Dimensionally Transcendental Confession 13: Eleven minutes late, defective TARDIS at Leadworth

There remains very little else to tell. In some ways it feels odd that a series of memoir-based blog entries could have started with vague black and white memories and ended up in the present, but on the other hand given the subject matter that's exactly what I should have expected.

So... previously... Season Four had ended with a overblown bang and the news that there would be another hiatus in 2009 broken only by five hour-long "specials", guest appearances for the Doctor in two episodes of season three of Sarah Jane Adventures and a week of Torchwood on BBC1. How would the poor fans cope deprived in such a manner?

Don't you think he looks tired?

It's not as if David Tennant was using the hiatus to put his feet up and relax. Far from it - he took the opportunity to pursue the actors' Holy Grail of playing Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company. I didn't see that even though it was recorded, broadcast and released on DVD and BluRay, but did watch all five of the specials broadcast between December 2008 and January 2010.

There was a lot about them I enjoyed, although the OTT plotting and smug self regard of the Tenth Doctor was really beginning to grate by now. In a way this was addressed "in show", and the Doctor ended up hoist by his own hubris, but nevertheless you got the impression that by now the cast and crew really were beginning to believe the hype.

Or were they? Russell T Davis's The Writer's Tale provides a fascinating insight into the first five years of the revamped show and highlights the insecurity and occasional darkness beneath the bonhomie.

The final two part story was very good in places, it helped that John Simm's Master was back, as barking as ever. Some complained about his portrayal of the "Doctor's Moriarty", but watching Roger Delgado in Frontier in Space recently you can see the same sense of humour and sarcasm. Totally the same man. Just less barking.

But oh dear. The last ten minutes of Tennant's tenure as Ten were ill-advised to say the least.

A regeneration is supposed to be a way of cheating death. Whether induced by old age, the Time Lords, radiation, being dropped from a great height, the terminal stages of spectrox toxaemia, absorbing all the energy of the time vortex or simply a blizzard of gunfire, its not something that can be held off for long. It's very much like a bout of acute diarrhoea in that respect.

Even given the amount of suspension of disbelief required to watch a show about a 900 year old man who travels around time and space in a phone box, the length of the Tenth Doctor's regeneration still seemed to be stretching credibility to the limits. And what did he do with this extra time he'd been given? Wander around time and space staring moodily at his former friends from a distance like some kind of Gallifreyan stalker.

And weren't the final moments just the Doctor's narcissism in action?

"I don't want to go".

You're not going anywhere, mate. All that's going to happen is that your face is going to change. You may well be extremely attached to the way you look now, but change comes to us all in the end. At least you get a new body - us real people merely decay...

A Madman with a Box

Being contemporaneous with the broadcast of what's being written about, this memoir ceases to be one, and metamorphoses into a mere review. As I write, Vincent and the Doctor is due on BBC1 in a couple of hours.
So what have I made of the new series under the control of Steven Moffat starring Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor so far?

At first I thought it was fantastic. The atmosphere was so very different from what had come before. In universe the Eleventh Doctor seemed like a cross between Troughton and Davison with a modern twist and companion Amy Pond certainly seemed the most interesting sidekick since the series's return, if not since Tegan. Everything seemed marvellous, I was no longer having to "make excuses" for flaws in the stories in my head.

I realised (very recently) that this was partly a "honeymoon effect". This latest series wasn't perfect, nothing is, and I was probably wilfully ignoring any faults at first because I was so relieved that we'd finally moved on...

It's still very good though. Showrunner Steven Moffat seems to be the same kind of Doctor Who fan as I am, with some of the same obsessive compulsions as me. His vision of the show sits very comfortably in my head even if there may occasionally be a mis-step.

Its OK. The Doctor is in good hands.


stuart said…
I have so much enjoyed reading these Doctor Who confessions, I shall be sad to see them go, though, obviously now that you have reached the present day, it would be somewhat impossible for any more.

And hopefully the season finale will live up to expectations.
Unknown said…
Surely it's time for an update...you can't leave us hanging on having had us by the collars through so many chapters. Tell us about season 5, 6 and 7! Or are you going on a hiatus?
Catmachine said…
@Dan - I wasn't intending to continue as the whole blog series was a childhood to present story which finished in 2010. However your comment has given me pause for thought. Maybe I can write an extra installment in honour of the show's 50th anniversary? Watch this space (on 23 November 2013)...

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