It's nearly here!
With the unarguably disappointing Torchwood out of the way, it's nearly time for Doctor Who Series 3, which starts this Saturday (March 31st, 7pm, BBC1). The first episode, "Smith & Jones", sees The Doctor investigating a London hospital which has been transported to the moon, and meeting his new companion Martha Jones, played by Freema Agyeman. Who I already really, really fancy. Not a great deal has been revealed about the series (we don't even know all the episode titles, although they will apparently be revealed in this weeks Radio Times) compared to previous years, but we have had some tantalising glimpses of what lies ahead over the next 13 weeks. If you want to go in completely fresh, I'd advise against reading this article - which rounds up some of the more interesting rumours, ruminations, previews and publicity...
The Newsround website has a series of 14 photographs from Smith & Jones, featuring mysterious, black-clad motorcycle couriers and a creepy old woman. Click here to see those. This episode is already confirmed as featuring the Rhino-headed "Judoon" stormtroopers, who would frankly have a bit of trouble fitting their head in the helmets in those pictures, so who are they? The "Plasmavores"?
The ever-excellent Off The Telly has seen Smith & Jones and the second episode, The Shakespeare Code, and has this to say...
There's just something that feels fresh and new about this third outing. I can't remember Doctor Who seeming so rich - almost to the point of overwhelming. Really, both episodes were fantastic.
Narf! There is certainly a wonderful confidence to starting your series with Doctor Who and a new companion versus Rhino's and Vampires in a hospital on the moon, as opposed to another episode set in "fucking" London/Cardiff in the present day. In fact, glancing at the confirmed episode titles and summaries, this year seems to pay less return visits to the here and now than ever before - the first FIVE episodes are definitely not, aswell as a few later in the run. Russell T Davies has stated that his "nobody wants to watch the planet Zog" diatribe was a massive misquote, and perhaps with two series under his belt, he's confident enough of the audiences investment in the series to make the leap away from incessant present-day Earth stories, and get really, REALLY, sci-fi. Are you giddy yet? I am. Giddy as a goat who's had too much lemonade, and eight lines of ketamine. And four pills. And done a bungee jump.
So, what else do we know?
Gareth Roberts has written "The Shakespeare Code", which is about witches or something. It's his first episode for the new series, but he has plenty of history with Who. Russell T Davies recently namechecked him alongside Stephen Moffat as the writers whose scripts require no tinkering from him before coming to the screen. I like that Davies isn't relying on the exact same writers every year - Mark Gatiss certainly deserved to be put out to pasture for a while after the inconsequential "Idiots Lantern", and I feel that like the Harry Potter films, the production is now so slick and efficient that it'd take a real stinker of a script for an episode not to be at least 75% completely brilliant. It certainly seems unthinkable that the series in it's current form would ever stoop as low as say, "Aliens Of London" again.
We also know that there's Daleks In Manhattan (shot in the actual real New York and rumoured to feature "art deco daleks"), Mark Gatiss stepping infront of the camera as a mad scientist, Derek Jacobi, the return of Captain Jack Harkness, allusions in the first episodes to Doctor Who's brother perhaps foreshadowing John Simm's now confirmed appearance in the last episodes (nobody involved has said the word "Master" yet, but that in itself seems like confirmation enough), a spaceship being pulled into the sun, Paul "Fathers Day" Cornell returning to the fold with a two-part adaptation of his excellent New Adventure "Human Nature", The Face Of Boe and his mysterious prophecy as early as episode three, Jessica Stevenson, Ardal O'Hanlon, THE FUCKING MACRA, a story arc that's got something to do with the new Prime Minister "Mister Saxon" (an anagram of THE MASTER NUMBER SIXX, or thereabouts), more Stephen Moffat excellence, a new blue suit, the probable return of the Time Lords...
Furthermore, Tennants most popular performances with fans have been in "The Runaway Bride" and the last-to-be-filmed episodes of the last series, "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit". He was a slightly more serious, less goofy Doctor here, and appeared to have come to grips with the role better, so I'm ridiculously excited to see what he does over the next 13 episodes. Oh yeah, and there's a new companion, too.
Annoyingly, I CAN'T FIND IT NOW, but somewhere on The Daily Telegraphs website there's an article about the return of the series and how by exploring the core concepts, the series has essentially become a big rumination on loneliness. It's quite an insightful article and definitely worth a read for those who, like me, enjoy the more downbeat episodes of Who.
Well, that about wraps it up for now, I think. I'm off to stare at the countdown to Episode 1 on the official website and touch myself.