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Published on April 21st, 2006 | by Christian Cawley

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The New Earth Reaction Roundup

Although New Earth brought back Doctor Who for 2006, and drew plenty of the audience share, critically things weren’t as positive. Forget what web-monkeys like me think – and let’s look for a while at the insane world of the newspaper TV critic…

AA Gill of the Sunday Times has made a career out of being the man who put the “tic” in “critic”. Not for the mainstream reader is this man, who shoehorns words like “hubris” into reviews on television shows he hasn’t even seen. And one has to desperately wonder whether someone who has patently never seen Doctor Who – or certainly doesn’t understand it – should be put in a possition where they are reviewing it. I’ve reproduced the ramble here:

The Doctor must be the longest-running fictional character on TV. He’s managed to remain a character by having no character at all, or having anyone’s. David Tennant, his new minder, is going to be a manic enthusiast. I know the signs: mad grins and shouting. Doctors tend to swing from enthusiasts to enigmatic obscurists. It’s either grinning or frowning. Billie Piper is back as Billie Piper. She and the Doctor kiss for the first time in God knows how many years of sexual tension.

Actually, it’s a bit of a cheat. It’s not really Billie Piper but Zoë Wanamaker inside Billie Piper who kisses the Doctor. There’s a nasty psychological pill for the pre-pubes watching, who have dark fantasies about snogging Billie: open your eyes to find it’s your mum-lookalike, Zoë. Despite the added sex, after all these millenniums, the show still survives only on the quality of its prosthetics and special effects

The last line does it for me. Seriously.

Meanwhile, The Guardian‘s review is much more “real” – but all Sam Wollaston really does is give us a potted summary of the episode amidst the usual Press gushing over Russell T Davies:

Tennant turns out to be a splendid Doctor – likable, funny and sexy. Piper continues to be brilliant and gorgeous. And Russell T Davies’ script has given Doctor Who a whole new injection of life.

The Lancashire Evening Telegraph website meanwhile gives New Earth a different treatment, as well as the opportunity to review the episode yourself. While not as critical as some fan pieces – and opinion has been divided – the writer of this piece, John Anson, is on the ball with one key observation:

A few cats dressed as nurses and Billie Piper getting raunchy won’t be sufficient although dads across the nation are no doubt hoping that she does indeed stay raunchy for the next few weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, Doctor Who is still several galaxies ahead of the majority of fare being served up and the effects are getting better and better.

But without a decent plot it will all be in vain.

No doubt things will be back to normal this weekend…

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About the Author

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A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




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