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While you were out: Doctor Who (BBC1)

Do the Daleks have a deadly charm? Well, they don't do it for Nicola Mostyn

Published on July 3rd 2008.


While you were out: Doctor Who (BBC1)

WHAT I love about Doctor Who is how attached we get to characters who, due to the very nature of the programme, must be frequently replaced.

"In search of the lost planets, the Doctor and Donna got stranded in the Medusa Cascade and no one could get in touch with them until, eventually, with the help of Harriet Jones, former PM, the answer was found: just call the Doc’s mobile."

So when Christopher Eccleston was rumoured to be leaving after Series One, it was all, “Nooooooo! He can’t go!” Until he regenerated into the quite wonderful David Tennant, with his nice flicky hair and his suit’n’converse combo. Then we didn’t mind so much.

And when Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) slipped off into God-knows-where, it was all, “No-one can replace Rose!” until we met new companion Martha Jones who, if she didn’t top Rose, certainly gave her a run for her money (running being an integral part of the companion’s job description).

Angst again reached a frenzy when Martha (Freema Agyeman) was replaced (the turnover at Doctor Who Towers now rivalling a call centre) by Christmas guest star Catherine Tate. Nooooooooo!

An unpopular choice, but even the most churlish of viewers must have been won over by Tate’s depiction of Donna Noble by now. Despite coming across as a bit of a gobshite in the Christmas special, Noble has turned out to be a complex and increasingly important character and Tate is a more subtle and appealing actress than her sketch shows displayed. Thank God.

On Saturday we saw the penultimate episode of the Fourth Series, /The Stolen Earth/, and a bumper edition it was, too. As well as the Doctor and Donna we also had the company of Torchwood (the one’s who aren’t dead), old skool Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane plus son, and Rose, who seemed more world (well worlds) -weary than ever and– doubtless to the delight of the young male fanbase – was clutching a huge gun.

As pointed out by the episode’s title, Earth had been rather rudely stolen. By the Daleks.

Now, I hate to be controversial but I just can’t find the Daleks scary. Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t a massive fan of Doctor Who as a child and so the groundwork hasn’t been done. I don’t know. I try to feel scared. And I can tell by the way all the characters react that, as soon as I hear the word “Exterminate…”, I’m meant to feel all hope is lost. But they just remind me of a mix between C3PO and Dusty Bin off /3,2,1/.

Nonetheless, this was a cracking episode. Other planets had gone missing. Martha’s atoms were sent whizzing separately off through space via some new military technology or othe, and Captain Jack (John Barrowman) did what he does best - shouting, making suggestive comments, hugging his staff, more shouting.

In search of the lost planets, the Doctor and Donna got stranded in the Medusa Cascade and no one could get in touch with them until eventually, with the help of Harriet Jones, former PM, (Penelope Wilton) the answer was found: just call the Doc’s mobile.

Meanwhile the Daleks, bless them, were causing carnage, shooting – in a Star Trek style – any extraneous characters who had a line of dialogue. Sorry to hark on, but even the way the Daleks shoot things doesn’t do it for me. It just seems so....ordinary. (Is this what desensitisation feels like, do you think?)

Eventually, the Doctor’s worst suspicions are confirmed – Bonnie Langford is coming back. Just kidding. It’s not as bad as all that. It’s just that Davros is alive. Yeah, the one that looks like a loo-roll cover. Apparently, he was saved from certain death in the Time Wars by Dalek Caan, a heroic mission which sent him bonkers, even more so than you’d expect a pink brain squiddy thing to be.

Not good news. The Doctor legs it, which is more than Davros can do, and he and Rose are almost re-united but, before he can get to her he’s shot by a Dalek. And starts to regenerate!

And that was it. We were left with a cliffhanger until next Saturday night, for which huge viewing figures are anticipated. Clever, that Russell T Davies.

Naturally, this unexpected twist has sent the Doctor Who-loving world into a frenzy. To paraphrase: It’s known that there will be no series five of Doctor Who until 2010, but Tennant said he was signed up to the three specials planned for 2009. Was he lying? Is there going to be a new Doctor Who? If so, who? And how did they manage to keep it a secret? Or might this just be some crazy story to do with the parallel universes and the doctor’s previously severed hand and is David Tenant actually staying after all?

There’s no way of saying until next Saturday night, but that’s not going to stop them asking. Over and over and over.

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22 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

TittersJune 30th 2008.

I have loved this whole series. Catherine Tate is wonderful, by far the best companion to the Doctor, although I think that Rose was the best companion for the person behind the Doctor (not DT, the actual Timlord person who is still in love with the stars and the people but keeps losing them all). My ideal grouping in the TARDIS by now would be the Doctor and Rose, Donna and Captain Jack and Ianto (because he's not allowed to leave him behind again, honestly!) I love the fact that you get a little hint that maybe Jack and Ianot are more than they appear, and as a fan girl I can read almost anything into "hello", so their exchanges were a minefield of delight.I've spent most of the last three days on various forums asking the same questions over and over again (and throwing theories around all over the place to create havoc and rumour. It's a hotbed of gossip, so fun trying to see what gets carried on and what gets dropped)

Tricky WooJune 30th 2008.

No, she's got a ring on covered in black tape that will turn out to be The Master's . She is definitely a Time Lord I reckon. Two hearts and all that. She just doesn't know she's a Time Lord yet, like John Smith in The Family. Getting good! Incidentally, for those who like a bit of local political satire of the highest order, mingled with their Doctor Who, I suggest you look at this. http://profchucklebutty.blogspot.com

Jamie McCrimmonJune 30th 2008.

Generally this series has been fairly rubbish. Russell T. Ward must have been feeling very pleased with himself as he took a revisionist bucket of Tippex to The Doctor, his history, enemies and companions. For a start, what the heck is The Doctor doing getting adolescent crushes on his companions for? He’s supposed to be 900-plus years old isn’t he? Also why was Scottish actor David Tennant made to put on an ugly gorblimey London accent? Daleks with exposed rivets and scew heads? Cybermen mincing about in flared trousers? ‘Spoilers’ shown constantly to avoid any suspense whatever (suspense was a big part of the proper, old-fashioned Doctor Who). And why with all the money spent on this do all the extras look like twenty-something playgroup leaders in anoraks? Unmitigated bilge! Bah!

0151omskiJune 30th 2008.

I have to agree about the daleks - although they did get a bit scarier when they learnt how to fly. It's the cybermen who freak me out. Series 2 when they appeared in that parallel universe marching through the mist in the grounds of the Tyler mansion. Wow. Almost a hide behind the settee moment.Mind you omski junior had many a bad dream after the weeping angels!Can't wait for Saturday. (By the way, does it make me a big wuss that i cried my eyes out when Owen and Tosh were about to die??)

Sefton ParkerJune 30th 2008.

I had a boyish crush on Zoë Herriott you know! (Slips into reverie)

Cy LurianJune 30th 2008.

How can David Morrissey be worse than the girlish Bruce Willis in his customary sweaty vest? And he’s alocal lad!Personally I've always wanted Richard Wilson to be the New Doctor - he'd lend humour and gravitas, whereas Tennant just winks, smirks and gurns, and he talks like a barrowboy.Wilson has since played 'Dr. Constantine' in the bum-quaking gas-mask story, which might be used as an excuse to queer his pitch and piss on his chips.

C. DevilJune 30th 2008.

My vote for most attractive companion of The Doctor goes to the relatively unsung Dr. Liz Smith of the Jon Pertwee era. She had brains, bravery and beauty as well as the shortest skirts on television! Though owing to skilful camera work (presumably by a Top of the Pops cameraman) there was never an actual glimpse of gusset, no matter how hard I strained my eager, youthful eyes.

SaddenedJune 30th 2008.

I just caught sight of David "whatever I play I still sound like a scouser" Morrissey in the Christmas episode trailer. Jeez.

AnonymousJune 30th 2008.

Please do not let the next Doctor be Robert Carlyle or the unamusing Alan Davies. David Tennant has made this role his own after Tom Baker was really the only challenger and the casting of Eccleston was awful. Come on Tennant, you've got a third series in you.

John Lennon AirportJune 30th 2008.

The incarnation of David Tennant could easily be over as his future companion in the Library didn't physically recognise him. She just sent him a note on the psychic paper and he came. Alan Davies? I would hate this as he is apparently a bit of a humourless twat and I would have to tell the kids that. As for Donna being the Master, it's a thought. Do you think she'll suddenly flash one of those funky timepieces and open it....?

Krispy KrisJune 30th 2008.

Yes, and David Morrissey sounds like a local lad too. No matter who he plays. Even Gordon bloody Brown. Unless, of course, he's going to play a Scouse Doctor Who. Wow the Culture Company could badge him and take full credit for that too!!!

AnonymousJune 30th 2008.

Even worse. Rumours of David Morrissey as the next doc! Ugh.

Count Von MertzbachJune 30th 2008.

Penelope Wilton was passing fair as Harriet Jones, but who remembers her playing Lilli Czepanek in 'The Song of Songs' on BBC2? 'Pon my soul!

Captain JackJune 30th 2008.

RE WARD BLARNEY is an anagram of Warren Bradley

which doctorJune 30th 2008.

Did David Tennant worshipper notice that Donna heard the sounds of the drums while she was at the shadow proclimation. Is she the Master!Why did darlek Caan refer to the Doctor as 'the three fold man' is Sylvester Mccoy and Peter Davidson going to make an appearance. They appeared on Dr Who confidential in their Dr Who clothes on Saturday. Was Alan Davies lying on Friday when Grahan Norton asked him if he had been asked to do Dr Who. How can David Tennant be dead when he has not yet met his future companion from 'science in the Libary' episode. All Spoilers!

Brigadier Lethbridge-StewartJune 30th 2008.

Harrumph! There was none of this American-style panicking, crying and wild-firing of flailing sub-machine guns when I was in charge!When I famously ordered "Chap with wings; five rounds rapid" that was all that was fired (at 'Bok' the animated gargoyle) from a proper service-issue rifle aimed properly by a cool-headed professional soldier in a proper uniform. Doctor Who is getting so bad I shouldn't be surprised if the next series features arch screaming-and-panicking, trigger-happy slaphead Bruce Willis as a U.N.I.T. commander! Bah!

which doctorJune 30th 2008.

donna and noble translates in greek or latin to 'lord'. Donna says shes just a 'temp' Osterhagen is an anagram of 'earths gone'

David Tennant worshipperJune 30th 2008.

I think season three was the best ever. How could you top the sound of drums and the wonderful, almost-farce of John Sim as The Master while at the same time being gripped on the edge of your seat. It managed to pull off that clever trick of being accessible to every age. My six-year-old understood the whole thing and it was a brilliantly told plot. This series hasn't engaged me or the kids at all. It has tried to be far too clever and has just "alienated" it's audience, and not in the sense of the word it would like.

Wishy WashyJune 30th 2008.

Q: What's the Doctor's favourite meal?A: DALEK BREAD!!!!!

AnonymousJune 30th 2008.

All of the Doctor's Companions are special, but yes I must admit I was crushed when I learned the most beautiful couple on television (Martha Jones & The Doctor in Season 3) would not have another exclusive season. I think time will only increase the accolades heaped on Season 3.P.S. However, I must confess I liked the Doctor's search for Rose as well.

Captain Mike YatesJune 30th 2008.

Jamie McCrimmon, how ould you know? Both you and Zoe, apart from your first meeting,had your memory of the time with the Doctor wiped by the Timelords at the end of the War Games.And no don't quote the 5 Doctors that was an illusion and the 2 Doctors was when you were taken out of you time stream. What a terrible fate to have your memory wiped like that. Isn't Russell a genius for coming up with it 39 years later. By the way, i don't know what he sees in Rose either...now Martha......

AnonymousJune 30th 2008.

Who will die? Rose or Donna?

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