Two updates before I launch into my Doctor Who primer – and upload my official new script later today.
1) I am now in Edinburgh, as evidenced by my endless series of Fringe theatre reviews, which I hope you’re enjoying.
2) I now have a facial hair arrangement which is known in current parlance as a “monkey’s tail”. Rejoice!
Now. Doctor Who.
Doctor Who is a very, very old science-fiction program brought to us by the lovely people at the British Broadcasting Corporation in the 1960s. Over time its creators, and its characters, have moved on and even passed on – bringing with them a certain tone and some would say a certain quality. Even the Doctor himself, a Time Lord with a Jurassic lifespan, has the ability to “regenerate” when fatally injured – which, in production circles, is called “recasting the lead”. What started as a quick fix to the loss of an actor became a central tenet of the series, allowing each new Doctor to bring a new side to the character, and often a change in the show’s direction. This goes doubly for the eleventh Doctor, as the beginning of his tenure was also marked by the debut of new showrunner Stephen Moffatt.
A new show every few years. Not a bad idea.
But who is the Doctor? There’s a hell of a lot of wikipedia out there you could be checking out right now rather than looking at my oddly-misshapen facial features, so I’ll keep it brief. He travels through time, in his spaceship / home / police box known as the TARDIS. Bigger on the inside, mind of its own, lovely faucets. All that.
And what does the Doctor do when he arrives in 17th century Piccadilly, or 29th century Botswana, or the end of the world? He helps out. Because it’s a TV show, and there’s always something to be fixed. What makes the Doctor different then your run-of-the-mill action hero is he thinks, he cares, and he has fun. He never fires a weapon. He tries diplomacy over letting the good side “win”. And he does it in spite of what the universe throws at him.
What the universe throws at him is what you could call “the other half” of Doctor Who – the companions. Every Doctor since the beginning has picked people up along the way, usually human, often female – though romance has only ever really blossomed once, and that ended with Billie Piper trapped in a parallel universe. So yeah. The companion serves two purposes, inevitably inter-twined – an audience surrogate, to be told the things we need to know. And a human, to ask the questions we’d like to ask. Because the Doctor, for all his nice-ness, is not human – and he occasionally needs a hand in that area.
Amelia Pond, then. She first met the Doctor when she was just a little girl. The “raggedy man” landed on her doorstep, told her he’d be right back – and didn’t return for over a decade. Amy was bored, by then, and Amy was a bit odd – and Amy ran away with him. She had adventures, she saw the future, and she kissed the Doctor – all before he politely rebuffed her, and all before she had the decency to tell him that she was engaged. And she’d taken off in his flying machine the night before her wedding.
All ended well though – the Doctor and Amy picked up her fiance, a slightly timid and easily threatened nurse named Rory, and their adventure continued together (with a wedding thrown in for good measure). More, a hell of a lot more, happened to them along the way, but this story isn’t about that.
All you need to know is that the Doctor is good, that Amy and Rory love each other unconditionally, and that time travel will feature. But maybe not in the way you’d think.
I hope you enjoy reading it, because I very much enjoyed writing it.