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Doctor Whom?

22 Oct

tumblr_mc7p421Ogr1qiy6kyCharacters in TV shows are usually established within their first episode, or perhaps even within a few minutes of their first screen appearance, so when it comes time to write them out, it’s natural for the public to be a little wary of the new character that the takes place of someone familiar.

In this respect the Doctor is something of an oddity in TV land, as a character who constantly evolves through the different actors who play him.  It is precisely for this reason that the character and feel of the whole show change constantly and keep a fresh feeling about it.  Kudos to the writers for this as well for writing around the Doctor as created by the TV thespian.

Although the very fabric of what you expect changes over time, the similarities, that glimmer of familiarity between the chosen characteristics of a certain actor and his favoured Doctor(s) makes for a rich self referencing and familiar feel that will inevitably draw each of us to certain moments of the shows past that we’ve experienced.  This unique aspect of the show allows different people to find the hidden references with which even the most observant and dare I say it obsessed of Who fans may have missed.

to define how a certain regeneration will work and stopping the show from getting stale also makes for interesting conjectures as to how certain other Doctors would have solved a problem were they in the place of the current one.   which, amongst a myriad of other topics keeps all episodes alive with interest and debate long after the first decade of transmission. Then of course, allowing more than one Doctor to inhabit a story as has been done several times is to see a fun clashing of bickering personalities.

Each performance has to be – and has been – nuanced and varied, yet comforting as you see aspects of previous david-tennant-dr-who-pic-bbc-885995539Doctors…it’s almost a continual strengthening of a single character whilst simultaneously being something new, different and separate from what has come before but with that thread of intimacy with the character.

The contrasting natures of each regeneration are often as fascinating as the similarities though, the stunts and Venusian karate of 3rd is at contrast with later Doctors who won’t touch weapons, for example.  Of course this is also down to viewing tastes for the show as much as moralistic choices of the actors as well as the story arcs.

The main character thus drives the direction of show, which is built around him and to a lesser extent the companion or companions of the day, allowing the storylines to be somewhat symbiotic between revolving around the titular fella and the circumstances wherein which he be found.  Regeneration, therefore is not only a clever idea but a way of keeping a show, theoretically going forever, same series, same production values, totally different feel and one epic time had by all.

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18 Comments

Posted by on 22/10/2013 in Doctor Who

 

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18 responses to “Doctor Whom?

  1. Al

    22/10/2013 at 17:48

    I think that Baker’s regeneration had to be the worst of them all. The Doctors were shot, planetised, zapped with nuclear rays. cybered, nearly daleked. But Baker – he tripped and fell!! Which is the reference made by Tennant in the Christmas Special “The Next Doctor” with David Morrissey “I didn’t trip over a brick, did I?”. Also Tennant’s reference to Ecclescake “Are you my mummy” with the gas mask and to Tom Baker with “Jelly baby?”

    I do like how each one brings their own unique style to the table though. Showing each to be different, but each is The Doctor. I’ve rambled again, I shall let others speak

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    • Ste J

      22/10/2013 at 17:53

      I hadn’t noticed the significance of the trip over a brick line, very clever and just goes to show the little lines that make it more interesting…I find the more I learn of Who the less I seem to pick up in passing. Intriguing…any excse to re-watch an episode as well, hehe.

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      • Al

        22/10/2013 at 17:59

        I only realised the link as I was typing the fact that he fell and it clicked lol.

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        • Ste J

          25/10/2013 at 17:44

          Only yesterday, Christina watching her first Classic Who noted that the 2nd Doctor was less self confident than his later selves, which I had never considered much before and then I wished I had made her watch The Mind Robber before I wrote the Doctor Whom? post.

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          • Al

            25/10/2013 at 18:24

            I never realised that either.

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  2. Alastair Savage

    23/10/2013 at 06:46

    I think the funny thing about the doctor is that they keep changing the actor, without rebooting the show. So whereas you don’t really believe that the different James Bonds, Batmans or Supermans are all part of the same story, we are expected to believe that the doctor has been all these different people simultaneously. Personally, I would have liked the Russell T Davies era to have used a brand new doctor starting from his flight from Gallifrey, but alas, they all wanted to keep the show’s continuity going (such as it is…)

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    • Ste J

      25/10/2013 at 17:57

      There is a theory that when Troughton is all in a trance in The Mind Robber, that everything after is a drea, so they could conceivably wake him up and start the show all over again. I would like to see them start it back in black and white as well…that would be perfect!

      Franchises ruin themselves with reinvention but like you say Doctor Who has always had the same core ethics and values so it always feels the same. I believe it more than most other things and I know it isn’t real.

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  3. evermoreevil

    23/10/2013 at 07:42

    Another cracking post Ste! A perfect summary of regeneration!

    With regards to Al, to be fair, Tom Baker did fall from a bloody great height, and it was heavily implied that he’d broken his spine…unless you’re talking about Colin Baker’s regeneration of course…There was actually going to be a reference to Tom Bakers fall from a pylon in The Idiot’s Lantern, but sadly it was cut 😦

    I think my favourite regeneration will always be Davison to Baker, at the end of Androzani, although Pertwee’s final moments are absolutely heart-breaking. This is a show that kills it’s main character!

    And look at the end of The War Games! What a way not just to end an episode, but a whole series of adventures!

    A great analysis Ste, bring on the rest!

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    • Ste J

      25/10/2013 at 19:25

      Great analysis yourself! I haven’t seen the Pertwee/Baker regeneration yet, I like to leave some drama for myself! Troughton’s final moments were clever and epic, Tennant’s ending was a nice counterpoint to that I think. Or perhaps I read to much into it. Hhhmmm now I thin kabout it, I missed so much out of this post that I could have added.

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  4. evermoreevil

    23/10/2013 at 07:49

    PS – Those seeking a better reason for Colin Baker’s hasty regeneration, read Spiral Scratch by Gary Russell – A fitting love letter to Sixie, and an epic story to boot!

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    • Ste J

      25/10/2013 at 19:27

      Yes! Books, books and books, what I used to write about back in the day and need to again! I haven’t read many except the original Target novels…I need to read loads…book hunting time it is!

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  5. Elizabeth Melton Parsons

    23/10/2013 at 11:12

    My favorite episode was the VanGogh. But that’s only because I love VanGogh. I too look for excuses to re-watch episodes, although I don’t need an excuse. It’s an intelligent and unique program that I enjoy very much.

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    • Ste J

      25/10/2013 at 17:42

      That was a cracking episode, one of my favourite Matt Smith adventures. Finding the random links intentional or not between stories is becoming less of a habit and now more of an obsession.

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  6. LuAnn

    27/10/2013 at 15:06

    Given the longevity of this show, the “behind the scenes” guys sure seem to know what they are doing. Thanks for pulling me into the Dr. Who world. I will have to get busy with some Netflix orders. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      28/10/2013 at 17:30

      There is more classic Who on the US netflix than the UK one oddly. I am glad that you have joined us in the universe of infinite size and scope where the most maddest of things sometimes seem mundane in the face of overwhelming strangeness. Sometimes it is the obvious things that become the most exciting…

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      • LuAnn

        31/10/2013 at 21:34

        I think to approach the world in the manner in which you seem to Ste J makes for a most exciting life.

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        • Ste J

          05/11/2013 at 04:29

          A most odd and eventful life at times too! Hehe.

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