Author Topic: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years  (Read 3355 times)

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2021, 10:22:14 PM »
I'm not sure that ever occurred to me. But a Ganger Doctor would've been a far better conclusion with it being ambiguous who had really survived.

Edit: Ooh, hello. New Page. That's weird.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2021, 10:35:07 PM »
Not sure about that.  I don't know whether any duplicate Doctor would have felt satisfactory - it was an inevitable cop out either way - but I'd probably feel quite queasy at the idea of the Doctor from now on being a slimy clone from the Flesh episode.  I don't know if I can go with the idea that the duplicate Doctor would be a real Time Lord with the ability to regenerate and so on.


It's hard enough to think of all the billions of Peter Capaldi Doctors killed in Heaven Sent.  The idea of 'original' blurred quite heavily there.  But a Flesh version for the series 6 finale and thereafter?  It's a whole other level.  For me.

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2021, 10:38:41 PM »
Moffatt's run has two big flaws, one that only get worse with time and one that perhaps he couldn't help.

First, he (correctly?) works on the premise that the questions will always be more interesting than the answers. So already in Season 5 we've got Silence Will Fall, the Pandorica, the crack (and what's behind it). The Silence/Silents stuff is solved, as it were, in a single conversation in the Time of the Doctor. I still don't really understand how the TARDIS got blown up. And by the time you got to those final Smith episode, there was a weight of 'stuff what needs to be resolved'. This basically suffocated Name of the Doctor. And by Series 9, with the Hybrid shoe-horned in, there's no longer any expectation that the arc will be resolved in any meaningful manner.

Second, and I think others may have better insight on this, Moffatt's hand was forced with cast changes and departures. The end of Day of the Doctor absolutely does not feel like a penultimate Matt Smith story. There's a season missing that leads to Trenzalore. Later on, Last Christmas would have worked exceptionally well with the Clara grew old ending. IIRC, there's three points where Clara could have left before she did (and she didn't anyway, thereby throwing Hell Bent away).


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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2021, 11:08:23 PM »
Edit: Ooh, hello. New Page. That's weird.

I must say I think the "new teeth" line is one of the best pieces of script in New Who - borderline genius.  It's the first time we've seen the Doctor regenerate whilst standing up, he's been conscious the entire time rather than falling asleep and waking up as a new person, and naturally the first thing he's experiencing on a sensory level is his new tongue inside a new mouth.  And yeah, it would be weird.  It's so obvious yet perfectly insane at the same time.  It captures the purest brilliance of the show at its core.


Moffat clearly attempted to repeat this magic in the first sequences of both Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi, but they never felt so organic and simple - they were longer and felt more contrived, even though they weren't bad in themselves. 


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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2021, 11:09:16 PM »
My takeaway from the RTD and Moffat eras isn't so much the individual series varied in quality (although they obviously did), but that the episodes within each series were far more inconsistent than any other show I can think of. One third of each series was usually fairly awful, One third was always fairly mediocre, and the last third was usually so good you stayed with it for another year. The worst series had fewer high, and the best had fewer lows, but it was always a show where sitting down to watch a new episode felt a bit like playing Russian roulette.     

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2021, 11:14:37 PM »
it was always a show where sitting down to watch a new episode felt a bit like playing Russian roulette.   

I think I told this forum about the time I was so buoyed after watching 'Girl in the Fireplace' that I simply had to invite one of my friends to watch Doctor Who with me; I was no longer going to be ashamed about unconditionally sticking with Doctor Who.  It had worked out what kind of show it was, and it had now hit its stride.

So my friend came over and together we watched 'Fear Her'.

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #36 on: May 03, 2021, 11:16:36 PM »
I must say I think the "new teeth" line is one of the best pieces of script in New Who - borderline genius.  It's the first time we've seen the Doctor regenerate whilst standing up, he's been conscious the entire time rather than falling asleep and waking up as a new person, and naturally the first thing he's experiencing on a sensory level is his new tongue inside a new mouth.  And yeah, it would be weird.  It's so obvious yet perfectly insane at the same time.  It captures the purest brilliance of the show at its core.


Moffat clearly attempted to repeat this magic in the first sequences of both Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi, but they never felt so organic and simple - they were longer and felt more contrived, even though they weren't bad in themselves.

Absolutely agree. Although I'd say Moffat did better 'Doctor about to regenerate dialogue'. Eccleston saying "You were absolutely fantastic" is good but Smith's monologue before he regenerates always gets a lump in my throat. That could be due to Smith's performance though.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2021, 11:18:55 PM »
I truly loved the show, and for many years considered it my favourite TV program. I just loved it because of those three to five episodes each year, rather than because I thought the overall show was good. But I really, really loved those three to five episodes.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 12:47:06 AM by Kelvin »

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #38 on: May 03, 2021, 11:21:00 PM »
Absolutely agree. Although I'd say Moffat did better 'Doctor about to regenerate dialogue'. Eccleston saying "You were absolutely fantastic" is good but Smith's monologue before he regenerates always gets a lump in my throat. That could be due to Smith's performance though.

Smith's regeneration is the best in the show's history. It's just the perfect balance of actor and character saying goodbye.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #39 on: May 03, 2021, 11:47:56 PM »
Smith's monologue before he regenerates always gets a lump in my throat. That could be due to Smith's performance though.

He's superb. Just that bit where he takes the bowtie off and lets it fall to the floor - worth a thousand words.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #40 on: May 03, 2021, 11:59:46 PM »
Second, and I think others may have better insight on this, Moffatt's hand was forced with cast changes and departures. The end of Day of the Doctor absolutely does not feel like a penultimate Matt Smith story. There's a season missing that leads to Trenzalore.
Indeed, I think Matt leaving after three series was an even bigger loss than Capaldi and Bill only getting one series together. The hunt for Gallifrey should have been the series 8 arc, with a finale where The Doctor concludes he'll never find it, only then to be given the extra set of regenerations in Time of the Doctor. It would have felt earned then. It felt like that whole story starting with The Eleventh Hour was set up to bring the return of the Time Lords, but Moffat was juggling too many plates and not counting on Matt leaving so soon. Then he did more plate juggling by running Who and Sherlock at the same time, which undoubtedly fed into the unfocused feel of Capaldi's first couple of series.

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #41 on: May 04, 2021, 12:19:50 AM »
I truly loved the show, and for many years considered it my favourite TV program. I just loved it because of three to five episodes each year, rather than because I thought the overall show was good. But I really, really loved those three to five episodes.

That is probably the best way to think of it. They managed some really great episodes even if they needed an extra seven or eight a year to find those handful of good ones.

Looking back at each series, it is interesting to list the episodes that I think I would have any interest in revisiting without just watching during some big rewatch in a decade or two:
Series 1 - 4/13 (Dalek, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, Father's Day)
Series 2 - 3/14 (The Christmas Invasion, School Reunion, The Girl in the Fireplace)
Series 3 - 7/14 (The Runaway Bride, Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks, Human Nature/Family of Blood, Blink, Utopia)
Series 4 - 12/14 (Partners in Crime, Fires of Pompeii, Planet of the Ood, The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky, The Doctor's Daughter, Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, Midnight, Turn Left/The Stolen Earth/Journeys End)
2009 Specials - 0/5
Series 5 - 11/13 (Chibnall is a waste of fucking space)
Series 6 - 1/14 (A Christmas Carol)

I realise that Daleks in Manhattan was very badly received but I have this memory of it being very kitsch and tonally very different to all around it which made it standout. It was fun in a way that other Dalek stories of the time weren't. Silly fun like the patchy type of Dalek story you'd get in the Pertwee era.

I'm probably being very kind to four or five Series 4 episodes there. Partners in Crime and the final two episodes in particular. Likewise probably being very unfair to The Next Doctor and The Waters of Mars. The Next Doctor has an wonderful A-plot with the fake Doctor but is completely undermined with the dreadful B-plot with the Cybermen and the atrocious ending. The Waters of Mars was okay IIRC but it does set up my least favourite Doctor Who story ever so fuck it.

Series 6 was the last full series I watched. The thing is it is a much better series than Series 1 and 2. It is probably on par with Series 3 in terms of quality. The problem I had with Series 6 is it all just felt so meh after the heady heights of Series 5. Nothing aside from the Christmas Special really stood out for me. I know people really dig The Doctor's Wife but that one never chimed with me.

I stopped watching after Asylum of the Daleks. It was all just too meh to bother with at that point. I realised I got more from rewatching old episodes than from watching new episodes so why keep on bothering. I did watch the 50th Anniversary episodes which I enjoyed but then disliked the Capaldi episodes I caught (despite thinking he was wonderful casting). I do plan on watching Series 7-10 at some point but I'm going to wait until they are far more divorced from "now" so they can be viewed in much the same way as I viewed Classic Who. I want to experience Series 7-10 as old archive TV rather than something with perhaps higher expectations. I think I might enjoy it more with that attitude.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #42 on: May 04, 2021, 12:50:47 AM »
Returning to the 'embarrassed by bits of it' theme, my list was just the first examples of the overall tone of the show that came to mind. Ultimately, the two Rose series at least were basically a TV show that I didn't like, and certainly wouldn't even have watched if they weren't part of a long running show that I'm generally a fan of. I can see past the odd moment I dislike, but the whole thing just felt so naff start-to-finish that I constantly cringe when I do watch it. The odd episode aside.

In terms of episodes that I really like:
Series 1 (2/13): The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances
Series 2 (1/14): The Girl in the Fireplace
Series 3 (4/14): Human Nature / The Family of Blood, Blink, Utopia
Series 4 (7/14): Partners in Crime, Planet of the Ood, The Doctor's Daughter, Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead, Midnight, Turn Left
Specials (0/5)
Series 5 (10/13): The Eleventh Hour, The Time of the Angels / Flesh and Stone, Amy's Choice, The Hungry Earth / Cold Blood, Vincent and the Doctor, The Lodger, The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang
Series 6 (10/14): A Christmas Carol, The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon, The Doctor's Wife, A Good Man Goes to War, Let's Kill Hitler, The Girl Who Waited, The God Complex, Closing Time, The Wedding of River Song
Series 7 (8/16): The Power of Three, The Angels Take Manhattan, Hide, The Crimson Horror, Nightmare in Silver, The Name of the Doctor, The Day of the Doctor, The Time of the Doctor
Series 8 (3/12): Listen, The Caretaker, Mummy on the Orient Express
Series 9 (4/14): The Magician's Apprentice / The Witch's Familiar, Heaven Sent, The Husbands of River Song
Series 10 (8/14): The Pilot, Knock Knock, Oxygen, Extremis, The Pyramid at the End of the World, World Enough and Time, The Doctor Falls, Twice Upon a Time

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #43 on: May 04, 2021, 06:43:46 AM »
I remember I tried to sit down and rewatch Series 9 and just could not be bothered. I think Heaven Sent is the only episode from that series I can sit through again. Having loads of 2 partners was just such a misfire. Plus Capaldi's doctor was all over the fucking shop. Moffat clearly needed a break.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 07:10:03 AM by lipsink »

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #44 on: May 04, 2021, 07:30:56 AM »
A series of two-parters was definitely a response to two series of single-parters, like they were suddenly trying to catch up.  No idea what was going on behind the scenes there.

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #45 on: May 04, 2021, 08:02:39 AM »
When they were writing series 1, I don't think there was any real certainty that there would be a Christmas special or later series.  They were very much living in the moment.  Maybe if they'd known in advance that they would be getting a Christmas special they wouldn't have set The Unquiet Dead at Christmas, dunno.

Definitely the case. They were given the Christmas special and the second series AND the second Christmas special and third series as the recommissioning after completing the Eccleston year.

Quote from: RTD
For us, it was the BBC who asked for it. We brought back Doctor Who in 2005. I was so unaware of the possibility of a Christmas episode that I did a Christmas episode in our first series, where the Doctor meets Charles Dickens, and it's Christmas Day, and it's snowing, and there are ghosts. So that's actually secretly the first Christmas special, it just didn't go out at Christmas.

Must say I'm surprised you think that - I mean I know the RTD era had its ups and downs but it was massively fun to watch on the whole.

I felt very similar to Replies overall. RTD's "bugger the plot making sense, enjoy the foolishness!" attitude, ludicrous finales, Tennant's two-note performance and the extremely variable quality of non-Davies episodes really burnt me out by the end of the run (I was thoroughly healed ten minutes into The Eleventh Hour). That said, he definitely brought the series back in a way which cemented its status, I'm always eager for his non-Who new series, and two of his Who scripts are masterpieces.

bafflingly poor at a time when we assumed that fewer episodes would mean unrivalled quality because RTD would be spread less thinly

RTD's name only went on Bus Planet and Waters Of Mars as writer because it was easier to sell a one-off "season" of just four episodes overseas if they all came from the showrunner. (IIRC Roberts, who was commissioned for it based on one of his 1993-ish Who novels, lightly disowns it too - but just because of standard part-of-the-job rewriting, no actual beef about his vision being trammelled by interference.)


Second, and I think others may have better insight on this, Moffatt's hand was forced with cast changes and departures. The end of Day of the Doctor absolutely does not feel like a penultimate Matt Smith story. There's a season missing that leads to Trenzalore.

This is almost exactly right. Smith didn't sign on for Day Of The Doctor until a few weeks before the shoot: at one point, without Smith, Tennant or Eccleston signed on, Moffat had to do a draft with just Clara and Billie in it. When he did sign just for two specials, Moffat had to crunch the entire arc of Series 8 into a 80-minute Christmas special, which then got edited down to an hour timeslot.

Quote from: A Hat Like That
Later on, Last Christmas would have worked exceptionally well with the Clara grew old ending. IIRC, there's three points where Clara could have left before she did (and she didn't anyway, thereby throwing Hell Bent away).

Yeah, the first Coleman-decides-not-to-leave is fine because Last Christmas works SO much better as a departure, but then her sticking around again detracts somewhat from both Last and Hell Bent. But loads of Moffat's Who is him deciding he fucked a theme and trying it again from a different angle the next year - it helps to think of it as time eddies.

(If she had left in Last Christmas, we might have gotten some dud Clara-alike companion in S9 anyway, not anything like the fantastic PCap/Bill/Nardole team. Nardole wasn't even thought of being added to S10 until halfway through the year's shoot, incidentally.)

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #46 on: May 04, 2021, 10:34:44 AM »
This is almost exactly right. Smith didn't sign on for Day Of The Doctor until a few weeks before the shoot: at one point, without Smith, Tennant or Eccleston signed on, Moffat had to do a draft with just Clara and Billie in it. When he did sign just for two specials, Moffat had to crunch the entire arc of Series 8 into a 80-minute Christmas special, which then got edited down to an hour timeslot.

It's amazing watching those last two specials again just how little actually happens in them, yet they still feel so big and epic. Day is mostly three blokes bickering in the Crystal Maze, Time is mostly Smith talking to a Cyberman prop head. You can tell that Moffat had no budget, but he's pulled out all the stops to hide it.

Contrast that to Chibnall's run where there's so much going on, but it all feels so insignificant and pointless. Cyberman heads all flying about shooting everyone should be infinitely more exciting than a man using an almost dead, static one as a companion to stave off madness, but it just isn't.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #47 on: May 04, 2021, 12:29:32 PM »
My opinions are close enough to Replies' and to purlieu's to make it pointless to repeat them but anyway

I definitely feel more warmly towards the RTD era now that it's neither current Who or recent past Who. I found it hard to be disappointed with the Moffat years just because he fixed almost all of the stuff I hated about RTD and kept what I loved, even though he brought his own problems. And now it's recent past Who I can't help but compare the Moffat years to what we've got now, which is always going to make it look like The Wire. It will be interesting to get a more objective view one day.

I spent most of the RTD years desperate to see more references to the original run, and every tiny little nod that said 'yep it's the same story' gave me such a buzz. There was no way to keep that going forever of course but it was nice while it lasted. Now if something is resurrected for Chibnall's Who I just think, 'great, another thing he's going to bollocks up'. Maybe one day I won't mind it so much. It'll be like the late 80s. Yeah it was shit but it came back.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #48 on: May 04, 2021, 12:46:16 PM »
One thing that I don’t agree with is criticism of the burping bins and farting aliens and all that. I mean he was trying to attract a new generation of kids, and he did it brilliantly. I think some fans genuinely forget it’s supposed to be for children.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #49 on: May 04, 2021, 12:57:01 PM »
One thing that I don’t agree with is criticism of the burping bins and farting aliens and all that. I mean he was trying to attract a new generation of kids, and he did it brilliantly. I think some fans genuinely forget it’s supposed to be for children.

Which begs the question:  can a child truly love anything that doesn’t fart?

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #50 on: May 04, 2021, 01:32:45 PM »
You can tell that Moffat had no budget, but he's pulled out all the stops to hide it.

Yeah, I loved that about Moffat's era. His first finale was basically just the Doctor and his companions running around an empty museum with one Dalek. I think they probably did maybe one too many episodes with just the Doctor, Amy, Rory and River Song though.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #51 on: May 04, 2021, 01:45:09 PM »
I think some fans genuinely forget it’s supposed to be for children.

And that's exactly the revelation I had half way through the first series when I was tryng to pinpoint what was bugging me - "Ohhh . . I get it - it's made for kids now!". So I left it and got on with other stuff, till Matt Smith turned up, and I gave it another go (later catching up with the RTD bits I'd missed on BBC3 repeats).

The original series was made for a family audience rather than just children - with Douglas Adams often quoted quip that the secret to Doctor Who was by "making it simple enough for the adults to understand but complicated enough to hold the children's attention".

I think Robert Holmes (or Terrance Dicks?) used to have a "bright 13 year-old" in mind as their audience.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 02:01:23 PM by daf »

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #52 on: May 04, 2021, 03:29:22 PM »
I don't think the "for kids" thing works that well, as, since the '70s at least, it's been clearly aimed at a family audience, a show that should appeal to adults as much as kids. It had a primetime Saturday evening slot, while The Sarah Jane Adventures was the CBBC show. I also think it's kind of patronising: do kids need farting aliens and burping bins? The original run never had them. Children don't need toilet humour to make the show work on their level.

I dunno, maybe they do. For me, though, things like that just added to the overall feeling of that version of the show being very much not for me.

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #53 on: May 04, 2021, 03:32:42 PM »
Kids love Jar Jar. Jar Jar was a farting alien. It all makes sense.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #54 on: May 04, 2021, 03:42:18 PM »
It never felt like a kids' show under RTD the way it does now under Chinballs. It was never wall-to-wall farting aliens - I think they got the balance pretty much right -well they must have done, it wouldn't have been such a success otherwise. Nowadays I really do feel uncomfortable watching it - it feels like CBeebies, and mediocre CBeebies at that.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #55 on: May 04, 2021, 04:52:24 PM »
It's definitely a family show. The drama in Capaldi's finale two-parter, and the ideas in episodes like The Impossible Planet and Heaven Sent, are richer and more compelling than many adult TV dramas. A surprising number of characters commit suicide, either in the course of the action or to save the day. You wouldn't catch the central conceit of Extremis on CBBC. An adult viewer is certainly liable to get more out of Doctor Who than from Torchwood, which is a kid's show that kids aren't allowed to watch.[1]

Very rarely, the show veers to the furthest edge of family entertainment - the terror and implications of 'don't cremate me' would provide a nightmarish reveal in a depressing existential horror film. Probably the single darkest moment in the era we're discussing. Bill's cyber-conversion is close.
 1. except, needless to add, the brilliant Children of Earth.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #56 on: May 04, 2021, 05:35:39 PM »
Well put. The farting aliens are only in 3 episodes in the Ecclestone series. The rest of it varies in quality but most of them have more in them than CBBC, and some of them hit some pretty high and serious notes.

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #57 on: May 04, 2021, 06:39:06 PM »
The remaining farting alien doesn't ... err ... fart in Boom Town iirc. The childish stuff in Season 1 is done by all done by about halfway through which makes me think it was something they realised worked out of the system.

(I actually rate Boom Town. Its a good little episode while tying a number of things going on in Season 1 together)

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #58 on: May 04, 2021, 06:46:13 PM »
Quote
(If she had left in Last Christmas, we might have gotten some dud Clara-alike companion in S9 anyway, not anything like the fantastic PCap/Bill/Nardole team. Nardole wasn't even thought of being added to S10 until halfway through the year's shoot, incidentally.)

Shona was initially written as a possible companion

(and I liked this scene a lot so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmYr3CCfvpo)

The Wendy-esque gone too long way of writing out a companion would have been excellent as well.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #59 on: May 04, 2021, 07:14:54 PM »
The remaining farting alien doesn't ... err ... fart in Boom Town iirc. The childish stuff in Season 1 is done by all done by about halfway through which makes me think it was something they realised worked out of the system.

Or they wanted to give children a false sense of security with all the silliness before bringing in the proper scaries.  Fair enough.

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