It’s been a while since I purposely sat down and watched an episode of Doctor Who live as it aired on TV, but the combination of Jodie Whittaker’s last episode and the promise of centenary celebrations from the BBC made me think this was one to make the effort for. And it turns out, it really was. A ninety minute special, the show was packed full of great story and wonderful characters and did, ultimately, culminate in the cliffhanger to usher in the next DW era.
A show with such a vast history was ideal to continue the 100 years of BBC celebrations, and so whilst it was a surprise to see old faces show up (former Doctors, including Paul McGann and former companions, including Katy Manning), there was an element of expectation there. What I hadn’t anticipated was David Tennant to pop up in the way he did. It’s no secret that he and Catherine Tate are returning to reprise their roles soon but I didn’t think it would be Tennant’s head that emerged from the yellow mass of regeneration energy. I honestly can’t wait to see what they do next year.
But, back to the present, and it was a great episode for both Jodie Whittaker and Sacha Dhawan, they absolutely stole the screen together and apart. Dhawan is particularly good at that wild-eyed mad monster who deep down just wants to be loved. His reactions to being abandoned by Yas and then trying to convince her that he would be fun to travel with, so insightful. Poor Yas, knowing exactly what was happening at the end and not being able to do anything about it.
There were Daleks and Cybermen and blah blah but this episode was about the people and it was fantastic. That glimpse of how companions feel once they have been left behind (the support group at the end!), the regret for someone who enjoys the adventure but knows there’s a real life out there too, and then, of course, those that want the travels to continue but realise they’ve come to the end of the journey. Beautiful.
The only bad thing about this episode is that it is now a really long time to wait for the next instalment. However, this episode reminded me how much I enjoyed Jodie’s time in the Tardis (except for Flux, I need to revisit as I don’t think I gave it the right attention to properly engage with) and that potentially it might even be fun to go back and watch some of the Who episodes of old. Got to do something to fill the time, right?