Welcome back for the 3rd and final part of the Kasterborous Round Table 2007! Just in time to keep it fresh in your minds for the start of the new series. Just as I’d planned all along. Sort of.
Anywaaay… Now that Terra’s life support machine is making satisfying "ping!" noises again and his face is no longer blue, we resume our discussions and ponder what lies in store for Series 4 and beyond.
Wheezing just a little from his recent ordeal, Terra is first off the blocks and is glad that David Tennant is on board for the whole of S4, "He’s really engaging to watch and two years with him would not have been enough," and he’s looking for new relationships on screen, "one that does not involve one of them being in love with the other." No-one bites on the relationships issues, so Terra goes on to discuss the tone of the series, "I’m a bit let down by the fact that it will not continue the Dark path that series three took as I felt it suited the series and the characters well. Still, if their idea of lighter is anything like series one, then we may be ok." Christian seems to agree with this, "I don’t feel, on the evidence of Series 1 darkness vs. Series 2 silliness that this is necessarily a bad thing, especially since the 2009 episodes are likely to be rather upbeat in nature due to the transition. Boooh!"
That final exclamation by Christian wakes Nick up and he launches into a speech worthy of the wheelchair bound mutant scientist himself, "If the rumours are true and Davros does appear next series I hope that it is a bit of a back story into how he became who he is and we get to know more of his pre-mutant character before the nuclear war with the Thals mutated him. I’m hoping we see him as a scientist who realises that the Kaleds are endangered and his experiments are at least at first with good intentions before he realises the power the Daleks could give him."
Anthony is fired up by talk of Davros and the Daleks, "Hopefully they’ll put a spin on the Dalek mythology this year by either bringing Davros back with some dastardly scheme, or introducing some new element that we’ve never seen before." Nick wants to see more old foes, though, "such as Ice Warriors (they could be made so good now with the quality writing and CGI effects. I’d go right into their history and culture – Russell, if you’re reading this drop me a line…), the Sontarans, Sea Devils, etc." Hmmmm… something tells me that Nick will get his Sontaran wish fulfilled this year! He doesn’t think we’ll get to see the Zygons anytime soon, though, because "they are virtually the same as the Slitheen but without the flatulence."
Anthony moves on to look at what we know is coming up, "Agatha Christie should be fun, especially as it’s written by Gareth Roberts," but he sounds a note of caution, "one feels that we’re fast running out of historic ‘celebrities’ to meet! Who next? The Beatles in 60’s Liverpool? Churchill?" What could be worse than meeting Churchill, we wonder? "The Krankies?!" he cries, and in a freakishly accurate impression of the diminutive Scottish ‘funny’ lady, he yells "Fandabidozi!"
The cat that had been sat quietly in the corner on a cardboard box, previously unnoticed by anyone, is startled at this outburst and leaps about four feet into the air and falls rather ungracefully into another box full of those little foamy packing "peanuts". Amid much screeching and flying "peanuts" the cat emerges at high speed and bolts for the door, its paws scrabbling furiously at the floor as it goes.
Anthony soldiers bravely on, "The Ood return should feel both epic and alien if it’s going to work half as much as The Satan Pit did. Lucky thing they’ve got Graeme Harper on board then, I guess… Oh, and if I don’t see at least one Sensorite on the Ood Sphere, then I really will be disappointed! Let’s start the ‘Bring back the Sensorites!’ campaign now!"
Matthew brings the conversation back round to David Tennant, "With the death of his mother, Tennant will use SERIES 4 as a cathartic exercise to throw himself back into the role (that he has virtually made his own in the way that William Hartnell did in the sixties) with vigour and passion. His mum must have been so proud." Hear! Hear! He goes on to explain how he feels S4 should progress this year, "SERIES 4 must be balanced and thoughtful, less driven by ‘gimmick’ (read: arc words, such as Bad Wolf, Torchwood or Saxon) and commanded by tough, event-dominated stories that affect the entire DOCTOR WHO time/space universe. Less Earth/21st century, more alien worlds/times." Your host pipes up for a change here and agrees with Matthew vehemently on this last point saying that we really need more alien landscapes to get away from the soap opera/kitchen sink drama feel that was engendered by the Tyler family and the Powell estate.
Anthony finishes off the speculation on S4, hoping that, "we get more episodes directed by Euros Lyn, who’s shown over the past three years that he can tackle just about every type of story. It’s time somebody gave him the big end of series shoot-out that he no doubt wants to helm! Oh, and James Hawes too – but one gets the feeling that he’s already moved onto pastures new!"
Christian and Steve finish picking up the foamy peanut things and the conversation moves on to what lies beyond S4. I think Christian was a bit incensed by the press release that announced the ‘gap year’ of 2009… "Hopefully, first and foremost, the BBC has sacked the mock-Campbell amateur who composed that utter ball of shite that went under the guise of a press release. This Labour Government have an awful lot to answer for, not least intelligence-insulting spin, but for the BBC to treat the fans in a manner that echoes the days of the hiatus is frankly gasp-inducing. Surely the show runner was involved here to some degree? What was he thinking?!"
Nick, on the other hand, thinks that, "with less of a rush to complete an entire series of scripts this time, perhaps the writers will have more time to really polish their scripts and come up with some real top-class writing in series 5. So no, I’m not as up in arms as some are."
Christian thinks that some good may come out of this great evil, though, "The only saving grace – if there is one – is that it took the current team around 6 months to mount Series 1, and I suspect that what is happening here is a new production team will be put together during 2009, plus hopefully a shift in time slot from spring and summer to winter for the 2010 series."
Talk of a new production team starts Terra speculating that he feels that "the BBC are scared that they can’t do anything without RTD. They should be pursuing Steven Moffatt or any number of people to helm the show without RTD, if nothing else just to have a change of pace and see what that could be. Russell did a great job with the show, but his episodes have often been put down by the work of others. Perhaps it is time for a break for him as the BBC suggests, but it would be nice not to make fans suffer through with only 3 episodes because you can have RTD for the full year. Perhaps I have it wrong, but they don’t go out on a limb to explain their decisions either. Ideally they could give RTD a year off to other things and then bring him back in for series 5 if they like. This way we still get a full 13 episodes and they got to see if it would work or not."
There are some divided opinions on the gap year subject, with Nick thinking, "it might be a good thing in the long run… David Tennant actually wants to be the Doctor so that can only be a good thing. He could easily have said ‘Right, I’m off doing Hamlet – thanks very much for everything’ but he didn’t. He appears to care about the role."
And in the other corner, we have Anthony, who is "angry about the 2009 ‘gap’ year", but goes on to say, "but if it means a better 2010 series then I’m all for it. As long as the BBC don’t turn the rest period into another Colin Baker style cancellation farce. But there is no reason for them to do that as Dr Who is now the most popular show on TV, it pulls in award after award and is a massive money spinner."
Matthew thinks the move is either "a remarkable feat of cunning broadcasting dexterity or knee-jerk panic at the original NEW SERIES crew’s need to move on." He echoes Christian’s wishes when he goes on to talk about scheduling, "the only benefit could be that SERIES 5’s production could be shunted to a January – September schedule for an October-December 2010 broadcast" and then points out a massive missed opportunity, "The 2009 specials could have themselves been ditched in favour of a one-off cinema production featuring Tennant’s Doctor, Tate’s Donna Noble and Terry Nation’s Daleks."
Anthony has his own ideas for the specials, and that is for "Russell T Davies to write just one of 2009’s specials. The man’s episodes are fine and dandy, but I much prefer the more adult oriented Moffatt/Cornell scripts. Can we just have one special by Davies, maybe one by Moffatt and one by somebody like Mark Gatiss or Gareth Roberts?" He feels, though, that they will encompass "the return of Rose Tyler (one last time before Tennant leaves), a Dalek story (pretty much guaranteed!) and some sort of crossover with ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’… this could be the Doctor’s final farewell to Sarah Jane Smith – sort of like how ‘The X Files’ wrapped up the ‘Millennium’ storyline."
Steve doesn’t care about the 2009 "quiet period" because he hardly has "enough time to watch the ten thousand episodes of Dr Who, Torchwood, Sarah Jane… K9… animated series… Declassified… Confidential…as it is!" He also seems to think that "the less episodes the better" when it comes to Donna…and Rose. Rather enigmatically, he also says, "I did actually hear the truth behind the show getting reduced numbers of episodes, but I couldn’t possibly comment on that. There would be an uprising."
That’s it for this year, folks! Kopic hopes that you’ve enjoyed reading this series of articles as much as he’s enjoyed writing them and that some of the wild ideas discussed have whetted your appetites for the upcoming new series.
I think we’ll let Anthony have the last word for this year’s Round Table…
"Let’s just hope that the episodes are popular enough that come 2010, the good Doctor will still be every bit a hit as it is today. With Moffatt on board as Head Writer/Executive Producer."