Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sigh - Dr Who series finale - SPOILERS AHOY!

Ah well, où sont les neiges d'antan? Poor old Donna, mind-wiped, Rose exiled across the universe along with psycho Doctor 2, Martha gearing up for full-time Unit/Torchwood action, Sarah Jane settling down into domesticity with her lucky Luke (what a cool mother to have!). The companions have been well and truly dispatched to the past, leaving the way for Steve Moffat to hey, bring back the Doctor's daughter, and Sally Sparrow... or find some new faces.

I thought, as season finales go, it was full of the usual excitement, laughs (Donna as Doctor, sheer genius, gyrating daleks hoho), pathos and fluidity that characterises the current generation of Doctor Who episodes. The writers and directors and producers have taken all the best of recent US tv and played it back to us with a peculiarly British spin. The fact that it is for children is even better.

Recently a columnist in the Independent was in full snark mode about Russell T Davies, the man who revived Doctor Who for the post-Buffy generation, delighted to hear that Davies has resigned from the show and handed over the mantle to the sure touch of Steven Moffat. The reason for the delight was 'phew!! now RTD can go back to making telly for grown-ups instead of this dreary kids' stuff, because, let's face it, kids have no judgement or discrimination, so we can feed them on all sorts of rubbish.'

Having spent some of the past 11 years since the first minion arrived watching children's dreck of all sorts (personal nadirs include Land Before Time movies, any power rangers episode and The Noddy Show. And I will take great pleasure in strangling Elmo if I ever come across him), this point of view drives me absolutely gaga. It's an insult to children, it's an insult to those of us who have at some time or other spent time at home with small children and it's an insult to those people who do their best to make decent children's programmes.

Children deserve the best of the best in their tv. They deserve Derek Jacobi doing voiceovers and Richard Dawkins turning up as a guest in Doctor Who, they deserve excellent scripts and high production values and they deserve to be treated as sentient and thinking humans who should be encouraged to think about big questions, frex, is it right to destroy a species, how do we co-exist with extra-terrestrials (useful metaphors for all the race-religion-gender divides that plague us), is it right to put ourselves and our friends in extreme situations because we won't kill anyone, how do we say goodbye to people we love but will never see again, and many more issues that our children should be thinking about and discussing but are too distracted by pen and paper tests to see if their schools have drilled them well enough to meet rather low educational targets.

So thank you, a big, deep, heartfelt thank you to Russell T Davies not only for reviving Doctor Who, but for doing so with style, substance and a commitment to quality that hopefully will be maintained by his successors.

1 comment:

Dr Who Fan said...

hmm, where are the spoilers? =)