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!!!