Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Doctor Who: Step Back in Time - Series Three

Well, it's that time again!

Time for you to actually post something?

Hey, who said that? No, it's time to take our TARDISes back through the time vortex to a bygone Doctor Who series. In this third instalment of our ongoing series, it's, well, Series Three...

Starring: David Tennant (the Doctor), Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones) and John Barrowman (Captain Jack).
Produced by: Phil Collinson
Executive Produced by: Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner 

Best Episodes

The Shakespeare Code by Gareth Roberts
One of Doctor Who's cleverest and funniest ever adventures, full of tongue-in-cheek references from everything to Shakespearean works to Back to The Future. As with the rest of Roberts' episodes, this is the perfect story to watch if you like your Doctor Who smartly-plotted and chock-a-block with laughs. 

Human Nature/Family of Blood by Paul Cornell
'What if the Doctor was human?' is the simple yet ingenious premise of this emotional pseudo-historical two-parter, the only Who story to be based on a novel. David Tennant gets to play an entirely different character in school teacher John Smith and the Family of Blood themselves are chilling monsters. As polished and accomplished an adventure as any you'll find in fifty years.  

Sound of Drums/The Last of the Time Lords by Russell T Davies
The most all-round entertaining Who finale thus far, with a quasi-political thriller feel, a post-apocalyptic Earth and the greatest villain in all of space and time, John Simm's deliciously demented The Master. While the resolution, featuring a magical messianic Doctor, may be a little hard to swallow it thankfully does not detract from the rest of this corking adventure. 

Read a brief write-up of my thoughts on Series Three's other great episode, Blink, here. 


After Billie Piper's Rose Tyler, a character as integral to the success of the show as the two Doctors she starred with and arguably the companion to make the most emotional impact on the Doctor, the series was hard-pressed to find a replacement. Cleverly, they decided to go for the exact opposite of shopgirl Rose in trainee doctor Martha Jones, whom the Doctor first meets while saving the Royal Hope Hospital from the swift justice of the Judoon.
Whereas the Doctor and Rose, for the first time in the series, shared more than just a friendly bond but a romantic attraction, Martha and the Doctor's relationship also breaks new ground by being one of unrequited love, with the lovelorn Doctor oblivious to Martha's feelings. More so than Rose, Martha's arc across the series is one of maturation and self-discovery. By the end of the series, she realises that she no longer needs the Doctor and returns to her everyday life a much stronger woman.
Conversely, the Doctor has perhaps never been so human. Dejected after the loss of Rose, he never seems to recover as he has with other companions, regularly comparing Martha to her predecessor. With Martha's help, however, by the end of the series the Doctor begins to move on...

Story Arc

Following on from the previous series smatterings here and there of the enigmatic organisation 'Torchwood', Series Three tones this down even more with the even-less regular mentions of 'Mr Saxon', a mysterious individual with political power. From 2006 Christmas special, 'The Runaway Bride', Mr Saxon seems to be behind a lot of the nefarious plots that the Doctor foils. Just who is Mr Saxon?
Harold Saxon it turns out is the newly-elected prime minister and, of course, the Doctor's ancient enemy the Master. As the revitalised series had done an excellent job of updating the classic series' biggest foes in the Daleks and the Cybermen it was a no-brainer that the Professor Moriarty to the Doctor's Holmes would be reintroduced. In many ways, the drama of the Doctor's character is never sharper than when pitted against his exact antithesis in the Master. With such an enemy back in the series, and with such a strong batch of stories as those on show here, Doctor Who was really claiming mastery over all television.

P.S. Mister Saxon is an anagram of Master No Six (as Simm is the sixth actor to the play the character). Oh, those fiendish writers.

Next month: Series Four - The Most Important Series in The Whole of Creation...

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