Ten top stories from New Who
More DVDs to watch to celebrate 50 years of Tardis travel
The Eleventh Hour
Both Steven Moffat and Russell T Davies have said there’s a real joy to be had in writing ‘introduce the Doctor’ episodes, and this was Moffat’s first. Everything is new - Doctor, Tardis, companion - and Moffat has tons of fun with them all.
It has its moments of utter silliness - Patrick Moore is a world authority on aliens, indeed; sonic-ing a laptop to boost its broadband connection - but these wither away as soon as Matt Smith strides confidently forth across the roof of the hospital and through the holographic representation of the Doctor’s former selves. It’s an awesome ‘I have arrived’ sequence.
And there’s genuine poignancy in the Doctor’s accidental abandonment of the young Amelia Pond, wonderfully played by Caitlin Blackwood, who is actually more engaging than Karen Gillan and proves to be the perfect foil to the newly regenerated Time Lord getting to know his new self.
Moffat’s trademark snappy dialogue gets plenty of room to stretch its legs here too. Whether you’re a fan or not, The Eleventh Hour is a real joy to watch.
The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances
Steven Moffat’s first story for the reboot established his trademark quick-fire dialogue, his sense of the eerie and his ability to come up with smart plot twists. No, Earth isn’t being invaded by alien parasites, they’re microscopic medical robots following the programming and fixing physical and genetic wounds as best as they can. It’s not their fault that their initial examination of the human form was incorrect.
Try to repair a badly mutilated little boy in a gas mask - we’re in London at the height of the Blitz - and they figure the mask is part of the organism. Ergo, everyone without one won’t be whole and healed until they do.
The result is a scary transformation preceded by the brief, ghost-like appearance of an eerie little child - a boy with no face, just a hollow head and a single call, “Are you my mummy?”
There’s the now inevitable New Who social realism, of course: the boy’s mother is a pre-welfare state, single, underage mum. But it’s worth putting up with all that to see the sheer bloody joy on the Doctor’s face when everything goes according to plan and the day is won without loss of life.
You can see why Christopher Ecclestone got the role, and see why it’s a such shame he didn’t want to take the character further.