Best of 2016 Awards: The Winners (Part 3)
Connor Johnston presents the third and final set of results from Doctor Who TV’s annual awards.
Winner: Murray Gold
Runner-Up: Blair Mowat
For the first time in many years, 2016 saw the talents of not just one, but two incredible composers grace the universe of Doctor Who. With “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”, Murray Gold met the incredibly high standard he’s repeatedly set himself since 2005 with a stunning musical suite that pays homage to the classic era of superhero films, winning with 69.01% of the vote. Class’ musical score was entrusted to Blair Mowat, who continually impressed with a slightly more electric score that used both original content and content inspired by some of Gold’s most recognisable melodies to create something inherently impressive. Mowat’s work was rewarded with the remaining 30.99% of the vote.
Winner: Ed Bazalgette
Second only to Patrick Ness and Steven Moffat themselves, Ed Bazalgette was one of the few individuals who stands out as committing such an incredible amount of time and effort into producing the Whoniverse in 2016. I can think of almost no one as deserving of praise in these results than Bazalgette, who wins ‘Best Director’ award with 56.27% of the vote. Through both his work in the main series with “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” and in Class with the first three episodes, the director continually proved his worth time and time again. Bazalgette has now cemented himself in the world of Doctor Who, and I look forward to seeing his work continue into the future.
Runner-Up: Wayne Yip
It is newcomer Wayne Yip who claims our runner-up position with 33.43% of the vote. A director whose previous credits include Misfits and Utopia, Yip quickly proved himself worthy of taking charge of Class’ latter half directing both the incredibly acclaimed “Detained” and “The Metaphysical Engine, or What Quill Did”. Through stunning visual landscapes, pitch perfect action sequences and eerily claustrophobic framing, Yip’s two episodes form without question one of the most impressive folios for a new director, that will successfully see him at the helm of two more Doctor Who episodes in Series 10.
Winner: Steven Moffat
Once more, it is Steven Moffat who takes out the title for ‘Best Writer’ this year, though by possibly the narrowest of margins we’ve seen throughout his whole era, winning with just 55.48% of the vote for “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”. 2016’s special was one that continued his method of justifying the seasonal relevance of his work by embedding them with themes of Christmas in the form of goodwill, spirit, family, generosity and of course: love – producing an episode that embodies the *feel* of the season in a way no one else can. Regardless of the scarce but vocal comments that littered the comment sections of the show’s various social media accounts following the airing of the episode – there are a number of reasons that Steven Moffat’s work continues to be praised and respected by industry professionals both internally and externally to the show; and with “Mysterio” Moffat once again proves his worth with a script that is sharp, witty, emotional, hilarious and paced impeccably.
Runner-Up: Patrick Ness
Making an incredibly admirable and impressive entrance into the televised universe of Doctor Who is Patrick Ness, whose entire series of Class earned him a respectable 44.52% of votes. In recent years one wouldn’t be alone in struggling to find accurate portrayals of young people on TV, mainly due to the television industry’s inability to a) take them seriously, and b) rise above shallow stereotypes of “how teenagers act”. In his books, Ness proves how accurately he understands the mindset of the “Young Adult”, not shying away from depicting relatable and genuine characters as well as pointing the spotlight towards the struggles of mental illness, tragedy, reputation, body image and confidence everyone deals with growing up. Within one episode of “Class”, it was very clear that Ness has the utmost respect for his audience, and by extension the entirety of the younger generation in the way he values rather than dismisses the feelings and emotions that every single one of us has felt at some point of our lives. Not once did the series patronise its audience or the demographic its characters represent by not shying away from the often taboo and rarely discussed issues that most teenagers face. Coming from someone directly in the centre of Class’ target audience, I can saw that Ness’ work without question embodies one of the most accurate and honest depictions of teenagers on television, simply by not falling into the pitfalls of decorated the plot with one dimensional stereotypes too “young” or “immature” to face hurdles head on.
Winner: The Return of Doctor Mysterio
Following the results of these 14 polls, I doubt it will come as a surprise to anyone to see “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” continue its domination, winning best story with 43.95% of votes. No, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” will never be anyone’s favourite Doctor Who episode, nor is it the best Christmas Special the show’s ever made – however that doesn’t hinder the episode from excelling in its own right and producing a confident and thoroughly enjoyable hour of television. Whether it be by its own merit or simply circumstantial; “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” is the best story 2016 had to offer.
Runner-Up: The Metaphysical Engine, or What Quill Did
Landing just out of line with DWTV’s earlier Class rankings following its initial release, is Class’ penultimate story that takes second place for the year with 14.23% of the vote. This is an episode that succeeded so incredibly on so many levels, the main factor being of course the watertight and remarkably memorable performance of Katherine Kelly in the titular role. Condensing so much straining character development into one 45-minute episode is no easy task, but both Kelly and Ness ensured that even in the chaos of the moment no reactions seemed superficial, forced or rushed. The narrative of the episode was also a strong point of appeal, with the concept of the Metaphysical Engine – a machine capable of transferring individuals into a thought or belief – impressing both fans and critics immensely.
Runner-Up: The Sarah Jane Adventures
Though I touched on the imbalance of Class viewers at the commencement of these polls, this reality is probably the clearest in this final poll that saw both Torchwood (on 43.4%) and The Sarah Jane Adventures (on 38.02%) beat out the 2016 spin-off among the majority of DWTV viewers.
It does seem somewhat inappropriate to be speaking about the successes of two shows that concluded over half a decade ago in a “Best of 2016” poll, so instead I’d like to spend the last few paragraphs of these 3 articles breaking down what I believe in part motivated these results. The obvious factors are clear: both Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures were being judged on their entirety (not their first season), both feature characters that already have the investments of fans prior to their commencement; and finally both have benefited incredibly from the establishment of their own fanbases that have grown and remained devoted to the shows following their conclusions.
The secondary factors are no doubt more contentious, but also strikingly more relevant. Class seemed to be fighting a losing battle from its offset. For the BBC it was used as nothing but an incentive to lure viewers towards the newly formatted BBC3 and the world of online streaming instead of allowing the show the opportunity to present itself to audiences on television or even on already established streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon. Following the sacrifice of its own accessibility, the BBC then aired the series on BBC1 – but restricted the series to air two episodes at a time to occupy the graveyard shift. Not only was the show let down by its distribution format, but also strangely by Doctor Who’s own marketing team, with support for the show largely absent from Doctor Who’s social media accounts and magazine covers to name a few.
We will never know if Class will reach the same standard of storytelling that Torchwood exhibited in its later seasons, or if it will hold the same place in fan’s hearts as The Sarah Jane Adventures if it is not even presented with the same chances they were. This is why I would implore all of you to join the dedicated voiced of fans calling for the BBC to grant Class a second series – and do this properly the second time around. Allow the show to grow, give it your support – because television shows never amount to anything monumental without a little bit of belief.