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Not quite the new Doctor Who

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  • Publication: The Age
  • Date: 2009-01-22
  • Author: Patricia Maunder
  • Page: Green Guide, p. 33
  • Language: English

A festive special is a bit of a tease.

STEADY on. Just because Sunday's Doctor Who special is called "The Next Doctor" doesn't mean you are going to get a look at the actual next Doctor, Matt Smith, outwitting Daleks. You would need a TARDIS to take you a year into the future to witness his arrival as the 11th Doctor Who.

The title of this special was a bit of a tease when it aired in Britain on Christmas Day. Since the current Doctor, David Tennant, announced in October that he intended to hang up his sonic screwdriver at the end of 2009, the fanboys have been in overdrive speculating about his replacement.

The special proved not to hold the answer. David Morrissey is the "Next Doctor" of the title - but his Time Lord credentials come into question as he and Tennant gad about London, 1851, with Christmas and intergalactic danger in the frosty air.

It was several days after the Christmas special's premiere that the curtain came up on the real McCoy, relative unknown Matt Smith. And it wasn't just the fans who got excited. In Britain, where Doctor Who has always been popular with families (thus the tradition of the Christmas Day special), there was plenty of media coverage.

It brought to mind Tom Baker's amusing tale of his "promotion from general labourer to Time Lord" back in 1974, in his autobiography, Who on Earth is Tom Baker?

After the public announcement of his new role, the struggling actor went back to the building site where he had been making ends meet. The Daily Express lobbed up to photograph him with his workmates, shovels in hand. "The next morning we were all famous," he writes.

Becoming the Doctor is somewhat like becoming Bond - it brings fame that usually ruins an actor's career, if not forever, then at least for a couple of decades. Which is probably one reason Tennant is getting out.

This is his swansong year, but unfortunately there won't be a regular season - just four specials, the next being "Planet of the Dead", which airs in Britain at Easter (no doubt later in Australia, but more on that below). When the next season starts in 2010, there will not only be a new Doctor, but also a new lead writer and executive producer.

Russell T. Davies, the man who has guided the show to great success since its revival in 2005, hands over to Steven Moffat, who has already written several episodes. These include the award-winning "Girl in the Fireplace" (2006) and "Blink" (2007), in which malevolent stone angels move towards their victims when not being eyeballed.

The revived Doctor Who's slick production values bring out the best in the writing, and "Blink" had me positively covering my eyes - perhaps I would have ducked behind the couch (like many people said they did as children, when first confronted by the Daleks), if it hadn't been against the wall. Moffat deserved his BAFTA for that one, and I'm not the only Doctor Who fan who is happy about his appointment as the program's future grand fromage. However, without the aid of a TARDIS, we must content ourselves with the present, which in the case of Australian television viewers, often means the past. But I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky to have waited only one month for the latest Christmas special, as before now there has been a six-month delay.

It is little wonder that Australians are among the worst offenders when it comes to downloading TV shows illegally. This is presumably why local networks have begun to "fast track" foreign programs - or at least the really popular ones (don't get me started on the Emmy Award-winning but buried-in-Australia Battlestar Galactica).

Aunty is, sort of, getting in on the fast-track thing with this Doctor Who special. It will be interesting to see how long we have to wait for the 2009 specials. Don't go looking for help from the BBC. "The Next Doctor" could be viewed on its website until recently, but not in Australia.

Doctor Who: The Next Doctor screens on Sunday at 7.30pm on ABC1.

GRAPHIC: PHOTO: Just who is Who? The two Doctors: David Tennant and David Morrissey.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Maunder, Patricia (2009-01-22). Not quite the new Doctor Who. The Age p. Green Guide, p. 33.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Maunder, Patricia. "Not quite the new Doctor Who." The Age [add city] 2009-01-22, Green Guide, p. 33. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Maunder, Patricia. "Not quite the new Doctor Who." The Age, edition, sec., 2009-01-22
  • Turabian: Maunder, Patricia. "Not quite the new Doctor Who." The Age, 2009-01-22, section, Green Guide, p. 33 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Not quite the new Doctor Who | url= | work=The Age | pages=Green Guide, p. 33 | date=2009-01-22 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Not quite the new Doctor Who | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 July 2024}}</ref>