“I DON’T want to go …”
Oh Doctor Dave, by the end of The End Of Time part two I didn’t want you to go either, because you showed us once again just what we would be missing.
Yes, as with all RTD stuff, TEOT was a rollercoaster ride, packed with highs and lows, successes and failures, chaos, in jokes, complete mistakes and spot on, emotional triumphs. Just like the Doctor himself.
But put it all together and what you get is a fantastic, frustrating, involving and emotional send off for an actor and a Doctor who have set our screens ablaze (sometimes literally) over the past few years and that I will never forget.
It seems churlish to nit pick at an hour and a bit of television that put me through the ringer to this degree, but as I said it wasn’t all perfect.
The end of time itself! The Time Lords are coming back! Everyone looks like the Master! Donna will burn up if she remembers! Everything from the Time War is coming and it’s really bad! James Bond is a Time Lord!
Basically everything that left me overloaded in part one was dismissed with the equivalent of a click of the fingers, leaving the Time War as the elephant in the room of new Who and the major threats deflating like a five day old balloon. The side effect of that was we didn’t get enough Dalton and some of the other characters, like the generic prophet Time Lady woman and the Naismiths, may as well have been cardboard cut-outs holding dialogue speech bubbles.
Could the dispirate parts have been linked together better, or just jettisoned? I suppose so, but ultimately this wasn’t about them in the final reckoning and what we got was more than enough.
Cribbins especially made me laugh the hardest – he fired laser guns for god’s sake! – but also cry like a baby whenever he had to. I always picked Catherine Tate as my favourite new companion, but she has been supplanted now by Bern, who I would snap up if I was a TV producer of anything after watching this. He has an evil superpower of making me cry at will.
As for Tennant, to see the Doctor’s face when he disbelievingly realised he’d survived the imminent doom of everything, only to hear four soft taps from an old man on a glass box and know he was doomed was acting of the highest order.
I thought it was a very effective twist that I did not see coming and that had me shouting at the screen in shock, frustration and sadness.
And while he raged at the unfairness of it all, the Doctor’s selfless act of sacrifice completely rejected the Time Lord Victorious and his saving of ‘important people.’
The scene reminded me of Spock’s death in the Wrath of Khan with its glass boxes and radiation, but instead of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few or the one, here Tennant’s Doctor remembered the needs of the one, anyone, always outweigh his. No one is more important to him, and quite right too.
And the regeneration! Good lord it went on as he visited seemingly everyone he had ever met – I was expecting the milkman from The Stolen Earth to get a look in.
As I was watching it I thought ‘this is a bit self indulgent by RTD’, but the more I watched the lovely little vignettes, the more I thought so what? People may bitch and moan about it, but I don’t care because I didn’t want the programme to end and what’s more, Doctor Dave deserved the extended send off.
My favourites? Seeing him meeting Joan Redfearn’s descendent and asking was she happy was a lovely nod to one of my favourite Who stories, when the human Doctor fell in love in Human Nature and the Family of Blood.
Then when the Doctor gave Donna what will be a winning lottery ticket, it was a beautiful touch to say he borrowed the pound in the past from Geoffrey Noble, Donna’s dead father. I was in tears again, because Howard Attfield (the actor who played him) would have come back in the role that eventually became Wilf but couldn’t because he was in the final stages of battling cancer. His family must have been touched beyond belief.
And Rose. His last meeting would always have been with Rose and unlike the last time Billie Piper returned, this was heartfelt, touching and a wonderful way to close five years of Who.
So on to Matt Smith. 90 seconds or so is too little to make any judgements, but he certainly looked like he belonged on the Tardis (did he spit on the console? I’ll tell his mum!) as he screamed geronimo, which was all Steven Moffat could have hoped for.
In a few weeks it will be spring and we will be watching Matt take on the Doctor and the Tardis to new adventures, but The End of Time allowed us to recognise and celebrate what has been a golden time for Who.
When it came back, no-one knew what would happen as it ended so sadly in the Sylvester McCoy era, but it was magnificent and young and old fell in love with The Doctor all over again.
David Tennant, RTD and the rest of the gang – as I have said before – deserve our thanks and praise for that and they will always get them on this blog.
I don’t want you to go … but I’m happy you were here. It has been a blast Doctor Dave.
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