Published on April 19th, 2007 | by Christian Cawley
Warning that spoilerphobes should avoid supermarkets, newsagents and bbc.co.uk for the remainder of the week, the column notices a particular irony…
Whatâ€™s a little strange about this huge spoiler is that itâ€™s been arranged with explicit approval of the seriesâ€™ executive producer, Russell T Davies. In his monthly column in Doctor Who Magazine, Russell has always been careful to warn readers of what he calls â€˜ruinersâ€™ â€” listings magazines who give away far too much.
It goes on to quote Davies in the article in this weeks Radio Times, in which the difficulties in generating interest and keeping secrets from audiences until the last minute become apparent:
You want to give away a certain amount, to draw people in. But you donâ€™t want people watching and thinking theyâ€™ve seen it before. What we try to protect are the endings of plots â€” thatâ€™s the important thing.
It always mystifies me when soaps give away plots in advance. I read a billing for Coronation Street: â€˜Tracy disowns her motherâ€™. And you watch it, and itâ€™s the last scene! You sit there going, â€˜Why did you tell me that?
Which leads blogger Scott Matthewman to pose a question, one with which I have some stock in myself – is there an even BIGGER spoiler…?
Also keeping the side up is Lizo of CBBC Newsround. Or is he? Considering his usual frothing at the mouth, sub-orgasmic exclamtions, perhaps there is something wrong with Daleks in Manhattan…?
It’s important to remember that although this may not be one of the best Doctor Who adventures, it’s still way better than most other stuff on TV at the moment. The series has set itself an almost impossible task because so many episodes are so brilliant. And it’s inevitable that occasionally there’ll be one like this that’s not quite as good.
That reads like an apology to me… and a spoiler.
Good news meanwhile for ratings junkies, as Variety.com reports on Doctor Who’s continuing success despite the absence of its two original (2005 incarnation) stars, Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. Of course, to Doctor Who fans, this is nothing new.
Piper’s gutsy portrayal of the doctor’s assistant, Rose, graced seasons one and two, and was reckoned to be a key factor in keeping teen viewers hooked. Fears that audiences would find a better place to spend their time as “Doctor Who” carried on minus Piper have quickly evaporated.
As ever, any attempt to deconstruct why a certain show reaches hit status is fraught by complex calculations but many believe the writing remains a key reason for its popularity.
Matthew Milam’s reviews of Doctor Who continue on BlogCritics.org, and although he isn’t overly impressed, he notices a remarkable coincidence in Russell T Davies scripts:
“Gridlock” was an ultimately boring affair with interesting plot ideas and scenarios that didnâ€™t quite gel together. But I give Russell credit on this one for the last few minutes, which is where he seems to feel better at in his stories than what happens before. Perhaps later on in his next episode he will be great.
He’s wrong, of course, as the last few moments of Smith and Jones featured Martha’s family, the worst thing about that adventure…