Joeblade

The Tenth Doctor

A little over a year ago, I wrote about the return of Doctor Who to our screens, and I was fairly dismissive not just of the new series, with Christopher Ecclestone as the Doctor, but the entire franchise. With the dodgy acting, poor production values and general air of tackiness, I could not understand its appeal. Despite this, for reasons unknown to me, I kept watching.

The first few episodes I had felt were juvenile and unimpressive, but I had soldiered on, both because I’m a compulsive downloader and because I like to be kept in the loop. I think the moment it all hit me was during episode six — Dalek. Watching Ecclestone ranting and raving at — let’s be fair — one of the most ridiculous enemies ever conceived, and yet managing to be convincing, well, it was all fairly chilling. Clearly, a show that could make me feel any sort of emotion besides derision towards a Dalek was worthy of paying attention to.

And it wasn’t a one-off; Dalek was followed by the enjoyable The Long Game. Then there was the nicely skiffy Father’s Day, and the utterly chilling two-parter the Empty Child and The Doctor Dances. That’s five episodes in a row that had me completely hooked — the writing, the acting, the direction, I couldn’t really fault them.

There followed a slight dip with Boom Town and a return to the ‘hilarious’ fart jokes, and that was followed by the ludicrious Bad Wolf which featured a more robotic than usual Anne Robinson. But even this episode was saved by the closing revelation that the Daleks were about to return en massĂ©, and the season finalĂ©, featuring the death of Ecclestone’s Doctor, was superb television. It’s all been genuinely entertaining stuff.

New teeth…that’s weird.

So now, the show has returned, this time with the ubiquitous David Tennant as the Doctor, in all his gangly glory. I don’t think he’s as good as Ecclestone was, but I think it’s because I’ve seen Tennant in so many other places acting in pretty much the same charmingly gangly way and reading lines written for him by Russell T. Davis. He turns up on screen now fighting a werewolf or an alien or a robot and I think “Hey, what the — what’s David Tennant doing there now?”

Despite this — and, honestly, Tennant isn’t bad at what he’s doing — I’m still enjoying Doctor Who and feeling a bit giddy when the theme music starts. I got excited when K-9 and Sarah Jane Smith made a recent return even though I’d never watched their original episodes. Even my dad watched the Christmas special and enjoyed it, though I’m not sure if my mum has allowed him to watch any since then.

So, I just wanted to set the record straight — I’m a fan. I’m watching it every week, and I’m enjoying it, though I do wish they’d stop shoe-horning in opportunities to say ‘Doctor Who’ in each episode.

I’m still not going to go back and watch the old ones, though. They’re still shit.

By Paul Haine, in