I originally started this journal just before the launch of, and in order to comment on, the revamped series of “Doctor Who”, back in February, 2005. I didn’t review every episode of the Christopher Eccleston season that year, only “The Unquiet Dead”. I posted about the series, and other shows such as new “Captain Scarlet”, in a more general way. The following year, as David Tennant took control of the console room, I began commenting on each episode more earnestly and have continued to do so ever since. After last year’s supposed Christmas Special, “The Runaway Bride”, I found myself extremely reluctant to write anything about the story. I did, after a few days, put down some thoughts but was dissatisfied with the finished article. It was at this point I considered finishing with blogging. Analysing the 2006 series was, in a way, a depressing experience because I invariably ended up being negative about the programme. I longed to be bowled over by a story, in the way that some of you seem to be by this year’s “Human Nature”, and even had to twist my own arm to convince myself “The Impossible Planet” wasn’t too bad! I still think it’s Tennant’s best story despite a lousy beginning and poor resolution of the multiple cliff-hanger!! I determined to be more positive about the new series’ third year but, little-by-little, I felt the rot beginning to set in again. There’s an old saying goes, “If you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” and there’s something to be said for that although nothing would ever improve without criticism.
Russell T Davies, seemingly, ignores criticism. He doesn’t even acknowledge its existence. He hardly ever criticises his own show. Only once have I heard him say something could be improved and that was the Santa masks in “The Christmas Invasion”. Thus, we had mark-2 Santas inflicted on us in last year’s “extravaganza”! The Executive Producer sings his own praises ad nauseam… This monster has been beautifully redesigned, that pre-titles sequence is the best teaser you’re ever likely to see etc. etc. I wonder who he is trying to convince? Himself, maybe?!! He doesn’t convince me. He seems to believe he is right about everything and I find him so about very little. I don’t believe he knows how to write or make a good “Doctor Who” story. I thought he did, in the early Nineties, when he wrote “Dark Season” and “Century Falls”. Had he, immediately, followed those with “Doctor Who”, things might’ve been different. He has achieved nothing except to tarnish something I’ve always cherished. I’m not precious about the series. I’m fully aware that a fair percentage of the original run was poorly written and cheaply made. The difference now is that Russell’s version of the show tries to pass itself off as something worthwhile. He doesn’t have a clue about what’s appropriate family viewing otherwise sexual humour of the kind in “Love & Monsters” or domestic violence in “Last of the Time Lords” would’ve been script-edited out. He wouldn’t have written these things into his scripts in the first place if he knew what he was doing!
RTD’s disastrous attempt to turn the Master’s character from the sinister rogue of old to repulsive baboon actually makes me feel physically sick in the stomach. Why didn’t someone say to Russell, this isn’t how the Master is. Do you think it appropriate to show an old man being punched in the face who is kept by his nemesis as a “Dog”? These scripted-behavioural patterns speak volumes about the author’s nature, seemingly not altogether that human. Newly-revered writer Paul Cornell, who isn’t going to speak any home truths any day soon, has this to say about last Saturday’s concluding episode, “Phew, wasn’t that great? I refer, of course, to the Doctor Who season closer, ‘The Last of the Time Lords’. It felt, to me, genuinely epic, and emotionally true, and I love the shapes Russell makes of episodes and seasons. John Simm was so frightening, such a monster, that I worried about the nation’s children. And how great was Lucy? Such an acting performance with so few lines needed. Apart from anything else, the story made sense of and completed the character of the Master, and, across the span of all Doctor Who, that really took (some) doing. Bravo!” I worried about the nation’s children, too, but I suspect for different reasons!! So, what of the future? Maybe the comma is in the wrong place and that last sentence should read… So what, of the future? I shall watch “Voyage of the Damned” this coming Christmas, to see how Kylie fares, but not season four, next year, now that Catherine Tate has been cast in all thirteen episodes as the “new” companion. Like the demise of the scarecrows in “The Family of Blood”, the reappearance of Donna Noble is the last straw.