Doctor Who – 2010 Series Mutterings

OK, now the dust has settled on the series finale, I thought I’d do a post on my impressions of the series as a whole.

Those of us who grew up on “classic” Doctor Who are quite used to the idea that every few years there would be a change of cast, a change of production crew, and sometimes both at the same time. And these are the times when the series can leap off in a new direction, while still maintaining at its heart the same principles. Which is a good trick.

But over the last few years, a whole new generation of fans has been created. Some of them will have seen Christopher Eccleston’s single year in the role, but there are a lot who had only ever known David Tennant as the Doctor. And given the way David inhabited the role, became The Doctor more thoroughly than anyone since Tom Baker, and was, not to put too fine a point on it, so bloody good at it, any actor taking the role after him was going to have a major challenge to be accepted by the audience and to fill David’s shoes. Well, not literally. He did get his own costume.

Then there was the writing team. I know Russell T Davies has his critics, but I’ve always liked his approach to the series. It was, therefore, a Very Good Thing Indeed that the BBC management had a flash of good sense and offered the job to the Best Bloody Doctor Who Writer Ever, Mr Steven Moffat. If anyone could take the reins from Russell, and make the show new again[1], and to have Huge Ideas, Steven was the man.

And when it was announced that Matt Smith was the new Doctor, the reaction was interesting. There were people who said he was too young. I saw one comment from someone who said that the Doctor couldn’t possibly be younger than he was[2], and how this was the Worst Thing Ever, and so on and so forth. Me? I trusted in the judgement of Steven and the other execs – they’d been expecting to cast an older actor, but once they saw Matt, they knew he was the one.

And so, when the series returned with new titles, a new version of the theme tune[3], a new Doctor, a refurbished TARDIS and a new companion, what was it going to be like? Come to think of it, this was pretty much how I felt back in 2005, when Rose was first shown.

Well, if you’ve read any of my posts on this series, you’ll know that in my opinion, it’s been great. Steven’s episodes have been superb, as you’d expect, but the contributions from other writers have also been superb. We’ve had Vincent van Gogh meeting the Doctor! We’ve had Siluri-err, Eocen— err, them reptile guys! We’ve had a mention for Zygons! And we’ve had stories that weren’t afraid to put genuine emotion on screen.

Matt Smith has been quite superb as the Doctor, and he’s barely got started. Once he really gets into it, I think he’s going to be amazingly incredibly good. He’s already utterly bonkers, and that can only get better…

Karen Gillan as Amy Pond – what can I say? A companion who takes no nonsense, who’s courageous, funny, and generally excellent.

And Arthur Darvill as Rory? A good guy all round. Not naturally brave or adventurous like Amy, his devotion to her made him follow her everywhere, even to the extent of waiting 2,000 years for her. Not at all like Mickey Smith, who took a lot longer to grow into a useful companion.

And putting Mr Moffat in charge means we get to see more of River Song, one of the most interesting guest characters we’ve ever seen in Doctor Who. Alex Kingston appears to be having fun, and apparently we’ll be seeing more of her next year…

The only problem now is that we have to wait until Christmas for the next episode.

[1] A good thing to do after five years, to be honest
[2] If I could be bothered replying on forums, I’d have muttered “welcome to my world, sonny”
[3] Still not sure about that, but I like the choral bits