Eight Cheap Tricks For Doctor Who Season 4.5 (and beyond)

Wherein Martin helps out Russell T. Davies with a few extra-cheap plot-hacks for his remaining time on Doctor Who...

You can get rid of that for a start...

Much as Journey’s End was a veritable stage-call of the characters, inventions and revivals of his four series of new Who, Russell T. Davies has yet to make his swansong, and must still negotiate season 4.5, wherein the Doctor will, in 2009, appear in three special episodes.

Mr. Davis has taken more-than-full advantage of a Who producer’s right to add to the canon and lore of the Gallifrean’s world, what with the disappearing bees, the thing on Donna’s back that (for all we know) may still be there, the ‘threefold Doctor’, the ‘ending song’, giving the Doc a daughter and also investing him with the power to grow back limbs, cancel regenerations, read thoughts and wipe other people’s memories. Phew! He must be exhausted, as RTD surely is after all that furious (and apparently spontaneous) invention, and I fear that Mr. Davis’s ability to generate new McGuffins and narrative fire-escapes may be utterly worn out by his efforts on series 4.

Therefore I humbly submit, free of charge*, these suggestions for the interim series, should Russell ‘never think ahead’ Davies find that he has buried himself yet again…

8: The Kranatruscian Ether MandateWherein a Time Lord may once – and once only – invoke the inalienable right to return/time-travel to Gallifrey, even if it has been destroyed in a war, to seek counsel and reinvent some old Doctor Who standards.

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7: The Tralkan ClauseWherein a Time-Lord may re-invoke the The Kranatruscian Ether Mandate if the ratings were good the first time round.

6: Dalek DNAWherein the unwashed weapon of the Dalek who struck the Doctor down in The Stolen Earth turns out to have transmitted some stray Dalek DNA into our hero. Finding himself perusing plungers in Sainsburys, the Doctor realises that he must split off the Skaran part of himself into a new creature or be forever voiced by Nick Briggs. Once the little critter is loose, our Gallifrean hero hasn’t the heart to kill it (again), and off it trundles to a new era of glory, generating Dalek Race 3.0 from a small industrial estate in Cardiff.

5: The Flying DoctorSuspended over the lava-cascades of Pontraxus IV on an oiled rope, the Doctor suddenly remembers that the long-forgotten ability to levitate lies deep within Gallifrean racial memory, and uses the Sonic Screwdriver to re-activate the ‘flying’ genes. Viewers under 8 years old leap for joy as the Doc floats to safety, while Steven Moffat buries his head in his hands.

4: Gallifrean mathematicsIn which RTD gallantly sets up a get-out clause for the post-Moffat era: turns out that counting to 12 is a very different experience on Gallifrey, and involves adding the power of the previous number to the next, signifying that the number of regenerations is actually limited to 345,768, 899,096, and all of Equity has a shot at the role – for as the long as the ratings hold.

3: Amok DoctorAddressing the long-established ‘neuter’ aspect of the Doctor: having stolen some of the ‘mind meld’ powers from Mr. Spock and some of the memory-erasing powers from Superman 2 (both in series 4), RTD goes the whole hog and ‘transposes’ Spock’s plight from the TOS episode Amok Time, wherein the Vulcan is biologically constrained to mate and abandons his customarily distant demeanour. Thus our time-travelling hero returns to the various periods that he has occupied since 1963 and shags senseless all those assistants he didn’t seem interested in at the time, and the focus groups approve, as sex is always ‘rateable’. Adric hides in the cupboard till Steven Moffat takes over.

2: Peripheral Aliens and the ‘Dark Event’Wherein a benevolent race of aliens attempt to warn the Doctor and his new assistant about some unspoken menace ahead – trouble is they have faint voices and are only visible in peripheral vision. Sales of widescreen TVs go up as this motif hallmarks two or three series of Doctor Who. The thread-count on the matter ascends into the hundreds of thousands at the best-known Who forums, as the barely-seen doom-sayers keep poking their nose into both the ‘light’ and ‘serious’ episodes. The ‘dark event’ turns out to be some utter old end-of-season tosh involving the Daleks/Cybermen/Sontarans, during which someone the Doctor likes dies and whom – after the deafening violins have wrung our soapy hearts into our Kleenex – he brings back to life with…

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1: The Assistant ConfluenceTurns out all those past Doctor Who assistants are psychically connected with the Doctor through their association with him, and can gather together if he wishes really really hard, to pool their life-energy and bring whoever mustn’t die this week back to life, complete with ‘E.T.’ glowing heart’ effect.

*Not true

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