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“Spanning three decades, Doctor Who was one of those...”

Written on: 16/02/2007 by Tom H (110 reviews written)

Good Points
Everything. From writing, to directing, and to acting - everything in the new series is brilliant

Bad Points
There aren't any. This is British TV at its' absolute best.

General Comments
Spanning three decades, Doctor Who was one of those shows that never failed to pull viewers. With rickety sets, initially poor editing, over-acting from guest stars and low-budget special effects bordering on laughable (green painted bubble-wrap was a favourite in the mid 1970's, and if you look hard enough in the old black and white ones you can see camera shadows on walls and even badly hidden boom microphones hovering above actors), somehow, it outlived the expectations of everyone.

Funny that the first episode had to be repeated because many missed its first broadcast and were desperate to see this bizarre "human" with a time machine. And the rest is part of TV history. Seven lead actors, millions of fans, videos galore, and fan conventions spanning the globe.

So, when life-long fan and writer-producer Russell T Davies had the chance to re-invent the classic for the 21st century, I wonder if he realised just how big it would become?

Initial work established much, including the financial support of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and BBC Wales. But, who would play the universe's favourite Time Lord?

Reports say that Bill Nighy was a hot tip, but Russell T Davies approached Salford-born thespian Christopher Eccleston, star of "Cracker" and Davies' mini series "Second Coming," to play the Doctor.

And what a choice! Eccleston played the Doctor so well that he came very close to eclipsing Bill Hartnell and Tom Baker as the favourite incarnation. His comedic timing, strong acting skills, and insistence that the Doctor should be a Lancastrian, won millions of new fans, as well as bringing the already established "Whovians" out of the woodwork.

Support was provided by former pop star Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, a tough 18-year-old who gets caught up by accident in an attempted Auton/Nestene invasion. Piper's casting raised eyebrows (bearing in mind Georgia Moffat, daughter of the fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, auditioned but didn't make it) as an untrained actress, but proved her skills.

Revival of the infamous Daleks brought many more fans out, especially as it was revealed the Time Lords and Daleks had fought a bloody war (the "Time War," which becomes the longest story thread in the new version of Doctor Who) and the Doctor is the only survivor (until we find the Daleks had an escape plan ). The classic sink-plunger, combined with grating voice, brought a new legion of fans for the most-feared dustbins in the Universe.

The introduction of the former Time Agent Captain Jack Harkness (played by John Barrowman) even brought about a spin-off centering around Harkness' involvement with alien investigators Torchwood (the name being an anagram of "Doctor Who") showed Russell T Davies to be a master storyteller. The man deserves awards galore.

The series (which is cleverly written - listen out for the name "Bad Wolf" in every episode and see how it becomes pivotal in the series finale), ends in a spectacular two-part story where the Daleks launch their final attack on the Earth, which incorporates the most amazing CGI sequence ever seen on British TV.

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