“I’M so sorry … “
So said the Doctor when he wiped Donna’s memory and so – I hope – RTD was thinking when he decided on her fate.
As I have said before, Catherine Tate has been a wonderful companion for the Doctor, surpassing my expectations by a mile, so to reduce her back to Donna mk1 was beyond cruel – it was unforgivable, but it made the end of series four unforgettable.
She has been a true touchstone for us throughout this series, without ever falling into the doe-eyed ‘I love you Doctor’ camp. When she became DoctorDonna – putting aside the jarring change of tone and seeming ease of defeating the Daleks – I marvelled at what she was doing and wondered what could happen next.
What I didn’t expect was such a downbeat and sad ending for her character – back to Big Brother and the X Factor, alcopops and temping, and saying goodbye to the Doctor like he was nobody, because to her, he was.
It was like the ending of Butch and Sundance or Planet of the Apes – triumph and tragedy blended together, so you struggled to know what to feel.
I think it was the stillness of those final scenes that helped them stand out so much, coming after an episode that was crammed with action.
Probably too much action really, as even at 65 minutes it seemed rushed in places. But when your complaint is that there was too much great stuff, that’s not too bad a thing.
While the hand regeneration thing felt like a bit of a cop out, the regenerated half-human doctor showed the depths to which the character can sink and at least allowed the Rose storyline to be completed.
Davros was truly chilling – considering Ben Kingsley and Anthony Hopkins were linked with the role earlier this year, I don’t think anyone could have done a better job than Julian Bleach.
The shot of the companions helping to fly the Tardis was great too, and I was so carried away by that stage that I was willing to accept the Tardis dragging the Earth.
But then there was poor Donna, who ensured that Russell T went out with a much deeper and darker conclusion than anyone expected.
Steven Moffat will have to go some when we start again, but I bet no-one knows that more than him.
So here’s to Donna. To RTD. To 2010. And to days to come.