Saturday, January 24, 2009


Doctor Who 45th Anniversary – Why Was 2007 Brilliant?

Gosh. The Sarah Jane Smith Adventures’ opening Invasion of the Bane and Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane… Big Finish’s Circular Time, 100 and Immortal BelovedThe Pirate Loop’s enthralling read… And marvellously interweaved TV Doctor Who: vampirism; transformations; bad, bad angels; David Tennant suffering brilliantly; Gridlock’s Dance of the Macra*; Utopia / The Sound of Drums / Last of the Time Lords (the Master’s awakening making the year’s most gripping quarter-hour); and Paul Cornell’s beautiful, small-scale, essential story…

Human Nature / The Family of Blood
“But we need the Doctor.”
“And what am I, then? Nothing? I’m just a story.”
Can 1913’s attitudes, institutions and individuals deal with love and war? The Doctor’s human self doesn’t want his other life; wild-eyed Son-of-Mine wants to steal it and the show for super, super fun; and while Daleks now have no problem with stairs, John Smith does.
“Have you enjoyed it, Doctor? Being human? Has it taught you wonderful things? Are you better, richer, wiser, hmm? Then let’s see you answer this – which one of them do you want us to kill? Maid or matron? Your friend, or your lover… Your choice!”

Two forty-five-minute episodes make one story to get teary over, and – it’s wonderful. There are three DVD releases: a vanilla DVD along with Blink; in a box set of the whole 2007 season, complete with extras (though still mysteriously without John Smith’s anguished “I am not the Doctor” that was in all the trailers); and in Autumn 2009, paired respectively with 42 and Blink, each with magazines as part of the newly-launched Doctor Who DVD Files. You can buy the Doctor’s watch and toy scarecrows, too, while the original 1995 book on which the TV story was based is available for free as an eBook with notes from Paul Cornell.

*The piece of music most associated with this year is the terrific theme first used on the season’s trailer, its first appearance in a story for the blissful Gridlock. It opens 2007’s Original Television Soundtrack CD under the official title of All the Strange, Strange Creatures, but to us it’ll always be ‘Dance of the Macra’.

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2007 (and 2008, which I'm sure you'll come to shortly!) have really been fantastic years for Who on all fronts.

Human Nature topped it all for me - one of the best stories of the new series based on one of my favourite New Adventures.

And having Who on a Saturday evening during the local elections proved to be quite a good recruiting tool for outside helpers. We ran regular Saturday action days followed by Who and then supper at our house. Borught many a local Lib Dem Who fan out of the woodwork!

Sadly the same won't be possible this year -although maybe we could do the same thing followed by a classic story each Saturday of the campaign?
I think 2007 was brilliant, too - I'm caught between that and 2005 as my favourite of the Twenty-first Century TV series so far. And Human Nature's very probably my favourite story of them, too.

Your Who Saturdays sound a good plan - I can think of a few of the Twentieth Century series that might play well (four-part stories, mainly, the same length as the two-part new ones)... Best of luck with it!
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