Amy Pond, there’s something you better understand about me because it’s important and one day your life may depend on it: I am definitely a mad man with a box.
Writing the first episode a new series of Doctor Who can be very tricky to get right. Writing the first episode of a new series when you’ve got introduce a new Doctor, a new TARDIS, a new companion and a new primary location can seem like an impossible task. However new series producer and head writer Steven Moffat ticks every single one of those boxes to set the standard for the rest of the series.
Like everyone else, I’ve been waiting for a new full series of Doctor Who for two years. So an awful lot was riding on Steven Moffat to make this episode perfect in order to keep both the media and public on his side like previous head writer Russell T Davis had done for four years. I’ve been reading some of the reviews that have been published on the Internet and there seems to be overall positive praise for Matt Smith; and that’s exactly how I feel too.
Although basically everything has changed such as a new Doctor, a new companion, a new opening sequence, a new theme tune, a new TARDIS, a new primary location, a new set of reoccurring characters, a new head writer, a new producer and a new show runner it still feels like the same show that has been building up its now-adored reputation after being trampled on by the media and viewers alike in the late 80’s.
Of course you’re still going to get the occasional David Tennant fan-boy who’s going to say Matt Smith has changed everything and that he’s changed it for the worse; but what they probably don’t understand is that Steven Moffat knew there would be some people expecting a Russell-David Doctor Who series, which is why I assume he decided to change everything, so people would now expect something different and this was a very smart move.
First episodes of a new series haven’t always been brilliant, such as the lack-lustering series two opener New Earth. However The Eleventh Hour was a brilliantly written and directed episode that has set the bar high for the next 12 episodes – and judging by the trailer we were treated two and the end of the episode it’s going to be fantastic.
The thing I liked about The Eleventh Hour is that it doesn’t heavily revolve around the enemy, because that isn’t the point of this episode, in fact I’d go as far as to say that the enemy is largely irrelevant and that the driving force of this episode is in fact the Doctor’s new body and his relationship with Amy Pond. So I’m glad it focused more on this aspect that the alien enemy. I’m also relieved to see an episode where destruction doesn’t happen in London or Cardiff, but in a quiet English country side because it was becoming very much of a cliché to always see the former two under attack from aliens – why didn’t everyone just move after series one?
Obviously this episode was Matt Smith’s first full one – so it was important he showed the audience that his Doctor is still in the making and that there may be more to his personality than we’ve already been shown. Any actor taking over BBC’s flag ship drama that was previously fronted by universally adored David Tennant would have felt incredibly nervous, not only for the media and fans to like them; but to think that they are a good enough successor. However I did not feel like Matt Smith was trying too hard to woo over the media and fans alike; I instead felt that he was playing as his character, not knowing of anything beyond the show itself and that he was just fitted into the roll easily, and I’m incredibly excited about what he’s got in store for us.
The new companion of this series is feisty red head Amy Pond, (Karen Gillan), who meets the Doctor when she’s 9 years old in her back garden but gets let down by him for 12 years until he turns back up again after what he thinks is a mere 5 minutes. There’s a lot less riding on Karen than there is on Matt because companions aren’t usually compared to the previous companion because they are completely different characters and therefore would be unfair to do so. I feel like Amy is the Doctor’s human equal who won’t swoon over him like Rose and Martha did – but that she’d happily slap the Doctor if he steps out of line which is what I think he needs; which is why I liked Donna so much because she was independent from him.
Last but not least: the new TARDIS. For young fans this was their first time seeing a completely new set take over what they wished their bedroom would look like; so it was important for the design department to get it right. I feel they have achieved this by still keeping the old basic structure of having the hexagon shaped consol in the middle, with the time rotor spiralling up towards the ceiling while at the same time introducing new changes such as the introduction of levels which led to the under side of the consol as well as stair cases leading to yet to be seen rooms. The TARDIS has no concept of design, so it was good for it to be made out of bits and bobs that I think the TARDIS would have lying around in its many attics – my favourite additions are the type writer and the old fashion flip down clock. It’s simply beautiful.
It’s unfair to judge what you think an entire series is going to be like based on one episode – even if you think it’s going to be brilliant because if you set your heights up high you may be let down. However I feel 100% that I won’t be let down and that this is going to be the most beautiful and adored series of Doctor Who to have been made. Change is certainly welcome.
Doctor Who, Saturdays at 6.15PM on BBC One.