Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Sunday, November 20, 2022
Monday, November 14, 2022
Spoilers follow (but it’s been a few weeks now).And so the Jodie Whitaker/Chris Chibnall era ends much as it began, with a story that seems to have sharply divided its viewers. On the whole, I am with those in favour—there was enough in here to make me smile, and it was at least better than the atrocious ‘Legend of the Sea Devils’.
A number of the flaws that have blighted the Chibnall era, and indeed, all of New Who, are still present. Everything is at a frenetic pace, except for those moments where you actually want them to get on with it (why are regenerations so drawn out these days?), and the music overpowers every scene. But at least the ninety minutes means that the story has enough time to breathe, and the pacing seemed right, unlike in the previous special, where the story didn’t seem to have got out of the first act before running out of time.
I have to say I am now a bit bored with Sacha Dhawan’s Master. He certainly throws himself into the role, but it’s rather one note eeeeeevil here. Again, this is a general problem with New Who, where the Master has often been pointlessly sadistic; Roger Delgado’s Master was certainly nasty and ruthless, but never pointlessly so.
What I really liked, and what I can understand some people will have hated, are the fan-service moments. It was great to see Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy, all back, and particularly great to see Paul McGann, whose Doctor we never saw enough of. Also, good to see Jo Martin. And the penultimate scene, in which many of the Doctor’s past companions gather, including William Russell’s Ian Chesterton, brought a tear to my eye. I was even happy to see Bonnie Langford.
Then there’s the regeneration itself, and the since well-publicised return of David Tennant. This is not too much of a surprise. We knew Tennant was coming back for the 60th anniversary, and it’s as good a way of bringing him in as any; the 50th anniversary special had established that the Doctor can revisit old faces. If the whole Ncuti Gatwa thing had turned out to be a bit of Russell T. Davies misdirection (not entirely beyond him) I would have been annoyed, but it is obvious that Tennant is only back for the specials, and will then move on again. And if this means that RTD will finally do right by Donna Noble, then I’m for it. It’s just a pity we now have to wait for a year (hopefully we’ll get Gatwa quite early in 2024).
So, farewell Jodie Whitaker. Like Peter Capaldi, it felt like we never got to properly know her Doctor before she was gone. But I’m glad she was there.