10 years and 4 days ago…
Continuing to look back at 10 years of NuWho…
It’s amazing to think that Doctor Who has been back on our TV screens for a decade now. It has changed the television landscape. It has changed people. It’s done some incredible things. For many – this writer included – Doctor Who has been a part of our lives for 10 years now and has changed the way we think, our aspirations, our futures. Speaking personally here, it made me rethink what I wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I enjoyed writing scripts when I was too young to know that screenwriting was a proper career. Doctor Who came on TV, and I realised I didn’t just want to write books and comics: I wanted to tell stories through the likes of the BBC.
But 10 years ago, all that could’ve ended. The Doctor was regenerating, and the show may have irredeemably lost its way.
Of course, that didn’t happen. Doctor Who has gone from strength to strength, fortunately. It’s one of – if not the – biggest brands on the BBC. Christopher Eccleston played a huge part in this. He was the face of the show. And for a while, we knew he was going, to be replaced from a cheeky young upstart from that Other RTD Show, Casanova.
Trailers. Trailer whetted out appetites for full-on TARDIS-Dalek battle scenes. Released slowly across that week. Before, we got a tale about reality TV warping the minds of the human empire. But then that Dalek was reflected in the wall and things changed. That ferocity shown in Dalek would be back. The Time War was seemingly pointless. Bad Wolf is 10 year and 1 week old now, and back in 2005, editor Christian Cawley was full of hope and admiration for a wonderful series:
“Christopher Eccleston’s acting ability has never been in question. However, while some questioned his choice of roles in the past, many were baffled by his accepting the lead role in Doctor Who. He has been nothing short of brilliant as the series build momentum, and is the template for future Doctors. His impact on the role has been remarkable, and David Tennant truly has a job as large as Pat Troughton’s in 1966 in taking over the lead part. The Doctor’s reaction to the apparent death of Rose was the saddest moment on television this year…
“When next we meet the Ninth Doctor, it may be for the last time. I said some weeks ago how The Doctor Dances had to match The Empty Child and have a good resolution to the cliffhanger. The same goes here. I don’t think I’m going to be disappointed by The Parting of the Ways – just very sorry to see a wonderful series come to an end.”
And Christian pointed out a key component in Doctor Who‘s success: it’s continued relevance. Here, he notes, “Doctor Who embracing these reality formats is Doctor Who telling us that there are other things going on. Things that are hiding in shadows, always out of sight, pulling strings and shaping events. Reality television here is interpreted as a diversion, slight of hand, while the real power establishes itself.”
In other news, Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw have joined The X Factor.
So a lot was riding on the Ninth Doctor’s last regular appearance – and in the following review, Christian seemed rather pleased with how Russell T Davies scripted The Parting of the Ways, and how he brought the series back as a whole:
“Russell T Davies -and this is by no means to ignore the talents of other contributors to the series – succeeds in writing on two key levels. One is aimed at the populist, soap opera watching viewer tuning in for a glimpse of Billie Piper. The other is one that pulls mirrors out, points them at real life and the world at large, and demands that we question our position both in this world and the Universe. Davies succeeds in the same way that the much missed Robert Holmes succeeds.”
But what of our TARDIS team? When one transforms into the Bad Wolf, the other has to sacrifice everything to save her – proving once and for all that this is the same man who fought the Master in California, gave his life up for Peri on Androzani, and stole a police box and ran away:
“Rose’s transformation into sexy vortex-goddess was outstanding, and touching. The Doctor’s departure (he was so good he got to say goodbye twice!) was breathtaking. I was convinced regeneration could not be achieved on a higher quality than the seventh one that gave us Paul McGann. I had myself believing we wouldn’t see a change, that Rose would leave in the TARDIS and come back to find a man claiming to be the Doctor. I was totally and utterly gobsmacked – having stayed away from the Internet since Wednesday – to see the stunning transformation.”
And we haven’t really seen the Ninth Doctor since. Oh sure, there were flashbacks, and that “for my next trick” moment in The Day of the Doctor (taken from Parting), but he’s sadly eluded our TV screens. Lots of dodgy rumours have circulated about him, but Eccleston is an amazing man. We owe him a lot. And he’s proud of being the Doctor.
As such, I’m going to leave you with this message he sent to the BFI in 2013, the 50th anniversary of our beloved show:
“I love the Doctor and hope you enjoy this presentation. Joe Ahearne directed five of the 13 episodes of the first series. He understood the tone the show needed completely – strong, bold, pacy visuals coupled with wit, warmth and a twinkle in the performances, missus.
“If Joe agrees to direct the 100th anniversary special, I will bring my sonic and a stair-lift and – providing the Daleks don’t bring theirs – I, the Ninth Doctor, vow to save the universe and all you apes in it.”
What memories do you have of watching Series 1 in 2005? What do you think of the Ninth Doctor in retrospect? And do you think he’ll ever return to the role, however briefly? Let us know below…! (kasterborous)
Posted on June 22, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged Billy Piper, Christopher Eccelston, Doctor, Doctor Who, doctorwho, fandom, Ninth Doctor, Parting of The Ways, Russell T Davies, The Doctor. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.