“The Doctor’s Daughter” – Review: Redux

Jenny “Hello Dad”

The Doctor's Daughter

Last year, Stephen Greenhorn gave us the intriguing “Lazarus Experiment”.  It was a tale of genetic manipulation gone wrong that had a few unforseen links to and consequences in the season finale.  This year, Mr Greenhorn gave us a tale of genetic manipulation gone right, although with not quite as many consequences as I might have liked. From the moment that the story’s title was originally revealed, let alone the intrigue of the last Next Time trailer, speculation had been high as to who exactly the eponymous daughter might be. “Susan’s mum” was a popular guess but in the end the eventual answer was a bit more mundane. At the story’s core lies the “progeny machine”, which created completely perfect people in a matter of seconds from a small cell sample.  So, after all the speculation and hints as to how exactly the good old, celibate Doc could ever find himself as a father figure once again, we find another old sci-fi trope rolled out for our enjoyment.

It would be easy to pick further holes in the Doctor’s Daughter (and I will) but in end the elements that disappointed me seemed to stem from the 45-minute format.  Events unfolded in a rushed manner: the daughter had been “born” before the title credits rolled, Martha got separated from the gang (again!), Jenny and the Doctor learned a little something from each other, Catherine Tate got all the best lines, David Tennant flexed his acting muscles once more, the war was brought to a close, and Jenny shot off at the end into what everyone assumed would be at least a sequel, if not an entire spin-off series.  How much better it could have been if allowed to mature over a hour-and-a-half.

The Hath were kind of cool and I’m not sure if I can recall seeing any creations quite like that before (although visually there seemed to be an echo of the Anthony Head-voiced bad guy from The Infinite Quest, the animated adventure from 2007.  Obviously, they weren’t given any time to develop and I’m glad that, like me, even RTD (in the commentary track) couldn’t quite work out why deciding to have a fish-creature drown in a pond was good idea.  My final observation on the fishy part of the story is trying to work out why Martha reacted to the death of her Hath friend with quite such an alarming degree of blubbing.

For all the little annoyances though, I still found the episode to be a very enjoyable one thanks in no small part to Georgia Moffett, and her disarming charms.  Real-life offspring of Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, and putting all nepotism conspiracies aside, she brought life and vigour to the role and lit up the screen in every scene.  Whether it was the grit that she brought to the un-natural born soldier, or the elation that followed her sparing General Cobb’s life and vaulting through the laser beams in to the arms of her dad, or even the tugging at the heartstrings in her death scene that she and DT executed so perfectly, there are only two question that remain: (1) How can anyone not love her? and (2) Why on earth has she not been back in the Doctor Who universe since?

I think that there have been quite a few reviews of the more negative variety doing the rounds and I can see where most of them are coming from.   As a slice of disposable sci-fi fluff, this one ticked all the boxes, but we Whovians (or “Ming-Mongs” as RTD had recently christened us) do not treat our favourite show as disposable fluff, instead it is there to be cherished and to see a story with so great a potential delivered vacuum-packed is, right now, a little… meh.

Highlight: The “regeneration”

Lowlight: The fish drowning in the pond

Talking Point: Why has Georgia Moffett not returned?

Demon’s Run Rating: 11 out of 20

Original BBC1 Broadcast: 10th May 2008

Marathon Status: 48 out of 102

  1. October 7th, 2013

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