Thursday 26 March 2020

Fifteen years of New Who

Astonishingly, today marks fifteen years since "Rose" was broadcast on BBC1, kicking off a whole new era of Doctor Who. It's bizarre enough to me that this means it's the five-year anniversary of my ten-year retrospective on the episode. It doesn't really seem feasible that  was sat writing about this five years ago.

Ruseell T. Davies has marked the occasion by releasing a long-hidden short piece called "Doctor Who and the Time War," in classic Target style, which was originally written for the fiftieth anniversary. It was scrapped when Steven Moffat made it clear he had his own plans for what to do with this unseen bit of Who lore, but now RTD has made it available here. It even has Lee Binding's special cover illustration intact. You can watch that first meeting between the Doctor and Rose on the same link, then read this special prequel.

I absolutely love this. I adore The Day of the Doctor, the War Doctor and the regeneration Moffat wrote for the Eighth Doctor, but the version of the Time War he presented was more of a space war. RTD presents his vision, which had all along been far stranger, far harder to visualise and certainly impossible to put to the screen. I wrote my own version, of course, like many fans, three years after "Rose," and that's still available here, and while RTD's is heavily influenced by the New Adventures and the DWM back-up strips, mine is clearly following on from BBC Books Eighth Doctor Adventures. It's not quite as good as RTD's, I'll admit.

It's wonderful that the various showrunners of Doctor Who are producing this material while people are stuck at home, frustrated and scared. RTD is following up with a "Rose" sequel later, after the planned watch party of the episode, which itself follows one for The Day of the Doctor last weekend for which Moffat gave us a sublimely silly little intro. Chris Chibnall, the current chief, has joined in too, of course, along the Doctor herself, Jodie Whittaker. Chibs has penned a fun little cutaway set in the first moments of the Thirteenth Doctor's regeneration, "Things She Thought While Falling." Naturally this is more oriented towards kids, as opposed to long term fans who were watching fifteen years ago. And then there's "Incoming Message from the Doctor," just about the most beautiful minute of Doctor Who footage ever, presumably filmed in a cupboard in Whittaker's house and exactly the right message for the many children who are at home worrying right now.

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