Monday, 10 November 2014

Doctor Who - Finale of Season Eight - How Good is the New Doctor?

"Would you like a jelly baby?"

A memorable, now iconaclastic, quote from probably the best loved of all the Doctor's, Tom Baker. The longest serving actor in this perennial series and by far my favourite. Although, that in itself is a knotty issue. Yes, I loved Tom's tenure on the show but so did I William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and, just for the sake of  balance, David Tennant. They all brought something new, invested fresh character traits into our beloved Gallifreyan time Lord.
There have been those I didn't quite take to. No fault of the actors who played the role but more mistakes made by whoever controlled the show behind the scenes. Colin Baker's awful coat for one, and I never quite took to (on my own here I fear) the all action antics of Jon Pertwee who I meet many years later at a charity function when he was, incidentally, pissed as a fart. Again, no fault of his acting ability, it just didn't seem right. I didn't actively dislike them, apart from that coat, they just didn't either have or weren't allowed to, pursue paths down our favourite time travellers personality that I found interesting.
So then, Peter Capaldi, does he cut the mustard?

Well, after the perpetually energetic, frenetic and at times downright juvenile Matt Smith's Doctor, a time lord fresh out of kindergarten, who gave the Doctor a twist of youth and ebullience never seen before, Peter Capaldi delivers a Scottish Doctor, replete with Glaswegian accent and Glaswegian kiss attitude, that is far more dangerous at times, certainly darker, and who comes frocked not only in Bowiesque suit but also a deeply alien persona.
At times, he has given us the impression of not liking us humans very much. His inability to hug or empathise with anyone is off-putting if not slightly alarming. Is he really a defender of Earth? Does he really care less? It becomes evident he does but that he struggles with expressing his 'feminine side.'  He does care but finds us at best tiresome yet still loves us enough to risk life and limb ensuring we are not invaded by Daleks, Cybermen (Cidermen as one of my daughters used to call them) or indeed that worst villain in a long line of them, The Master.
From the first episode in series eight, where we meet again Madam Varstra, Jenny and Strax I was enraptured by Peter Capaldi's performance. Yes, he a little disturbing at times but isn't that how both Hartnell and Troughton played him? He is the Doctor that is, from another planet. Surely we wouldn't expect an alien to behave as we do? I like the Doctor to have an unpleasant side, one that makes you wonder what he will do next. It is the never knowing that adds vital tension. And besides, he has that willywobbly run that looks like  something sharp is pressing into his coccyx. He just has IT. 
In this series we have witnessed several things and as far as I am concerned all good bar one issue. A Doctor is back slightly grim and rather snappy at times, also rude to young people and old. A man who could so easily, at the toss of a coin, explode into a rage or slip into indifference. The relationship with Clara has not been an easy one and yet she, Clara, portrayed by Jenna Coleman, has been a revelation. Jenna has acted her boots off. In long, long list of companions she rates highly. The method used to have the Doctor whizz off leaving Clara to do her day job before calling on her at the most unexpected and inopportune of times has been refreshing as has the love action between Clara and Mister Pink. As for Missy, as played by Micelle Gomez, that actress deserves an award. What a 'masterful' performance. Nutty as a bag of frogs. A really delectable foil to Peter Capaldi's serious endeavours. I do hope she returns. I am sure she will.
The one issue? No appearance by Alex Kingston as River Song. Please don't tell me she really is dead? Gods I love that woman.
I would l also, as this is my blog, would like to cast my vote to bring back not one travelling companion but three. It has been done before, not that it matters if it hasn't when the first Doctor had two females and one male on board the Tardis with him. My vote would go with those three I mentioned earlier.... The Paternoster Gang...
I thought series eight was superb in almost every way but most important of all I think it has delivered another 'classic' Doctor as played by Peter Capaldi. Now all we have to do is wait for two months, or thereabouts, for the Christmas Special. Happy viewing.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

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