All Geek to Me

May 23, 2008

Who Changes

Filed under: Geek Stuff — britinla @ 5:44 pm

I was six and at a friend’s house when I saw my first episode of Doctor Who. I was a fan from those first twenty-five minutes. I persuaded my parents to let me see the next five installments that completed the story; then got permission to see the rest of the season. From that point until I left home to go to University twelve years later, I missed just six episodes; two due to power cuts, the others due to holidays. After twenty-six years the show left our screens, but I continued to follow the story through books and by watching re-runs.

One of the reasons that the show endured so long was the clever conceit that allowed the lead actor to change. The eponymous hero is an alien, who when his body ages or is damaged can regenerate into a new one. During the first twenty six years there were seven actors who filled the role. An abortive US pilot featured an eighth Doctor.

I was excited by the return of the show in 2005, especially as it was being led by Russell T Davies. He had written one of the best Doctor Who novels that had filled the sixteen years since the Doctor had last graced our screens and with his television experience seemed a natural as producer/script editor/lead writer. The opening story captivated me and I was a fan of the return. This week it was announced that he will leave his role before the fifth season that is due to air in 2010. I take this opportunity to thank him for bringing my favourite show back and doing so with such style and verve.

I admit that the stories that he wrote include those that I like least and none of my favourites were penned by him, but I love the direction that the show has taken. There has been a great balance of terror, humour, and appreciation of the show’s history. He has given the companions real character. He has written some great moments for the Doctor, not least of which was Rose’s departure; the only moment that the show brought tears to my eyes, though when the Doctor drove away from Jo’s wedding was close. Having made a triumph of the return, I would be worried were his replacement not the brilliant Stephen Moffat, the writer of two of the best episodes of Doctor Who (Empty Child and Blink). I hope that his influence may mark a return to the tone of the Robert Holmes/Philip Hinchcliffe horror inspired period. Now that I am past my childhood disappointment at the change from Jon Pertwee to Tom Baker in the lead role, I recognise that this was the Golden Age of the classic series.

So Thank you Russell and here is to further success with Mr Moffat at the helm.

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