Little Hopes for the Eleventh Doctor

Dinky Tardis; Police BoxThe arrival of a new Doctor is always a bit harrowing. I can remember each regeneration since Tom Baker turned into Peter Davison (admittedly dimly) and as a result can remember occasions when the next Doctor wasn’t equal or better to his predecessor. But Matt Smith seems like an excellent choice and it’s just a shame that we’ll have to wait so long until he hits the screen properly: April 2010 (not withstanding some sort of intro in the specials). But despite the wait, after the godawful Christmas special, The Next Doctor, it’s good to have something to look forward to.

Season 4 was superb and, despite all fears, Catherine Tate was magnificent and plausible as Donna. David Tennant continued to inhabit the role of Doctor with ease and completeness to the extent that he IS the Doctor. Only Tom Baker is comparable. And obviously we have four specials to look forward to. 4 RTD specials. He’ll want to send Tennant off in style and he’ll also doubtless want his own tenure as ‘show runner’ to end with a bang so expect something big. But after the gut-wrenchingly terrible and one-dimensional Christmas special, it’s right to worry a little. I’m hoping for a mini-story arc with a contiguous thread through the specials.

But when the eleventh Doctor wields the sonic screwdriver, I’m yearning for less. I want enemies with plausible ambitions and small stories where the world doesn’t need to be at stake every single bloody time the title credits roll. Blink‘s a great example of a gripping story, well told without one mention of apocalypse. It was written by Stephen Moffat.

Suprisingly, The Sarah-Jane Adventures (a Doctor Who spin-off on CBBC) have lessons to teach. I watched a few episodes last week and, even though it’s totally a kid’s show, it’s excellent. The Temptation of Sarah-Jane was a well-crafted tale (that was certainly better than The Next Doctor) that succeeded by exploring a character, her fears and her background. The result was compelling. Let’s have more small please.

2 Responses to Little Hopes for the Eleventh Doctor

  1. Lynne says:

    I seem to remember when I was younger that each series of Dr Who was that, a series with a storyline that ran from the beginning of the series to the end, and the earlier NouveauWho series also had the Bad Wolf thread running through, holding the series together. I also enjoyed the growth of the relationship between the Dr and Rose, and was most disappointed when that was truncated.

    Recently, however, the programmes seem to have been much more “stand alone”, and have held my interest less.

    Or is it just my perception? Was there a thread that I missed?

  2. Dan Wilson says:

    Lynne, Series 4 had a pretty strong but maybe less overt story arc with multiple hints and teasers but definitely not really on a par with Bad Wolf. Series 2 pretty much introduced Torchwood and series 3 got us ready for Mr Saxon.

    I agree. the Rose/Doctor relationship was superb and engaging but I think it had run its course. The end of series two, on the beach, was tear-jerking brilliance. Lovesick Martha Jones didn’t much work and the ‘mates’ relationship between the Doctor and Donna was the right antidote.

    The companion, in many senses, defines the Doctor. Tom Baker was at his best with Romana or Sarah-Jane Smith, Pertwee had Jo Grant, Troughton is unthinkable without Jamie and McCoy needed Ace. So, here’s hoping. I’d like a new companion to join before the new Doctor. It eases transition.

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