Change, My Dear…
Guest contributor Owen Davies thinks it’s time for Doctor Who to shake things up a bit.
Doctor Who has always been a rather strange series ever since it began in 1963 with that strange old box in the junkyard, salt shakers with eyestalks screaming, “EXTERMINATE!” at every available opportunity, and the ability to replace the lead actor whenever desired through ‘regeneration’.
But Doctor Who has not changed that much in its 50 years, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The Doctor and his companions in the TARDIS fly around time and space, saving planets and defeating aliens. It’s a classic formula that has kept the show on air (mostly) since 1963. But with the announcement of Matt Smith’s departure from the series, it might be time for a change. We could soon be seeing the Doctor and her companions saving planets and defeating aliens! In this article, I will be going over what I believe should change in the New Doctor Who, regarding the Doctor and his companions to carry Doctor Who forward past its Golden Jubilee.
As most of you probably know, Matt Smith is the youngest actor to ever be cast as our favourite Time Lord. He was just 26 when it was first announced he would be replacing David Tennant in 2009. He beat the previous record-holder, Peter Davison, by three whole years.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Smith and Tennant are both fantastic Doctors, and Ten is my favourite Doctor overall, but I feel that the current Doctors are too young, too handsome and fresh-faced. They feel like, at first glance, they were chosen just to look nice on a bedroom poster. I think its high-time we had a much older Doctor, someone with white hair and a few wrinkles who carries a cane and is to his companions like a grandfather. Someone more like the First or Third Doctors who felt more like this, rather than Tennant and Smith’s crazy best friend and mad professor routines.
This may also cause some controversy but I would prefer a Doctor who buries his emotions, someone more like an old-fashioned English gent, who can face a Dalek without Tennant’s cocky speeches or Eleven’s cheeky sideways grins. Rather, I would prefer a Doctor who, when face with a Silurian or a Cybermen or a fearsome creature from the depths of the Universe, retorts, “Is that it?” with an unimpressed sigh. This brings me back to my earlier point about the Doctor not showing his emotions. Of course he is still going to be just as terrified as Tennant when he meets the Master again but he shouldn’t show it as much, except for brief moments which would help give a glimpse into his character. He wouldn’t have to be a grumpy, jaded man (or woman!) but he shouldn’t be sprinting everywhere or hopping about the TARDIS control room. He should be, as I said earlier, a classic grandfather (or grandmother), reserved but willing to defend those he loves to the last.
I, for one, am sick of this New Who tradition of the main companion always being a woman who has to fall head over heels for the Doctor, possibly with the exception of Donna and Clara (so far). The male companions, with the exception of Captain Jack, are only ever on the TARDIS to pine after the main female companion, like Mickey and Rory. Although Mickey eventually grew a backbone and left, whereas Rory was very grating with his ‘I love Amy forever’ routine and seemed to exist only to serve as her royal guard.
Therefore, I think we need a season with a main male companion, who doesn’t join halfway through the series because his girlfriend did but because he met the Doctor himself and wanted to join. I’m not against female companions at all but I think perhaps we need another Jamie McCrimmon to join the TARDIS crew.
And another thing: why do all the companions have to be from the 21st century from Earth? I call back to Classic Who, where we had Victoria Waterfield: a Victorian lady from 1866 who travelled with the Second Doctor from 1967-68 or Leela of the Sevateem: a savage tribeswoman who was on the Fourth Doctor’s crew from 1977-78. I personally believe that we need more companions like this, rather than the twenty-something girl from the UK. This would make for a more interesting programme, as we could learn more about life on their particular planet and show their view on Earth cultures and customs. It may make the Doctor seem a little less alien as well and offer up some good comedy moments for some stories.
To sum up, I believe that Doctor Who should change things up a bit to make it more interesting, instead of using the archetype that seems to have become fairly standard from 2005 onwards. This could result in more interesting stories and character arcs for the Doctor and those he brings along for the ride. Here’s to 50 more years in time and space!