26 July 2021 2126 Views

Doctor Who Cares?

by James Murphy

At the end of the new ‘trailer’ for the latest ‘series’, The Doctor asks us if we have ‘any questions’. Yeah. I have a few. See Below..

1: Why is this trailer so awful? As in did a kid do this on their phone? No, course not. They’d have produced something better!

2: Why is Chibnall still in a job as show-runner? The man has zero sci-fi vision. He has destroyed canon. The job was his coz he wrote a few (substandard, imho) eps of Torchwood and Doctor Who and he was ‘cool’ c/o BROADCHURCH (itself a hit in part because of association with David Tennant).

3: How is it that nobody has taken Jodie Whittaker aside and said ‘you are a great actor! you are beautiful! let’s ditch the terrible costume and David Tennant / Bubbles from Ab Fab routine and rediscover your class and depth?’ She is reduced, again, to jumping around, being a bit whacky and thereby wasting her tenure. Shame!

4: Who cares what role John Bishop is playing? It’ll be cut and paste kitchen sink drama (hangover from Russell T Davies’ genius at genre splice) via awkward all men are a bit rubbish ‘comedy’ (legacy of the Moffat era). That’s my hunch, anyway. Unless he’s the new Doctor, it’s a pointlessly thankless role no doubt?

5: Who paid for a junket to Comic-Con? An event which, incidentally, has been now shunned this year by most DC and Marvel movies, right? Oh yes! BBC. Don’t worry, licence fee payers..it’s on you! (nb not directly on you, of course but even so..).

On a positive note? There is a guest spot from Jacob Anderson (sadly not as the new Doctor?). Some epic effects. A sense of mystery and danger. Rumours of many a returning villain and companion as we build toward 2023’s 60th anniversary celebrations.

But the writing is on the TARDIS wall, as it has been, since 2014. It’s not Chibnall’s fault, though he has done nothing to help matters imho.

Taken together: Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat made an unbeatable team. Russell was great on the big picture branding, casting, character and theme design. Moffat excelled in plot dynamics and sci-fi set piece delivery.

But Russell left a fairly self contained, completed run. Restoration experiment, complete! Moff n Chibbs had nowhere to go, or at least, if they did have grand thematic designs, none felt new or especially fun to me.

The ‘River Song’ and ‘impossible girl’ arcs were overplayed. Toward the end of Moffat’s regime, Doctor Who was veering into identity politics as substitute for plot arc imho.

Which would have been fine, except I never ‘bought’ the idea of ‘run you clever boy’, ‘all girl future’ or even Trump = bad, when presented by the same writer who introduced Karen Gillan’s Amy Pond, dressed as a stripper.

Just sayin, like. It’s an opinion / reaction btw and yes, open to debate. NOT an empirical or even value judgement on reputation or intention! 😉

You can of course all disagree. You will. It’s fine.

Just note that I have praised Moffat as plot-smith and cited Russell as the Godfather of how you resurrect a Timelord today.

Solution to current Timelord slump?

Bring Russell AND Moffat back to oversee the following:

  • Rest the show for at least 2-3 years, during which BBC effectively consolidates with Big Finish/ an other sub contracted /licensee branding?
  • Lots of mini content (audio, animation, books: keep brand alive and build hype, gradually but as ONE UNIT (!) ).
  • Reboot, albeit ‘soft’ with multiverse option in reserve. The last 7 years failed the brand. Ignore it!


  • Bring back Tennant /Smith. In mini spin offs. Think Disney Plus Marvel /Star Wars style series.
  • Tennant can come back via that pocket parallel universe with Billie Piper. Can even age and change in the role if he wishes.


  • THEN re-cast, afresh. Be BOLD. But that means ‘best actor’ / most surprising, energetic, exciting choice! Not ‘woman’ or ‘gay’ for own sake etc. 
  • Use old mythology / monsters etc. Just do not depend on them. They can be cameos in stories with newer dimensions at stake.


  • Keep the radical identity politics. Seriously! The show ALWAYS had that (watch the Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy eras). But as subtext, not primary plot substitute cover.






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