Happy 10th Birthday New Era Doctor Who!


Happy 10th Birthday New Who

Doctor Who is the best show in television history as far as I’m concerned, I love that there is a show that spans so many decades, and generations.

The genius conceit of a regenerating Time Lord offers an open canvas for telling superb stories, imagining impressive scenarios, audience engagement, characters, surprises, and an evolution of production methods, improving broadcast standards and consistently impressive performances throughout, what more could you ask for?

Of course there is room for improvement, tightening story lines, adding new “things” and getting more female representation on the writing and technical teams for added perspective, but this is the beauty of Doctor Who. It’s all about progression.

Each player who has ever been involved has taken the role of the Doctor and while retaining the core character, has moulded their specific incarnation into individuals we continue to believe in, that inspire us, that we continue to watch, think about… all the while bringing into the character, more depth, vision and an unusual sense of what progression must feel like to an infinite creature… which is why Peter Capaldi had not just one set of enormous shoes to fill, but twelve!

In 2005 I wasn’t certain what to expect, but Christopher Eccleston was phenomenal and therefore shattered all preconceived ideas. His nuanced portrayal of simple guy with a dark sense of humour, running away from something huge, comes across perfectly when enjoyed almost a decade later. We don’t know exactly what went down between him and the BBC, but judging by rumours, and the subtext conveyed, there’s a story here, and maybe one day we’ll get to know it.

The perfect cup of tea, David Tennant was a gorgeous, sexy and emotionally complexed Doctor, sharing companions with his previous version, but accumulating many more along the way. Of all the Doctors I think he was the most versatile, providing wholly believable performances alongside a diverse range of companions and villains alike.

All his interactions brought yet another layer to his wonderful characterisation of the Doctor. He’s an amazing performer who gave us so much to love about the intricate network of empathetic relationships lovingly woven into the tapestry of Who mythology during this time.

I know some fans complain that the Russell T Davies era is when the show was best and it shouldn’t have been tampered with, and that opinion may have merit because it was so good… but life moves on for people, and different compositions of writing teams, bring different strengths and foci. Steven Moffat brought us a new, sharper depiction of life in the TARDIS with his unending incredible (sometimes twisted) imaginings, able to bring forth vivid ideas with exquisite timing, and sometimes when I think he might have let us down, he surprises me by drawing down on it at a later point. So, whatever we may at the time see as plot holes, usually turn out to be investments in the future, creating more scope to go so many more places.

For example I think I am still reeling from Death in Heaven. I was so utterly disappointed by a handful of things, that the brilliance of the rest of the other things were dulled. Happy to say that the Christmas Episode made up for it in spades, and I am thrilled that Clara is staying because I think she has to – they couldn’t end things like THAT!

So, where was I?

Oh yes, Matt Smith… Through Matt Smith’s marvellous morphing and Steven Moffat’s macroscopic vision, we finally glimpsed into the deeper heart of the Doctor, we discovered history that had only previously been alluded to. We understood how Christopher Eccleston had come into being who he was – dark and flavoursome, not quite the potency of strength 6 Columbian Coffee like Peter Capaldi – but more akin to Espresso in the sense his regeneration was so quick and startling that by the time you saw it coming he’d left.

Matt Smith (Whole bean, Instant coffee) was larger than life, loud, loveable and as mad as a box of frogs sometimes, a contrast to Tennant. He brought us fish fingers and custard, an almost unforgivably unpunctual Time Lord, showing true mastery of time travel, and he upgraded the Sonic Screwdriver to be the most useful sonic device in the Universe – just as well it doesn’t work on wood.

And finally (for now and the foreseeable) Peter Capaldi, the mad eye-browed idiot in space is our guide through more amazing stories, ideas, revisitations, and imaginings of the fans who create for fans. Mercurial, loyal, angry, loving… a dichotomy in flux, flipping from one end of one continuum, to the extreme end of another. I am so absolutely intrigued by his character, and I watched each episode several times! I can’t wait to see where he and Clara are going to take us in Season 9. I will be there, you can bet your boll… er… life on it.



  1. 10 years.. 8 seasons.. counting only the new stuff, because, obviously with Eccleston being 9th Doctor (10th) and Tenant being the 10th (11th and 12th), with Matt and Peter rounding out the 11th (13th) and 12th (14th)… how can we forget the ones who paved the way. Personally my favorite has been (and most likely will always be Doctor Jelly babies himself, Tom Baker. (I put that stuff in parenthetical because.. well, true Whovian’s understand. Allons-y! (Tenant is totes my second favorite)

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  2. I’m (just) old enough to rate Pertwee over Baker. I really like the underlying plot continuity from season to season and story to story. It has added real depth to the character of the doctor and also allowed some very special acting talents (all the new generation) to expand into the role. Roll on Christmas!

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    1. Christmas?

      The Magician’s Apprentice by Steven Moffat airs in the UK on the 5th of September 2015…

      “After many more adventures The Doctor and Clara return to Earth to encounter a new threat in London, 2015. However, things are not all they seem, and with the Time Lords out of the picture, reality continues to become more maleable, more flexible, and more magical.”


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  3. I may be in the minority but Peter Davison is my pick for THE Doctor. Curious, energetic, peaceful, with just a hint of the Ancient traveller lurking behind those eyes (particularly when he had those specs on) he was the fun older brother that all the kids in school wanted to hang around

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    1. I agree, Peter Davison was a lovely incarnation possessing graceful qualities in a Time Lord – and has done so much for Whovians and the show as a true fan…

      It just occurred to me now that while we’re wishing everyone for an epic 10th anniversary of New Who… that there’re so many aspects to the show that go beyond television — books, graphic novels, unbound, BBC radio and big finish – audio…

      Over these ten years, previous Doctors’ stories have also continued to be told – Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann are all still actively involved with the show with Big Finish. I don’t know a lot about this side of “things” — I need a TARDIS just so that I can catch up, and still be home for tea. There is a treasure trove of audios to be discovered and having heard many over the years, Peter Davison’s ones are very good.

      I’m firing one up now!

      And there are also the books – loads of them! Mr Kirk has read so many over the years, novelisations of each of the New Who Doctors and has actually started two of his own…

      Holy smokes, I don’t know why nobody held a bigger celebration to capture all this detail! So much has happened in the past ten years…

      So to all who have been, are and will always be invoked with Doctor Who, thank you! May the next ten be as mind-bending, prolific and entertaining as the first!


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