PG'S TV Tips - Who's sorry, now?

The Tardis

The Tardis

First published in Leisure News
Last updated

IT'S a case of Who's sorry ... now.

I grew up with Dr Who - not literally- as I'd be 2,000 years old.

I remember the first incarnation in the '60s of the dignified, intellectual form of British star, William Hartnell, and the arrival of The Daleks.

They are part of my youth and now, in later life, they come back to make guest appearances as I get older.

They are not as scary, but their re-appearances remind me of many happy boyhood Christmasses when mum and dad bought me little pieces of Whovian memorabilia.

Every doctor has a hard act to follow and we all have our favourite Time Lord and our least favourite.

Just like the Bond franchise.

Matt Smith was - like David Tennant - too popstar-esque as three dimensional, fleshed out characters.

I loved Liverpool's Tom Baker, but just couldn't take to the cold-as-ice Christopher Ecclestone.

There have been twelve doctors and I have interviewed seven of them including the latest, Peter Capaldi.

And his arrival is a welcome change of direction - to some extent.

He is spikey, serious and funny - yet, there is a sense of melancholy amid the mayhem he finds himself in.

Each doctor has been lost amongst the stars for many light years.

In August 2014 he now looks dapper and The Tardis has had a make-over. It would be worth a fortune on Location Location Location - if you could ever find it.

So all things look sparkling for the next 11 weeks. But no sonic screw-driver can fix one celestial hiccup.

There are some issues that I wish the producers of this global brand would look at.

This is a family show, but I feel young and old are being alienated by the stories and other creative issues.

The Doctor's assistant, Clara, is played by a fine actress in Jenna Coleman and she looks beautiful - in fact so much so I thought she was would be ideal in a Pet Shop Boys video. But as a central figure in a drama - no.

Clara is a distraction we don't need - the surreal storylines need all our attention.

Surely this doctor would be better as a solo operator?

I can't see the point in her being there - with no love or paternal interest and, apart from looking stunning amid some of the odd looking monsters, she is merely artistic padding.

But the real problem lies in the plots.

You would need a doctorate to fathom out what on earth (no matter what century he finds himself in) are going.

The first episode, Deep Breath, made me take deep breaths in calculating just where the story was hurtling.

An opening episode is always a tough one to launch a new series, but they threw everything at the viewer like one of those ice cold buckets of water we have all been hyped up to accept on social media.

Hype is a problem here because the producers seem more intent on promoting the brand than the actual show.

There were times when it reminded me of Patrick McGoohan's equally complex series The Prisoner.

Dr Who looked great - but what was going on in the minds of the writers - led by Stephen Moffat and his star crew?

When I first watched Dr Who there was a simple formula - good versus evil and a cohesive structure.

All the doctor's enemies were never wiped out leaving them to return. And he can't die - so there have always been religious undertones. The Doctor is on a journey and we are with him- sometimes.

I knew where I was in the early days, but recent Dr Who stories have given me galactic headaches.

I can't do cryptic crosswords and that is what it felt like trading to unravel the opening plot.

But I will persevere. I just hope the writers think more of substance over style.

Liverpool's acclaimed writer Frank Cottrell Boyce has written a future episode, so I look forward to his clever take on the subject matter.

Welcome back Doctor, you are a real tonic to the schedules which are drowned out with game shows and reality tripe.

With Capaldi at the helm we have a real talent who can make this much-loved piece of British telly tradition a must -see diary date.

I wish this Dr Who well and I hope that the back room gm think about the viewers and not the merchandising departments who, at the moment, I would happily exterminate.

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