The final episode of the third series of new “Doctor Who”, “Last of the Time Lords”, opened really distastefully to my way of thinking! There are ways of showing that the Master is a nasty piece of work other than mistreating the elderly. This is exactly what I meant when I said, in a previous post, that the series has no dignity. Verbally rude, in calling the Doctor “Gramps”, pushing the wheelchair carelessly away, in which the aged Time Lord is seated, and, worst of all, actually punching him in the face just isn’t the kind of imagery anyone in their right mind would want a ten-year-old to see. Brian Clemens had a good philosophy, when producing “The Avengers”, in that you never see a man hit a woman in any episode of that series! And, bear in mind, Steed and co was aimed at adults. Children, on the other hand, are easily influenced. What is Russell T Davies thinking of in, essentially, advocating disrespect. I really do wonder, now, how many of our young will think it’s alright to treat people in this manner. Pointing a fantasy device at someone is fine because everyone knows it’s a toy you can buy in any supermarket for a tenner but thumping the invalided Doctor was so at odds with the respect shown to war-veteran Tim at the end of “The Family of Blood”. A consistent series-policy would be nice before work begins on the next season! Thank goodness “wife” Lucy disposed of this ghastly incarnation of the Master before he degenerated even further!!
And, speaking of the lovely Lucy, I presume it was she who retrieved the Master’s signet ring from his funeral pyre at the end of the story. My first thought was that it might be Kylie Minogue but the red fingernails possibly suggest otherwise. No doubt the pop-singer is more likely to be a passenger aboard the R.M.S. Titanic considering the ridiculous cliff-hanger. The Doctor’s dialogue was almost identical, upon the unsinkable, on its maiden voyage, breaching his ship, to that of a year ago when ice-maiden Donna also made her presence felt in an equally ham-fisted way! I guess we’re all on a “Voyage of the Damned” following this show!! Apparently, Toclafane is French for “Fool the fan” but RTD must think we’re all halfwits if he honestly believes there was much that pulled the wool over our eyes. I guessed from the season’s outset that Freema’s contract was for one year only. I will put my hands up and admit I didn’t see the revelation coming of Jack and Boe being one and the same!! So, we know when, where and how the Captain dies. Thus, any forthcoming drama in series two of “Torchwood”, pertaining to his character, has dissipated even before its inception. I’ll also admit that after series two of “Doctor Who”, last year, I was in two minds as to whether or not I should watch the third, even more so after “The Runaway Bride”. I was never of such a negative frame of mind, regarding the Time Lord’s travels, at any time during the JNT era, throughout the Eighties. I tuned in, this year, in the hope that the removal of Rose and her baggage might improve the programme. Series three has been more even than the last. No tremendous high of “The Impossible Planet” and “The Satan Pit” immediately followed by the desperation of “Love & Monsters” and “Fear Her”! But, essentially, it’s still more of the same and I don’t think the series will radically alter even once the Executive Producer has left at the end of the next series. The BBC will still want more of the same. Unfortunately.
I’ve read critiques in which Russell T Davies has been favourably likened to Terry Nation, and Steven Moffat hailed as the new Robert Holmes! Terry wrote some rubbish, it’s true, and Robert’s early efforts, together with the material he wrote when he was ill, aren’t masterpieces either!! But, RTD has yet to produce anything approaching Nation’s first two Dalek serials and “Genesis of the Daleks”, or even “Planet of the Daleks” for that matter, whilst Moffat can only dream of competing with “The Talons of Weng-Chiang” and “The Caves of Androzani”. Good writing is where it’s at but the writing in the revamped “Doctor Who” has been consistently lacking. The internal logic of the “Human Nature” serial was no better or worse than that of the “Daleks in Manhattan” two-parter. At least the Daleks’ evolution didn’t collapse until the second episode whereas I felt fobbed off halfway through the opening episode of Cornell’s story. I enjoyed both but was disappointed by both as well. Graeme Harper’s direction made “42” watchable, even tense, but the slightest analysis of the story’s logic and it melts to ash, to dust, to nothingness. One can’t argue that if there was more time the writing would be better because the writers of the classic series managed with a similar time-allowance. It might be that there are more scenes to write now because it is mistakenly believed that TV drama has to move at a faster pace, than it once did, in order to compete with cinema blockbusters. But, this forgets the intimacy of the small screen medium, replacing the character development and creativity of idea of yesteryear with the empty spectacle that is this next generation of “Doctor Who”.