It’s that time of year again when Whovians around the world settle down on the sofa (or behind it, if they feel
the need to be prepared) with their Jelly Babies and Jammy Dodgers at the ready for an hour of travelling through time and space and then, quite possibly, a long and passionate Moffat bitch-fest. Doctor Who is back! *Proceeds to perform the Doctor Who theme tune in an enthusiastic but tuneless fashion.*
In this series’ opening episodes, ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ and ‘The Witch’s Familiar’, we’ve already seen the return of the Doctor’s “best friend” Missy (a.k.a. The Master) and Davros, creator of the Daleks. But there is much more to look forward to! This includes a guest appearance from Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams, the return of the two- parters, and some rather experimental sounding episodes. One such episode to look out for is ‘Sleep No More’, an episode penned by Mark Gatiss comprised entirely of found-footage which has apparently been in the making since the show’s revival.
We will also experience a departure this series, as actress Jenna Coleman (who plays companion Clara Oswald) will be leaving the show to take on the role of Queen Victoria in the upcoming ITV production Victoria. For many fans of the show, Coleman’s departure has been long- awaited. Scroll through the comments on any official or unofficial Doctor Who post on Facebook concerning Clara and you will unearth criticism of her character.
But why does the online fandom dislike Clara so much? The hate is not universal, no, but there definitely seems to be more hate for her than any other companion of the revived series. Personally, I never warmed to Clara like I did the other companions. Is there still time? I hope so, but I doubt it. Since many fans liked Soufflé Girl Oswin and the Victorian Clara, I don’t put this down to Coleman’s acting abilities, but rather to the fact that, during the series in which she acted alongside UEA’s own Matt Smith, she was little more than a plot device. Unlike the other companions, she was extraordinary before she could become extraordinary— she became too fantastical, too soon. The Doctor seemed more fascinated by her than she was by him, and this took away something of her character’s humanity. Watching Coleman as Peter Capaldi’s companion, I feel like I’m watching yet another Clara incarnation. She’s more ordinary and flawed, something of an improvement, but her romance with Danny Pink felt rushed and her impossible girl past hangs over her still. Let’s hope the next companion is a little easier to love.
What about Maisie Williams? I’ve sadly never watched Game of Thrones, but as a Whovian I’m excited. Who is she playing? Rumour has it she’s a new character (but that rumour started with Moffat so we can’t trust it).
Then again, I’d love for her to be the Doctor’s daughter—not a regenerated version of the artificially created Jenny, as many hope, but the mother of Susan, the granddaughter he left behind on Earth at the end of the classic era’s second series. Of course, if Moffat is lying, she could be Susan herself. ‘What took you so long, old man?’ Williams asks. Well, William Hartnell’s Doctor did say he would come back to her one day, didn’t he?
Some fans initially thought Williams might be portraying another incarnation of River Song. This theory was unlikely to start with and seems even more unlikely now it has been confirmed that Alex Kingston is returning for the Christmas special. Another theory suggests she might be the trickster Loki. The website ‘Den of Geek’ has confirmed that the episodes Williams is featuring in will also include a character called Odin—so maybe there’s a treat in store for Whovians and Arya fans who also enjoy a bit of Norse mythology on a Saturday evening.
Williams’ episodes, ‘The Girl Who Died’ and ‘The Woman Who Lived’, are just one of several sets of two-parters this new series of Doctor Who has to offer. Many of the fan-favourite Doctor Who episodes of the revived series consist of two parts or more. Many fans believe the more recent Doctor Who episodes have felt a bit rushed. Hopefully the return of the two-parters will remedy that.
Seeing as I love Peter Capaldi’s Doctor (and he is the star of the show), it seems strange I’ve hardly mentioned him thus far. He is his usual hilarious but intense self in this series’ opening episodes, and I’m sure he will continue to captivate us as the weeks go by.
Here’s hoping that we’re in for a fantastic series!