Doctor Who – Smith and Jones

One of the key factors that has enabled Doctor Who to survive since 1963[1] is the fact that the whole cast can change every few years and yet it still remains at heart the same show. Last year’s transition from Chris Eccleston to David Tennant showed that this is still as true now as it was in the 1970s, but I’m sure I wasn’t alone in wondering how Russell T Davies and co would deal with the introduction of a new companion. Billie Piper made such a huge contribution to the revived show’s success that any new actor would have to be really good.

In the Christmas episode, we saw the Doctor just after he’d been parted from Rose, which wouldn’t have been the best time for him to meet a new companion, but at least he learned that he could get along with someone else. It seems some time has passed, and the Doctor might just be on the lookout for someone to share his adventures. That someone who will stop him when he’s going too far. Someone human…

Martha Smith is a medical student who seems to be the peacemaker in her family. On her way to work, she takes calls from her sister, her mother, her brother and her father. Her mother doesn’t want her father bringing his young blonde girlfriend to her brother’s birthday party, and it seems Martha’s the one to sort it out. She’s so engrossed in the calls, that she hardly notices the strange man who steps in front of her and removes his tie…

When she sees the same man, who says his name is John Smith[3], in a bed in the hospital she’s working in, Martha is confused. She’s even more confused when her stethoscope appears to be telling her that he has two hearts.

But there’s hardly time for that. The senior doctor drags Martha and the other students off on their round. But something strange is going on – Martha’s sister calls her and tells her that there’s an isolated rain cloud over the hospital. And the rain is going up. Then the hospital is violently shaken. When the shaking stops, the hospital is standing on the Moon. Not surprisingly, most people in the hospital are a bit upset about that, and panic ensues. But Martha seems much calmer – she wants to know what’s going on, so it’s no surprise that the Doctor decides to drag her along with him. She’s clearly got her wits about her – she knows there’s no air on the moon, and wonders how long everyone will be able to breathe. The Doctor demonstrates that there’s some kind of force field surrounding the hospital, which is holding in the air. But it won’t last long…

At that point, three huge spaceships land and a horde of leather-clad figures march out. The Doctor identifies them as Judoon – brutal cops for hire. The Judoon enter the hospital and remove their helmets, revealing rhino-like heads. They start to scan everyone – they’re looking for a non-human, which isn’t good news for the Doctor.

Lots of the usual fun follows[4] – the inevitable running down corridors, insane technological technobabble, a barking mad murderous plasmavore (the alien the Judoon are really after), and some nice sonic screwdriver gags. More seriously, we learn that Martha had a cousin who died in Canary Wharf[5].

The Doctor and Martha manage to survive long enough to make sure the Judoon find their quarry and return the hospital to its normal location. Outside, as everyone tries to work out what happened, Martha sees the Doctor leave in the Tardis.

Later, there’s a row at the party. As her family argue around her, Martha sees the Doctor standing at the entrance to an alleyway. She follows and finds him standing by the Tardis. He proves that it can travel in time by popping back for that bit of fun with the tie, then offers to take Martha on “just one trip”, to thank her for saving his life, and for helping him. And off they go…

A nice start to the new series, and a good introduction to a new companion. RTD and co have carefully created a new companion who’s very different from Rose. She’s better educated and more logical compared to the more instinctive and compassionate Rose. She’s older. She’s black rather than blonde. But she shares that certain something – a fire within that all the Doctor’s best companions have had. It looks like things will be interesting for them both…

It seems that each series will have some kind of running theme, with clues or hints being dropped in. In 2005, it was the Bad Wolf references, and last year it was, of course, Torchwood. This year, I think we need to watch out for Mr Saxon. Whoever he might eventually turn out to be, he was mentioned in a radio interview, and there was a “Vote Saxon” poster in the alleyway…

And as someone pointed out in a forum somewhere[7] “Mister Saxon” is an interesting anagram. As it’s already been made quite clear that The Master is returning, I don’t think I’m giving anything away by spelling it out:

Mister Saxon = Master No. Six.

The Master has been played by five previous actors:

  1. Roger Delgado in the early 70s when Jon Pertwee was the Doctor
  2. Peter Pratt, who played a beautifully decaying Master in The Deadly Assassin when Tom Baker was the Doctor
  3. Geoffrey Beevers, who appeared in The Keeper of Traken, before stealing a body and becoming:
  4. Anthony Ainley, who appeared at intervals for the remainder of the classic series
  5. Eric Roberts, who appeared in the Paul McGann TV movie

(OK, if we’re being picky, Gordon Tipple also appeared for a second or two in the TV movie. In some cuts, anyway)

So it seems we’re in for a lot of thrills :bouncy: :bouncy: and a lot of fun :cheesy: :cheesy: . Excellent stuff.

[1] Forgetting for the moment that slight pause between 1989 and 2005[2]
[2] With that slight false dawn in 1996
[3] An alias that the Third Doctor sometimes used in the early 70s
[4] Look, if you want the whole story, you’ll have to watch it, OK?
[5] Which deals with any questions about the remarkable resemblance, etc, etc[6]
[6] Freema Agyeman was spotted as the ideal actor for Martha after her earlier appearance
[7] Can’t quite recall where…

30 thoughts on “Doctor Who – Smith and Jones

  1. Les Post author

    Yes, I think they’re a lot more confident about what they can do, and it shows. Nice to hear that they’re letting Murray Gold have more orchestra time, too.

    I caught the reference, but I’ll have to watch it again[8] to be sure about it…

    [8] and again[9]
    [9] keeping the footnote sequence going to keep Sam[10] happy
    [10] Not Sam Tyler[11], Sam Judson
    [11] Spot the link :cool:

  2. David

    I didnt spot any reference…

    but then again, I’ve just stopped thinking “TIS BAAAAACK!!!! WOO HOO!!!”
    it is sad that I left work early to watch it lol

  3. David

    aaaannnndddd…. how did the tie thing prove he could time travel? ( i know I sound thick there, but I can elaborate on what i mean…) all these un answered questions Mr B

  4. cam

    :grin: wooooooooooooo its back and i know who the doctors brother is……….. its the master…………..his arch enemy :bouncy: he is :crazy: im telling u plz believe me oh yh dalek sec is back!!!!!!! :grin: wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  5. Les Post author

    I suspect you may be right…

    We know the Doctor and the Master have some history from before we saw the Master for the first time. Could it be that the Master’s desire to destroy the Doctor dates back to him being jealous that the Doctor got better toys when they were ickle kiddies? :cheesy:

  6. cam

    lol good point but as much as i can gather the master was his older brother and i am wondering how the master will come back any ideas? p.s at last someone has a chat website kl one :grin:

  7. Les Post author

    Thanks :wave:

    We’ll have to wait and see – expect lots of little clues to be dropped in as the series develops. The Master always comes back, and in the classic series they didn’t usually bother explaining how he survived the last time.

    Chat site? Well, not really. There’s only about three people who read this stuff! :laugh:

  8. Les Post author

    OK, now I’ve watched it again, here are the answers to the questions:

    Martha, on seeing the Doctor in the hospital bed, recognises him as the man she saw in the street. When he denies having been there, she asks him if he has a brother, to which he replies “not any more”. Now we know the Doctor has been a father, and indeed a grandfather[12], but we haven’t heard anything specific about his family…

    The tie thing is pretty simple. Martha saw him approach her, take off his tie and say “like so”. So when he came back in the Tardis, carrying the tie, she remembered this, and realised that he must have travelled back to prove the point. She asks him why he didn’t warn her not to go to work, to which he replies “interfering in established events isn’t allowed, except for cheap tricks”

    More questions will no doubt arise after tomorrow’s Shakespearean fun and games. :cheesy:

    [12] When the Doctor was first seen in 1963, he was travelling with his granddaughter Susan

  9. David

    ah right, I thought there might have been more to the tie thing, I fully understood it in that case lol
    I didnt pick up on the brother thing like…

  10. Stiofan

    Very interesting about the Mister Saxon thing, but Torchwood was not last year’s running hint – that was a red herring (although it did get us in the mood for the finale). Did you not notice the number of “Misters” last year? Mr Crane, Mr Finch, Mr Sparrow, Mr Magpie, Mr Jefferson, Mr Jackson. My theory (and I may be wrong) is, that apart from the two Crilletanes, that they are other displaced timelords, or they could even be splinters of the Master.

  11. Les Post author

    Interesting theory, Stiofan. Not sure that a lot of Misters is a sign of a Master. Though you might want to wonder about Finch, Crane, Sparrow and Magpie. All birds. Can this be a coincidence?

  12. Sam Judson

    I know I’m late here, but I did sit and watch the episode, and at the end let out a mental cheer, along with a “and we’re off!” – which was great.
    Still not watched the next one yet as I’ve been away…


  13. cam

    lol the thing about the birds could be a clever hint but not all the misters. and true sam u r :crazy: for missing it wen it came out lol

  14. cam

    And i found out about a guy called mr saxon his in In the episode Love & Monsters in series two, a newspaper headline said ‘Saxon leads poll with 64%’. In The Runaway Bride, just before the tank fired at the star shaped spaceship the driver said “Orders from Mr Saxon. Fire at will”. And posters saying ‘Vote Saxon’ have been spotted in other Dr Who related filming. and they are leading up to the end of this series into the next…..THE MASTER….. could be……. he is mr saxon is being played by john simm the guy from life on mars and he is THE MASTER WOW!

  15. Bradley R

    I lead a group that watches 4 saxon remarks
    Smith and Jones; Radio int, jadoon says saying which means men search needs saxon bridge, sign says “vote saxon”
    Shakespeare Code; In Play
    Gridlock; in Hymn, and face of boes secret

    im not a geek

  16. Jim McGovern

    Peter Pratt & Geoffrey Beevers were supposed to be playing the same master, but Geoffrey Beevers also played a different incarnation of the Master (between anthony ainley and eric roberts) in some of the Big Finish audio adventures!

  17. athene is prank mast


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