BBC – Doctor Who

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I started watching this with a fair amount of trepidation, having grown up watching the series and having very fond memories of it which have remained largely untarnished even when watching them 20 years later on UK Gold. Yeah, the sets wobble and the acting can be hit-n-miss, but it’s still got appeal. I was pretty turned off by the DVD padding program that preceeded the actual episode by an hour (I found doing the washing up was more satisfying), but I have to echo the views of the friendly paparazzi interviewed for that show: it really is good.

Now I’ll wait for the second episode before getting too excited, but I reserve the right to upgrade that opinion to very good if it carries on in the same vein. I was worried about both the choice of Doctor and assistant, but Chistopher Eccleston does bring a new style to the role, and his rather intense looks have been translated slightly away from rather sinister and mildly terrifying (28 Days Later) towards a character that feels almost full to bursting with knowledge and is impatient to apply it. The best part of the dialogue of the Doctor was the utter and uncompromising geek nature of his reponses: no extra information was offered, and if you couldn’t keep up that’s your problem – no free ride of easy answers either: if you want to impress him you’ll need to not merely keep up but manage to be nearly a jump ahead at times.

Billie Piper was for me an odd casting as assistant, and whilst she was better than I had expected in The Canterbury Tales, I didn’t have high hopes at the start. She was, however, as much of a suprise as the script: apart from a couple of screams that had an echo of Bonnie Langford about them (for me, the worst assistant of the lot), the role was much more interesting with Rose actually bothering to find out more about the Doctor on her own (rather then simply jumping into the Tardis for no adequately explored reason), and the Doctor actually admitting that she had been helpful by the end of the episode.

No, not a Jelly Baby in sight, but special effects that were in keeping with the show; aiding the story without dominating. Not typical Hollywood fare. Nice.

I’ve no idea what my two will think of this in 10 to 15 years time, but they were both silent, with an occasional cuddle along with the comment “I’m not scared” from the big one, and a “Liked it. Little bit scary” from the small one after it ended.

Sounds like the Doctor is indeed back.

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  1. For what it’s worth, I thought that Christopher Eccleston was an inspired piece of casting; he’s never played a role like this before, but IMHO I think he’s maintained the mystery of the Doctor very well. Like you say, though, we need constancy from him, not for this one to be a flash in the pan. However, Russel T Davis should keep him along the straight and narrow.

    I was rather worried that in this day and age, the BBC would try to flesh out the Doctor and give him his own human-like personality and remove the mystery from him as being the alien being who knows more than the human race does collectively, thereby ruining the core of the series as Science Fiction.

    For one, I was impressed, although the Wheely bin burping was a bit of a spoiling moment; I don’t think that added anything to the program except a Carry-On style cheap laugh (which I did, and then hated myself for it :oops:)

    Like you, I hope it carries on in the vein it set last night. Having done that, it should go from strength to strength.

    Welcome back, Dr. Who.

  2. I was pleasntly surprised how well they managed to bring it all into the 21st century. Christopher Eccleston was a brill choice for the new Dr as he has a presence that can alter in seconds from amusing to menacing, seemlessly. His smile is quite evil 🙂 Like most people it seems, I also thought Ms Piper was perhaps not the obvious choice for the assistant but she was very good (at least in this first episode). There were some good funny moments in it too.

    I grew up watching John Pertwee who I thought was fantastic, though Tom Baker was pretty damned good as well. Dr Who never scared me but my brother was terrified of the sea creatures (for some weirdo reason). I wait with eager anticipation to discover what ‘creatures’ they invent for this updated version of the show. Let’s hope the initial momentum is maintained throughout the series.

  3. I’d heard some good things, and I was really hoping it would be good, and it exceeded my expectations. It my have helped that I was watching it in a room with a few hundred other people, and I don’t think anybody was disappointed.

    I really liked the line about lots of planets having a North, though I think the funniest line wasn’t in the programme at all, but was a young child in the row in front of me loudly proclaiming to his parents, “I wasn’t scared, I’m not scared of anything… except living plastic.”

  4. Will LaDuke

    Are you kiddin’ me?? I would KILL to get a chance to catch an episode!! Perhaps my friends in Canada will hook me up?? We will be into our 13th doctor before we in America get a chance to see any new WHO!!

  5. Not to push this one supplier (I have only bought there once), but you can now pre-order the series on DVD:

    Cost from this dealer is around 12 UKP (23 USD) without shipping, and you’ll need to be able to play Region 2 DVD’s.

    Do shop around, but it ought to be possible to find it later this year at an affordable price !