Sunday, 30 December 2012

Countdown to Doctor Who at 50: The Eleventh Doctor

As we are now just a DAY away from entering the year of Doctor Who's anniversary, now seems the perfect time to come to our finale stop in our year-long countdown to the big event as we take a look at the very cool Eleventh Doctor. Geronimo!


The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.
                                                          The Doctor (Matt Smith)

After fifty years and ten previous lead actors in the role you'd be forgiven for thinking that surely each and every avenue the character of the Doctor can be taken down has been explored. However,  Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor proves that a new Doctor can carry everything that's gone before him and still add something of his own. Mr Smith is a man so endearing in the role that he has done what many would have thought impossible (after the unanimous popularity of David Tennant) and convinced new and old Doctor Who fans alike that he might just be the best Doctor yet, as proved in recent polls. The wonderful thing here is that his adventures are still unfolding and his character could go anywhere. All we know for sure is that, for the foreseeable future, Matt Smith is the Doctor!

The Eleventh Doctor is an immediate contrast from his previous two incarnations. While they preferred contemporary fashions such as leather jackets, slim suits and converse trainers, this Doctor clearly shows his alien roots in his apparel; a tweed jacket, braces and a vehement belief that bow ties (and assorted head gear) 'are cool!' This reflects his personality as well as this Doctor is more alien in every way. He is a complete genius, with a lightning mind that he likes to engage every instant - he particularly hates waiting around - which often causes him to babble a lot as he tries to keep up with it. He has also lost much of his predecessor's social abilities - as seen when acting very nervous around women attracted to him and a mistaken belief that he should kiss people when meeting them. However, the Eleventh Doctor, of course, possesses boundless kindness and also a great wisdom gained from his long, long life. Beneath his young-yet-old face this incarnation truly feels the oldest of all the Doctors as he seems to have such a sadness in his hearts. In a similar vane to the Tenth Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor started life as a freer light-hearted soul before becoming more sombre and perhaps harder as he suffered great blows. In 'The Snowmen', for example, the Doctor had apparently retired from world-saving after the loss of his two best friends...

As the Doctor himself said, Leadworth residents Amy Pond and Rory Williams 'were the first faces this face saw' - he met the pair shortly after regenerating when he had to stop the Atraxi from destroying the Earth while also tracking down the snake-like Prisoner Zero. However, the trio's friendship was a very unusual one - even compared to previous companions. Meeting Amy as a child - thanks to a TARDIS timing malfunction - the Doctor left Amy waiting for a whole fourteen years before she properly travelled with him, and soon after her fiancee Rory. As a couple in the TARDIS, Amy and Rory were unique as Doctor Who companions as they had an ordinary, proper life alongside their adventures. They got married, had a kid (let's not go there now) and temporarily separated (blub) before their lifelong relationship with the Doctor was cut short by Weeping Angels and they were sent back in time to live the remainder of the lives in 1930s New York. But the glorious Ponds will be forever 'seared onto (the Doctor's) hearts.'

Overall, unlike the other Doctors on this list, we can't judge the legacy the Eleventh Doctor will have but what we certainly do know is the current effect he is having; being a key part in steering the show to new highs as it sails in rude health into its 50th year. And its thanks to Matt Smith, David Tennant, Christopher Eccleston, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Tom Baker, Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell, that Doctor Who has reached this milestone - and, who knows, might well see another fifty years. If only we had a TARDIS to go see...

The Ones to Watch

Vincent and the Doctor

The Doctor and Amy have to rescue 'the greatest artist who ever lived' Vincent Van Gogh in this corker from Richard 'Blackadder' Curtis. Simply an incredibly touching tale of loneliness and depression that is equally accessible to adults and children alike.

The Wedding of River Song

The enigmatic River Song's story and that of the Doctor's apparent death comes to a close as the entirety of time starts to collapse! A barmy series finale that ties up a few loose ends and creates several new ones; an episode that totally encapsulates Steven Moffat's take on the show.  

The Angels Take Manhattan

As the Weeping Angels close in on the Ponds in New York, it seems this could be his and the Ponds' final adventure. Superbly acted and finely scripted, this is an a heartbreaking end to the story of Amelia Pond and Rory Williams.

P.S. Happy new year, everyone!

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