Monday, August 05, 2013

Hello I Must Be Going (5)

Go back and watch the final seconds of Name of the Doctor.

It's rather good.

We see the Mysterious Figure, from behind.
Clara asks who he is.
The Doctor says that "he is me"; but then says that although he is me, he is not the Doctor. 

Clara faints.
We hear the Mysterious Figure's voice, saying that what he did, he did without choice, in the name of sanity, and that some day soon, you too will have to make a choice, young Warlock. (I may have made some of that up.)
The Doctor says "not in the name of the Doctor".
The Doctor turns his back on the Mysterious Figure, and (after the Doctor has gone) the Figure turns around, and looks at us.
We see his face for a second—old, beardy, rather weather beaten: a hermit, or and old old soldier, possibly from World War I.
And at that precise moment an on-screen caption tells us about the actor. "Introducing John Hurt as the Doctor" it says. At the same moment we meet the character we are told about the actor playing the character

We've always had a certain amount of interest in The Making of Doctor Who, haven't we? Geeky men making sound effects involving piano wires and Vaseline; anecdotes involving eye-patches and trousers. But this is the first time the meta-narrative has folded into the main narrative to this extent.

Not "Gosh, there's an extra Doctor" but "Gosh, it's the one from the Elephant Man and Alien."

Shortly after Matt Smith's departure was leaked to the press, Stephen Moffat issued a press release.

"Of course, this isn't the end of the story, because now the search begins. Somewhere out there right now - all unknowing, just going about their business - is someone who's about to become the Doctor. A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again! "

A search begins?

A life is going to change?

Is that all it is? Is that really what Doctor Who has become? Another version of the bloody X-Factor?

It isn't about whether a science fictional character with an odd life cycle is going to regenerate into a female form, and what effect that will have on the fictional character's life. It's about whether girls get their fair turn at "being" the Doctor. It isn't about what the personality of the new Doctor will be, it's a back stage soap opera about how joining in the magical special nauseating Doctor Who Family is going to change an actor's life.

And that, in the end, is why I have become disengaged from Doctor Who.

It's not about the stories any more.

It never was.

This essay is going to form the epilogue to the next volume of my collected Doctor Who essays, tentatively entitled "The Viewers Tale vol 4." 

The book will also include the long essay on different approaches to Doctor Who, the essays about season 7 that have already appeared here, and the unpublished essays on The One With The Daleks, The One With the Dinosaurs, The One With The Cowboys, The One With The Cubes, The One in New York, and The Christmas One. 

The book will be avaiable, on Lulu and Amazon in due course. 

In the meantime, the complete text of this essay and the unpublished reviews are available as a PDF, Epub and Mobi in return for a suggested donation of £2. Like Kickstarter only without the grief. 

People who have previously sent me money should already have recieved the PDF and are not allowed to donate again.


Julian said...

Another version of the X-Factor? Perhaps, but I think that image came rather organically because of the nature of the show. It's no secret of course that the role of The Doctor is one of the more coveted of British television (or all of television)and so getting that role would be rather nice to have on your CV.

And it's also no secret that it would be downright impossible to keep the identity of the next actor to get the role a mystery until Christmas, so I think this was basically an opportunity to keep the momentum going before November without compromising the integrity of the show... or until we get the bloody 50th Anniversary Trailer which also would have sufficed.

I really don't think Moffat doesn't care about the stories anymore, I am very, very interested to see where the story goes from here because of the final few minutes of The Name Of The Doctor, because I really do care about the characters. And that's got to count for something, right?

Besides, I don't think "Introducing the Not-Doctor" would have been as exciting or intriguing as what we actually got.

Anonymous said...

I think you deserve a spanking for the ' Geeky men making sound effects involving piano wires and Vaseline' remark.

Hang your head in shame sir!

Delia deserves better.

You'll be giving Crick and Watson the Nobel prize next!

Anonymous said...

I knew there was a reason why, after several years of borderline obsession, I'd stopped caring. I just didn't know what the reason was. You're probably right; but it makes me sad.