The One With the Daleks, for example. Yes, it was rushed. Yes, the revelation that Braceman was an android should have come at the end of an episode, when we'd had time to get to know him, not five minutes after we met him for the first time. Yes. there's a sort of glitch in that it took Braceman ten minutes – it's carefully specified in the script as ten minutes – to jury-rig the Spitfires into spaceships, when, even supposing him to be a Dalek supercomputer, it should have taken at least a fortnight. But even that's not the sort of glitch I can bring myself to get really cross about, because it means that the show is being driven by narrative logic, not engineering logic. Given that he's an android with Dalek blueprints it makes sense that he can rustle up something with which to defeat the Daleks. Given that he can, I don't think my enjoyment would have been greatly enhanced by a caption reading "three weeks later, he did."
After 47 years of careful thought, Terry Pratchett has spotted that Doctor Who isn't really science fiction. In other news: Bob the Builder is an inaccurate depiction of the modern building trade.
If what you want is something that you can think of as a little window into a more or less believable universe – one that carries on existing outside of the frame of your TV set – then by all means, go back to your FASA RPG and your New Adventures. You have your reward. But Steven Moffat laid out his stall pretty clearly on Day 1 ("in which Doctor Who comes to the forest and has breakfast"), and on Day 2, ("in which the whole character of the Doctor is defined as 'he can't bear to see children crying'".)
Do you remember that day in ninetyseventysomething when the Test Match was rained off and the BBC put the Peter Cushing Dalek movie on, unscheduled, on Saturday morning? Or the earnest boy in the school blazer perfectly describing how the Doctor had beaten the Daleks in the previous clip, and Michael Rodd saying "Only the Daleks could be so stupid!", patronisingly? Or even the ninetyeightysomething Panopticon which showed the Invasion of Earth movie on Saturday night, and Jeremy Bentham telling the nearly empty hall that they had just relived the days of Dalekmania?
It's all right, I'm shall spare you Yarvelling, Mark Seven, chocolate and mint ice lollies, yoghurt cartons, slot machines, board games.... My point is that the New New Daleks are brighter and shinier and bigger and have deeper voices than the Old New Daleks. They are, as my god-daughter helpfully pointed out, fiercer. The Doctor confronts them in a big, empty white room, and he beats them because they don't know what Jammy Dodgers are and he does. And very pointedly, when the action cuts back to the Cabinet War Rooms, we look at the Doctor confronting the Daleks in black and white, which was how we all first saw the Daleks, in order to make the point that the New New Daleks are much more like the Old Daleks, indeed the Old Old Daleks, than the Old New Daleks ever were. (Notice that the slats have gone and been replaced by those sort of metal collar things which disappeared after The Chase?)
It's like Russell wanted to the Daleks to be sensible, believable, dark, metallic, Klingons that went up stairs and had existential angst and weird religious fanaticism but who were a little bit pathetic even -- especially -- when they were trying to destroy the whole of Life, the Universe and Everything. Steven wants them to be great big exciting toys in a flying saucer with an interior that looks like how the interiors of flying saucers ought to look, and unceremoniously wipes out the Rusellite half-Daleks in a single scene.
The Daleks aren't serious believable alien life forms: they just aren't. They're 1950s outer space robot people with an impractical design: more like Smash Martians than Borg.
I didn't think that the Doctor was really going to destroy planet Earth, of course, but I did feel that he was being presented with a moral dilemma that was a little on the hard side and he did seem to have to think about it a little bit.
It really is beside the point to say that it wasn't a very believable portrayal of Winston Churchill. There are people out there who think that Doctor Who ought to be about time travel -- that a story set in the War ought to be a story set in the accurate historical War and that cave men should speak with the kind of received pronunciation BBC accents that modern anthropology tells us that cavemen really spoke with. Russell was wrong to say that Doctor Who historicals should be like Horrid History books. Horrid History books are mainly about executions and toilet paper. But Doctor Who historicals have always been set in the world of English school history text books. This may not have been Winston Churchill, but it was Winnie. Not true, necessarily, but certainly memorable.
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