Visit the official Doctor Who website

Visit the official Doctor Who website
Look to the future

Asylum seekers...

Asylum seekers...
Refuge of the Daleks

Doctor Who picture resource

Doctor Who picture resource
Roam the space lanes!

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website
Step back in time

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood
Armed and extremely dangerous

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures
Fearless in the face of adversity

Call on Dani’s House

Call on Dani’s House
Harmer’s a charmer

Intercept the UFO fabsite

Intercept the UFO fabsite
Defending the Earth against alien invaders!

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse
Programmable agent Echo exposed!

Hell’s belles

Hell’s belles
Naughty but nice

Love Exposure

Love Exposure
Flash photography!

Primeval portal

Primeval portal
Dressed to kill or damsels in distress?

Charmed, to be sure!

Charmed, to be sure!
The witches of San Francisco

Take on t.A.T.u.

Take on t.A.T.u.
All the way from Moscow

Proceed to the Luther website

Proceed to the Luther website
John and Jenny discuss their next move

DCI Banks is on the case

DCI Banks is on the case
You can bet on it!

On The Grid with Spooks

On The Grid with Spooks
Secret agents of Section D

Bridge to Hustle

Bridge to Hustle
Shady characters

Life on Ashes To Ashes

Life on Ashes To Ashes
Coppers with a chequered past

Claire’s no Exile

Claire’s no Exile
Goose steps

Vexed is back on the beat!

Vexed is back on the beat!
Mismatched DI Armstrong and bright fast-tracker Georgina Dixon

Medium, both super and natural

Medium, both super and natural
Open the door to your dreams

Who’s that girl? (350-picture Slideshow)

Thursday, 6 April 2006

"Doctor Who", Old or New?



If, on the subject of "Doctor Who", I was to talk about a race of cat people, battling Cybermen, confronting werewolves, a school with a strange headmaster, a fun adventure set in the 1950s and a meeting with the Queen, no less, you might think I was eulogising about the Sylvester McCoy era, specifically "Survival", "Silver Nemesis", "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy", "Remembrance of the Daleks", "Delta and the Bannermen" and "Silver Nemesis" again! But... I could just as easily be looking forward to the new season of "Doctor Who", David Tennant's first and Billie Piper's second, which starts in nine days time, and anticipating "New Earth", "Rise of the Cybermen", "Tooth and Claw", "School Reunion", "The Idiot's Lantern" and "Tooth and Claw" again!! My point is either that there seems to be nothing new under the sun or that Russell T Davies is a fan of the underrated seventh Doctor!!!

Sarah Jane is back and so is K9. Why are these two paired together again as if somehow inseparable, like Davros and his creations were until last year? Lis Sladen had left "Doctor Who" by the time Bob Baker and Dave Martin introduced the cute cure-all for Tom Baker's Doctor and have only previously been joined at the hip in the spin-off "K9 and Company: A Girl's Best Friend" and "The Five Doctors", and RTD is on record for his dislike of multiple Doctor stories!

Cassandra and The Face of Boe are returning in episode one. It looks like RTD is trying to build a mythology around characters he has devised, and his spin-off "Torchwood" for Captain Jack tends to back up this argument. I don't really care for Lady C or the, "Dune" influenced, giant head in a tank! The space station episodes "The End of the World", "The Long Game" and "Bad Wolf" were my least favourite outings last year. In forty years time, if/when the powers that be resurrect "Doctor Who" again it will be the Daleks and Cybermen that the public will expect. If they can't remember Nabil Shaban's brilliant performance as Sil in "Vengeance on Varos" in the 80s, and 20 years on no-one is clamouring for the return of this excellent Mentor, then why would they crave lesser creations unless marketing plays a hand?

I've also heard the Autons are back... again! Perhaps RTD feels he didn't do them justice last year. In the 80s "Doctor Who" was criticised for revisiting its past too often. Maybe that's why the Autons weren't actually referred to by name in "Rose". At the same time the new show was distancing itself from the original 26-year run, by calling itself Series One, in publicity Chris Eccleston's Doctor was continually referred to as the ninth! That's known as having your cake and eating it!!

"Doctor Who" fans now seem afraid to criticise their favourite show for fear of cancellation. They were partly blamed for the programme's fall from grace 20 years ago and probably don't want to be held accountable again but you can only improve on something through constructive criticism. I personally feel Russell would have made a better series pre-"Buffy". I thought he was the right choice to make new "Who", in the early 90s, after seeing his two children's serials "Dark Season" and "Century Falls". But now he seems to want to be Joss Whedon. The first thing my Mum said when she saw Billie swinging on a chain in "Rose" was "Buffy"!

The new "Doctor Who Adventures" comic/magazine, for 6 to 12 year olds, claims, on its front cover, the inclusion of an "awesome" comic strip! A further example of not just the move towards the Americanisation of the most British of shows but also displaying complete thoughtlessness with regard the education of the children of this country. Why pander to the American culture that so carelessly refers to Chris Eccleston as a Cockney dude?!! I never laughed as much as when I read that comment! I shouldn't have though because the ignorance of this "journalist" is truly pathetic. A little research into British culture/accents was all that was required. I laughed again when its writer retracted, hopefully with irony, to Geordie!! That's, like, totally radical man!!!

It might sound as though I'm not looking forward to the new season but nothing could be further from the truth. I love the programme and just want it to be as it once claimed... "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy". But, everyone has their own vision and mine doesn't include casting Trisha Goddard, Barbara Windsor and Derek Acorah in exactly the same position this season as Anne Robinson, Davina McCall et al. were cast in the last! The Doctor can go anywhere. Why a chat show? Neither would the Daleks trouble themselves with game shows in order to invade Earth as Russell attempted to make us believe previously!!! Can't RTD write a story grounded in something other than extremely lowbrow, popular-but-trash, television?

I have no problem with the casting of Peter Kay as Victor Kennedy in "Love & Monsters". If Johnny Vegas can do "Bleak House" then I see no reason why Peter Kay shouldn't be a success in "Doctor Who". If the aforementioned trio of Trisha, Babs and the ghostbuster weren't playing themselves then maybe they wouldn't be problematical either. I've nothing against "Carry On" actors appearing in "Doctor Who" as some fans rallied against in the 80s. That seemed strange when the first Doctor himself had taken the lead in the original "Carry On Sergeant"! Perhaps director Graeme Harper will have the Cybermen storm the set of the chat show and leave nothing in their wake!!!

4 comments:

Stuart Douglas said...

Nothing to say beyond {applause}.

That's pretty much *exactly* how I feel about RTD-led Who.

karensff said...

I can see where you are coming from. But I have to admit that a lot of the things you dislike about the show are the things I like. I like the fact that it holds onto some aspects of the past. I like the fact that RTD is trying to create a myth around a range of new bad guys. I think that although he is trying to create a new fan base (and succeeding) he is also trying to keep the old fans.

I have to admit while it is fun to see some British start within the show (Anthony Head) I cringe at others (Trisha). But I think that since these people seem to feel that taking these parts won't do their career any harm it is like they are giving the show a stamp of approval. Maybe the stars fans will be encouraged to watch the show (I imagine fans of Peter Kay would be curious about his appearance). I'm not saying that this is a good thing but it seems that this is the way things are going these days.

Same with Americanisation. Again I'm not saying that I agree with it and maybe we should fight it. But it seems to be a dying cause. You can't get away from it these days. And in the case of Dr Who, RTD really wants it to do well in America so maybe he feels he has to pander to it.

Again with the whole Buffy thing. It's what I think the girl fans want. They don't want to see the girl sidekick screaming for help waiting for rescue. They want to see her stand up for herself and be part of the action.

I enjoyed reading your entry.

Stewart M. said...

Brilliant post - I agree on virtually every point. I'm terribly disappointed with RTD's episodes, with the exception of End of the World, and the body-swapping last night pissed me off to no end.

Stewart M. said...

But I must say (as an American, nonetheless) that the Americanisation of Doctor Who (and all of British television of late) disturbs me far more than the other trends you've hit upon. Especially disgusting is the emphasis upon the nuclear 'family'.