Doctor Who: a celebration of change

Feature Andrew Blair 27 Jun 2012 - 07:43

Andrew looks back over the continual evolution of Doctor Who and, in the run-up to its fiftieth birthday, celebrates the show's adaptability over the decades

Q: How many Doctor Who fans does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Change?

The original run of Doctor Who was, from beginning to end, a production based on the BBC's original system of television drama, which was basically to film a play. Live. Increasingly less live, sure, but nearly always with huge lumbering stegosaurus cameras in a three walled studio, a stage in all but name. It took a long time to significantly alter an approach that began in the 1950s, and its legacy can be seen throughout the original run.

Now the show has moved on to being a single-camera mini-feature film, backed by a BBC who are aware of its worth. Visuals do not reflect the budget cuts of recent years. During its original run the broadcaster never really backed it properly, and even now it is given a similar budget to a show such as Waking the Dead (was it just me who wanted Paul McGann's bad guy to win in the show's last episode?) which does not feature the underground continuation of Stonehenge, or fleets of millions of Daleks flying through space. It has always had to make the most of a budget designed for less fantastical drama. To think about how well Doctor Who has consistantly done in achieving a finished product, try to imagine Waking the Dead done on the budget of Terror of the Autons.

Then again, try to imagine Survival made on the budget of Terror of the Autons. Throughout its changes in production staff, Doctor Who has undergone wholesale changes that initially received negativity, although many years after the event it's hard to see what the fuss was about. The best example of this is The Deadly Assassin, now widely regarded as a classic. At the time it annoyed quite a lot of people. Mary Whitehouse, obviously, was one. The others were the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, who hated the depiction of Time Lords in the story, contradicting as it did what we knew of them up to that point. Today, the majority of Gallifreyan mythology stems from The Deadly Assassin, and its retcons are uncontroversial.

Robert Holmes (script editor and writer of The Deadly Assassin) stated that he would not let any child under the age of ten watch the show, and that it was 'geared towards the intelligent fourteen year-old'. Doctor Who had started off with the remit of being an educational programme for children, with the edict of 'no bug eyed monsters'. This changed after a mere six episodes.

Stories with purely historical settings ceased after four years (barring 1982's Black Orchid). The Patrick Troughton era is famed for its 'Base Under Siege' plots, the Pertwee era for being stranded on Earth. After that eras take approaches along the lines of 'Gothic Horror', 'Classically-Influenced-Whimsy', 'I Am Serious (And don't call me Shirley)', 'Let's Do The Sixties But Not As Well', 'It's a Cruel Ol' Universe', and finally 'Let's Make 2000 AD on the budget of Through the Dragon's Eye'.

Obviously, this doesn't quite cover every nuance, but you get an idea of the key fact: Doctor Who always changes, and as a result becomes many things to many people. The basics remain forever the same, but the key drive behind the show is that of the producer and script editor, or show runner today (who occupies aspects of both those jobs). Different people write for different audiences, and every era has its fans. Steven Moffat has said that it's a children's show that adults can enjoy. Graham Williams was under specific instructions to make things more child-friendly. John Wiles wanted to make the show darker, but faced opposition from William Hartnell and the BBC. Despite this, his four stories feature two historical massacres and the first two companion deaths. Following this, Innes Lloyd provided us with a carnival of monsters and Patrick Troughton. Without the latter the show would have ended in 1966. John Nathan Turner hired three novice script editors who all took the show in completely different directions, none of which was aimed at the younger viewers. Looking back, the Robert Holmes era is something of an anomaly, being the only time that making the show darker and more adult has resulted in consistently high viewing figures. Presumably this is partly why, since 2005, no one has tried to replicate this approach.

There is also the fact that the show is now made for a wider audience. It aimed for, and succeeded in reaching, a Saturday night audience, usually dominated by talent shows and light entertainment. Irrespective of anyone's opinion of it is the fact that this approach brought back and established Doctor Who again. If you aren't watching the television version, then you've still benefited from it in terms of an faster release rate of DVDs, Big Finish's expanding range, and an increased amount of coverage of all aspects of the show's past and present. Even if you think that modern telly is all dumbed down rubbish and you miss the quiet reflective bits, the fact is that eventually someone else will come along and run Doctor Who, and that you might enjoy their version of it. As long as it is successful, there'll still be benefits for fans. Either way you've got a rich and varied history to pick and choose from.

Of course, we all need something to do to pass the time before we die, and for a lucky few that thing is arguing about the respective merits of two different production styles. Despite over twenty years of constructive debates on the matter, we still don't know exactly who to blame for the show's cancellation in 1989, although we have narrowed it down to about ninety possibly candidates. In 2012, if you're finding Steven Moffat's version of the show unwatchable, you have the options of writing about how he has destroyed your childhood or of watching the many available DVDs of your childhood that are miraculously still in working order, free from The Moff's Machiavellian, popular clutches.

What's the alternative?  The alternative is to end up like Light from Ghostlight. Having spent your entire life making a detailed analysis of everything within an ecosystem, when you go away and do something else for a bit you come back to find out that everything's gone and bloody made itself different, plus some weird Scottish bloke is wandering around being all smug and irritating at you.

There's no point in getting annoyed about it, because the show changes every week, and there's so much of it to choose from. You've been spoiled, really, when you consider than you can pick and choose what you want to watch, read or listen to, knowing that this will long continue to be the case.

Read Andrew's celebration of Doctor Who cliffhangers, here.

Follow Den Of Geek on Twitter right here. And be our Facebook chum here.

Disqus - noscript

It 'used' to change every week certainly but I'd say not anymore, under RTD I'd say that still held true to a enough of a degree (don't like the sheer excess of 'Last Of The Time Lords' you might like the smaller 'gridlock' or 'Midnight', to me (me personally to insert a disclaimer that I'm not trolling) under Moffat's tenure it's become almost unwatchable to me. Dislikeable companions who don't behave like normal human beings ( eg losing a baby and being fine the next week) yes it's fantasy but if they are supposed to be the 'way in' to the series for new viewers (even RTD recognised this...Rose etc) they need to be likeable, believable and not just fanciable...most of the sci-fi inclined women on my facebook page for example and on forums I go on fancy Arthur Darvill, the impression I get just because he's a male and in their favourite sci-fi programme because I can't imagine a woman finding someone so inept and whiny fanciable in real life, they would soon be kicked to the kerb (and the straight men fancy Karen Gillan) but there's rarely any MEATY discussion on their acting merits or what they bring to their characters and moreoveer how Moffat writes them...always his achilles heel...they all speak with his voice...its been his problem since Press Gang! Everyone sounds like Moffat! And the plots etc, well Terry Pratchett summed it up for me...
'breaks most of the laws of narrative', and is 'pixel thin' as plausible science fiction'.

After watching every episode of Classic Who from 'Time Warrior' Episode 1 (my earliest memory as a very small child!) to the end of 'Survival', I feel I've seen the change written about in this article and always embraced it (even belatedly if I havent liked a Doctor or companion initially) but I just can't embrace Moffat's vision at all. When you add to this dubious (and that's being kind) production decisions....the Dalek redesign, ditching the far superior earlier Silurian designs for the eventual Star Trek-lite versions, the redesign of the TARDIS interior which then has to be modified again when they release they can't shoot from all angles because of some of the highly polished surfaces (or whatever the reason was, you lose the will to live with the bungling)...don't they have production meetings or are they all too busy congratulating each other, planning the next sycophantic press release or generally kissing Moffat's ass?

His reign to me is all about style over substance (summed up in the Lets Kill Hitler prologue, which made NO narrative sense whatsoever, even in Confidential, that was admitted but 'it looked cool', or whatever...FFS!) and the interminable River Song subplot and the general 'look' and feel of the programme and it leaves me (not just me, I've seen some of the above points discussed ad infinitum online) cold and with the impression it'll be the same next week and it usually is. The difference being when a writer out of the 'inner circle' of writers (your chibnails etc) like Richard Curtis comes in and does the Van Gogh episode, an episode that deals with mental illness (I've worked for MIND so I know that side of things) deftly and compassionately, it would have been car crash TV in Moffat's hands.

Now the usual comeback on here is, don't criticise if you can't do better...you know what I'm a writer and I CAN do better, unfortunately I haven't been as fortunate as Moffat and also nepotism (with Gattis/Chibnail etc) hasn't done me any favours too..I've had to work dam hard to get to the modest level I'm at now but I do know that the script I have at ITV at the moment is coherent, has a definite start, middle and (unrushed) conclusion and has something to say. That's not hubris by any means, I also know it's shortcomings which is why I've had notes to rewrite then rewrite certain parts, but when the internet community can make up better endings to story arcs and makes these AMAZING (moffat's words) plot contrvances...sorry twists....sound better than the man himself...you know you're in the wrong job Steven and give up while the emperor's new clothes still haven't been twigged by the easily please majority

It 'used' to change every week certainly but I'd say not anymore, under RTD I'd say that still held true to a enough of a degree (don't like the sheer excess of 'Last Of The Time Lords' you might like the smaller 'gridlock' or 'Midnight', to me (me personally to insert a disclaimer that I'm not trolling) under Moffat's tenure it's become almost unwatchable to me. Dislikeable companions who don't behave like normal human beings ( eg losing a baby and being fine the next week) yes it's fantasy but if they are supposed to be the 'way in' to the series for new viewers (even RTD recognised this...Rose etc) they need to be likeable, believable and not just fanciable...most of the sci-fi inclined women on my facebook page for example and on forums I go on fancy Arthur Darvill, the impression I get just because he's a male and in their favourite sci-fi programme because I can't imagine a woman finding someone so inept and whiny fanciable in real life, they would soon be kicked to the kerb (and the straight men fancy Karen Gillan) but there's rarely any MEATY discussion on their acting merits or what they bring to their characters and moreoveer how Moffat writes them...always his achilles heel...they all speak with his voice...its been his problem since Press Gang! Everyone sounds like Moffat! And the plots etc, well Terry Pratchett summed it up for me... 'breaks most of the laws of narrative', and is 'pixel thin' as plausible science fiction'.

After watching every episode of Classic Who from 'Time Warrior' Episode 1 (my earliest memory as a very small child!) to the end of 'Survival', I feel I've seen the change written about in this article and always embraced it (even belatedly if I havent liked a Doctor or companion initially) but I just can't embrace Moffat's vision at all. When you add to this dubious (and that's being kind) production decisions....the Dalek redesign, ditching the far superior earlier Silurian designs for the eventual Star Trek-lite versions, the redesign of the TARDIS interior which then has to be modified again when they realise they can't shoot from all angles because of some of the highly polished surfaces (or whatever the reason was, you lose the will to live with the bungling)...don't they have production meetings or are they all too busy congratulating each other, planning the next sycophantic press release or generally kissing Moffat's ass?

His reign to me is all about style over substance (summed up in the Lets Kill Hitler prologue, which made NO narrative sense whatsoever, even in Confidential, that was admitted but 'it looked cool', or whatever...FFS!) and the interminable River Song subplot and the general 'look' and feel of the programme and it leaves me (not just me, I've seen some of the above points discussed ad infinitum online) cold and with the impression it'll be the same next week and it usually is. The difference being when a writer out of the 'inner circle' of writers (your chibnails etc) like Richard Curtis comes in and does the Van Gogh episode, an episode that deals with mental illness (I've worked for MIND so I know that side of things) deftly and compassionately, it would have been car crash TV in Moffat's hands.

Now the usual comeback on here is, don't criticise if you can't do better...you know what I'm a writer and I CAN do better, unfortunately I haven't been as fortunate as Moffat and also nepotism (with Gattis/Chibnail etc) hasn't done me any favours either (that's not bitter...please PLEASE give me proof there ISN'T nepotism at work on Doctor Who, it really is 'who you know...be it actual Dr Who or Big Finish) I've had to work damn hard to get to the modest level I'm at now but I do know that the script I have at ITV at the moment is coherent, has a definite start, middle and (unrushed) conclusion and has something to say. That's not hubris by any means, I also know it's shortcomings which is why I've had notes to rewrite then rewrite certain parts, but when the internet community can make up better endings to story arcs and makes these AMAZING (moffat's words) plot contrvances...sorry twists....sound better than the man himself...you know you're in the wrong job Steven and give up while the emperor's new clothes still haven't been twigged by the easily pleased majority

the Best thing about Doctor Who is the scope of the Show. the Character is so great and has been played by such talented actors that you could put the doctor on a military base that is a country house or on a strange and distant space station and the show still works. With all of time and space to play with the only thing that limits the show is the writers imagination and the BBC budget

Here, here. I doff my cap.

Here, here! I doff my cap.

Go back to GallifreyBase :P

For someone who claims to be a writer, your apparent ability to write coherently is questionable. Your grammar and punctuation leaves a lot to be desired too. Perhaps this is also why you're struggling to make the big time?

Well I look forward to seeing your show on ITV then and maybe one day you'll make it big and run Doctor Who and prove to us all that you can do it better than Steven Moffat.

No sarcasm intended, you seem to be able to form a coherent arguement and are in a position to perhaps in future force yourself onto their radar via future TV accomplishments. Give beating the system a go. Create something so wildly popular that you can throw your hat in the ring for the job when it next comes up.

Please can someone start editing these Doctor Who pieces properly please?

Yet another potentially interesting Who article with rambling convoluted sentences housed in huge paragraphs. Things are referred to but the salient points are missing, so for anyone who hasn't seen every single Who episode it's hard to follow.

Why was the Deadly Assassin so controversial?
Why was the Holmes era darker? What were the differences?
What's Ghostlight?

Also the opening accusatory section seems to ignore that the presentation style of early TV shows was mainly due to the fact that if you put one of the cameras they used back then on your shoulder you'd wind up as a greasy patch on the floor.

This: "After that eras take approaches" is just ugly syntax...

"Visuals do not reflect the..." - I've seen articles on this site shorter than that single sentence...

Andrew, please read James Peaty's Cat Woman article from earlier this week and compare and contrast the styles in terms of sentence structure, paragraph length and the ability to engage readers who aren't 100% familiar with the subject.

I'm a casual Who fan. I love the new shows, I watched the Davidson era avidly as a young boy, and I've seen a few others here and there from further back. I have, I'd imagine, an average knowledge of Who, but feel left out of articles like this.

I feel they should be encouraging me towards Who rather leaving me feeling baffled and excluded from a private chat.

You know your Who, that's clear, but DoG is doing you a disservice by not helping you to communicate this properly.

I'd take Moffat over RTD's endless melodrama and sweetness any day of the week. By the end RTD's Who was dreadful. The *endless* final scenes of DT almost put me into a diabetic coma. Let's not even mention the endless parade of comeback cameos which seemed to be employed weekly at one stage.

Moffat at least is witty, smart and fun which make his poignant moments all the more powerful for their scarcity, he looks for new stories to tell.

So, let me get this straight. You're a writer, and you feel that Russell T Davies can write a stronger sci-fi story than Moffat. Well, there goes all your credibility right there, buddy!! There has never been another writer in the history of Doctor Who with poorer story resolution than RTD...yes, he may be pretty good at writing character pieces, but get some perspective, David. Good writing is also about plot and resolution. Oh, and Lauren was absolutely right, your writing is not very coherent.......
You can write better than Moffat, eh? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, oh thanks for the laugh!!!!! You just made my day!!

The article should have been entitled 'Attack Of The Trolls' a bridgehead against the negative criticism that will eventuate once the new series swings around. As someone who won't be watching the new series - I have little faith the production is going to shift gears wholesale to deal with last year's criticism, even if Moff's has a substantially lesser workload this time around (which should help immeasurably). It would be nice if criticism wasn't reduced this time around to RTD Good/Moff Bad, or visa versa. The one thing that we can agree on, when Doctor Who is good, it's intelligent, creative and enjoyable. Surely fan service can be just as vivid and engaging.

David, I suggest that bringing in your amateur status as a tv writer - a script in development doesn't infer professional status as far as I'm aware - it does little to either promote your argument or indeed ingratiate you to fellow respondents. I think your criticism was well argued and I am sympathetic to your viewpoints (I've articulated similiar ideas myself previously), but I imagine those unsympathetic to them just read 'I know better'.

BTW I love the new like/dislike functionality. It's a nice way show disapproval without the necessity to post so.

Potential to be a good article, the writer sees him self as a 11th rate charlie brooker.......leave it to charles and try and get to the point a bit more.

Dr Flu was perfect during doctors 1 to 4, got kinda lost and now is back on track with Mr smith. the writing has reached brilliant highs.

For all your RTD lovers i have one thing to say....."fat monsters".....nuff said.

For me it's not simply been problem with the story lines/arcs etc. It's been about how the actors have actually been directed, and how the footage gets edited together. I think the direction on most episodes of series 5&6 have been mediocre at best and lacking in creativity.
Gone are the days when I thrilled at the reveal of Big Wolf-I genuinely didn't see that coming, do you remember that?. I wasn't force feed-I didn't look at internet speculation.
Far too many directors have telegraphed twists/shocks way in advance, with little imagination and with a knowing wink or a pantomime slap of the thigh. Doctor Who doesn't give me that thrill any more. It saddens me to write this. The mystery and magic seems desperately forced, where supposedly 'complex' arcs are explained away by actors having to get through far too much exposition and dialogue, at the expense of allowing the camera to tell the story. When I say I'm a fan of Doctor Who I am. But I don't blindly like it just because it's Who, critically some tenures are better than others, as are each and every episode. I wonder what others would classify as an excellent episode-one you would show to someone who had never seen it. I would venture it would be one of those episodes that works outside of the series story arc, and works as a standalone episode in its own right-it doesn't rely on you having to see the previous episode or wait for the one after. Imagine a compilation DVD (starting with a couple of episodes from the William Hartnell era up to Matt Smith) which episodes would you show? For all the discussions about Rory and Amy which of the recent episodes are actually well written, well acted and well directed?

Well said, fellow NewWho

The only major change that has annoyed me has been the way the TARDIS console has turned into a complete joke. The new series consoles are infantile and ridiculous. I don't mind if they want to go for "steampunk" but let's at least make it believable and not have it look like something someone knocked together from the scrap in their garden shed.

The Internet and search engines are great for answering questions. Sure, it's not served to you with no effort on your part. But, then, it can't all be for the "Me" generation. Sometimes the articles are written for people that aren't necessarily you. Ha! ;)

As we all know, the greatest writers always start out as wildly bitching about a professional writer publicly on a pop culture message board, with little more than personal opinion to validate their points. Common practice, right? ;) LOL

Great article, BTW. Certainly illuminated by the standard 'Wah-Wah-Me' responses here. Look forward to more Who articles. :)

I mostly agree with your points: I now see DW as glossy on the outside, empty in the inside soap with inconsistent empty gimmicky characters. Another big regret I have is we don't travel anymore, it's claustrophobic, we go from empty glossy room to empty glossy room, we barely meet anyone, and when we do, we rarely have a well developped people but a collection of gimmicks. No character seems to have a mind of its own anymore, no more challenging discussion with another species or a villain capable of giving us a unique different perpective, even the biggest villains like the Silence or Kovarian are empty shells with no motive other than being the bad guy.

It did pain me a lot during last series because I still deeply cared about the show. Now, I just accepted it's just not gonna improve until we have a new head writer. Which is ok, I'll wait, hoping for a deeper showrunner next time.

At least, next year - after having to wait half a season before the Pond finally go for good (it'll just be the third time they say their goodbyes, but nonetheless, let's be optimistic) - we'll have a new companion, which should make it a little bit fresher.

You can't understand why women might find a nice guy attractive, should they be fancying the big strong bullies who do the 'kicking to the curb' instead then?

I have the theory that whatever the crap 'scrap' looks like, it actually does something else. It's all just a projection of the TARDIS's inner workings - an interface.

Very well said.

That's what I preferred about the RTD era. If you turned up on a space-base with a crew of five or six or seven, you knew them all, you identified with them all and you understood their motivations. Then most of them died, but still. In Moffat's stories, I find myself completely detached from the peripheral characters episode to episode. The only example I can find of good supporting characters is in the Rebel Flesh two-parter, which got quite unfairly slated. I like Moffat's run, but I can't quite understand how some people hold it up so much higher the RTD's, which admittedly lost its way towards the end (with the exception of the bloody fantastic Waters of Mars!). I hope that the next head writer can combine the character and emotion of RTD with the twistiness of Moffat. Although, maybe a bit less twistiness and more accessibility. Intrigue, rather than twistiness, perhaps?

Moffat is clearly a great writer, and has delivered the best episodes in series 1-4, however after taking over I believe he has not created one classic, his first story arc finished with the bizarre pandorica opens, the best prison in the world unless you happen to have a sonic screwdriver
 ( although when made by random enemies such as the hoix and the wevils it was always bound to fail), the story offered so much and presented so very little, then the next series began well ending the silence story arc- but still Moffat felt the need to add parts that were needlessly  overcomplicated, and this was ended with a story arc I will never understand, ever, of this great army who needed the baby of Amy to fight the doctor- so why bother having any troops, in the end anyone could have done the job in the spacesuit- but fair enough it was ok and interested me- until the series finale- where Churchill was queen and all of time was on earth and buses were carried by balloons- like they were back in the day, this made no sense and was very confusing and ended with what I thought was a cop out using the teaselactor suit, and in between these episodes you had Amy and Rory who I have never connected with or understood, like someone said they have no human emotion- and I liked the family interaction because it made you stop and think, while rose us off with the doctor her family is waiting, it's just weird topped off with the ' love 'stories that seem to be popping up more frequently, the idea that think of your love ones and the baddy will go away, overall personally I do not get some of the stuff Moffat is doing, in the end whilst us adults love it- it needs to connect with children- and my children are turning off because they do not get the stories, too much relies on previous episodes and ideas, and personally say what you will about RTD he delivered consistently, 

Just so. ARe there any editors on these sites?

I find it amazing how the Moffat/RTD polarises fans... Was a huge DW fan from a kid and have to say was kind of embarrassed to watch the RTD revamp. Generally cheesy, badly written, cringe-worthy. It wasn't till I caught the odd episode which really worked that I re-watched them and found them watchable. Compared to Moffatt which even with are big, cinematic and really well-written - its all opinion, each to their own but I'm astounded that some of the below will not watch because they believe the show is now terrible. I guess just as astounded that the RTD crowd will be me!

Was there this much turmoil in the 70's/80's? Did Pertwee fans hate Baker? Hinchcliffe hate Letts? Etc. I vaguely remember a lot of Nathan-Turner bashing but too young to really get a clear view on it.

Doctor Who is full of change? Who knew? What, exactly, was the budget for Terror of the Autons? Somehow I don't think Survival could be classed as a "play structure", aside from the youth club scenes its very much a location-based story. By 1989 Doctor Who was attempting to be more filmic. That said, I recall the critics at the time describing it as "a third-rate amatuer dramatic group allowed to produce a video of their day out in a quarry, and then show it on prime-time BBC1..."

Agree we NEED to travel more. Surely that was the show's USP in the first place. Get away from Earth - except from a historical point of view. There is a whole Universe to explore!! The show is navel-gazing far too much. Less about the protagonists, more about the destinations and plot! Red Dwarf made the same mistake. From around season 3 onwards there were far too many episodes where plot was replaced by variations on the theme of the characters personalities. A world based on the personalities of the crew etc...

"...the show is now made for a wider audience" ??? qualified as a "Saturday Night audience...". Sorry? Err, wasn't this (largely) always the case? Sure, the McCoy years was largely watch by "the fans" but that had as much to do with scheduling - opposite Corrie - as the general decline of the show's ability to reach its intended family audience.

"There's no point in getting annoyed about it, because the show changes every week, and there's so much of it to choose from" absolutely right! Nice article and the 2000AD/dragons eye point made me laugh too!

Thank you. I am unfamiliar with "Ghostlight", but skipped over the reference, assuming I was just ignorant, or not enough of a "geek"! It should be remembered that in 1963, television was less than 20 years old (excluding the brief pre-war service which was suspended for WW2). A new show called "Coronation Street" had started, and that too was in black & white and filmed in one studio, no outdoor or location work. TV was evolving, and Dr Who marked a radical departure in children's drama. I was 7, and was knocked out by the show (as was my dad, an avid sci-fi reader and film buff). Incidentally, the opening theme music, now so familiar, gave me the creeps, and still sends shivers up my spine.

Laziest name creation ever - Adipose, as in "adipose fat". Daft idea, plus I dreaded Ms Tate becoming a regular, although her acting was superb, and occasionally, as in Fires of Pompeii, deeply moving. I was a fan of RTD before Who (Casanova, Queer as Folk, etc), but comparing the farting Slitheen to Moffatt's Empty Child, or the Game Station "shows" to the nerve-jangling "Blink", shows that RTD, a fan of the classic era, had difficulty writing for the modern audience. That said, he brought Dr Who back to our screens, and for that we should laud him.

I don't agree with you at all - but just a matter of opinions I guess. However, I've never understood two things Moffat fans repeat all the time about his DW, maybe you could explain:
- "Moffat at least is ... smart" : I really don't get where this is coming from. My opinion, on the contrary, is that the show is considerably dumbed down since he tookover. Actions don't have consequences anymore, we don't learn anything, we don't discuss any ethical issue or explore different persepctives, the Doctor is incapable of explaining himself or his motives and is merely inconsistent. How is THIS smart?
- "his poignant moments [are] all the more powerful for their scarcity" : where does this come from? None of those "poignant moments" never worked with me AT ALL, they always feel akwardly shoe-horned in the scripts, there are no believable feelings at all, only actors playing sad with an attitude for a few seconds having absolutly nothing to play with in terms of scripts. I can't remember of a Moffat episode that made me feel anything but laughter - other than the christmas caroll special, thanks to Michael Gambon incredible talent.

"shows that RTD, a fan of the classic era, had difficulty writing for the modern audience ... That said, he brought Dr Who back to our screens, and for that we should laud him."
Do you realize that IF RTD really "had difficulty writing for a modern audience" as you pretend, "DW would NEVER have been brought "back to our screen"? Knowing that RTD made a world phenomena out of an obscure brit show, I gotta say your statement is pretty silly.

And I'm curious, how do you justify finding Tate's acting superb, and nonetheless be against her casting in DW: because she's not enough of an eye candy?

Last, if you don't take yourself (and the show) TOOOO seriously, I think there's a possibility to love both the hilariously cheap Slitheens and the scary Empty Child - and there are even people like me who find the ideas in the Game Station shows episode far more interesting than the gimmicky paradox shown in Blink (I liked it, it's not up to Empty Child, but has a unique style and brilliant baddies, however I still can't get over the cop out that the whole "tape resolution" is, it fails any rule of logic). RTD's merit was that the show would REALLY change in tone episode after episode, and if episodes lacked the gloss Moffat's era has, episodes had substance then.

As someone who has been watching since 1979, the answer is Yes. DW fans aren't like TREK fans or other scifi fandom. They are very insular as to what they "approve" of and very limited in their willingness to allow actual change to occur. For some reason...and there are plenty of Trekkies like this as well...Who fans feel as if they have some personal say so in the content and direction of the show. As if the show creators have some level of fan opinion to live up to. And, like with every new Doctor/era, you get those that fervently believe they have the right to judge anything new with such terms as "not Doctor Who". And yes, even and especially when Davison took over for Baker...and even when Baker took ovefor Pertwee...you ALWAYS have the emotionally stunted among us whine and bitch because it's not "their" Doctor Who. Same as you see here. You have the kids that came in 2005. It's "their" Who. And even though RTD himself had said on multiple occasions that DW changes over and over before and after him, you have those that ignore him and choose to be miserable instead, as if life has dealt them an unfair blow. Unfortunately, this symptom of fandom seems to be clinging on and on. I'm sure when Moff and Smith go, PLENTY of people will bitch and moan that it's "not as good as when MY DOCTOR/ PRODUCER was there". The only thing that can change that will be if these so-called "fans" ever grasp the genuine message of Doctor Who: Change is life. Life is good. Thus, change is good. ;)

Deigning an episode a "classic" from 2005-2011 is like giving a child actor a Lifetime Achievement award. Get some perspective.

Ease back..Dawg.

Strewth!!

QUIT GRIPING!

Yawn

I was not dreading Tate, just the version of Donna Nobel that appeared in the "Christmas Bride" - great for that one "special", but would have been wearing for a whole series, BUT she was "tweaked", given some brains and a more rounded character, and was a good (IMHO) companion.
Secondly, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed RTD's time on the show, but I have a right to dislike episodes, don't I? Just as "Spock's Brain" is barely mentioned, even in hushed tones, by Trekkers, so some episodes of DW, going right from Bill Hartnell to Matt Smith are watchable only with tongue firmly in cheek (I enjoy watching the Cushing films also).
Finally, RTD bought back DW because he was a passionate, skilled negotiator, he knew TV inside out, and was an experienced, respected Executive. His formidable writing skills were not required to convince the BBC that he could revive the show.

Off topic, anyone know anything about the Stephen Fry script that was rejected as "too expensive"? What was it about?

I was saying "very well said" to Strawbear, not Shirin, who I disagree with strongly...not sure I like this comment board....it gets a little confusing with its timelines. It seems to move stuff around.

Shirin...you're way out to lunch. RTD has written some of the most laughable garbage imaginable. Ever seen Love and Monsters??? I rest my case!!!

Griping? About....the fans or the article? I loved the article. The crybaby nerds? Not so much. ;)

LOL. Please don't internet-shoot me.... ;p

Zaphod, if you want to be taken seriously and not make all Moffat fans look like immature brainless bullies, maybe you could reply to the questions at hand instead of giving me another meaningless: "the lamest ever. In your face! LOL".

I see you've now made this personal. I was actually responding to the comment you made about you not remembering a Moffat episode that made you feel anything but laughter....clearly indicating that you can't take Moffat seriously. You also said that the show is dumbed down since he took over. Well, guess who he took over from? That's right, RTD. YOU THINK MOFFAT IS DUMBED DOWN BUT RTD ISN'T?!?!?! I was merely saying that your argument is way out to lunch, as RTD has written some of the most ridiculous and laughably sarcastic stuff since the show began back in 1963.....a couple examples:.....monsters made of human fat....I mean, come on.......and in Love and Monsters there is a reference to having oral sex with a patio stone.....seriously!!! That's just 2 off the top of my head, but you and I both know there's tons more. Now, if that's your style and you like it, then so be it: all the power to you. But, what you're telling us is that you took the show seriously when RTD was running it, and now that Moffat is running it you don't. That is the thinnest argument I've ever heard. You clearly aren't a Moffat fan, but don't go personally insulting me coz I said your argument is out to lunch. The fact is, your argument IS out to lunch....IN MY OPINION!! If you can't take a little debating among fans, then perhaps you shouldn't be here. Grow up!

Oh boy, the bully feels bullied now.

You know, when I ask someone to elaborate on something he says, myself explaining clearly why I don't understand ("Actions don't have consequences anymore, we don't learn anything, we
don't discuss any ethical issue or explore different persepctives, the
Doctor is incapable of explaining himself or his motives and is merely
inconsistent.") and all I receive as a reply is "most laughable garbage imaginable ... rest my case", it's very difficult to call it "a little debate among fans" since there is no debate at all, only me trying to debate and you irrelavantly expressing your hatred, not in the least reasoning (and no, superficial personal views on episodes is not reasoning, it's just venting your frustration, as if I said "hitler in a cupboard! duh! rest my case"). Which should rest my case too I guess, if the show is smart for people who can't seem to defend their views with mature reasonable arguments, it's probably not so smart in the end -- but since I'm still not convinced you're even representative of the people I should listen to defend and understand Moffat better, I'm still giving him the benefit of the doubt.

I was never bullying you....I was replying to a comment you made about not being able to take the show seriously!! I didn't read past that coz you discredited yourself with that statement!

Well, I'd need you to get of you ass first to kiss it. I'l just wait

Well, I'd need you to get of you ass first to kiss it. I'll just wait

Well, I'd need you to get out of you ass first to kiss it. I'll just wait

I heard he just couldn't fit writing it into his busy schedule. I don't think it could be described as expensive given it hasn't been written yet. It could be his proposal was deemed "too expensive". Neil Gaiman was forced to use the Ood to save money yet still turned in, arguably, the best episode of the last series.

How such a fun and whimsical show can produce this many miserable fans is both beyond me and beyond the scope of this article.

Thanks, Kirk, that makes sense. I was wondering why it has not re-surfaced, as what was "too expensive" in 2006 would be affordable now the show is established and successful! Mr. Fry is a busy man! Very time consuming, being a national treasure! Hope we see it in some form, sometime. Stephen is a genius, and a great writer!

Read More About:

Sponsored Links