Posts Tagged ‘ David Tennant ’

50th Anniversary Retrospective: “The Day of the Doctor”

Doctor “I could retire and be the curator of this place.”
Curator “You know, I really think you might.”
Doctor “I never forget a face.”
Curator “I know you don’t. And in years to come you might find yourself…revisiting a few. But just the old favourites, eh?”

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Whenever I watch Doctor Who, it has almost entirely been from the sofa of whichever house I happened to be living in at the time, although I do have memories of my childhood viewing technique of lying down on the floor, elbows under my head, with chin perched on my hands. Most of the time, viewing was a solitary experience. My parents, to this day, don’t really get it, and my brother was never a fan. I married in 2002 (during the wilderness years), over a year before the show’s triumphant return was even announced and nearly three years before “Rose” was broadcast. My wife had no idea what she was getting into, but she has enough taste in good television to sit and enjoy the new show with me. Having said that, I’m still not sure I could convince her to sit down and watch “Image of the Fendahl” or “The Romans” or somesuch. Given all this, it was beyond my comprehension to think that I would be watching the 50th anniversary special by leaving the “Official 50th Celebration” at the Excel with a bunch of other fans, many of whom were in Doctor Who costume, getting a cable car across the River Thames to the O2 arena, where we would watch the episode with 775 other fans on a screen 22-metres wide in glorious 3D. Not only that, there were more than 1,500 cinemas worldwide showing the same thing at the same time as it was simulcast in 94 countries and dubbed or subtitled into 15 other languages, watched by nigh-on 13 million people in the UK and who knows how many elsewhere. Not bad for kid’s show. But what to make of it all? The brief was not exactly a simple one: write an episode of the greatest television show that the world has ever seen that celebrates its dazzling, fifty-year heritage; that impresses dedicated fans of all ages as the centrepiece of the anniversary celebrations; that appeals to a large slice of an audience who have a take it or leave attitude to the show (the fools!); and paves the way to securing another half-century of Whovian goodness. It would not have been many people’s first response to this challenge, which had indeed been laid at the feet of Steven Moffat, to say, “Right. Let’s bring back the Zygons”. Continue reading

“The Time of Angels” – Review: Redux

Doctor “The writing… the graffiti… Old High Gallifreyan. The lost language of the Timelords. There were days, there were many days, these words could burn stars, and raise up empires, and topple gods.”

Amy “What does this say?”

Doctor “Hello sweetie.”

Time of the Angels

Well, if the last ep’s return of the Daleks wasn’t quite the unmitigated success that everyone had hoped for, then this week’s offering saw two returns for the price of one but the question was, could they live up to the hype? The answer: a resounding “Yes” and the pre-credit sequence alone was worth the price of admission. First up, and making the most memorable of returns was Alex Kingston, clearly having a whale of a time reprising her role as the Doctor’s bickering future “love interest”, River Song. Not qualified as a professor yet, this version of Song was obviously younger than the one we saw at the end of her real-world life in The Forest of the Dead two years ago. Devising an ingenious escape from a starliner by etching some ancient Gallifreyan on the ship’s black box in the knowledge that it would be found in a museum at some point in the future and that the Doctor would return to save her, was almost the perfect illustration of Steven Moffat’s promise that there would be a bit more playing about with time in his version of Doctor Who. There was even time for a cameo from The Streets’ Mike Skinner. The cleverness of such a five-minute scene reassured us that we were in safe hands. Continue reading

“The End of Time: Part 2” – Review: Redux

Doctor “I don’t want to go”

The End of Time Part Two

The king is dead, long live the king! In this case, the former is Russell T Davies and the latter Steven Moffat who wrote the final, post-regeneration minute or so of RTD’s swan-song opus, “The End of Time”, shown in two parts on Christmas Day 2009 and New Year’s Day 2010. Now that we see the baton being well and truly handed over it is a good moment to dwell for a moment on my little re-analysis of these early years of the Doctor’s resurrection. The 60-episode era really does stand up well. I went in to the process a little unsure about what I might find: would the magic still be there after eight years? Would Eccleston and Tennant compare favourably to Smith, or would Moffat’s fairy-tale take on the mythology outshine its predecessor? There will be time enough for that another day, but in isolation this was as perfect as something so diverse could be, and the end of Tennant, the end of Russell T Davies, and “The End of Time” were wrapped up as perfectly as anyone could’ve hoped. Continue reading

“The End of Time: Part 1” – Review: Redux

Doctor “Even if I change it still feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away… and I’m dead.”

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As the world holds its breath waiting to find out which episodes that the BBC is going to announce have been returned to the Doctor Who archives, it falls to me to continue with this marathon of new episodes. And so it is that I fire up the old Blu-ray and get to grips with “The End of Time, Part 1”. Together with its second part, this was a massive tapestry of plot threads that needed to be woven together and developed into a coherent whole, it might just have been the most complicated Doctor Who tale of all in the five years of Mr Davies’ stewardship that we have enjoyed. It began with Wilf, the adorable Bernard Cribbins acting his socks off to widespread if not unanimous praise, being drawn into a church during a choral performance. A mysterious woman, played by Claire Bloom, appeared and talked to Wilf in portentous and somewhat vague terms about the Doctor. This was the first of a number of visions that this woman made to Wilf before finally being revealed as a Time Lady in the service of (but rebelling against) the Lord President of Gallifrey during the climax of the adventure. Continue reading

“The Waters of Mars” – Review: Redux

The Doctor “Yes, because there are laws. There are laws of time. Once upon a time there were people in charge of those laws but they died. They all died. Do you know who that leaves? Me! It’s taken me all these years to realise that the laws of time are mine. And they will obey me!”

Waters of Mars

Okay, two bits of housekeeping to start with. Firstly, I appear to have had this blog post scheduled to be published in the middle of the afternoon today, which WordPress duly did faultlessly. However, I had only had my placeholder ready rather than any review or anything worth reading. To those who clicked through to their undoubted bemusement, I apologise. Secondly, what a day to be a Doctor Who blogger, or indeed a fan of the show! News has been bubbling around for the last few months about a find of lost episodes. I am deliriously happy right now at the rumours and news that I am hearing. This 50 episode blog will be interrupted with a special update very soon indeed. For now though, on with the show. Continue reading

“Planet of the Dead” – Review: Redux

Carmen “It is returning. it is returning through the dark. And then, Doctor. Oh but then, he will knock four times.”

Planet of the Dead

Back in 2008, we had all become familiar with Doctor Who’s new format, with a 13-episode series running in the spring along with a smattering of extra bits and bobs like Children in Need specials and musical concerts throughout the year, with the jewel of these bits/bobs being an hour-long Christmas extravaganza of varying quality. So, “The Planet of the Dead” Easter Special came with something akin to a sense of trepidation. This was all the Doctor Who we get between Christmas 2008 and mid-November 2009 when the third special of the gap year would arrive. It had better be bloody to make up for it, I thought. It wasn’t. I confess that I had been happy enough to dismiss any outcry over the gap year in a “you’ve-never-had-it-so-good / count-yourselves-lucky” kind of way, safe in the knowledge that a new and highly respected broom would be sweeping through the Upper Boat Studios in South Wales to regenerate our beloved series once more. In the interim and as an added bonus, we’d have five (count ‘em) brand new episodes to bring the RTD-era to an end. However, having watched “Planet of the Dead” on Easter Saturday night I must confess to a feeling a slight sense of injustice at that being all the new Who we’re getting this spring.  “Was that it?” I asked quite ungraciously. Continue reading

“The Next Doctor” – Review: Redux

Jackson Lake “There she is. My transport through time and space. The TARDIS.”
The Doctor “You’ve got a balloon.”
Jackson Lake “TARDIS. T – A – R – D – I – S. It stands for Tethered Aerial Release Developed in Style! Do you see?”
The Doctor “Well, I do now. I like it. Good TARDIS.”

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Normally I watch Doctor Who episodes at least twice. The first time is upon original transmission and I sit with wide-eyed pleasure and soak up every drop of new Whoishness that is played out before me. Despite the fact that I know that I will soon be watching it again with an aim of dissecting it, quoting it, arguing about it, analysing it and generally being far too critical, that first viewing is almost always the best before these corrupting influences of fandom begin to taint and smear the experience. Sometimes, and it’s wonderful when it happens, an episode will stand up to the inevitable barrage of negativity that its most loyal “fans” will lob its way. That Doctor Who so often rises above the critique is testament to its quality and the real reason why fandom persists and flourishes. On other occasions it is the passing of time itself that allows us ming-mongs to re-assess the stories and reach a genuine consensus (if such a thing even exists) as to any particular story’s true merit. On the flipside of this coin, there are those times, thankfully few and far between, that leave me a little cold on first viewing. Where the magic has been somehow dissipated or some essential ingredient is left either incorrectly mixed or missing entirely. On these occasions a second viewing can feel like a burden. Continue reading