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New Who signing (2014)

2014-09-09 Sun.jpg

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A FRIEND of mine, a comedian called Michael Legge, is a lifelong Doctor Who fan.

He loves the show, it's one of the cultural touchstones in his life, the way it is for so many men in their tragic mid-forties.

But he has always said something very interesting about it — being a Who fan is like supporting a football team. Come the weekend you wait, heart in your mouth, and hope that, this weekend, your team gets it right and romps home.

Sometimes they make a mess of it. Sometimes they do something unforgettable and you can watch it again and again on DVD in your pants, on your sofa, or behind it —if they get it really right.

So Doctor Who's return, around the start of the football season, with the Tardis under new management in the form of Peter Capaldi, somehow seems fitting.

In episode one, that was what we saw him do, mainly. Fitting. And then once he'd figured out who he was, fitting in with the programme.

During the post-regeneration episode he is meant to run around shouting stuff about his face and "redecorating" the Tardis.

Capaldi filled his boots with this stuff until he settled down into the adventure after half-time.

The clockwork aliens are a reliable opposition, stronger in the second half, and with the lesbian lizard lady (for all the controversy, is she even a lesbian? Maybe lizards don't make the distinction?) and her wife and the talking testicle Strax in midfield, things rolled along pretty well. An away win.

But like any team with a new manager, you maybe shouldn't judge things on their first game.

Episode two was a home fixture against the Daleks. The Doctor seemed distracted rather than fully erratic as he journeyed into the Dalek, and we journeyed into the Doctor too. Clara, now she's been rested from heavy flirting, has a job and, no longer a big mystery, is emerging as a top-notch companion.

This episode had everything, except the one clanging own goal of: If the Dalek is broken and therefore being nice, why in the name of Davros, the Nestene Consciousness and the Eye of Harmony would the Doctor fix the bloody thing?

I know he was meant to be confused but that's taking the jammy dodger. Despite his late own goal, 3-1 to the Doctor.

And so we come to last week's match, Robot of Sherwood. A classic Who set-up, Clara saying: "I'd like to go back in time to meet a historic character." The pre-credits doing their bit — an arrow twangs against the Tardis (nothing like an early goal to cheer the fans). Then a spoon/sword fight!

Buckles being swashed! A full-blown villain in the form of Ben Miller's devilish and twinkling Sheriff of Nottingham.

What more could you ask?

By the time we'd met the Merry Men and the Doctor was smelling their sandals and plucking their hair for samples, the home side were five-nil up and the show has never looked

more expensive. Now, I know as a reviewer I'm supposed to remain dispassionate about a show, detached, to let you know what the possible flaws are in a programme, but Peter Capaldi's arrival in the role is a masterstroke.

Now he's stopped being distracted and shouting "I'm Scottish!", it seems what he's brought to the Doctor is a complete reading of the Time Lord — alien, angry, sharp, mercurial, inhuman and humane. As funny as it is thrilling, knowing and knowledgeable. Classic Who.

I'm sure the week after next we'll have a wonky episode with too much crying or something.

But what you can be sure of with this Doctor driving the Tardis, is the fans will never do worse than a 3-1 win.


Caption: ROBIN HOOT .. . Clara and the Doctor meet the outlaw

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  • APA 6th ed.: Murray, Al (2014-09-09). New Who signing. The Sun p. 13.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Murray, Al. "New Who signing." The Sun [add city] 2014-09-09, 13. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Murray, Al. "New Who signing." The Sun, edition, sec., 2014-09-09
  • Turabian: Murray, Al. "New Who signing." The Sun, 2014-09-09, section, 13 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=New Who signing | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/New_Who_signing | work=The Sun | pages=13 | date=2014-09-09 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 November 2017 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=New Who signing | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/New_Who_signing | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 November 2017}}</ref>