Doctor Who

2005 | United Kingdom

It’s hard to deny that Doctor Who has been one of the 21st Century’s televisual success stories. Since 2005, the BBC Wales production team has run six full thirteen-episode series, with a seventh in production, a host of specials and numerous ‘extras’ from animated serials to humorous short skits for charity. Ratings for episodes frequently appear in the TV top tens and the series has become a major part of the BBC’s Christmas Day schedule. Doctor Who has spawned four official spin-off series - Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Doctor Who Confidential and Totally Doctor Who - and one unofficial spin-off, the Australian K9 children’s drama. The Doctor, his friends and foes now appear nationwide as toys, in magazines, on greetings cards and clothing, and the Doctor’s choice of wardrobe now has a measurable effect on British men’s fashion. A succession of exhibitions have appeared across the country, while a live arena tour and a Punchdrunk theatrical production thrill adults and children alike. Not bad for a series that appeared to have lived and died before the end of the 20th Century.

Doctor Who was a success for the BBC throughout the 60s, 70s and early 80s, but by 1989 it’s viewing figures had plummeted, its place in a modern TV schedule was in question and its cancellation inevitable. In spite of a widely watched 1996 TV movie special and a thriving fan culture that kept the franchise alive across various media, Doctor Who on television seemed extinct. Then, in 2003, the astonishing announcement came from the BBC: Doctor Who was coming back. Back to TV where it belonged, and it was to be overseen by one of television’s most respected writers, Russell T. Davies. TV experts wondered if such an old-fashioned show could be successfully updated. Comedians and tabloid columnists mocked the original’s wobbly sets and rubbish monsters. Fans of the classic show read of developments with bated breath. News trickled out, shocking those who were expecting something like the show they so fondly remembered. Forty-five minute episodes! Short, one-episode stories, instead of serials shown over weeks! Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor - in a leather jacket! Pop star Billie Piper as his companion! Rights had been denied, and the Daleks wouldn’t be in it! What would this new series be like?

We needn’t have worried. In 1989, Doctor Who fell. In 2005, Doctor Who - Rose.

Christopher Eccleston

All those concerns evaporated. To survive and succeed in modern television, Doctor Who had to adapt and evolve, just as it always had done. The 25-minute episode format appeared archaic back in 1989; punchy, 45-minute episodes were the way to go, and Rose was a breathless, exciting, funny adventure. Christopher Eccleston, an actor known for his stark, severe style of acting and for serious roles, brought an intensity to the Doctor that we never realised the character needed, yet allowed a rarely-seen humorous side to soften the character, making him someone we would truly love to travel with. Billie Piper silenced her naysayers, imbuing Rose Tyler with an enthusiastic lust for life, tempered by a believable, grounded personality. And we needn’t have worried about the Daleks. They’d be on their way soon enough, but for now, we had Autons, making their first onscreen appearance since 1971! Rose showed what Doctor Who could be: fast, funny and modern, breaking new ground, yet still embracing its long, rich history. And that was just the first episode.

Watch that first series back again. There’s a nervousness there; the production team don’t know if this is really going to work. This is produced by people with the utmost confidence in their project, but with the knowledge that it could still fail. Television is a capricious medium. Received wisdom, in the early 2000s, was that the family audience no longer existed, and that Saturday evenings were now an almost-unwatched hinterland. Doctor Who reclaimed a whole niche of television, proving that, yes, the kids and their whole families could sit down to watch TV together. Russell T. Davies, as executive producer and lead writer, created a truly successful update of an old property. He reinvented the mythology, ditching years of fluff and paring it down with a new, easy to grasp backstory. The Doctor is an alien, from a people called the Time Lords, who travels through time and space in a ship called the TARDIS, which, due to a malfunctioning disguise, looks like an antique telephone box. He is the last survivor of a terrible war between his people and their worst enemy, the Daleks, monsters from another world. He needs someone by his side, to keep him grounded in the human world, and to keep him from forgetting the good things in his life. Sure, more bits were added on, but at its heart, that’s what today’s Doctor Who is.

Russell T. Davies isn’t the only one who deserves credit for this series. Julie Gardner, his fellow exec. Producer, fellow episode writers Mark Gatiss, Paul Cornell, Steven Moffat and Robert Shearman, the cast and the huge crew, all deserve credit. Still, it was Davies’s vision. He retooled the style of the series, rooting it in the mundane and everyday, with frequent trips back to contemporary Britain for visits to Rose’s family and friends. This allowed a strong root for the vital audience identification figure, and also made the fantastical elements of the show seems all the more astonishing by comparison. This is perhaps best illustrated by the second episode, The End of the World. Having visited the day of the destruction of the Earth, five billion years in the future, surrounded by death and destruction and a host of bizarre alien entities, Rose and the Doctor return to Earth and go for chips - and it’s here that the vital character moment, in which the Doctor opens up about his experiences in the Time War, occurs.

Billie Piper as Rose Tyler

Not everyone was happy with the new direction, of course. Many hardcore fans disowned the new series, considering it a betrayal of the show they loved. The Doctor kissed his companion, voiced his emotions at length and talked with a northern accent, all things which some fans considered a violation of the show they loved. Others took a more pragmatic approach; the Doctor was felt to be ineffectual, relying on others to save the day, and relied on his sonic screwdriver too much, removing tension with its magic wand-like abilities. The familiar complaint from the classic series’ heyday, that the series was too scary and was unsuitable for its children-heavy audience, reared its head once again. The acknowledgment of sexuality, including homosexuality, in what was seen as a children’s show, drew criticism from many quarters. The presence of a science fiction show in a primetime slot sat poorly with many in television, who viewed such series as the province of geeky ‘cult TV’ slots. Yet these were minority views, with the viewing figures frequently hitting seven or eight million, a rarity for non-soap television drama at the time. Critics voiced their appreciation of the series, praising the writing and performances. Children adored the adventure and the scares, with girls finding Rose to be a strong, positive role model - a young woman who wasn’t rich or posh, but was still intelligent, capable and strong.

Things couldn’t stay the same forever. Doctor Who is, and always was, a series that thrived on change. It’s fascinating to see how the series has developed over the years, sometimes in predictable ways, sometimes not. Most obviously, the Doctor has changed. Eccleston decided, for reasons still unclear, to do only a single series, bowing out after his thirteenth episode. Fortunately, Doctor Who came with a built-in get-out clause. In the closing moments of The Parting of the Ways, having saved Rose from the damage she had done to herself ridding the Earth of the Daleks, the Doctor regenerates. Like Eccleston, David Tennant had previously worked with Davies; Eccleston starred as Stephen Baxter in the Church-baiting drama The Second Coming, while Tennant had played the eponymous Casanova for the BBC, both of which had been penned by Davies.

David Tennant

Tennant’s tenure as the Doctor propelled the series even further in its popularity. His Mockney Cockney wideboy interpretation of the role charmed audiences and made him into a TV heartthrob. Some found the verbal barrage of this Doctor annoying, but his enormous popularity with fans is undeniable. By this stage, a fully-fledge fanbase had grown up around the new version of Doctor Who, and their love of Tennant’s Doctor was undeniable. Tennant, as much a fan of the classic series as Davies, was living a childhood dream by playing the Doctor, and it shows. His is a sillier, more over-the-top Doctor, but he still had the darker, damaged side of his predecessor; it wasn’t gone, just hidden.

Doctor Who is not just about the Doctor, however. It never has been, although the Time Lord came to dominate a series that had, in its formative years, centered around the bewildered humans who were whisked off in the TARDIS. Rose brought the focus back onto the companions. The first two years of the series were viewed primarily through Rose’s viewpoint, a canny decision on the part of Davies and his team. We met the Doctor as Rose did, with that first, perfect line - “Run!” - capturing so much of what was to come in a single word. We learned to love the new Doctor through Rose, and that love was reflected back onto her. We cared about this forthright young woman, discovering so much with her new friend. When the first series culminated in the Doctor’s regeneration, Rose was left at sea, feeling abandoned by her Doctor. His replacement slept through much of the show’s first Christmas special, The Christmas Invasion, leaving Rose to defend the Earth, until he stormed in at the last to save the day. Rose wasn’t the first companion to be strong, interesting and capable, far from it, but Doctor Who on television had rarely been so much about the character so often regarded merely as an assistant.

As we got to know the new Doctor through Rose, the two became ever more involved. They were thick with each other, having the time of their lives, and this was perhaps a mistake. The pair of them could be insufferable at times; there’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness. The Rose of the second series is less likeable than that of the first, bitching with the Doctor’s old friend Sarah Jane and treating her one-off boyfriend Mickey like a doormat. Nonetheless, this was all vital character development; not only did Noel Clarke’s “Mickey the Idiot” develop from an ineffectual wimp to a courageous fan-favourite, but Rose’s ever stronger bond with the Doctor left them both set up for a fall. When they were finally split up, separated by the boundaries of reality, only the coldest heart failed to be moved. After two years of Rose Tyler and her periphery of friends and family, Doctor Who stepped back to a parade of companions. The third and fourth series each had a regular female companion for the run, who would then drop in and out for the remainder of Davies’s reign as showrunner. This element of the series, with the Doctor having returning friends rather than a strict parade of companions, began in the first series, not only with Mickey and Rose’s mother Jackie, both of whom would appear in the show’s frequent visits to contemporary Earth before eventually finding themselves on the TARDIS, but also with Rose’s short-lived flames. The wet Adam (Bruno Langley) existed purely to contrast with Rose and show how much more suitable she was as companion material, but the flamboyant Captain Jack Harkness, played by the even more flamboyant actor-presenter-singer John Barrowman, was a greater success, returning for both the final adventures of series three and four and heading up four series (so far) of his own adult-oriented spin-off, Torchwood

David Tennant, John Barrowman and Freema Agyeman

Freema Agyeman had a tough act to follow, coming in as Billie Piper’s replacement. Martha Jones was, on the face of it, more suitable as an adventurer, a highly intelligent, capable doctor-in-training. Audiences failed to take to her in the same way as they had to Rose, although she certainly has her fans (the author of this article among them). Some of this was down to the vague similarities between the characters; they both fell in love with the Doctor, both have difficult mothers, both represent modern London young adults. More pertinently, Martha was deliberately written as living in the shadow of Rose, and this stopped her character from truly taking off until she was written out of the show, leaving at the end of the third series to live her own life. Nonetheless, she made several return appearances, both in Doctor Who and it's spin-off, Torchwood

Catherine Tate as Donna Noble

Catherine Tate’s turn as Donna Noble is perhaps the series’ most surprising success. Her sudden appearance at the end of series two’s closer, Doomsday, mere moments after the Doctor bid a “final” goodbye to Rose, was certainly a surprise. Many believed her role in the Christmas episode The Runaway Bride to be nothing more than a case of stunt casting (they should have held fire - Kylie Minogue was in the next one). Tate remains best known for her comedy work, and was ubiquitous on British television at the time. However, reluctant adventurer Donna proved to be a hit, so much so that the intended one-off companion was brought back to be the regular audience identification figure for series four. Donna is probably the most normal, down-to-earth, realistic character to have travelled in the TARDIS, and Catherine Tate’s ability to switch between perfect comic timing and devastating emotional displays proved her to be a fine choice for a series lead.

For a series that had taken such pains to avoid referencing old mythology and trivia , Doctor Who was, by its fourth year, developing a great deal of its own baggage. The fourth series ended in a two-part extravaganza which reunited almost all the companions who had appeared in it since the show returned to the screens, bringing in characters from the spin-offs and exploring the hinted at mythos of the Time War in more depth than ever before. Russell T. Davies’s approach to the series can be described as “kitchen sink,” in two different ways: not only as in the classic “kitchen sink drama” style of mundane life, but also as in “Everything but the - !” in his approach to barnstorming, budget-busting series finales. They certainly drew in the viewers, but by the fourth series finale, the series was becoming self-indulgent. The attacks by some fans, likening Journey’s End to overblown fanfic, is harsh, but it’s easy to see their point. Davies goes right over the top with Davros, Daleks, duplicate Doctors, companions left, right and centre, endless continuity references and a sudden surge of technobabble. He even brings back Rose, reinvented as a gun-wielding avenger from beyond time, and totally negates the wonderful ending he gave the character.

Following the fourth series, Doctor Who took a well-deserved break. Again, this led to attacks from fans and journalists, assuming it was a method of quietly cancelling the series, or accusing it of pandering to the commitments of its stars (David Tennant was appearing in a high-profile run of Hamlet during this time). In reality, the production team had been working flat-out for four years, and something was going to give sooner or later. A fresh approach would be needed, and the so-called gap year allowed the show breathing space. The current team could begin wrapping up their era, while the new crew could prepare for theirs. 2009 featured only four episodes of Doctor Who (technically three - the fourth aired on 1 January 2010), plus a short animated serial… not to mention the spin-offs. However, fans still felt short-changed by four feature length TV specials. The two-part finale, The End of Time, acted as both Christmas and New Year specials, managing to resurrect the Time Lords from their apparent end in the Time War. Though the episode focused on Bernard Cribbens’s loveable character Wilf, Donna’s grandfather, it too brought back a plethora of familiar faces. It managed this rather better than the aforementioned Journey’s End, however, with Davies, never shy of yanking at the audience’s heartstrings, carefully calculating the method for maximum tears.

After three years, with two full series and a run of specials under his belt, Tennant, now one of the most bankable actors in Britain, left the role, his seemingly indestructible Doctor dying from a dose of deadly radiation. He explosively regenerated into Matt Smith, the current incumbent of the role. The departure of Tennant acted as a chance to wipe the board, with Davies and his co-execs leaving the show. Steven Moffat, author of some of the most popular episodes of the show, took over as chief writer and executive producer. His interpretation of the Doctor is perhaps more mythic in its approach; although Doctor-worship had reached delirious levels by the end of Tennant’s time, Moffat’s version of the Doctor is truly as a force of nature, a powerful element of the universe. Yet Matt Smith, the youngest ever actor to take on the role, plays the Doctor as a stumbling galoot, klutzing his way around the universe. Some dislike his silly, comical take on the role, but they are perhaps missing the point: this strange young man in a wonky bowtie is merely a front for an ancient, increasingly powerful alien being who simply wants to travel around and see the universe. In his quiet moments, Smith’s Doctor belies an age beyond the actor’s years. 

Matt Smith

While we’re on the subject of the bowtie, it’s perhaps the perfect example of how the presentation of the Doctor has shifted since the series returned. Eccleston’s Doctor was very deliberately not posh, not flamboyant, and not in fancy dress. He wore a battered leather jacket, dark jeans and big boots; sensible, durable wear for a traveller. Tennant’s Doctor was permitted to don more stylish, less everyday clothing; a thin, pinstriped suit, with either shirt-and-tie or shirt-and-T-shirt, with plimsolls and a tan duster-style coat. It was a look more akin to what fans of the classic series would have expected of the Doctor, somewhat old-fashioned but still modern, stylish but eccentric, and it became the visual identity of the role. Smith’s Doctor, as if to invert his apparent youth, is dressed in a distinctly old-fashioned way, with a series of tweed jackets and bow ties over patterned shirts and casual trousers and boots. He’s thrown in a peacoat, some evening dress and a variety of silly hats, and publicity shots for the forthcoming series show very traditionally Doctorish items such as a waistcoat and a frock coat in the mix. Sales of tweeds and bowties suddenly increased in the wake of Smith’s debut; perhaps frock coats will make a comeback next year?

Such costume decisions are down, in part, to the tastes of the actor behind the role; all three Doctor actors have had some hand in their character’s attire. However, they also reveal a change in the attitude to the people behind the series. More and more, the outfits hark back to the quirky Doctors of the classic show, as does the Doctor’s increasingly eccentric performance. The series has proved more willing to celebrate its past as it has developed, particularly since Moffat took over. The first series was at pains to mention as little as it could about the show’s history. Terms from the original series barely feature: TARDIS, Time Lord, Sonic Screwdriver, Time Agent, Dalek, Nestene, UNIT. In the second series, Elisabeth Sladen returned as Sarah Jane Smith, the Doctor’s companion from long ago, in move that had far reaching consequences. She even brought robot dog K9 with her. References to classic serials cropped up. This episode, School Reunion, opened the way for such things, but they still trickled out for the next couple of years. Peripheral materials referred to Tennant’s Doctor as the Tenth, and encouraged fans to seek out the classic serials. Gallifrey and Skaro, the home planets of the Time Lords and Daleks respectively, were mentioned by name. UNIT made proper appearances, driving plots. C-list monsters, the Macra, turned up, having not been seen, or mentioned, since 1967. By the fourth series, the Doctor was making offhand references to The Sensorites and other 60s serials, and the Christmas special The Next Doctor treated the fans with a montage of the then full roster of ten Doctors. In the fifth series, William Hartnell, the very first Doctor, made no fewer than four appearances in swift visual winks - he’s even on the Doctor’s library card! The climactic episode The Pandorica Opens featured not only every available monster costume from the past five years, but referenced a dozen other alien races from the classic series and beyond.

Monsters are, of course, a staple part of Doctor Who’s format and the source of much of its success. The most famous example, of course, are the Daleks. Fan fears that the Daleks wouldn’t be appearing in the new series were allayed when an agreement between the BBC and the Terry Nation estate allowed their use. Although fondly remembered by many, the Daleks had become a laughing stock by the time the original run of Doctor Who had ended. People laughed at their pepperpot shapes, their sink plunger arms, their supposed inability to climb stairs - they’d actually been hovering for years, and had triumphantly chased Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor up a flight of stairs in the 1988 story Remembrance of the Daleks, but that had been seen by far too few people to defeat the myth. In 2005, an episode going by the straightforward title Dalek revived the metal monsters. Russell T. Davies and Robert Shearman created a script which took all the risible elements of the Dalek design and made a virtue of them. The sink plunger crushed skulls. The silly bumps were explosives. The Dalek flew up stairs, and this time, millions of people saw it happen. People actually became frightened of the Daleks again, and a new generation of children learned to love them. The Daleks returned again that year to face Eccleston’s Doctor in his final adventure, and returned again once a season up to an including the fifth. They may have been defeated a tad too often now, and have been thoroughly wiped out only to return again more often than is easy to recall, but the Daleks are now well and truly cemented in position as the Doctor’s number one enemies. Naturally, they’ll be back for series seven.

Since its return in 2005, Doctor Who certainly hasn’t been shy of plundering its history for memorable monsters. As well as the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Silurians and the aforementioned Autons and Macra have all returned to our screens, redesigned and updated. By the third year, the Doctor’s own archnemesis, the Master, returned. Although briefly appearing in the form of respected Shakespearean actor Sir Derek Jacobi, the Master swiftly regenerated into the guise of John Simm, hugely recognisable at the time due to his starring role as Sam Tyler in Life on Mars. Simm’s Master was a far cry from the classic version of the character, first played by Roger Delgado in 1971. This version of the villainous Time Lord was truly insane, beset by a constant drumming in his head that drove him to acts of lunatic evil, yet possessed of a manic charm. Predictably, Simm’s histrionic performance didn’t go down well with many dyed-in-the-wool fans, but the Master proved a hit with viewers. Even death couldn’t stop him, and he returned from the grave to battle Tennant’s Doctor in his final story (well, the whole universe knows he’s indestructible). Whether the Master will return, in his Simm incarnation or otherwise, is unknown; but as the only other Time Lord in existence, it seems the Doctor is destined to meet him once again.

This isn’t to say that the series has relied solely on tried-and-tested monsters. The concerted efforts of the writers, make-up artists, prosthetics technicians and the Mill’s CGI crew have come together to create some truly inspired new creatures. While the Davies years relied a little too much on animal-headed humanoids, there were many more imaginative creatures on show. The bulbous, green Slitheen, with their persistent wind problems, were an unfortunate step into childish gross-out humour - they proved far more suited to kids’ spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures - but other aliens were very successful. The tentacle-faced Ood, created as nothing more than a one-off bunch of mooks, proved popular and flexible enough to return as a major component of the show’s growing mythology, while other memorable creations include the rawheaded Sycorax, the paper-thin Lady Cassandra, the serpentine Prisoner Zero and the chilling gas-masked zombies of The Empty Child.

These last two creatures sprung from the imagination of Steven Moffat. The new showrunner’s take on Doctor Who has proved an interesting development on the first five years of the show. While much of the groundwork was laid by Davies, Moffat has proved capable of making wise decisions when it comes to which elements to keep and which to reject. His episodes were amongst the most popular throughout the revived series’ run. He provided one story per full series, each utilising an astonishingly effective monster, based around some simply visual or intellectual conceit. The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances featured the aforementioned gas-masked walking dead; The Girl in the Fireplace made time amongst its tale of doomed romance for clockwork androids; the award-winning Blink saw the debut of perhaps the new series’ greatest monster race, the Weeping Angels; and Silence in the Library and its conclusion The Forest of the Dead introduced the Vashta Narada, carnivorous living shadows. Such creatures elicit uncomfortable reactions from adults and children alike, and have left a generation terrified of such seemingly innocuous things as statues and the ticking of clocks.

Moffat took elements of his earlier episodes and reworked them to create his own vision for Doctor Who. Romance has been at the heart of his version of the series. The fiery Amy Pond, played brilliantly by Karen Gillan, has for two years been the focus of the series, acting as the Doctor’s main companion. While she has been an occasional love interest for the Doctor (probably unrequited, but who can say), her true love is Rory, her fiancé, now husband. Played with the utmost sympathy by Arthur Darvill, Rory Williams is a man who would wait two thousand years and transcend death for the woman he loves. He’s surely the greatest hero the series has produced. The Doctor isn’t immune to the love of a good woman - if good is the word to describe River Song, aka Melody Pond, aka actress Alex Kingston. Introduced in Silence in the Library, River was a surprising returnee to the series under Moffat. She had, after all, died in her first story. This is, however, no issue in Moffat’s universe. The man who invented the catch-all paradox-waiving phrase “timey-wimey,” has written some of the most complex, time-twisting tales in all of Doctor Who’s long history. From the causal loop of Blink, through Amy’s inexplicable childhood and River’s convoluted life, Moffat’s tales of time travel and time dilation have been some of the most talked about in the show’s run.

Is his approach really so complex though? Perhaps not. The fifth series opener The Eleventh Hour, may hinge on time travel, but comes across as deceptively simple, and acts as a perfect introduction to a new Doctor and companion. A whole new cast and crew, more or less, was being sold here, and Moffat’s team managed it with aplomb. The Eleventh Hour, and those episodes that followed it in series five, illustrate some key differences between the worlds of Davies and Moffat. In place of Davies’s council estates and London boroughs, Moffat opts for picturesque villages and rural idylls. Equally British, yet more aesthetically appealing. Moffat introduces his key identification figure, Amy, as a child, before zooming ahead to see the results of the Doctor’s influence on her life. Moffat’s version of the series is a fairy tale, particularly in series five and his two Christmas specials - both of which are of a more literary, less modern and movie-inspired, than those under Davies. In Moffat’s universe, science takes a backseat and magic does the driving. The Doctor can give himself up in a grand gesture to save the universe, but be brought back by Amy’s fond memories. The laws of time can be suspended, but it’s fine, because the narrative works. The Doctor’s life is a story, and we’re just listening to the telling.

Against that, though, is the sudden impact of the American audience. Doctor Who has sold well in the USA since its return, but in the last couple of years its American sales have rocketed, thanks to a combination of saleable Britishness and canny marketing. Moffat isn’t blind to this, and set the opener to series six in America. The series had previously dabbled with this, in Daleks in Manhattan, but The Impossible Astronaut was steeped in Americana. It’s a clever approach; not only does it appeal to the US audience, making them feel part of the otherwise very-British adventure, it also offers the home nation’s audiences something visually new. Series six juggled movie-inspired episodes with more complex emotional plots, and marketed itself with big, confident declarations of intent. The Doctor dies in the first episode! This one’s got pirates in! Let’s Kill Hitler! The Wedding of River Song! It’s made to grab the headline’s in the TV listings magazines. It’s set to continue, too: next season we’re getting “every Dalek ever,” followed by cowboys.

Steven Moffat has taken a unique approach to the show, ensuring that it appeals both to the casual viewer, drawn in by the visuals and the exciting premise, and also to the dedicated follower, with long, complex mysteries running throughout the series. The sixth season was essentially a single, intricate story, building up questions, clues and red herrings in preparation for a grand climax. Whether said climax actually worked, or made any sense, is another matter. Still, this is Doctor Who for the iPlayer generation. Moffat and his team are aware that people simple do not watch television in the way they once did. The newspapers take great joy in kicking a show when it’s seen to be a success, and have latched onto Doctor Who’s flagging overnight ratings. The truth of the matter is that most programmes’ overnights have suffered. Meanwhile, Doctor Who has become one of the most watched shows on BBC iPlayer since its launch, and one of the most recorded programmes ever. Clearly, people still want to watch the series; what needs changing is the way we measure ratings.

However we choose to watch it, Doctor Who doesn’t seem in any danger of going anywhere in the immediate future. This year sees the start of its seventh series (or, if you’re counting from the beginning, its 33rd). 2013 will see the show reach its fiftieth anniversary. What further changes await the Doctor remains to be seen; wherever the series ends up, the journey is sure to be fantastic. 

Published on December 8th, 2018. Review: Daniel Tessier 2012.

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