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Doctor Who 50th Anniversary

Sunday, November 24th, 2013
1 Comment

So the 50th Anniversary is over how did it go?

Let’s quickly get the bad out-of-the-way.  And by bad I mean atrocious.  Doctor Who Live: The After Party.  Get lots of people to do with the show in a room and make something embarrassing.  Similarly with pointless appearances on other shows to hype the 50th Anniversary.  Graham Norton being his usual pointless self promotional self (can someone find a Frost or a Parkinson and give them a chat show that just involves interviewing). Saturday Kitchen should have used the omelette challenge jokes and not tried to do the pointless reference at the end.  The fluff that binds together modern TV in some idea that saturation with your brand is the best form of marketing when you don’t have a clue how to do it properly.  Personally (if you can’t guess) this whole strand gets a straight U (Unclassified).

Now on to the indifferent – I’m looking at The Ultimate Guide to Doctor Who and the Culture Show.  I call them indifferent because they didn’t seem to have worked out that they were going to cover the same ground.  A bit of demarcation would have worked leaving two better shows.  The Ultimate Guide should have focused on the history of the show.  The Culture Show could then have taken a different approach and focused squarely on the shows cultural importance and impact. Instead the Culture Show drifted into telling the show’s history.  I’d rather have seen some big names, not known for Doctor Who, sitting around for 30 minutes and talking about how it impacted their work and life. I’m going to give them both a C (Try harder for the 75th Anniversary)

The Science of Doctor Who: now we’re starting to get into the better quality stuff.  The main problem here was the same problem that the Christmas lectures suffer from – celebrities instead of kids doing the experiments and the experiments just weren’t good enough.  Had it been a series with a bit more variety than is time travel possible it might have been better.  I’ll give it a B.

Who is The Doctor? from BBC Radio 4 Extra manages to be a better stab at a documentary about Doctor Who.  Still falls into being a talking head show.  At least there were signs of higher intelligence and more interesting selection of heads to talk to.  I’ll give it a B+.

Now onto the happy stuff – where I don’t have to be a grumpy (not so old yet thanks) man

The Doctor Who Prom 2013.  Got the mix of music from the first run and the modern series right.  A bit of showmanship and a lot of good orchestral music.  The Doctor Who prom Intermission. A 20 minute discussion / documentary of the music of Doctor Who.  What the other two documentaries should have been – fun mixed with interesting facts. I’ll give this an A.

The Night of the Doctor: this web short was snuck out with no fanfare.  10 minutes to do a great job of linking the 1996 TV Movie with The Day of the Doctor. Another A here.

An Adventure in Space and Time.  A far better and more interesting take on giving us a slice of Doctor Who history than either documentary.  Lovingly done as when the BBC turns its hand costume drama. A+.

The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot: another one that snuck out.  Brilliant fun – the perfect pin to pop the balloon of the awful after party.  Another A+.  If you’ve not seen it watch it after Day of the Doctor as it has (tiny) spoilers.

Finally the main event – Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers.  Personally I think they had just the right number of Doctors included, any more and they have had to split the show up into too many competing performances.   A nicely done plot with a good mix of pulp, science fiction, big ethical questions, character moments and nods to the past.  Definitely an A+.

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One Response to Doctor Who 50th Anniversary

masodo Monday, December 23rd, 2013

I just discovered your website Mark and look forward to delving a bit deeper into the offerings here.

I enjoyed your take here on the Doctor Who hullabaloo - Particularly that embarrassment that WAS the after-party. I am with you also on awarding A+ to that good-natured mis-adventure of The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.

While The Day of the Doctor stands as a fine tribute to 50 years of Doctor Who, the celebration would have rang a bit hollow without the release of "Reboot"


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