Monday, 6 July 2015

State of Decade

It's been a decade today since 'Nu Who' debuted in in New Zealand.
I'm celebrating by nicking an idea from the latest DWM and picking a favourite moment from each of the years since the TARDIS returned.

"The first episode of the new Doctor Who was smashing, with strong characters, great and gimmicky special effects and a plot so wildly ridiculous it drew me in completely. The steely Christopher Eccleston plays the doctor as a cross between the saviour of the universe and a stand-up comedian, but this doctor really knows his Tardis from a plastic life force.

Former pop singer Billie Piper is a sparkling actress, although her character, Rose, is a little impetuous. She left her boyfriend... and confidently strolled into an eerie time machine to join an alien on a trip through the galaxies. Still without knowing his last name.

The scripts are witty. Rose asks the doctor, "If you're an alien, how come you sound like you come from the north?" The doctor replies, "Lots of planets have a north." 
(Doctor Who, Prime, Thursday, 7.30pm)

This abridged review from the Sunday Star Times, June 10, 2005, is typical of the New Zealand media's positive reaction to the return of Doctor Who. Prime, bless them, promoted the premier to the hilt, and sure enough ended up with a hit on their hands.

(photograph by Shane Palmer)
A lot happens in ten years, we've weathered a global financial crisis, seen a major New Zealand city devastated by an earthquake, and on a personal level my own Rose and I have changed jobs, built a house,  become published writers (I've even been fortunate enough to interview many people from the show itself).  We've also had to say goodbye to people dear to us, My Mum didn't see out Tennant's era but would always watch the new show and was very happy to see Bille Piper return in series 4. But through good and bad a certain sturdy blue box has been a constant reassuring presence, at least for a few months each year - and, oh so fittingly - at Christmas.

So here are some of my favourite moments from the years since Christopher Eccleston's Doctor first asked "D'you wanna come with me?"

2005: "Have a good life - do that for me, Rose - have a fantastic life."
There's so much to love in Eccleston's final episode, but the Doctor's holographic recording turning to farewell Rose as if he knows exactly where she's standing, and delivering that line, raises goosebumps every time.

(from 1:07)

2006: "Did I do something wrong? Because you never came back for me. You just dumped me."
The old and new series are officially linked, and one of the very best of former friends addresses an awkward issue.


2007: "You... Are... Not... Alone"
Sir Derek Jacobi is the Master- how spoilt were we?  The fact that it was only for ten minutes is indicative of the many things this season didn't get quite so right.

 (from 3.30)

2008: The Opening credits of The Stolen Earth
Actually the guest list of a huge 45th Anniversary party - what a shame so few people seemed to realise at the time.


2009: "Captain, they're back. It's the bus, ma'am, it's come back and it's flying."
A double-decker bus emerges from a time-space wormhole into the London night sky, to the gleeful adulation of UNITs current scientific adviser.
The most joyous and silly of a handful of slightly gloomy 'specials'.  Was fun largely forgotten because it was Tennant's last year?


2010: "Hello, I'm the Doctor. Basically... run."
On a hospital rooftop, Matt Smith walks out from behind a compilation of nostalgic clips, fixing his bow-tie, and himself, firmly in place.


2011: "Did you wish really, really hard?"
The TARDIS becomes a woman who introduces herself as 'sexy', to Amy's arch consternation. Neil Gaiman delivers his love letter to the series.


2012: The Parliament of the Daleks
Beat that Phantom Menace - but let's hope there's never a fire drill.


2013: "No Sir, all thirteen!" and:
 "I'm a Doctor, but probably not the one you were expecting."
It was the 50th Anniversary, so I'm allowed two - neither of which were in the actual 2013 season. The next Doctor almost steals an already wondrous scene with his glare alone:

and elsewhere we get the present everyone wanted, but no-one was expecting:


2014:  "You were an exceptional Doctor, Clara... goodness had nothing to do with it."
At the end of Flatline, a hugely inventive and beautifully realised story, the Doctor reminds Clara, and the rest of us, that we still don't really know him. He remains 'Doctor Who'.

So what has stood out for you in the last ten years of 'Nu Who'?

1 comment:

  1. "So what has stood out for you in the last ten years of 'Nu Who'?"

    My enduring friendship with my good friend Al, who puts up with a lot of complaining about the new series! He knows I only complain because I care :P