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This Doctor is the right prescription

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2005-03-28 Daily Express p13.jpg

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THE Tardis has landed. The Doctor is among us and all's well with the world. Or pretty much all. Christopher Eccleston makes a marvellous new Doctor Who (Saturday, BBC1). With his leather jacket, bristling crew-cut and piercing gaze, he's brash, brusque, blokey and in your face. Like the best Doctors before him, he's also mischievous, charming, occasionally naive and a bit clumsy.

He can save the planet with his trusty sonic screwdriver but when he tries to spread a pack of cards with one hand he ineptly sends them flying in all directions.

Billie Piper (Chris Evans's ex) is perfectly cast as the Doctor's newly recruited assistant — Rose, a lippy, streetwise South Londoner with oodles of attitude, a wardrobe from Top Shop and just enough cleavage on display to delight the dads without frightening the kids.

The special effects are dazzling, the script by Russell T Davies is sharp and witty.

Rose scoffs: "If you're an alien how come you sound like you come from the North?"

The Doctor: "Lots of planets have a north."

Leafing through a celebrity magazine at Rose's house, he murmurs: "That won't last. He's gay and she's an alien."

But (and you knew there'd be a "but" coming, didn't you?) why in the name of the Sacred Orb of Gallifrey have they messed around with the signature tune?

It's just about the most memorable and instantly evocative piece of music in the history of television —a pure synthesiser classic, which put the BBC Radiophonic Workshop light years ahead of Kraftwerk — and someone's decided to tart it up by adding a drum machine and a string section. Doctorin' the Tardis, indeed.

While this unnecessary fiddling about may get a few anoraks hot under their nylon collars, I can't imagine anything else about the ninth incarnation of the Doctor upsetting hardcore Who-heads. Apart from the unwelcome invasion early on in the programme by alien soundwaves apparently emanating from Planet Norton in the distant galaxy known as BBC3. Davies, a long-time fan, pays due respect to the past. Although Davies is famously gay, the Doctor has curiously been de-camped. There's nothing arch, twee or knowing about Eccleston's performance — he plays it straighter than straight.

Space-and-time machine the Tardis still takes the form of an old-style police call box (despite very few viewers today having the faintest idea what that was) and when it materialises or takes off into cyberspace, it still sounds like a combination of gears crunching at high speed and the bellowing of an enraged elephant.

The opening episode was perfectly in tune with the show's traditions but it could just as easily have stood alone.

FEW minutes in, the classic scenario unfolded of a young woman alone and in terrible danger. Rose was trapped in the basement of the department store where she worked, being menaced by murderous shop window dummies that had come alive.

Suddenly, a strong hand grabbed hers and pulled her to safety.

It was a stroke of genius to show Rose, after this first brush with the

mysterious Doctor, searching the internet and finding the website of an obsessive Doctor Who nerd called Clive (Mark Benton). When she tracked him down, Clive explained: "The Doctor is a legend, woven throughout history. When disaster comes, he's there. He brings the storm in his wake. And he has one constant companion..."

"Who's that?" asked Rose.

"Death!" replied Clive, who was shortly to discover that for himself.

Aided by computer wizardry and a special effects budget that previous producers would have killed for, the Doctor and his game girl disposed of a monstrous, heaving, burping blob that lived under the London Eye and was making everything plastic come alive (including breast implants, Rose remarked — although she wouldn't know much about them). Then she abandoned her boyfriend (who had survived being eaten by a hungry wheelie bin) and jumped on board the Tardis.

So Billie Piper takes up with a scary-looking, know-all northern bloke. Again.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Catchpole, Charlie (2005-03-28). This Doctor is the right prescription. Daily Express p. 13.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Catchpole, Charlie. "This Doctor is the right prescription." Daily Express [add city] 2005-03-28, 13. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Catchpole, Charlie. "This Doctor is the right prescription." Daily Express, edition, sec., 2005-03-28
  • Turabian: Catchpole, Charlie. "This Doctor is the right prescription." Daily Express, 2005-03-28, section, 13 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=This Doctor is the right prescription | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/This_Doctor_is_the_right_prescription | work=Daily Express | pages=13 | date=2005-03-28 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 November 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=This Doctor is the right prescription | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/This_Doctor_is_the_right_prescription | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 November 2019}}</ref>