I’m just about ready to explode all your internets with a shocking revelation about Doctor Who. The long-running series returned this Easter weekend for the first episode of series 7B. (Or, if you want to make proper sense, the next new episode from series seven.) With preparations kicking up a gear for the upcoming 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who (a feat that, while nothing shabby, would’ve been a lot more impressive if there hadn’t been a near twenty-year gap right in the middle), I’m about to rock your world with this story; an internet exclusive.
I didn’t like David Tennant as the Doctor, nor Billie Piper as his assistant.
Definitely an internet-exclusive story there, because it seems I’m the only bugger who feels this way at all.
Yes, as a photo was released online of Tennant and current Doctor, Matt Smith, together at a script reading for the 50th anniversary episode to be shown later this year, a whole bunch of Whovians dispensed with all manner of moist substances at the news that the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler would join the cast for the one-off special. Not I, my friends, not I.
Here’s why: Tennant might have oozed charm and charisma, but his Doctor (and I’m looking at former exec producer Russell T. Davies just as snidely as I am at the returning cast) but…c’mon…he was a bit annoying, don’t you think? His chunky glasses; his know-it-all attitude which, even for a 1000-year old alien was extremely off-putting; and worst of all, his immediate elevation to the top of the mountain as everyone’s all-time favourite Time Lord.
Look. When you’re up against the likes of Sylvester Bloody McCoy and fucking…fucking… Paul McGann, then of course you’re going to come off tremendously well. But for a start, I thought Christopher Eccleston made a bloody great Doctor when the programme came back on the air after sixteen years; he got the franchise back on its feet with some of that good old northern charisma and snappy acting talent which he’s possessed ever since the days of Cracker.
But as soon as the replacement came in, you couldn’t even hear Tennant’s weird not-Scottish-but-Scottish accent properly for all the fanboys swooning at his feet. I remember when Eccleston regenerated (The Parting of the Ways) into Tennant; his first line “now where was I…oh yeah…BARCELONA!” – a line suffused with so much cheesiness that it melted into fondue. It was so jarring to have that leap from a sullen and determined Doctor (whose line “lots of planets have a North!” is still one of my favourites) into some smug and annoying man who blustered about shouting “oh yeah, I know all about this!”
Worst of all is the fact that Matt Smith (and in turn, new exec Steven Moffatt) still can’t catch a break between them because of who has gone before. I’ll be honest here; Rory and Amy were the first assistants I’ve actually liked! Moffatt writes great characters as well as stories which, wait for it and god help me for saying my bit, have endings! How am I the only person I know who didn’t get so fucked off every time Davies deus ex machina’d his way out of every paper bag he’d written himself into? Matt Smith is a bloke with just the right amount of charm to pull off what Tennant slobbered his way through week after week.
Self-righteousness does not a good sci-fi show make. Science fiction is about knowing how far we can push it without taking the piss. Like me and my word counts. (600 words)