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)

Monday, 12 May 2008

Warden’s Watch: The Doctor’s Daughter (or… Hello, Father-in-Lord!)


Twenty years ago, in “Silver Nemesis”, we were promised a story that would change the way we’d see the Doctor forever! Well, forever is a long time and the Sylvester McCoy/Cybermen story, not surprisingly, didn’t deliver the anticipated change in our perception of the lead character!! Now in its forty-fifth year, “Doctor Who” decided to have another attempt, in this week’s episode “The Doctor’s Daughter”, titillating the viewer with exactly the same proposition, but, once again, fell short of the mark. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. I did! In fact, it’s probably my second favourite episode of the season so far, as, despite overstating the story’s intention with the preceding hype, there was still much to commend it. The audience was, successfully, taken on that emotional journey of feeling the pain, and sense of loss, in daughter-heroine Jenny’s death only to feel the joy, moments later, in her resurrection. She didn’t regenerate, despite being the offspring of a Time Lord, but it was a purposeful twist in the tale of which the Doctor is, at present, unaware. I would love to revisit this new character, at some point, and the end seemed designed for a spin-off series. I can already hear groans of disapproval, but surely a show about a space-girl adventurer would go down far better with today’s children than one about a sixty-year-old reporter, however much we all love Sarah Jane!

The Hath were highly effective. When the creatures were all stood around stroking dear Martha’s hair, they reminded me of the Silurians in their lair, from their original 1970 adventure, whilst not looking dissimilar to their cousins the Sea Devils. We’ve had four good consecutive monster episodes of which I approve. And, speaking of Miss Jones, her reaction to the death of her new found Hath friend, Peck, was totally heartbreaking. Freema does have the acting range which some deny of her. I am guilty of the same regarding Catherine Tate. My mum, certainly not a fan of Tate’s sketch show, says this actress is highly believable in the role of companion, as the Doctor’s conscience, and I’m inclined to agree. The former “Runaway Bride” is coming across as a more complete human being than she ever did in her debut. Yes, she can still be extremely irritating but, at the same time, touching and isn’t that how most people are? Before you all start claiming that that’s a bit of a turnaround, in my feelings towards Donna Noble, I’m not entirely sure I haven’t lowered my expectations just a little, this year, in an attempt to enjoy the show more than hitherto! And, my mum might well enjoy Catherine, more than Billie, for the very same reason I suggested children might prefer Georgia Moffett, legs astride a giant rocket, kicking butt in her own action series.

I enjoyed Nigel Terry’s performance as General Cobb, but then I’m already partial to the actor. Having said that, I wasn’t greatly enamoured with Phil Davis as Lucius, in “The Fires of Pompeii”, and I admire him as well. So, it doesn’t automatically follow that, just because you like someone, you’ll always warm to a favourite actor’s every appearance! Nigel has that world-weary, downtrodden, look and deeply sonorous voice that make him ideal in such roles. I was disappointed to find no wallpapers of him on the BBC site. And, while I’m on the subject, it’s even more of an oversight that there are no images of Bernard Cribbins, as Wilfred Mott, either! Talking pictures, I’ve posted a small selection of uncropped screen caps in a new “As Seen On TV” feature on my Jukebox blog, as well as the episode’s three teasers, that I hope capture the essential spirit of the main storyline of “The Doctor’s Daughter”. I’m not sure I’ll enjoy next week’s episode quite as much. On the plus side, “The Unicorn and the Wasp” is directed by Graeme Harper, who made such a good job of “Planet of the Ood”, but, alternatively, I don’t much care for the Agatha Christie subject matter. I’d be only too happy to be proved wrong, though, and make it five good episodes in a row!

13 comments:

Steve said...

I liked this episode too but found Jenny's death, then non-regeneration, then belated return to life a little bit too predictable. If they were going to resurrect her I think they should have just had her regenerate there and then... that would have surely have created some interesting plot possibilities. Catherine Tate continues to astound and I continue to approve. I love the fact she's intelligent in her own right and frequently challenges Tennant's Doctor - much needed.

TimeWarden said...

I'm actually glad Jenny didn't regenerate because I'd like to see more of Georgia, in the programme, sometime in the future and, also, because "Doctor Who" has just done appear for an episode, only to be replaced by an inferior version, with Derek Jacobi's Master!

One of the things I've noticed about Catherine Tate is there's a vulnerability you can see in her eyes sometimes, which she's really very good at concealing. It's a shame she seems to have chosen to hide it, in the past, as it's definitely a more endearing quality than screeching all the time!

Rol said...

I was less impressed by the episode than last week's. I think another war story, coming so soon after the Sontaran soldiers, was a bit of a misstep - variety is always one of the best things Who has going for it, and I just didn't take to Jenny - a bit too Stage School, she seemed to be reading the dialogue rather than acting it.

Still, surprisingly sorry to see Martha go.

TimeWarden said...

You're right, Rol, variety is what keeps "Doctor Who" interesting. Unfortunately, including the Ood episode before the Sontaran two-parter, there have now been three consecutive stories featuring major gun battles! So, in that respect, it's even worse than you suggested!!

There should be a change of pace this week, though, with the Agatha Christie tale! And, rest assured, Martha will be back, yet again, before the season is through!!

Michael G Clark said...

I did like this episode, Georgia is possibly the cutest girl in the world, or that one anyway.

Story didn't stand up to much, or any, inspection though. But I still enjoyed it. Even donna didn't make me want to kick my tv like usual.

Haven't got a clue about the bee and badger (or whatever it's called) but it's got a great cast and Felicity.

TimeWarden said...

Georgia's certainly one of the cutest, Michael, but the trouble is there are just so many!

The plot doesn't stand close scrutiny, you're right. While the number puzzle, that Donna solves, is reminiscent of last year's "42", Martha's role, at this point in the season, is not that dissimilar to Mickey's, two years ago, right down to meeting their evil doppelgängers in the two-parters!

As for the next episode, I've seen the wasp but will we, also, get to see a unicorn and, if so, will it be the one from "The Mind Robber" or maybe a Ridley Scott outtake left on the cutting room floor?!!

Old Cheeser said...

Belatedly - I enjoyed it too but felt that it didn't really live up to the hype. As Michael said, the story was kind of flimsy. The idea of the Dr having a daughter should have made for a landmark episode, more mind-blowing than it actually was. The explanation of how the Dr became a dad was actually quite superfluous, and anyway, how did "Jenny" know who the Dr was? (Or did I miss something?)

That said, Georgia Moffett made for an engaging heroine and I liked her gutsiness.(Is that the right spelling?) But I agree with Steve, her resurrection was a touch predictable, paving the way for a return. And why didn't she regenerate properly? Is it because she's only half Time-Lord?

I agree with your other comments about Martha - her reaction to the death of her Hath mate was moving and it was nice to give her a sub-plot of her own. Catherine T continues to get better too.

Unlike you though Tim I thought the Hath looked a bit cr*p. Very plasticky looking, largely unmoving fish faces with a silly bubbling water bit stuck on the front! Not one of the most successful monster designs. Mind you they knocked the Myrka into a cocked hat...The stroking Martha's hair bit was cute though!

I'm actually looking forward to the Christie episode a lot - hoping it will be a Black Orchid for the 2000s...

TimeWarden said...

I agree, Simon, that "The Doctor's Daughter" didn't live up to hype but, to be honest, none of RTD's "Doctor Who" has, how shall I put it, exceeded expectation! The last "Doctor Who" story I genuinely loved, that bowled me over with precious little reservation, was "The Curse of Fenric", back in '89, and it still sends a tingle up my spine to this day!!

Do you think RTD has produced any landmark episodes? If so, which ones and why? You asked "how did Jenny know who the Doctor was?" and I would add how did the TARDIS know who she was, in order to take the travellers to Messaline, before she had even been created? Rumour has it Jenny is returning, end of season, so maybe we'll find out then...

I'm glad Jenny didn't regenerate, for whatever their reason, because I think there's been too much emphasis on that aspect of Time Lord mythology. It should be something that occurs sparingly in the series, once in a blue moon.

I meant, more, that I liked the nature of the Hath. "Confidential" revealed they had dialogue but again, for some reason, the TARDIS didn't bother translating it this week - nothing like consistency between stories or even within a story!

The physical appearance of many "Doctor Who" monsters is less than brilliant but when the script is captivating the budget can be forgiven. The Zarbi were wooden, Pertwee-era Daleks bump into scenery and you, yourself, remarked on the cloth design of the original Cybermen just the other day. The Silurians were obviously men in rubber suits while the Tractators were laughable were it not for the gravity of Chris Bidmead's story. I'm not sure there is considerably much more money spent on the programme, these days, when you take inflation into account.

Plenty to look forward to in the Agatha Christie, not least the reappearance of Christopher Benjamin, in "Doctor Who" again after over 31 years!

Old Cheeser said...

I'd stopped watching DW by the time of Curse of Fenric, so I'll take your word for it! I had heard it was a good un, I've just never been a Sly McCoy fan.

Landmark RTD episodes? Well for me, probably the ones you listed in one of your recent posts (the one on the best stories of the series since its return in 2005).

Yes, true that the TARDIS seemed to know who Jenny was, but the explanation was very superfluous and good point that Jenny hadn't been created. Perhaps the TARDIS can see into the future? And if she does come back in the finale (heavens! How many more characters are they going to try and cram in?!) I hope we do get more backstory. Doubt it though.

I see what you mean about the Hath. Yes I did like the fact that they were friendly aliens. I guess we don't always have to hear them speaking in everyday English to get what they mean...Martha understood anyway.

You could be right about the monster-budget thing, even in the new revamped show, not all of them have looked that good!

Aaah the Tractators...you're right, they were a bit silly. Really liked "Frontios" though, I hope that one gets a DVD release in the not too distant!

Indeed, Mr Benjamin was last seen in "Talons of Weng Chiang" when I was a mere 8 years old! An actor to span the generations, no less.

Old Cheeser said...

Actually it's just hit me from looking at the Georgia M photos over on your other blog...she looks just like Baby Spice!!

TimeWarden said...

In some ways, Simon, it doesn't really matter who the Doctor is. A good story is a good story. I'm not really a fan of either Tennant or Tate but it's "Doctor Who" so I still watch! That's me saying, in a friendly way, you're missing out by denying yourself the opportunity to watch "The Curse of Fenric"!!

Yeah, I thought those were the best ten and haven't changed my mind, yet, but they don't come close to the classics of the original series in terms of real tension and edge of the seat stuff! Just when you think the new episodes are almost there, a throwaway line about mortgages, or some such, undermines any atmosphere!!

I doubt we'll get any more back-story regarding Jenny, either. The production team, in other words RTD, will now view her as an established character and be content to explore "The Doctor's Daughter" in the usual superficial way that only 45-minute stories usually allow!

I hope "Frontios" gets a DVD release soon, as well. Despite the realisation of the Tractators, it's still one of the best Davison stories. Even "Androzani" had a naff monster in the middle! Now, the Magma creature really was stiff!!

I think Georgia looks a little like Emma Bunton, too. We should all be eternally grateful she doesn't look, or worse sound, like Melanie C or we'd really have something to complain about!

Andrew Glazebrook said...

I think the thing that really lets down the Doctor Who stories set in the far flung future is the production design, oh look we're back in an old warehouse full of grime and pipes etc... they could do with really pushing the boat out and building some decent Sci-Fi sets that aren't just redressed locations, a lot of the old Doctor Who stories, The Ark in Space for example didn't do bad on a £50 budget so I'm sure they could do a hell of a lot better with a studio set these days and some decent set dressing and lighting of something that isn't just dark and miserable. They said that they'd been only been building the complex for a week yet it looked like a complete shithole that had been their for years.

TimeWarden said...

And, General Cobb hadn't aged terribly well in such a short space of time, either!

The present "Doctor Who" production team just doesn't think anything through, properly, Andrew. I don't know whether it's because they don't care or if it's down to incompetence but I get the feeling, sometimes, that Russell is only in it for the money.