My fellow fat dad @JohhnyCannuck has been an avid fan of Doctor Who since the early 80’s (as far as I can remember). I tried many a time to get into the show when it was shown on weekends on the PBS channel. Even with the talent of Tom Baker, Peter Davison and Colin Baker, I just couldnt get into the show. It didn’t have the Sci-Fi vibe I liked. I was into Battlestar Galactica with its space fights an cool spaceships. Even the bad guys (Cylons) were more scary in the old BSG than the daleks or Cybermen.
Move forward to 2005 and the revival of Doctor Who. Again my fellow fat dad urges me to watch the first 2 episodes. From the beginning, the show was different: better sets, the actors were more in-tune with the time, the revised Tardis and the phenomenal and enticing performance of Christopher Eccleston (not to mention the pretty Companion Rose played by Billie Piper). Fortunately for me, I got hooked right away.
The ‘fantastic’ 9th Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston, only lived for 1 season. The actor did not fully disclose his reasons for leaving after one year but the rumours are that he was that he didn’t want to be typecast and he had made an agreement with BBC prior to the series’ revival that he only intended to do one year. There is no proof either statement is accurate.
This 9th Doctor really was a man of the 2000’s. He was cooler, seemed smarter, funnier and was provided better special effects. The story also were no longer simply Earth bound, they actually took place everywhere and every when. The companion and her development also made them closer and gave them more substance.
Then, suddenly, the 9th Doctor had to regenerate and a new actor would play the role. I was tentative of the new 10th Doctor to be played by David Tennant. Like many, I had grown to love the character played by Eccleston and was wary that a newcomer could perform to the level of Eccleston. Boy was I wrong. David Tennant had a charm, an ease and a charisma that made you love this new incarnation of the Doctor. For almost 5 years, he played this character that developed a new cult following. His storylines provided more depth and substance to the myth behind the Doctor. They even explored his old nemesis, the Daleks, the Cybermen, and of course the Master. We met new companions throughout the seasons, Rose, Mickey, Captain Jack, Martha, Astrid, Donna, even the return of Sarah Jane. We were also privy to finding out more about the Doctor’s history (he was a father, he now has a new daughter, he caused the Time Lords to ‘disappear’). Wow! Then, in early 2009, it was announced that David Tennant would be ending his run as the Doctor at the end of the year. Shock! Gasp! Panic!
The scene was sent early in the year for the departure of the Doctor but the question on everyone’s mind was ‘how will he go?’. Then the writers through us some sombre teasers with a comment initially made in the ‘Planet of the Ood‘ episode ‘I think your song must end soon.‘ In the special ‘Planet of the Dead‘, Carmen tells the Doctor ‘you be careful, because your song is ending, soon.‘ followed by ‘It is returning. It is returning through the dark. And then Doctor, oh but then, he will knock four times.‘ I was trying to foresee what that meant but for the life of me I couldn’t see how it would unwind. Then came the second to last special, ‘The Waters of Mars‘, where the Doctor seems to lose a little of himself an what he believes in when he starts to act as if he is better than the rules, as if he was a God. Things were not improving for this Doctor, they were getting worse.
Then came the 2-part special, ‘The End of Time‘. This brought back the Master beautifully played by John Simm. The lead writer found a way to cover almost all of the key players from the past 4 seasons, from Rose to Martha, from Captain Jack to Donna. At the end, Tennant’s Doctor exclaims seconds before he regenerates ‘I don’t want to go!’ I’m sure all fans were echoing my sentiments: we don’t want you to go either!
Would the next Doctor be as good as or better then his two predecessors? This was the concern for all fans. Then came the announcement that the 11th Doctor would be played by Matt Smith, a younger actor than any previous incarnation of the Doctor. Many have questioned his candidacy. Personally, I was so surprised with Eccleston and Tennant that I think, the new direction of the show will show that change is required with this character. I’m even looking forward to embarking on his new wacky, exciting and shocking stories. I just can’t wait for the spring to come so I can be blown away once more.
The Doctor is dead, long live the Doctor!