Author Topic: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years  (Read 36428 times)

daf

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Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« on: May 03, 2021, 09:09:11 AM »
As suggested, here's a thread for chat about old episodes from the re-booted series.

2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat years.






Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2021, 09:25:13 AM »
Quote
Where do I put my thoughts on rewatching old new Who from the start?

I've just spotted Perry Benson in the Eleventh Hour. That's made my Sunday.

Easter weekend put Rose on and just worked through an episode or two at a time when I've had the chance. Just got to Eleventh Hour.

Enjoying so far. Very few truly duff episodes - the worst seem to be the finales as RTD reaches for a big red button of some form - and even something a bit filler like, oh, 42 has enough to keep you occupied.

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2021, 09:33:12 AM »
Best era the show ever had, and, while it's easy to crap on Chibnall's output, I don't know how many writers there are out there who could have created anything living up to either Rusty or Moffat's spells in charge.

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2021, 11:20:09 AM »
I was watching Series 6 recently for its 10th anniversary. The episode I enjoyed the most was The Curse Of The Black Spot. Probably a case of right place, right time or low expectations or something... but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it is, given it seems to have a bad reputation. Not perfect - three pirates get killed in the first 10 minutes and I don't know any of their names - but it has some lovely moments of pathos without feeling forced. Had a similar reaction to episodes of series 10 that I'd dismissed or found unmemorable, only to find they weren't too bad after series 11 dropped.

Basically what I'm trying to say is while not every episode stuck the landing, every episode is packed with invention and good stuff. The Capaldi era was a prime example of not knowing what you have until it's gone - I was bored of Moffat by 2017, but now I want him back...

Series 1 was the strongest series, with 3, 4, 5 and 10 close behind.

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2021, 01:04:25 PM »
I can only rate the first 8 seasons properly as I gave up watching regularly halfway through season 9 and haven't gone back. But in order of enjoying them at the time [with favourite episodes in brackets]:

Series 5 [Eleventh Hour, Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, Amy's Choice, Vincent and the Doctor, Pandorica Opens/Big Bang]
Series 6 [A Christmas Carol, Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon, Doctor's Wife, Rebel Flesh/Almost People, The Girl Who Waited]
Series 1 [Dalek, Father's Day, Empty Child/Doctor Dances]
Series 3 [Human Nature/Family of Blood, Blink, Utopia]
Series 7 [Asylum of the Daleks, The Snowmen, Hide, The Crimson Horror]
Series 4 [Unicorn and the Wasp, Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, Turn Left]
Series 2 [The Girl in the Fireplace, Impossible Planet/Satan Pit]
Series 8 [Listen, Mummy on the Orient Express]

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2021, 02:35:46 PM »
A lot of this I haven't rewatched for years, but here's an impulsive tiering:

top tier:  3, 5, 10, 50th anniversary
second tier:  1, 4, 6
third tier:  8, 9
fourth tier:  7, 2009 specials
fifth tier:  2



I could probably break each series down more thoroughly from best to worst, but that would involve rewatching everything.  So that's it for now.

daf

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2021, 02:43:08 PM »
There's still a couple of episodes I haven't got round to from the RTD years * - mainly the 2009 Tennant Specials, as BBC3 skipped those when they re-showed them a few years later (I missed the original BBC1 broadcasts due to flouncing out early doors, thinking it was all a bit CBBC : with all the fart jokes etc.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
* (Just checked - 'Midnight', 'Planet of the Dead' & 'Waters of Mars' )


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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2021, 03:07:23 PM »
Make some time to watch 'Midnight' as soon as you can!

Season three definitely the highlight for me - after a couple of stuttering seasons it absolutely hit its stride and served up a string of classic stories. In fact, great though it was to have Eccleston's Doctor and Shearman's 'Dalek', season three would have been the ideal way to kick off the relaunch. With the exception of 'Midnight' season four was Tate-d into oblivion so it was a relief when Moffat's first season brought the standard back up. Most of the seasons after that were so inconsistent it's difficult to rank them. The double-episode format of most of the season none stories was a misfire and it was nice of course to have a better TARDIS crew in place for season ten. 


[edit: 'season none'? that sounds like such a Moffat meta-idea]

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2021, 03:16:20 PM »
[edit: 'season none'? that sounds like such a Moffat meta-idea]

He he! They should release McGann's box set as 'season none' - poor sod!

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2021, 03:41:48 PM »
The Christmas Specials rank separately from the series.  Bearing in mind I haven’t seen some of these more than once, so am basing this purely on how I remember feeling about them at the time:

- A Christmas Carol (2010)
- The Snowmen (2012)
- The Husbands of River Song (2015)
- The Runaway Bride (2006)
- The Christmas Invasion (2005)
- Last Christmas (2014)
- The Next Doctor (2008)
- The Time of the Doctor (2013)
- Twice Upon a Time (2017)
- The Return of Doctor Mysterio (2016)
- The End of Time (2009)
- The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe (2011)
- Voyage of the Damned (2007)

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2021, 04:06:58 PM »
That Charles Dickens one (The Unquiet Dead) seems to have been written as an Eccleston Christmas special - I wonder if they'd have held it back if he stayed a bit longer.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2021, 04:13:52 PM »
He he! They should release McGann's box set as 'season none' - poor sod!

Lead with A Fix With Sontarans and call it Season Nonce.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2021, 04:16:43 PM »
That Charles Dickens one (The Unquiet Dead) seems to have been written as an Eccleston Christmas special - I wonder if they'd have held it back if he stayed a bit longer.

Unlikely, as Gatiss wrote that and nobody but the showrunner has written any of the Christmas episodes.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2021, 04:45:31 PM »
Well to be fair the idea of a Christmas special or the rules of same (“Never tell me the rules!”) hadn’t really been established yet…

purlieu

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2021, 04:48:10 PM »
Controversial opinion alert, but I find most of the RTD era really embarrassingly bad. Like, I would turn it off if I thought someone might catch me watching it. I get why that version of the show needed to exist to make the show a hit, but my God I hate it. Fart jokes, Captain Jack, Big Brother, the whole soap opera aspect of the companion’s families, The Doctor bullying his companion’s boyfriend and then falling in love with his companion, his ludicrous response to Rose leaving, Rose coming back undercutting that even further, the ugly TARDIS interior and everyone being inexplicably jostled around every time they travelled, the TARDIS towing the Earth across the universe, Tennant’s never-ending leaving scene and him generally being a brat about regenerating, the fucking Peter Kay episode, The Doctor carrying the Olympic torch, RTD’s inability to write truly gripping finales so him just throwing the kitchen sink at it and then having to one-up himself every year... it all just feels like it was written by an over-excited 14 year old.

There are bits of series 3 I like, and probably most of series 4, but other than Moffat’s stories, I find the first two series ugly, crude and patronisingly broad. The later series of The Sarah Jane Adventures felt more adult than the first two series of Who.

I think series 5 and 6 did a lot to repair it, an emphasis on atmospheric stories and production, much more mystery and subtlety in the stories, a TARDIS team without any angst, a move away from the London-centric stories, universe-threatening finales that could be told with merely the main characters and some weird time phenomena... series 7 felt like a conscious attempt to be more like the RTD era and, if he’d know Smith was leaving, I think Moffat would have done it differently. Capaldi’s first two series were a mess, just unnecessarily convoluted and boring at times, with Clara not helping, but with a lot of really good ideas in there. I absolutely love series 10, which is up there with 5 and 6 for me, and it’s really sad we didn’t get chance to have more 12 and Bill.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2021, 05:24:37 PM »
Well to be fair the idea of a Christmas special or the rules of same (“Never tell me the rules!”) hadn’t really been established yet…

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.

In any case, with the question of whether it could have been held back as a Eccleston Christmas special - it could also have been held back for a Tennant Christmas special I guess?  There's nothing about it that particularly says 'uniquely ninth Doctor'.  So I don't know whether Eccleston staying on would have been as much a guiding factor as knowing in advance they'd be getting the Christmas slot.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2021, 05:27:24 PM »
...

The Clam Paradigm

Even the best episodes of Doctor Who seem embarrassingly bad when heavily scrutinised. ;)


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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2021, 05:28:14 PM »
Controversial opinion alert, but I find most of the RTD era really embarrassingly bad. Like, I would turn it off if I thought someone might catch me watching it. I get why that version of the show needed to exist to make the show a hit, but my God I hate it. Fart jokes, Captain Jack, Big Brother, the whole soap opera aspect of the companion’s families, The Doctor bullying his companion’s boyfriend and then falling in love with his companion, his ludicrous response to Rose leaving, Rose coming back undercutting that even further, the ugly TARDIS interior and everyone being inexplicably jostled around every time they travelled, the TARDIS towing the Earth across the universe, Tennant’s never-ending leaving scene and him generally being a brat about regenerating, the fucking Peter Kay episode, The Doctor carrying the Olympic torch, RTD’s inability to write truly gripping finales so him just throwing the kitchen sink at it and then having to one-up himself every year... it all just feels like it was written by an over-excited 14 year old.

There are bits of series 3 I like, and probably most of series 4, but other than Moffat’s stories, I find the first two series ugly, crude and patronisingly broad. The later series of The Sarah Jane Adventures felt more adult than the first two series of Who.

I think series 5 and 6 did a lot to repair it, an emphasis on atmospheric stories and production, much more mystery and subtlety in the stories, a TARDIS team without any angst, a move away from the London-centric stories, universe-threatening finales that could be told with merely the main characters and some weird time phenomena... series 7 felt like a conscious attempt to be more like the RTD era and, if he’d know Smith was leaving, I think Moffat would have done it differently. Capaldi’s first two series were a mess, just unnecessarily convoluted and boring at times, with Clara not helping, but with a lot of really good ideas in there. I absolutely love series 10, which is up there with 5 and 6 for me, and it’s really sad we didn’t get chance to have more 12 and Bill.

Yes, I agree with all of this.

At the time I found RTD's Who painful, and once Moffat was announced as the new showrunner I was just biding my time until he arrived.  As Tennant regenerated I was thinking "yesssss!! fuck off fuck off fuck offf!!" until his self-pitying tearful face was finally replaced with Matt Smith.


However, Chibnall has worked wonders to make me look back on RTD's era with fondness.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2021, 05:29:11 PM »
The Clam Paradigm

Even the best episodes of Doctor Who seem embarrassingly bad when heavily scrutinised. ;)



There is a deep-rooted difference between poorly executed moments and a fundamentally uncomfortable show.

purlieu

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2021, 05:57:30 PM »
RTD’s era is definitely bolder and more fun than Chibnall’s in one eye and out of the other forgettableness, but I think I’d probably take the latest two series over the first because they don’t make me uncomfortable, and they’re quite nice to look at, unlike the horrible, horrible design of those early ones.

Really, though, I’d love to have another Moffat-style run. There’s something really wonderful about his best stuff, a really thick atmosphere that reminds me of the some of the best bits of the classic era, especially the move away from London.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2021, 05:58:45 PM »
The combined RTD-Moffat era has its wobbles[1] - even Twin Peaks has wobbles - but these are generally outshone by one-off gems and stretches of brilliance. The conclusion of Series 5/beginning of Series 6 is its strident peak (honourable mentions to Series 3, the fiftieth, and Series 10).

Tom Baker said that the Doctor is not really an acting role, as the character doesn’t change - but that’s not true of this era. Each Doctor has undergone development, most notably toward moments like ‘coward, any day’, the Time Lord Victorious, and the War Doctor’s redemption. And let’s pay attention to the inspired casting throughout - Eccleston, Tennant, Smith, Hurt, Capaldi, Jacobi, Simm, Gomez. Bang on every time. Great efforts in the monsters department, too. Weeping Angels, the Silence, the Ood - it can't be easy to scatter memorable new creatures into a 50-year pantheon.

From 2005, RTD carefully layered new and returning elements with great elegance (the introduction of the fob watch and the Master’s return is a neat micro-capitulation of this writing ability). The biggest new element, of course, is the Time War. Some people hate what Moffat revealed/added in 'The Day of the Doctor', but I can only agree with his reasoning - the Doctor would find another way. It generated a bold and positive anniversary special, and also sensibly relieved the Doctor of his irredeemable genocide-guilt (whilst preserving the past thanks to the War Doctor’s forgetting).

When Moffat takes over in 2010, he quickly loses control of whatever the hell the Daleks are up to, but his continuation of the Master’s story is exceptional. Drawing on elements of character and relationship set out way back in Series 3 by RTD, Capaldi’s finale beautifully resolves the Master’s story. Some fairly reckon that 'Twice Upon a Time' is unnecessary, but I think it’s a lovely conclusion. All arcs resolved, we can dispense with villains and evil in the era’s final hour. The Doctor is simply given time to look his own life in the eye before departing with a renewed, forward-looking optimism. Thematic bows have all been neatly tied, and Capaldi's departure could’ve capped the entire show.

Unfortunately...
 1. many of the worst identified by purlieu

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2021, 06:03:27 PM »
Yes, I agree with all of this.

At the time I found RTD's Who painful, and once Moffat was announced as the new showrunner I was just biding my time until he arrived.  As Tennant regenerated I was thinking "yesssss!! fuck off fuck off fuck offf!!" until his self-pitying tearful face was finally replaced with Matt Smith.


However, Chibnall has worked wonders to make me look back on RTD's era with fondness.

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.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2021, 06:04:05 PM »
Quote
way back in Series 3 by RTD

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2021, 06:17:53 PM »
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.

When it first returned in 2005, I found it too bombastic on every level.  From the theme tune onwards it was communicating an emphasis on clattering action.  I didn’t like the soap opera character elements, the manic pace I felt everything had (my barometer of perfect pacing was Pertwee’s era, the occasional repeats of which I had devoured in the early 90s), and the way I felt every story was resolved very suddenly and magically in the last four minutes after a build-up of unreasonably high stakes.  There were exceptions to the norm, and Moffat’s two-parter from series 1 stood out in its elegance.

As it turned out, these elements would only worsen over RTD’s time as he gained in confidence, but I preferred the tenth Doctor’s connection with Martha and Donna to his awful love story with Rose.  I hated all that.  I prefer the Doctor to be asexual, not pan-sexual.  That continues to be my preference.  He or she should be wise, infinitely old compared to his human companions and romance shouldn’t enter into it. 

Of all the RTD years, I find I have returned to series 1 the most.  There’s something beautiful about the way it’s trying to learn what kind of show it is, and it knows that so much potential future success will rest on its shoulders.  It’s weird listening to the DVD commentaries of series 1 because, if I recall correctly, they were recorded before they knew the show would be successful.


All this said, it has been a long time since I’ve watched any of RTD’s run.  Someone posted a clip recently from what was - at the time - a fairly substandard episode (the Daleks two-parter from series 3 I think) and in terms of pacing, humour, direction, everything, it shone an immense light on the abject deadness of Chibnall’s version of the show.  It positively fizzed with creativity and energy, and you could just tell that everyone involved in making the show loved it.  That’s the thing - despite everything that I disliked at the time, it seemed to be a labour of love.  This came across in all the side projects as well - all the interviews and behind the scenes stuff.  Whereas for Chibnall and his team it instead all comes across as more like a chore.

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2021, 06:30:38 PM »
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
* (Just checked - 'Midnight', 'Planet of the Dead' & 'Waters of Mars' )

"Midnight" and "Waters of Mars" are excellent, amongst the finest episodes he ever did.

"Planet of the Double-Decker Bus" is awful.  Only "Voyage of the Damned" is worse, as I recall.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2021, 06:37:10 PM »
"Midnight" and "Waters of Mars" are excellent, amongst the finest episodes he ever did.

"Planet of the Double-Decker Bus" is awful.  Only "Voyage of the Damned" is worse, as I recall.

Sounds about right to me.  That double-decker bus episode was bafflingly poor at a time when we assumed that fewer episodes would mean unrivalled quality because RTD would be spread less thinly.  In terms of the pivotal image of the episode, I wonder whether it would have been stronger if the bus hadn't been ruined - in real life - by its transportation process to its desert location.  Or whether it would have made no difference.

I wonder this because a routemaster standing in a desert might have been a much stronger image if it had looked new and gleaming red.  Everything else in this episode seems to have been written around the idea of this location (cor, not a quarry in England!) and the incongruity of this bus standing in it.  And it could have at least looked brilliantly bizarre and alien if it had worked out as conceived, rather than accommodating the fucked exterior.


Not sure whether it would have meaningfully saved the episode, though.  Just made for a more arresting image.

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2021, 07:44:10 PM »
There is a deep-rooted difference between poorly executed moments and a fundamentally uncomfortable show.

I'm not saying anyone's right or wrong for liking or disliking any particular era, it's just all much of a muchness to me. The flatulence jokes and "here come the drums" were obviously shit for cunts but the creepy sex gags and rapid-fire innuendo-filled quips that defined the tone of Moffat's era made me personally feel as much, if not more, discomfort from the new series.

As an adult I've always had to look beyond something to unironically enjoy Doctor Who. Sometimes it's a giant clam, sometimes it's so-called "soap opera characters" and sometimes it's lines like this:

Quote from: Doctor Who
A mystery wrapped in an enigma squeezed into a skirt that’s just a little bit too tight.

The reason I don't like any of the Chibnall episodes I've seen is that they're so insubstantial if I "looked beyond" them I'd be staring at the back of the living room wall.

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2021, 07:54:51 PM »
you could just tell that everyone involved in making the show loved it.  That’s the thing - despite everything that I disliked at the time, it seemed to be a labour of love.  This came across in all the side projects as well - all the interviews and behind the scenes stuff.  Whereas for Chibnall and his team it instead all comes across as more like a chore.

Couldn't agree more, Replies From View. The RTD series was very much built on enthusiasm and fond childhood memories of classic Who - most people working on it watched the show in the 70s and 80s. That doesn't exist now, perhaps because most people working on it now were born during the Wilderness Years. Or perhaps because it's just been on air for so long people take it for granted. But either way, it's like I was saying to someone the other day, nowadays people don't seem to know what to do with it.

But these things come around... those who grew up with the Davies and Moffat eras - for they have left their mark - are growing up and starting to enter the media. That might be a cause for hope. Maybe.

Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2021, 09:35:24 PM »
I have such warm memories of Series 1 because it was so thrilling that they'd managed to pull it off and it not be awful. Also seeing kids walking about doing Dalek impressions in thhe street. I know Eccleston gets stick for the "whacky" bits of acting but I honestly think he was utterly fantastic in the role. I'm not sure the show would've been such a success without him. Piper is incredible too and the chemistry between her and Eccles is something else. I still love Series 1.

Series 5 felt like the beginning of an exciting new era (it's still the best series) that unfortunately seemed to unravel and run out of steam soon after. Pulled it back with Series 10 and Bill though. Capaldi's Doc and Bill I would've loved to have seen 2 more series of (with Nardole).

Thomas

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Re: Doctor Who 2005-2017 : The RTD & Moffat Years
« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2021, 10:02:16 PM »
My first disappointment with the trajectory of the Moffat era was the Series 6 finale. I wondered if we might get an ethically tangled conclusion, with a Ganger Doctor[1] being the one to die on the beach. This would come packed with all the questions of identity that Moffat would play with down the line - what (and who) does it mean to be the Doctor? It would also mean that a Doctor really was killed on the beach, as excitingly teased. If Moffat was feeling ballsy, he could even have left it ambiguous as to which Doctor was sacrificed - our original or the Ganger. We'd need never know. He'd tap Amy on the nose and say it doesn't matter (à la Osgood and her duplicate).

Unfortunately the resolution employed the far less interesting of the two doppelganger devices in the series.

This lacklustre reveal was compounded by the appalling Wardrobe Christmas special. Add to these disappointing episodes the sense of fragmentation, with a split series and a long gap between 6 and 7, and my interest wavered.

I'd gone off the show a bit during Series 4, as well, but that's mainly because I was suddenly busy having friends and hanging out and enjoying sunny evenings. A temporary diversion.
 1. and if you recall, the Flesh people were rendered biologically 'real' by the environment of the TARDIS, so it would have been a true version of the Doctor.

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