Top 10 Moffat One-Hit Wonders
Guest contributor Connor Johnston lists the top one-story characters created by Steven Moffat
The Universe of Doctor Who breaches far beyond the boundaries of the primitive concept of “Main Characters.” Throughout its almost 50 year run, Doctor Who continues to enchant our lives as we follow the adventures of the Doctor and his various and ever faithful companions, as they travel through Time and Space meeting many friends and enemies aloong the way. It is these secondary characters who are often overlooked in the grand scheme of this amazing show, that do in fact make the stories and the show the wonderful legacy it has become.
Over the body of this article, I plan on playing tribute and exploring the the top 10 one-story characters created by current showrunner Steven Moffat that are sometimes overlooked, and why they are so valuable to the show. From “The Empty Child” to “The Name of the Doctor”, let’s hop on this ride of Moffat’s One-Hit Wonders!!
10. Miss Evangelista
Miss Evangelista was one of the explorers on the expedition to the Library in the 51st century, to investigate its abandonment. Portrayed by actress Talulah Riley (who’s other acting credits include the second St Trinians movie, also alongside David Tennant), Miss Evangelista featured in the epic Moffat two-parter, “Silence in the Library” and “The Forest of the Dead”. Although not one of the most intriguing characters in the history of the show, the character of Miss Evangelista captured the feelings lots of people experience every day. The feelings that “I’m not good enough”, “I’m stupid”, “They all laugh at me” and “I’m worthless” that no one should ever have to deal with. Evangelista’s grace came in the form of Donna Noble, who reassured her that she is a person worth being alive. Soon after that however she is killed by the Vashta Nerada, and we meet a very different yet still very alone version of her in the computer. Moffat uses this character to connect with many people around the world, who have ever thought they are not good enough or that live a lonely life, and reassures them and everyone, “You are special and amazing in your own way.”
Nancy was the single mother of the “Empty Child”, Jamie. She lived in London during the London Blitz and she helped the Doctor restore normality to war-time London. Portrayed by actress Florence Hoath, Nancy featured in the first ever two-parter, “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances”. Yes! Hard to believe that Moffat once wrote female characters that did not have the overwhelming flirtatious and feisty tendencies we see in his many other female characters! Nancy is a character that lived through the modern issues of teen pregnancy, and society’s constant and harsh unforgiving view on it, in a very unmodern world. Such a strong women and a strong character there was no doubt to include her on this countdown.
8. Lorna Bucket
Lorna Bucket was an inhabitant of the Gamma Forests, a ‘Gamma Girl’ who became a Cleric of the Church after her encounter with the Eleventh Doctor as a child. Portrayed by actress Christina Chong, Lorna featured in “A Good Man Goes To War”. As much as I loved Lorna, and as much as I yearned for more of her when she died on Demons Run, I included this character on the list, not for her character role, but for the millions of characters Moffat uses Lorna to represent. Lorna portrays every person who has ever, or who ever will catch a glimpse of the magnificent Doctor, and who live in awe of the legend that they know will never return, but who plays a short yet massively instrumental part in their lives…. He is the Hero.
7. Oswin Oswald
I know! I Know!!! Some of you may be reading this and wondering why I would put one of our dear old Clara’s counter parts into the list of ONE HIT WONDERS! But it’s important to remember that the character of Oswin, even if she is an echo of the companion we have now learnt to love, Oswin has different personality traits to Clara, and is a character that can be used differently by Moffat. She is one of the Soufflés- NOT THE RECIPE! So for the purpose of this countdown I’m viewing Oswin as an individual character. Oswin Oswald was a crew member of the Starship Alaska who aided the Doctor in his escape of the Dalek Asylum. Portrayed by actress Jenna-Louise Colemen (Need I list other acting credits?), Oswin featured in the Moffat story, “Asylum of the Daleks”. Oswin was fun! Almost every one of her cheeky comments made me smile and giggle and fall in love with this fun character! She saved the Doctor, and sacrificed her self. Even with her world that she created was closing down around her, she stood strong and brave in the sight of death. Oswin was a human, not a Dalek! Oswin was a young brave girl! And in contrast to no.8 of this countdown, Oswin was the Doctor’s hero.
6. Miss Kizlet
Miss Kizlet was a servant of the Great Intelligence and worked in the London Shard, taking the living consciousness out of a human body through the WiFi. Portrayed by the AMAZING actress Celia Imrie, Miss Kizlet featured in the Series 7B opener, “The Bells of Saint John”. Miss Kizlet wasn’t evil. It’s with this character that Moffat encompassed the idea of the misunderstood and manipulated victim. Because that’s who Kizlet was a victim. This poor little girl, kidnapped and brainwashed by the Great Intelligence, used as a puppet in a war against humanity. An idea for a character portrayed without problems by the amazing Celia Imrie, Miss Kizlet serves as Moffat’s most recent 1 hit wonder.
5. Madge Arwell
Madge Arwell was the mother of Cyril and Lily Arwell and was briefly a companion of the Eleventh Doctor. Portrayed by the actress Claire Skinner, Madge featured in the second Moffat Christmas Special, “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe”. There are two words encompassing the beauty of this Moffat character: ‘BRAVE’ and ‘STRONG’. Both these words can be summed up in the title of ‘MOTHER’. This woman continues to inspire me every time I rewatch her episode. I still can’t begin to fathom the courage it would have taken to keep the horrifying news that her husband had died from her children. She remained strong to keep her family at peace, and keep Christmas apart from all other burdens in her children’s minds. Madge Arwell, an inspiration.
4. Kazran Sardick
Kazran Sardick was the son of Elliot Sardick. He controlled the skies of Sardicktown in the 44th century. Portrayed by the actors Michael Gambon, Danny Horn and Laurence Belcher, Kazran featured in the first Moffat Christmas Special, “A Christmas Carol “. I love the character of Kazran, and more importantly, I love how Mr Moffat uses this character. We begin with a stubborn old man, that time has turned bitter, and then watch the Doctor reinvent him into a kind, happy person. Kazran serves as a perfect example of how meeting the Doctor affects people’s lives for the better. The magical marriage of Moffat’s character and Gambon’s brilliant acting make “A Christmas Carol” as successful as it was.
3. Canton Everett Delaware III
Canton Everett Delaware III was an ex-FBI agent who accompanied the Eleventh Doctor during the his visit to the United States of America in 1969, having been kicked out of the Bureau for wanting to marry an African-American man. Portrayed by the father and son acting team, Mark Sheppard and William Morgan Sheppard, Canton featured in the Series 6 opening two-parter, “The Impossible Astronaut” and “The Day of The Moon”. Canton was a character that fits the episode perfectly. To me, Canton proved that Moffat could still write a male character that wasn’t the Doctor or Rory, and let him still have a lasting impact on the show. Canton is a character I wish for more of in the future, if an episode would ever suit the character as well as “The Impossible Astronaut” or “Day of the Moon” did.
2. Sally Sparrow
Sally Sparrow indirectly assisted the Tenth Doctor, and encountered the Weeping Angels. Portrayed by the actress Carey Mulligan, Sally featured in the chilling Series 3 episode, “Blink”. Was there any doubt that good old Sally Sparrow would make the list? This is a perfect Moffat-created character due to one fact: He didn’t create her. What I mean by that is while Moffat still created the character, he based her on an average, normal person. Sally was undoubtedly the most normal of any character ever on the show and truly is out of her comfort zone when she is thrown into the crazy world of the Doctor. Sally Sparrow was very much a ‘real’ character, and so iconically wonderful that she is awarded second place in this countdown.
1. Reinette Poisson
Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, often known as Reinette or Madame de Pompadour, was a member of the French court and the official chief mistress of King Louis XV of France. Portrayed by the actress Sophia Myles, Reinette featured in the romantic and at the same time heartbreaking story, “The Girl in the Fireplace”. Madame de Pompadour, the woman who fell in love with glimpses of the Doctor. A girl who very much lived a privileged life, and yet a dangerous one at the mercy of the mostly absent Clockwork Droids. The reason that this magical character tops the countdown today is because Reinette was most probably the one Moffat creation who made us FEEL the most. In her brief appearance we laughed, loved, lost, hoped, grew and cried with Reniette, and finally sat back, with a box of tissues and a tub of ice cream, and observed as our own hearts were torn out, as this magical little girl we met at the beginning of the episode, lost her life, and kept the love and awe she had for the doctor all her life.
And with that we reach the end of our countdown of the Top 10 Moffat One-Hit Wonders! Whether they are single mothers, or French mistresses, victims or heroes, Moffat has explored many a type of characters in his stories so far. One can only wait in patience, and try to keep his or her sanity, as we lead up to Moffat’s 50th Anniversary special, the 2013 Christmas episode and Series 8 in 2014, to see if Moffat can continue his success and create any more one-hit Wonders!