Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A-Z Challenge 2012: P is for Part 2, Doctor Who!

The April 2012 A-Z Challenge is still a lot of fun - and as promised - twelve posts later we're going to wrap up the fourth post by getting to the 21st Century. We're also going to borrow a title conceit from the 1970's and while it may be a tiny bit of a cheat in this April 2012 A-Z Blogging Challenge - much like the sequels to Walking Tall and Sounder - we're putting the series placement first:

P is for Part 2, Doctor Who!

A lot of people have started watching Doctor Who since it was revived in 2005. There have been six seasons since then, with a seventh in production. But a lot of people who are watching the show don't necessarily realize the show's been around a lot longer than that so we took care of that with a lengthy part 1 - but I would never want to be accused of not finishing what I started - so here is part 2 of the LGOOH history of the show!

Part one covered these 8 Doctors:

The first post was here, should you want to go back to check it out - that link is like a little TARDIS!

The show continued to lay dormant after the one shot TV movie didn't make a huge splash in 1996. As the 21st Century dawned, it seemed that the BBC was never going to interested in reviving the series, so new avenues were explored - and the interweb was chosen as the home for a new run at a Doctor Who series with an animated adventure called Scream of the Shalka appearing on the BBC website in 2003. For this new series, Richard E. Grant was chosen to provide the voice of a new incarnation of the Doctor, tentatively called the Ninth, but only tentatively. Later he became known as the Shalka Doctor.

Richard E. Grant as the Shalka Doctor

The Shalka Doctor's Companion

Alison Cheney (Sophie Okonedo)

Grant's grasp on that Ninth Doctor status grew more tenuous as the BBC started making noises the next year that they wanted to revive the series. It was almost ten years after the Fox TV movie that the BBC commissioned a new series - under the auspices of writer/producer Russell T. Davies - and the show finally returned!

Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor

For this new series, Christopher Eccleston became the official Ninth Doctor, making Grant another non canon Doctor - ala Peter Cushing in the 60's movies, or any of the myriad stage productions over the years (and those stage productions I'm skipping because this MegaPost would make your head explode if I included all of them)

Thankfully, this was the Ninth Doctor, and not a reboot with a new First Doctor - evidenced a couple of times by quick looks at his previous incarnations that the new series has provided. I didn't know what to expect from the new show - but the first episode won me over quickly, with a quirky sense of humor, great writing that was smart and solid in its science fiction aspects - and at long last the special effects were actually good!

The Ninth Doctor's Companions

Rose Tyler (Billie Piper)
Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)

After one new series, the ever eclectic Eccleston moved on from the role, and turned the reins over to David Tennant, a young actor who had grown up with the show and who'd stated several times in interviews that his dream acting role was to play The Doctor.

David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor

Tennant quickly proved very popular, even periodically ousting Tom Baker from the #1 spot in "Who's Your Favorite Doctor?" polls in England across the years. It took me a couple of episodes to get used to his way of playing our favorite Time Lord - but he really grew on me and he's one of my very favorites too.

There was a special episode called School Reunion that brought back Sarah Jane Smith - and it was magical to see Elisabeth Sladen in the role again. Viewers thought so too, and this episode was a smashing success!

During Tennant's run two series were spun off from the show - Torchwood, with Captain Jack Harkness in his own Earthbound adventures with aliens geared more to the grown-ups; and -YES!- The Sarah Jane Adventures, which let Sarah Jane Smith and her adopted son and his friends defend Earth against aliens in a series pointed more at the younger viewers.


The Sarah Jane Adventures

The Tenth Doctor's Companions

Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) - inherited from the Ninth Doctor.

Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman)

Donna Noble (Catherine Tate)

And these guys are generally considered companions - though their time in the TARDIS with the Tenth Doctor is shorter than the regular sidekicks - dropping in and out as the storyline changes:

Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke)

Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)

Astrid Peth (Kylie Minogue)

And even our good ol' Sarah Jane was back briefly, crossing over from her own series, and welcoming David Tennant when he crossed over to hers - with Elisabeth Sladen as wonderful as ever:

And because there's nowhere else to put it - after appearing with the Doctors 1-5 and 7 onscreen, and with the 6th and 8th in audio adventures, Nicholas Courtney made one last appearance in the universe of Doctor Who when he appeared as the Brigadier on The Sarah Jane Adventures.

David Tennant stayed on for a while - he did 3 regular series of episodes and a year of 4 "specials" that wrapped up his time in the TARDIS.

After Donna Noble's time in the TARDIS came to a close - for those 4 specials that came next - the Tenth Doctor travelled alone for a while - but would temporarily team up with a one-shot companion for each of the adventures.

The Doctor (David Morrissey) - The Next Doctor
(You'll have to watch to see what that means)

Lady Christina de Souza (Michelle Ryan)
- Planet of the Dead

Adelaide Brooke (Lyndsey Duncan) - The Waters of Mars

Wilfrid Mott (Bernard Cribbins) - The End of Time
And if Mr. Cribbins looks a little familiar - like waaaay back to the first post of this two parter - it's because he was also a companion to Peter Cushing way back in the second Doctor Who movie in the 1960's!

Also, the Doctor Who show does a lot with the Children in Need charity each year, usually producing a brief few minutes long segment that fits in between seasons - nothing shattering or game changing, but fun to watch, especially to see how each dovetails in. Well, for the 2007 Children in Need special, it was decided to bring in a familiar face:

Peter Davison and David Tennant
Yes, Peter Davison returned for a brief appearance as the Fifth Doctor in a special bit called Timecrash. It is a wonderful tribute to the classic series, and makes me wish they could have done more.

And here's a wonderful bit of trivia:

This actress - Georgia Moffett - appeared in an episode called The Doctor's Daughter - playing - after a fashion in science fiction terms - The Tenth Doctor's daughter. Well, she and David Tennant hit it off while working together. I mean really hit it off. As in now-married-with-a-child hit it off!

And here's the kicker - Georgia Moffett? She really is a Doctor's daughter!

She is the daughter of Fifth Doctor Peter Davison!

Now, when you start thinking about the Tenth Doctor and the Fifth Doctor's daughter having the Fifth Doctor's grandchild - your head might explode like mine did!

Producers Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner chose to leave the show at the same time that Tennant did, though the show's new popularity meant it would definitely go on.

Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor

With popular series writer Steven Moffatt the new showrunner, Matt Smith debuted as the Eleventh Doctor. Smith is now the youngest actor to be cast in the role - just 26 years old when he stepped into the TARDIS. The show has been slightly reinvented again - with a new credit sequence, and in America - a new precredits sequence that sets up the show from companion Amy Pond's point of view - in the hopes of drawing in new viewers. I wondered more than once across Smith's first series just what Moffatt was doing - but the writing proved brilliant, and the two series with Smith have been extraordinary - laying in groundwork and arcing plots and characters across each series before coming together in a fantastic season ender each time. Matt Smith has also proven himself a worthy successor to all the actors who came before him - bringing a delightful quirkiness to the role that doesn't ape anyone else, but seems to reflect bits of the other incarnations here and there.

The Eleventh Doctor's Companions

Amelia "Amy" Pond (Karen Gillan)

Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill)
River Song (Alex Kingston)

Matt Smith also made an appearance on The Sarah Jane Adventures - and another pal from back in the day was there as well - Third Doctor companion Jo Grant (Katy Manning)!

Sarah Jane Smith, The Eleventh Doctor, and Jo Grant!

I was greatly saddened when not long after this episode - both Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier) and Elisbeth Sladen (Sarah Jane) passed away. They were both wonderful performers who were always spot on each time they came back for a new appearance; no matter how much time had passed in the interval. I miss them both greatly and hope they're both enjoying a brilliant afterlife somewhere.

As for Doctor Who, now up to the seventh new series - they are numbered now from the reboot in 2005 to make things less confusing even though the show is a continuation - as referring to the upcoming episodes as the 33rd season might scare off new viewers fearful of too much series baggage - is set to debut this fall. I don't know how much longer Matt Smith will continue in the role - but I hope it's for as long as he's having fun with it.

And however long that is - or who might take over the role next - I'll be there watching!

I hope you found this post fun - and that it will be your "Q" to come back for the next post - until then, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Excellent job. The two Doctor Who posts have been my favorites so far.

    1. Well, certainly the terrain this blog has covered that you're most familiar with...

  2. I'm just getting into the series now after a friend recommended it to me. This is an awesome chronicle of all the characters. It's sort of like a field guide haha.

    1. Ha! Never thought of it that way - but yeah - a field guide is an excellent way to describe these posts! Thanks!

  3. Yep. I need to add this series to my Netflix queue.

  4. I totally love the new Doctor Who series. Too bad it's being cancelled in favor of the movie. I'd never heard of the Shalka Doctor. Pretty cool.
    - Maurice Mitchell
    The Geek Twins | Film Sketchr
    @thegeektwins | @mauricem1972

    1. I hadn't heard any cancellation rumors - seems a bad idea to me.

  5. Okay that was a lot of information on the Doctor... and I have to say my Tardis is full... oh... Billie Piper...oh...

    Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
    A to Z Co-Host
    My New Book:
    Retro-Zombie: Art and Words

    1. I might actually be wordy enough to fill a TARDIS - it's true! But thanks for coming by!