The strange thing about “Doctor Who”, this time around, is that it does actually feel like a new beginning. Whereas tenth Doctor David Tennant seemed to slip into his jimjams through a side door the Christmas before last, in “The Christmas Invasion”, it seems now as though the show is starting over. This probably is because our way into each story will be from the perspective of a new character, Martha Jones. When the Doctor regenerates, he is still essentially the same man, the same character, just played by a different actor. When the companion changes, with the exception of Time Lady Romana, it is into a new character, even though she (or he) fulfils the same function. With the latest change, the potential for new beginnings is even greater because not only has Rose gone but she has, one presumes, taken the baggage of her entire family with her. No more Pete, no more Jackie, no more Mickey and no more Rose!
Donna was a stop gap. Maybe Executive Producer Russell T Davies thought better of the way such a major character as the show’s lead was introduced last time. When you think about it, to be born in a little “Children in Need” sketch is a little strange for a show of such longevity. Then, it was well into his first full story before the Doctor eventually came to the rescue! I notice that David is once again in his pyjamas for this fresh start almost as though he’s awoken to the dawn of a new day, although his attire is appropriate for the setting of a hospital! But let’s hope the breakfast is completely fresh. Martha is coming with her own baggage. Another family! And this suggests a lack of creativity. “Doctor Who” has done that for two years and it’s time for change. It remains to be seen how big a role Martha’s family will play. I found Rose’s Mum a major irritant, and it wasn’t entirely because of Camille Coduri who I’ve liked in other things, and was always grateful for the stories from which she was absent! I didn’t even want to be reminded of her, as I was briefly, in “The Impossible Planet”!!
Looking on the bright side, it’s a promising start to set the bulk of the first episode on the Moon. No Powell Estate in any of the craters, I hope! Just an hospital uprooted and transported through space. Daft it sounds but it’s no use diehard fans complaining as “Doctor Who” has done this kind of thing before with UNIT HQ in “The Three Doctors”. I wondered then as I wonder now, what about the building’s foundations?!! Even better is the look of the helmeted Judoon. Yes, they look like Sontaran rip-offs but at least they have been designed with a passing acknowledgement of the show’s history. I really hope we get to see them on the Moon’s surface as we did the Cybermen in Troughton serial “The Moonbase”. And, last but not least, two terrific guest actors to die for, in the first episode alone. Mrs Rouncewell from “Bleak House”, actress Anne Reid as Florence Finnegan, and soft-spoken Roy Marsden as consultant Mr Stoker, of the Royal Hope Hospital. With such Royalty of the acting profession involved, I am, as ever, hopeful. “Smith and Jones”, the first in a new series of “Doctor Who” can be seen this Saturday, 31st March, at 7pm. Be there, if you dare!