It indeed has been an interesting week! As we enter week six of the new season, there are lots of opinions are out there about what recent events all mean. While this is not the first time Doctor Who has done something unexpected, it is the first time that its fandom has been so staunchly divided.
Personally, I am paying no attention at all to the current series’ overall ratings. Instead, I am concerned about the writing and overall feeling that the production team appears to be trying anything as a ‘throw it against the wall and see what sticks’ methodology for keeping viewers. This was particularly the case with Fugitive of the Judoon, which I liked, but felt like it was almost too dense to process. Having said that, they really did deliver on the ‘wow” factor and pleased fans by bringing John Barrowman back after a decade. In normal times that would be enough. But here, they decided to complicate everything and throw fandom into a tizzy by introducing a new Doctor. It was bonkers, maddening and brilliant all at once.
Overall, episode five was much better written and paced than earlier adventures. The core TARDIS crew were again solid, and it is good to see them getting a bit more development as the season goes out. However, I think they still could have been better developed by this point. The team of new writers being brought in seems to be giving the series some interesting new elements that I hope really are fleshed out. However, it would also be nice to see some a few more veteran writers return to the program.
I think Jo Martin was amazing. I loved the gravitas she brought to her Doctor. She didn’t have much of a blueprint to work with, but still managed to convince audiences she was a Time Lord. She also worked well with Jodie Whittaker. I especially loved, loved, loved her TARDIS interior.
As a longtime fan, the idea of having a Doctor we are unfamiliar with being out there in the cosmos doesn’t worry me too much. I will let the end gameplay itself out before passing judgement. However, I do hope that this story arc has been thought out and planned in advance so that in the end, it doesn’t fall flat. I love the mystery and sense of wonder about all of this.
Those who are up in arms should remember that this idea has been hinted at before, specifically, The Brain of Morbius, which openly touched upon this idea in the Tom Baker era. At the same time, if this is just a haphazard nostalgia related ratings grab (which I do not believe it is), then I am disappointed. But, until we know where all of this is going, there is little benefit from stressing out about it.
I also think the episode did a lot to lay some trackwork for the rest of this season and possibly the next. We know the Cybermen, now billed as ‘more vicious and terrifying’ are coming back and we are probably seeing The Master a time or two as well. So where does all of this leave Jo Martin? My guess is that the Timeless Child angle is carrying over into next season and we could see her one more time this year and maybe again next season if things are not resolved.
With regard to Captain Jack, my guess is that we see him in the next New Year’s special or sometime after. Right now there are too many people traveling with the Doctor, and it would be a wasted effort to bring Barrowman back again for a minimal appearance. I think having him do a short cameo here worked really well in laying some groundwork for the future.
CHIBNALL TALKS JO MARTIN
Producer Chris Chibnall has spent a large part of this week emphatically stated that Jo Martin is The Doctor. Chibnall talked to The Mirror about Martin’s role in the series.
The important thing to say is, she is definitively the Doctor. There’s not a sort of parallel universe going on, there’s no tricks. Jo Martin is the Doctor, that’s why we gave her the credit at the end which all new Doctors have the first time you see them. John Hurt got that credit.
While auditioning for the role of Ruth Clayton, Martin was not made aware that her she wold eventually be playing The Doctor.
Episode six is entitled Praxeus. It was written by Pete McTighe and Chris Chibnall with direction by Jamie Magnus Stone. Here are some promo images from the episode.
What connects a missing astronaut in the Indian Ocean, birds behaving strangely in Peru and a US naval officer who washes up on a Madagascan beach? Team Tardis investigate.
Guest stars include Molly Harris as Suki Cheng, Deadwater Fell co-star Matthew McNulty, Luther alum Warren Brown as Jake Willis, Thapelo Maropefela as Aramu, Joana Borja as Gabriela Castillo and Tristan de Beer as Zach Lawson.
CAN YOU HEAR ME?
Episode seven is entitled, Can You Year Me? It was by screenwriter/ playwright Charlene James and Chris Chibnall and directed by another newcomer, Emma Sullivan.
From ancient Syria to present-day Sheffield, and out into the wilds of space, something is stalking the Doctor and her friends. As Graham, Yaz and Ryan return home to see friends and family, they find themselves haunted by very different experiences. Who is the figure calling from beyond the stars for help, and why? And what are the fearsome Chagaskas terrorizing Aleppo in 1380? To find the answers, Team TARDIS embark on a mission that forces them to face their darkest fears.
There is quite a lot of chatter around the return of Captain Jack last week. Despite his cameo, showrunner Chris Chibnall has confirmed that Jack is not returning in Season 12. This, of course, does not mean he won’t surface for the New Year’s special or Season 13.
Chibnall spoke with The Mirror about Barrowman’s future involvement.
You won’t see him again this series; I can categorically tell you that. But who knows when he might pop up again? We love Captain Jack; we love John Barrowman. I hope that won’t be his last appearance and that at some point he gets to meet the 13th Doctor.”
John Barrowman made a video about his return for the Doctor Who YouTube channel.
The Torchwood and Arrow star discussed his epic return to Doctor Who in an interview with The Radio Times.
Amongst the topics covered was whether or not audiences would see Captain Jack meet the 13th Doctor?
To which Barrowman eagerly replied.
Well, I mean if they ever ask Jack back, like I said I’ll come back at the drop of a hat. Hopefully, I’ll get to work with Jodie, that would be incredible. That would be really incredible. You know I go around and do the conventions, and that’s kind of how I’ve kept the buzz going, and I’ve seen the audiences. They really want to see Jack and Jodie’s Doctor together.
TOM BAKER RETURNS T0 BIG FINISH
Big Finish has produced two new Fourth Doctor adventures set in E-Space. The Fourth Doctor Adventures Series 9, Volume 1 finds Lalla Ward, Matthew Waterhouse and John Leeson joining Baker in the TARDIS.
Released on four discs, the two new adventures, Purgatory 12 and Chase the Night, are set between the classic series State of Decay and Warrior’s Gate. They were written by Marc Platt and Jonathan Morris, respectively. Nicholas Briggs directed both serials.
Purgatory 12 Synopsis
Still searching for a way out of E-Space, the TARDIS crew land on an isolated space rock… and immediately find it drawn towards a nearby asteroid. The asteroid has air and gravity unequal to its size and is strewn with the wrecks of spaceships. Veins and pools of rust are everywhere. Stuck on the asteroid away from his friends, Adric discovers that it’s a penal colony housing a gang of alien convicts – but resources are low, and they’re starting to starve. But escaping the prisoners is only the first part of the traveller’s troubles. Because there’s a sinister presence at the heart of the asteroid… and it won’t release them quite as easily.
Chase the Night Synopsis
The TARDIS lands in an alien tropical rainforest at night where the Doctor, Adric and Romana discover a set of rails stretching through the undergrowth. These tracks carry a long-crashed spaceship that’s been converted to run along them like a train. The ship has to keep moving because only the night-side of the world is habitable. The sun on the day-side burns so hot that everything on the surface is turned to ash. But the stress and strain of the constant movement is beginning to take its toll on the ship. Parts are starting to break down, and the relentless heat gets ever closer – but the greatest danger may be on the inside...
ECCLESTON AND PIPER AT AWESOME CON
Christopher Eccleston and Bille Piper are the featured guests for Awesome Con, held in Washington DC from May 1-2, 2020.
While final programming has yet to be announced, it t should include panels, autographs and pho ops. For tickets and information visit: http://awesome-con.com
Next Time….More Big Finish news, Season 12 continues, Matt Smith movie news and more!