Operation: Platinum Age, Part 1

New contributor Elton Townend Jones surveys Doctor Who, Series 5/Season 31…

At the close of The Hungry Earth, the Eleventh Doctor is peering down on the deliciously volcanic subterranean metropolis of Homo Reptilia. What happens next won’t be known for another week, but with five episodes to go before we can safely get back on the sofa, this seems a good time to pause and evaluate what Smith & Moffat have given us so far…

On New Year’s Day I felt great trepidation regarding the arrival of the new Doctor. My eyes were still wet with tears for David Tennant; so poor old/young Matt Smith’s first moments were never going to feel right. Something seemed to jar, but I now know that it was probably me. It wasn’t that I had anything against him – he looked like a terrific choice – I was just very worried, in that fannish way, that the ‘general public’ wouldn’t let him into their hearts. I was scared that the Golden Age of Doctor Who was over.

Doctor WHo - The Eleventh HourWhen Easter came, however, not even the most optimistic fan was expecting Smith to debut in one of the most stylish, glossy, confident and complete episodes of Doctor Who ever made. From the outset, The Eleventh Hour made it clear that we were not on the Powell Estate any more. Spooky direction and the programme’s suddenly richer colour palette ensured that Steven Moffat’s ‘fairy tale’ agenda was already in full atmospheric swing when we met seven-year-old Amelia Pond.

The new Doctor’s attitude towards the little human girl was one of uncompromising equality, setting a tone for all his relationships this season. Caitlin Blackwood’s Amelia was so good that the previously anticipated arrival of Karen Gillan’s Amy was somewhat thrown off-balance and while the latter has since proven herself to be a suitably quirky foil for Smith, I don’t think I was alone in wishing we’d seen more of the Doctor’s pairing with Amelia. Perhaps if I close my eyes and wish really hard I will?


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About

Elton Townend-Jones is a journalist, playwright, actor, theatre producer and philosopher. He does ‘80s zeitgeist at www.25yearstoolate.blogspot.com.


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