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Published on August 8th, 2010 | by Elton Townend Jones

Operation Platinum Age: The Final Word


Which brings me to the future.  What happens next?  Many questions were answered in the season finale, but we never found out about the Silence – or that duck pond!  One would assume that the Silence will provide the scares and action in next year’s finale.  But what was that voice in the TARDIS?  Did anyone else think it sounded like a very mad version of the Dream Lord? Let’s not forget that in Vampires of Venice there were dark rumblings of dreams, faded and bad, that no longer needed their dreamers.  The Silence was also described, as something that could actually be seen.

I think (sadly) that the Dream Lord might well return, although I did wonder if the Silence might be something to do with the Vashta Nerada. You know, as in Silence In The Library?  But maybe I’m just making connections that aren’t there. Oh, and I’m still worried about the Doctor’s attempt to prove his credentials in The Eleventh Hour; giving the scientific community Faster Than Light travel – a scientific development Rory later claimed to have read up on.  Oh, and poor Rory!  Right now he can’t have the remotest clue what or who he is, having been killed and re-invented more times than a Marvel comics character.  And his wife’s still trying to jump the handsome stranger.  Poor sod.  I sincerely hope Amy stops being quite so shamelessly rude to the guy next year.

If Amy was the only one who could return the Doctor to ‘reality’ by remembering him, how come River Song was one step ahead of her?

Amy.  Hmm.  There’s still something not right there, either.  If Amy was the only one who could return the Doctor to ‘reality’ by remembering him, how come River Song was one step ahead of her, prompting the remembrance with her diary of spoilers.  And did anyone else notice that River wasn’t dressed for a wedding?  She was dressed for a funeral.  Was this merely symbolic, or had she just come from one?  The Doctor’s about to find out who she is, or so she says, and this is when everything changes.

Does this mean she’ll be the Egyptian Goddess we may or may not meet at Christmas?  Or are we in for a season with Smith and Kingston alone (that would be superb)?  Or, given that everything’s about to change, are we in for a regeneration next year?  In spite of all the (clever?) indications to the contrary, will we see Smith regenerate into the Doctor that River spoke of in her first story?  Or, yet more daringly, will Amy somehow regenerate and become River?  Are they one and the same?  From Pond to River in one crazy season?  Frankly, who knows!

What I do know is that – in spite of some bumps in the road – this has been the most consistent and tonally coherent season of Doctor Who since about 1964.  Whether or not it is ‘the best’ is a matter of personal opinion, but the perfect fusion of a wonderful Doctor, some cracking stories and an atmosphere entirely its own have shown us that Doctor Who is in very good hands.  It seems almost inevitable that next season will be even better.

Therefore, it seems safe to say that this really is the Platinum Age of Doctor Who.  Enjoy it while it’s still here!

Elton Townend Jones edits the 1980s Doctor Who fan blog 25 Years Too Late.

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About the Author

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




2 Responses to Operation Platinum Age: The Final Word


  1. “What I do know is that – in spite of some bumps in the road – this has been the most consistent and tonally coherent season of Doctor Who since about 1964. Whether or not it is ‘the best’ is a matter of personal opinion, but the perfect fusion of a wonderful Doctor, some cracking stories and an atmosphere entirely its own have shown us that Doctor Who is in very good hands.”

    That’s where I have to respectfully disagree. I agree that it’s up to the individual as to whether it was “the best”, and indeed I would never suggest the programme was “wrong” to do as it did given the audience reception was very strong. But to me, I found it decidedly the opposite of being “consistent and tonally coherent”.

    I agree Smith is a brilliant casting, nicely different to Tennant as Davison was to Baker, but the season itself felt very messy and uncertain.

    With RTD, while one can question their preference to his style, his strong editorial involvement meant it felt consistent. With this series, I didn’t feel Moffat barely at all aside from in his own stories – and even then I found little coherency.

    And then down to the characters.. the Doctor shrugs off the TARDIS in the attic.. surely a momumental discovery.. he seems to forget about the cracked TARDIS until its narratively relevant. His attack on the Daleks didn’t feel like a man who’d previously feared one so much he was banging at the doors to escape.. It didn’t feel that there was much consistency at all. And coherency? The rushed monster Alliance seemed to carry no real narrative relevance – a big jump for the audience to swallow with no justification and in the end, no bearing on the overall plot. Amy seemed to be swings and roundabouts in terms of character, losing her good start in the first two episodes.. it didn’t seem coherent at all. The Doctor jumping out the cake? Does that really work with his character? Does that have any rational motivation behind it aside being “quirky”? If he is as Moffat says, the same character in a different body, does that rather cruel scene jar?

    Smith is brilliant, and The Beast Below and Vincent and the Doctor are some of the most stunning Who episodes.. but while Smith and Rory made this season, and I commend Moffat for the three in the TARDIS.. overall, I think this was a wishy washy series 5.. I hope it finds the coherency and consistency I personally feel it was lacking for series 6.

  2. avatar 23skidoo says:

    Well, I’m on the reviewer’s side. I think Series 5 worked fine, and was coherent both in tone and in storytelling. And what made it brilliant was the fact a lot of stuff didn’t make sense until the end of the season AND it was made plain as day that there’s more stuff that won’t make sense till the end of NEXT season. People who have been conditioned into having self-contained storylines, or even seasons as was the case under RTD, might not care for it. I think it’s brilliant. Put another way, depending what happens in Season 6 I might well begin considering Season 5 and 6 as one 26-episode (or 27 including the Christmas special) season/arc. That’s the equivalent of 52-53 episodes of the original half-hour series. We’ve never seen that attempted before and there is potential here that we could be in the midst of the first Doctor Who telenovel. I just came off watching the 90-chapter telenovel called Farscape and lots of people just finished the telenovel called Lost. Yes, there’s plenty of risk in such a long-form format (Galactica and Lost both lost the plot at some point) but I think it’s an experiment worth attempting in Doctor Who.

    I don’t agree with the criticism levelled at Karen Gillan and Amy Pond. I think she’s been remarkable all the way through. The only time I felt otherwise was the “love a squaddie” line in Victory of the Daleks which sounded like a leftover from a Donna Noble episode. I also like the idea of having a second companion, simply because the show may work best with one, but it needs to change up the formula occasionally. Lots of fans consider the Doctor-Ian-Barbara-Susan team the best the show ever had. I side with Doctor-Sarah Jane-Harry, myself. And once again Moffat is doing something never attempted before by having a married couple as the companions. Not only will that shut up for a while the (frankly immature) fans who think the Doctor should be a monk, but it opens all new doors of storytelling possibilities. A little voice in my head is telling me, though, that it’s not going to end well.

    One additional note made by the reviewer is worth commenting on. I also find it sad that there seems to be disappointment that Matt Smith is BETTER than Tennant in many ways. A lot of that I think come from people who “only came to the party for the beer”, so to speak. Those of us who have been around for 20-30 years as fans accept that the Doctor changes and if the new Doctor is better than the one that came before, then that’s something to be appreciated with a sigh of relief. I wouldn’t have wanted to see Matt Smith declared a dud, or “worst Doctor ever”. The show must always improve. Same with Moffatt. I loved RTD’s era to bits (lots of people hated it, I know). I want Moffat to blow RTD out of the water, because if a show doesn’t improve, it dies. We saw that in the 80s. Whoever takes over from Moffat in 3-4 years I hope blows him out of the water. I hope whoever gets cast as the Twelfth Doctor leaves us all saying “Matt Who?” It’s all good.

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