are the lifeblood of the show. Even as an adult fan I have to admit that. Also introducing omnisexual (sex pest) ex-time agent, Captain Jack Harkness portrayed by John Barrowman, this new series was great fun. I was enjoying it.

The key point of the series was the broadcast of the episode Dalek. I don’t want to negate the rest of the series, but this is what locked Doctor Who in place. This made it real again. I grinned from ear to ear for the duration. The series continued apace, and I loved these brand new adventures with the Doctor and Rose. And then with a grand dalek fleet, the kind I’d always dreamed of seeing on TV, the Ninth Doctor was gone.

Christopher Eccleston was replaced by this guy, David Tennant. I’d seen Casanova. I thought he was good in that. The costume was a tad more “Doctor-ish”, which was great. I just couldn’t quite take to him. I found him a bit arrogant – which is a typical Doctor trait – but Rose became that too.

“I miss Chris,” I thought.

The second series lost nothing in adventure, re-introducing the cybermen as another classic monster with a twist. However it was the episode School Reunion that was one of my highlights of the series. The lone dalek, and glimpse of an original cyberman in Eccleston’s run, firmly placed these adventures in the same universe as those of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s Who episodes. But it was Sarah Jane Smith, played timelessly by Elisabeth Sladen, and the appearance of tin dog K9 that linked the original to the new.

I can’t quite put my finger on one key thing that disappointed me about this second series – it had a few weaker stories perhaps. I prayed I wasn’t getting complacent about getting my show back. There was nothing wrong with David Tennant per se.  But the Tenth Doctor and Rose were just a bit… smug. I will say that, across the four complete series, I felt that the end of Doomsday had the strongest ending. For as much as I have enjoyed Russell T. Davies’ stuff, I won’t miss his use of the convoluted final episode. I still say that as an actress Billie Piper was great in the role, and was a wonderful surprise. But this is Doctor Who. Companions come and go, as do Doctors. I was also starting to warm to the Tenth Doctor.

Bye Rose. Next!

Thanks to the Christmas special, The Runaway Bride, with a big, fun performance by Catherine Tate as Donna Noble, I was back on track with Doctor Who. It still stands as my favourite Christmas special now.

New season, new companion. Promising newcomer, Freema Agyeman is thrown into the fray as Martha Jones. Freema had big boots to fill already. To use The Avengers as an analogy, Martha Jones was Tara King to Rose Tyler’s Emma Peel. Tough gig.

I really enjoyed the third series, packed with some great scripts, notably Human Nature/Family Of Blood and Blink. It is towards the end of this run that Russell T. Davies’ love for the self-referential really comes into play, with Captain Jack leaping on the TARDIS as it dematerialises in Cardiff.

This re-introduction of previous characters works for Davies’ story, using friends and family as a strong emotional core.  This is taken a few notches higher, when the Doctor’s old enemy, the Master returns.  This was not an unexpected turn as there seems to be a check list of enemies to make a comeback. The Master was played tantalisingly for a few moments by Sir Derek Jacobi, and then in a kooky fashion by John Simm. Following a ham fisted denouement, love-struck Martha leaves the Doctor to go about his adventures.

Again, all alone, the Doctor is embroiled in an adventure with Kylie Minogue on a spacefareing version of the Titanic in Voyage Of The Damned. I’m going to employ the principle of “if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Series four started, as they often do, with fun and frolics. My goodness, I was so pleased to see the return of Donna Noble. Catherine Tate brought this character to life in a role that was clearly written for her. My favourite of the new series companions, Donna just wanted to have a life outside the suburban, everyday humdrum, as her mind had been expanded a little by her Christmas day adventure. She wasn’t after a romance, and just loved her life with this skinny alien in the pinstriped suit. Bezzy mates in space. That’s more like it!

As the adventures pounded across another 13 episodes, it was clear we were heading for big things. Rose! Jackie! Mickey! Jack! Martha! Sarah Jane! Another Doctor(?)! Including characters from spin off shows Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, there was bound to be a big showdown with another major baddie: Davros, creator of the daleks. We got our female Doctor, in the form of the DoctorDonna, and that was really good fun.

At the end of this stack of hokum all of our heroes fly the TARDIS, and Earth, home to  receive their send offs. Especially an interminably whining Rose, who gets a human version of the Doctor – poor bugger won’t be able to outlive her – and she’s still not happy. Donna gets her memory wiped. I was not best pleased, and cried like a baby. “Sort this out, Davies,” I muttered through my sobs.

The okay Christmas special, The Next Doctor (which wasn’t helped by my ex’s boyfriend saying, “this is a load of shit,” most of the way through it), was spoiled by the daft Cyberking. But it did the job. David Morrissey was a good, unusual, companion and Dervla Kirwan seemed to be enjoying herself. Then we got the drought, and the beginning of the end for the Tenth Doctor.

I shall employ the same tactic when talking about Planet Of The Dead as I did with Voyage Of The Damned.  Moving on…

With intense nervousness, I watched Waters Of Mars. All the trailers showed promise, with a sinister tone to suit the Autumn evenings. That helped I think. Doctor Who was always, originally, an Autumn/Winter show when I watched it as a kid. It seems to work in that atmosphere. It was a gripping, intense story, that took the Doctor to a different place emotionally. And he screws up. Big time. I know people would be watching thinking, but he’s the Doctor, he’s gone mad! Yeah, he does that now and again. Not so cute now is he?

The End Of Time was one of those Doctor Who Marmite moments. A lot of people hated it. I can see why. It seemed odd, disjointed. Almost dreamlike. As if it was a series of snapshots. I personally liked the style. It was unsettling in a way. This horse that you’d been galloping on was almost trying to throw you off.

I enjoyed this tomfoolery, the last hurrah for the Tenth Doctor and David Tennant. I laughed and cried, and was exhausted by the end. It was Bernard Cribbins’ Wilfred Mott though, that cemented the touching moments with the Doctor’s self sacrifice.

Again, we see previous friends and companions. Travelling through time, he saves Martha and Mickey, and Sarah Jane’s son, Luke, from tragedy. He gets Jack a shag out of the Voyage Of The Damned’s midshipman Alonso Frame (Being Human’s Russell Tovey), and gives Donna, via her mum, Sylvia and grandad Wilf a winning lottery ticket. I wonder if the Doctor actually thought, “well, she’s stupid now. Money’s the only thing that will make her happy.”

And with a massively explosive regeneration, David Tennant was gone. Forming from his fading, burning features comes the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. From that first “ooh” face, I think I’m going to like this guy.

It’s been five years with two Doctors and a success, I’m happy to say.  I hope it stays that way. For all of his detractors, it was Russell T. Davies that brought my show back. It also has to be said that the one thing that did become evident quite quickly, was how much David Tennant was, and is, a great ambassador for the show.  He clearly loves it, and undoubtedly worked incredibly hard to sustain and raise ratings, and generate revenue for the BBC – off screen and on.

So, with the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond in the TARDIS, here’s to some more crazy malarkey in time and space for 2010…

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