Ever since Rose Tyler left Doctor Who at the end of Series 2, Saturday night’s highlight show had lost a bit of its sheen. Freema was pretty good. Blink was superb. Paul Cornell’s episodes were a tour de force. But The Shakespeare Code was terrible, the Daleks in Manhatten disappointed and 42 was formulaic. Even RTD’s final trio of episodes, whilst having not a little hyperbole and a lot of fun (I LOVED John Simm), rather lacked substance.
So the prospect of Series 4, not least fearing the return of shouty cockney Donna Noble played by Catherine ‘what a fackin libertyâ€ Tate, had me behind the sofa and quaking with fear before the theme tune even began. But thankfully Series 4 has so far not disappointed. Catherine Tate is, gasp, actually rather good and the character is a good counterweight to the Doctor: we were all getting a bit tired of the simpering companion thing, right?
The scale of the episodes has been huge. From thousands of cooing Adipose ascending to the spaceship, to the destruction of Pompeii and, forgetting the slightly rubbish Ood brain, it looks bigger and better than ever. God bless all those clever people who make it all look so exciting and real and god bless The Mill. UNITs back, the Sontarans were suitably bellicose, The Doctor’s Daughter was a belter and we’ve had fleeting glimpses of Rose and just what is on Donna’s back? I’m as giddy as a schoolboy about it.
For 45 minutes every week I’m transported far away from my adult life, back to the Eighties and the corner of my school playground (just by the canteen) that served as the Tardis. Friends would be Tegan, Nyssa, Peri (never Adric though, I wonder why) and I would be the Doctor (always Peter Davison, because he was MY doctor too) and we’d wage war against daleks and cybermen at playtime. It’s reassuring to think that the kids are still doing that today because Doctor Who is better than it’s ever been.