Doctor Who News Matt Smith auditioned for Footballers' Wives, reveals his sister

Published on May 22nd, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds

Is Something Wrong with Doctor Who?

There’s been a pervasive question this half-season; the first question, the oldest question, a question hidden in plain sight. No not that one! This one:

Has Doctor Who dropped the ball?

Matt Smith auditioned for Footballers' Wives, reveals his sister

Attempting to get to the bottom and largely dismissing fans concerns that their beloved show has lost its way The Guardian writer and series blogger Dan Martin has sought to ease pre-anniversary nerves with a dose of common sense.

Citing online unrest at the scarcity of episodes in 2013, the large wait between half-seasons, the breakneck speed of the stories and apparent lack focus paid to the Clara mystery, the blog post calls to attention the lack of consistency within fandom:

“Doctor Who fans love nothing more than to moan, but out of 10, this series has been a steady stream of sixes and sevens, with the occasional eight. There haven’t been any stinkers – personally I was delighted with the warmth and poetry of the widely loathed The Rings Of Akhaten. But we haven’t had anything truly superlative either, such as The Impossible Astronaut or The Doctor’s Wife.

 

While the stories have been consistent, fandom has not. Most people loved the haunted house spooker Hide, but Neil Gaiman’s Cyber-adventure was either a series highlight or an awful nadir, depending on which review you read. A particularly bizarre review of Cold War in the official magazine even questioned Mark Gatiss as a Doctor Who writer, on the grounds that he was already a bit too good at writing Doctor Who.”

Listing the fabulous roster of guest-stars that have graced the show throughout the whole of Series Seven, the article goes on to explain why this season has been as good as, if not better than what has preceded it:

“A huge amount has happened to the overall plot, with the departure of Amy and Rory getting a storyline of its own, emotional fallout and all. And Matt Smith just gets more and more magnificent – he fizzes with the comedy and stirs with the tragedy. His Doctor is a complex man; we’ve seen a great deal happen to him, and week after week, Smith owns it. So let’s be frank: the show is as good as it’s ever been. In lots of ways, it’s better.

 

I think there’s something else going on here. We’re suffering from pre-50th anniversary wobbles. Fans are getting so worked up about what may or may not happen in the November special that we’ve forgotten how to enjoy the series as it is. We’re going through a hellish, year-long Christmas Eve, and we’re in danger of ruining things for ourselves.

 

It’s time to take a deep breath. November is still five months away.”

To continue the debate, the BBC Drama department issued a statement via audience feedback show Points of View on Sunday, the quote is below but if you wish to enrage/amuse yourself you can watch some of those audience responses on Blogtor Who’s clip from the show:

“Over eight million viewers are watching this series of Doctor Who every week and it has the highest audience share out of all dramas on any channel this year. We’ve received a fantastic response to this series and to the arrival of the Doctor’s new companion Jenna Coleman. The show has a huge reach; it’s the top rating show for males and younger age groups including children and continues to perform strongly amongst its core audience. We always welcome audience feedback and appreciate that Doctor Who fans are some of the most passionate in the UK.”

 

 

 

Has Doctor Who really lost its way? | Television & radio | guardian.co.uk.

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About the Author

Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.




32 Responses to Is Something Wrong with Doctor Who?

  1. Ian Gettings says:

    I thought the clip was quite well balanced. If nothing else, it does raise the concerns that fans have had over this lack lustre season, whilst reinforcing the overall reach and love of the show. They just need to get a consistent crew working on it, with a decent script editor and get away from this ridiculous, messy splitting of series and faffing about.

  2. Mary says:

    Different eras for different folks, which is want makes the show so long lasting. I don’t know if there is something wrong, per se, but Moffet’s era emphasizes plot over character, so unfortunately when there are a series of episodes with weak/confusing/illogical plots, you are left with not-great stories and undeveloped characters you don’t really care about.

  3. authorman94 says:

    While the clip is relatively well-balanced, I do find the guy who complains the series isn’t as scientific nowadays to be a bit over-the-top. Doctor Who is in essence, a show about a thousand year-old alien with a time machine, it’s never really been scientifically accurate, even during the peak 70′s years, the closest we got to scientifically accurate Who was Tom Baker’s final season and even then the science was a bit dodgy. I really don’t understand where he’s coming from on this.


    • Doctor Who is fantasy pretending to be sci fi, but some people get confused and think it’s the other way round.

      • James McLean says:

        I very much agree, even in the episode you derive your name from, the science is only a lighter kickstarter for fun fiction. A great way for kids to look into science further (entropy/further) but itself just good fantasy with some sciency ideas. People who say Who has lost its science, really should double check how good their science is if they saw Who as a legitimate outlet. ;-)

  4. Spacephantom says:

    Well said Dan Martin! Although I would actually go further and say that series 7b was Matt Smith’s best yet. For me, the only episode that was a little below the standard of the others was “The Ring’s of Akhaten”, and it was as good, if not better than some in series 5 and 6 (not that any of those were bad either). As I said in a previous comment, in my opinion “Cold War” is one of the best episodes since 2005, and “The Name of the Doctor” is right up there alongside it.

    I think the whole point about anniversary year jitters is a valid one. Too many fans have been setting thier expectations far too high, and if you set your expectations too high, your always going to be disappointed, no matter how good an episode actually is.

  5. The Gentleman says:

    I love how two of these comments are the same tired old nonsense which has been continually disproved by Moffat and is continually brought out by Moffat haters. Guys, Moffat prefers to have a mini-series format, look at Sherlock. I, for one, think it works. Also, Moffats characters are consistently brilliant, with even minor characters having distinct personalities. And, for me, there haven’t been any badly plotted episodes written by Moffat so I don’t really get your point.

    Sorry if this comes across as overly hostile but I’m tired of hearing the same old rubbish which Moffat haters always bring up, especially after such a brilliant finale.

    • James McLean says:

      I think my only problem with your reply is you become the same force on the other end of the scale. Labelling people “Moffat haters” is just as bad as “hating Moffat”, it’s just a turnabout of words. From my understanding the episode blocking has been nothing to do with stylistic preference for mini-series, but more logistical and/or to do with how drama is outputted these days. As for bad plotting, I don’t really think bad plotting is ever the issue, I think his plots and ideas are sound, I think how he approaches characters or on occasions, fails to approach them honestly enough could be an argued point. Each to their own. I preferred RTD’s era for the characters, some prefer Moffat’s because the characters have less focus.

      And while I think by and large this was a better series half than we’ve had in a long time, yeah I think there were weak links, there always are. I think people can argue pro and against the current production and be valid in their arguments, providing they are open not everything is good and not everything is bad. Start moving onto “haters” and “lovers” territory and points by either are instantly belittled.

  6. TimeChaser says:

    The only gripe I’ve had about this season is that it feels like the 45-miunte single episode format is shorter than ever. In the past they’ve been able to squeeze some magnificent tales into such a short space of time, but while I like “Nightmare in Silver”, admittedly it would have been much better with an extra episode: a longer building up to the arrival of the new Cybermen, more details on the punishment platoon and Porridge and Webley, why the park was closed, and maybe Angie’s emotions rather than just making her seem like a typical snooty teen without any reason why she’s behaving that way.

  7. TonyS says:

    If anything, I think Season 7b may be when Doctor Who regained possession of the ball. I( was underwhelmed with most of Season 7a. For me the “movie” format didn’t quite come off. There wasa lot to enjoy but a lot that left me cold. I liked “A Town Called Mercy” and The Angels Take Manhattan” (also “Dinosaurs on a Spacehsip” on balance). But loathed “Asylum of the Daleks”.

    I got very despondent watching Season 6. I don’t regard “The Impossible Astronaut” or “The Doctor’s Wife” as strong stories. I was frankly expecting so much more from Neil Gaiman. I DID like “The Girl Who Waited” and “The God Complex”.

    Matt Smith hit the ground running in Season 5 which I really enjoyed. One or two weaker stories, but geberally great fun. “Vincent and The Doctor” almost had me in tears. Nasty cheat end to the season aside, I rate Season 5 highly.

    Now this may seem unremittingly negative. That is not my intention. I love the programme. It is just that I have struggled recently to love it quite so much. Throughout this however has shone the Star- Matt Smith has never been less than brilliant. Arthur Darvill and Karen Gillan too. Just look at “The Doctor The Widow and the Wardrobe” (alright, skip to the very end. I’m not keen on it myself) The Doctor turnms up at Amy & Rory’s home at Christmas. Karen and Matt have all the cool stuff to do. Arthur has a bout two lines- and completely owns the scene. It very nearly makes the rest of it watchable.

    We probably ARE getting 50th anniversary wobbles. It is a big occasion after all. But for me the episodes this year are showing a return to form. I am even growing to like “The Name of the Doctor”. I just hope the casual viewers were not put off by all the fanboy-pleasing references.

  8. FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    In my opinion the only clunkers during the whole of series 7 have been The Power Of Three, The Rings Of Akhaten and Nightmare In Silver (the most disappointing). I still watched them with much enjoyment but I felt they were below par. But this is no different to the last 6 series where I have felt there have been a few underwhelming episodes each series…

    Series 1: Aliens Of London/World War III/The Long Game/Boom Town
    Series 2: New Earth/The Idiot’s Lantern/Fear Her
    Series 3: 42/The Lazarus Experiment/The Last Of The Time Lords
    Series 4: Partners In Crime/The Doctor’s Daughter
    The 2008 – 2010 Specials: The Next Doctor/Planet Of The Dead
    Series 5: Victory Of The Daleks/Vampires Of Venice
    Series 6: The Curse Of The Black Spot/The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People
    The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe (surely the worst episode since the series came back?)

    This series has been great. We have had the Dalek Asylum (including special weapons Dalek), Tricy, Mercy, Angels In Manhattan, The return of the GI, the superb return of the Ice Warriors, A creepy haunted house, A journey through the TARDIS to help us forget The Invasion Of Time, a good old Victorian Gothic thriller with Emma Peel and a finale which sets up the Anniversary special nicely and includes at the beginning a beautifully put together montage of all previous Doctors. Seriously, who would have thought the infamous cliffhanger from Dragonfire would be shown again but this time on prime-time Saturday BBC1 26 years later. And what a great job they did for Hartnell’s appearance!

    • castellanspandrel says:

      “The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe (surely the worst episode since the series came back?)”

      - I think you may be onto something there. It’s the only episode I have no urge whatsoever to own, though the fact that it’s only available as a standalone rather than part of a full season DVD doesn’t help.

      The sentient lights (or were they trees? can’t even remember because I don’t want to), the Dr as a Santa figure and as the caretaker of a hall – all wrong and fatally misconceived.

      I know whenever Matt Smith leaves I’ll want to do what I did with Tennant and rewatch all his era from start to finish, which will probably mean buying the sodding thing.

      • FrancoPabloDiablo says:

        Even the Androzani reference wasn’t enough to rouse me from my slumber! And what a waste of Bill Bailey, Alexander Armstrong and Arabella Weir! If I ever watch Matt’s tenure from start to finish, I will gladly leave this one out!

      • Mugen Pharoah says:

        Everyone seems to hate that one! To me it’s pretty inoffensive. My wife likes it and it was probably more aimed at the casual viewer….so that might explain its fan non-appeal.

        Personally my all time rubbish modern series has to be New Earth. Oh God that was a real misfire in my eyes. Daleks in Manhattan, utterly utterly dreadful. I would rather watch Timelash than these. At least with Timelash I have nostalgia to get me through. Oh and Fear her…..uggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

        I think the formula for a crap one has to be when the sentimentality and emotion gets shoehorned in…..with a lot of tears and/or shouting at the end which doesn’t really seem genuine. The Doctor blubs when the Master snuffs it at the end of Last of the Time Lords? I don’t buy it. except I do as I have them all on dvd anyway. Ringpieces of Akhaten…..shouting and blubbing tacked on. New Earth more schmaltz with Cassandra.

        Just avoid tacked on blubbing or emotional shouting for a winner.

        • James McLean says:

          You don’t buy the tears when the Master dies in LoTL? I’m surprised. Watch the Pertwee era (as I’m sure you have many a time!) and you’ll see IMO a connection, a bond between them. On top of that you have the Doctor’s loss of his people and the guilt of that loss, you’ve got a lot of realistic emotions that would cripple most human personalities, and the Doctor, ironically, is very human – he’s compassionate, he cares, he loves. The Tenth Doctor was a very honest, raw portrayal of a man who had been through so much. What I liked about RTD was each of his characters was a true answer to the question they posed. He was smart like that. I think what Moffat is setting up for the 50th is a very clever way of adding more relevance to the Doctor’s raw years of 9/10 – I think (and I don’t know), we’ll get a better understand of why the Doctor is so lost. I don’t think emotion is the formula for crap at all. Look at Girl in The Fireplace, look at Water of Mars, look at The Girl Who Waited, or The Doctor’s Wife, or Father’s Day. Emotion has been a big key to its success. Look at how Bernard Cribbins uses emotion to create some of the most honest and powerful scenes by a mere salute.

          There is Doctor Who out there which I think many would agree didn’t work, because there isn’t a formula for fail (or they’d ignore it). In the finale, I thought a lot of the emotion worked, I think JLC and Smith did a great job. While I think Kingston is a terrible miscast for a far too invasive character, I can’t say she didn’t do anything wrong. Emotion is key to Doctor Who, it’s why the final episode of the Green Death is so popular, or the Aztecs, Caves of Androzani… all character emotive, strong, dramatic characters/arcs.

          • Mugen Pharoah says:

            I don’t have a problem with the emotional core of stories or emotion in Who – I’m not a Cyberman. I don’t even question the acting skills involved which are phenomenal and well expressed

            But in character terms…..in last of the Time Lords….imagine clutching your mortal enemy to your bosom, a man who has betrayed, tried to kill you, murdered, maimed and plotted the subjugation of the universe? And then shedding a tear. You sir, may buy it but I don’t.

            It’s this kind of fake emotion, without sufficient development or logic I have a problem with. Doomsday. Fine. Green Death. No probs. The tenth doctor standing before the daleks in a manhattan theatre offering his life? Naff.


          • If I may interject – the relationship between the Doctor and the Master was always one of grudging respect, certainly in the Third Doctor era. As the last two Time Lords in existence at that stage, it makes sense that the Doctor should be sad that one of his kind is once again being taken from him.

            It took me a while to see it that way, in fairness, but I think it hit me on one of my rare re-watches (I don’t care for the CGI Doctor).

    • TimeChaser says:

      You left out “Love and Monsters” as one of the underwhelming ones of Season 2. For me, easily the worst episode in the new series, although it’s neck and neck with the Slitheen episodes.

      • Mugen Pharoah says:

        In answer to Christian I think I’d have preferred the Doctor to be more stoic. I’m not keen on the “I don’t want to go” blubbing when he regenerates. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Tennant Doctor and the RTD era, and emotional oomph is needed in the modern era. I just think for some stories it could be toned down as too often it seems phoney to me.

        Then again if the Hurt Doctor is the Time War Doctor maybe I’ll get it too….. If the Doctor can cry about the Master just because he’s going to be alone again then maybe we really are like insects to him, like Wilf says, as all those deaths at the Master’s hands mean nothing, the fact he’s the same race appears to overrule any concern for the innocent.

        There may have been mutual respect back in the Pertwee days but can you imagine the fourth Doctor snivelling with the corpse master ponging away in his arms? I’m never going to be convinced on this!

        I think part of the appeal of Doctor Who is that we all have our idea of what the perfect version of the show is. Personally I’ll watch any Who, good or bad! The concept, the vision the performance of the lead actor always means it is head and shoulders above anything else on TV even if some stories don’t live up to ambition (the Invisible Enemy, The Time Monster), even in its most clunky episodes there’s something to enjoy. I am a bit of a die hard though, I freely admit……

  9. Jon Roberts says:

    Overall I have enjoyed series 7 as a whole, although I have enjoyed 7b a little bit more. The article makes a good point that we all seemed to be too worked up about the pending 50th special and not whats on our screens now, if we are honest I think we are all a little guilty of this.

  10. vortexter says:

    The problem I think is that Dr Who is now fast food TV. By that, I mean that it does the job and fills you up for 45 minutes but it doesn’t last and makes you feel as if it wasn’t worth it afterwards. We need two part stories to get a proper story told and get some real character development. Also there is an issue with what I loosely call Mr Moffatts ‘Story Arc’s’. It’s like he picks three random things- ‘The infinity machine shall rise, the yellow one will appear, beware the tree’s of pain’ and us poor saps hit the forums trying to decode gibberish because no-one in the writing team knows what it means.
    I have enjoyed the series but it could be so much better with a bit of discipline and thought about how the stories are put together and how the season will end. I’m not calling for Moffatt to leave either, he’s a good writer. But the writers are not bigger than the show and they have to cater for the fans as well as the casual viewer.

  11. dr jon says:

    I myself enjoyed the series very much, the good out shined the bad there were a few storys that were a litte under par but there were some very good storys to. The last four were my favourite, and with the name of the doctor as just the best story of the series I can’t wait for the 50th. I have watched the series old and new since jon pertwee was the dr,and I can think back to when dr who went through a bad patch back in the late 70s with some bad storys but it managed to get through it. I just wish some fans of the series realise how lucky they are to have money spent on it and have a good quality drama. Some storys in the late 80s made me cringe, at the lack of money spent on it and less air time. We should be happy how swift the bbc have comissened series 8, fans of the old series had to wait 18 month’s if they were lucky.

    • STLShawn says:

      Dr J, good point,,,,, but we are,,,, as Doctor Who fans, the most voracious consumers of only the highest quality of entertainment. We set the bar high, we expect only the best, and lots of it. In return we buy merchandise, loads of DVD’s and streaming, and promote the series shamelessly among friends of colleagues.

      Having said that,,,,,, I’m just glad it’s back.

  12. STLShawn says:

    I’m a bit afraid of the day that someone at BBC says “Hey, we only made half as much in DVD sales and distribution in 2012 and 2013 as we did in 2011″. Someone who has no clue that these were “half seasons”.

  13. Bob James says:

    There’s nothing wrong with Doctor Who. I think it has just outgrown a good portion of its viewers and/or fanbase. Those who want it to remain just as it was in a particular era, or under a particular showrunner. There’s a reason why nostalgia is nostalgia, and that’s because it’s about the past. Doctor Who has shown on a consistent basis that change is vital and constant. And it has accomplished this through some incredibly talented people while still remaining unmistakably Doctor Who.

  14. Geoff says:

    There’s nothing wrong with Doctor Who that another 8 eps a year wouldn’t fix!

    Seriously though I’m surprised about the concerns 7b has raised because I though it was the strongest of the Moffat/Smith era. Much as I have enjoyed their earlier work I felt it all just held together better and felt more Doctor Who-ey, but Doctor Who has been so many things over the years that comment is about as subjective as its possible to be.

    I think the thing is every era and style has its time, the RTD era was so different to what we have now and 10 inhabited a vastly different landscape both in the show and the general world of TV, I’m interested to see how he will fit in the more fantasy world of Moffat and 11 when he returns in November by the way. Equally this era will make way for something different within a few years too, then everyone can bang on about the good old days with 11 and Moffat just like they do now about RTD and 10!

  15. Geoff says:

    One last thing: a show made as a series of standalone stories set across all of time and space has a lead over so many other dramas because of the broad wealth of stories and scenarios, for exactly the same reasons you can have a classic one week and an absolute howler the next (although the new who hasn’t had many of them). I quite like the fact that even in this modern world of slick TV this still applies: Fear Her one week, Army of Ghosts/Doomsday the next.
    1975, the often stated golden age of Doctor Who was no different, Robot (a so so story) then Ark in Space, Genesis of the Daleks, then the very average Revenge of the Cybermen…and as someone said on here a few weeks ago: I’d rather watch an average episode if Doctor Who than 90% of the crap that’s on TV.

  16. Caity says:

    The point about Doctor Who is that every story will have lovers and haters – because it can cover any style, format, story and that’s what keeps us watching.

    I personally loathe Matt Smith as the Doctor, am disappointed in the direction Steven Moffat has taken the show and his stories (after being so excited about his appointment on the back of such wonderful stories as Blink, etc), hated Amy (loved Rory)am disappointed so far in JLC (and talk about throwing away a good concept with her character in an off-hand way)and quite frankly detested River Song. BUT I am a Doctor Who fan, I keep watching and revel in the occasional story that is good (like the two Mark Gatiss stories in 7B) and know that a new Doctor will come around and that companions come and go – so there is no reason to stop watching.

  17. barry whysall says:

    the main thing wrong with doctor who is the timing you cant build a good story in 45 mins. and get rid of this 13 stories season, because were up against bgt and the x factor two shows were are not going to beat in the ratings. we then pull in 5 and 6 million and people start saying were are doomed because they dont see the final viewing figs and im sorry but get rid of the moff and smith ive nothing against them but now its time for change. bring in a new team and lets have three or four four two hour specials over the year with a linking theme buliding up to a christmas special .

  18. Geoff says:

    Caity, I like the way you’ve made your point, it is possible to be a fan but not like everything, even detest some characters but not become a ranting lunatic over it demanding sackings and cancellations! You’re quite right, things change and characters and writers come and go. Sometimes over time your feelings change too. As a child u never really liked Sarah Jane, and I wasn’t alone I remember we used to say she just screamed and was a bit wet, when Leela came along I thought she was much better, a proper arse kicker. However now much as I still like the way Louise Jameson played the character, and like the character when she’s used right (Eg Talons of Weng Chiang) I can see that Sarah Jane fitted into the format better and far from just being a screamer was a proper rounded young woman who had a lot of chemistry and delightful relationship with her Doctor, her parting scene in the Tardis is one of the most touching scenes in all Who in my book, and theres not a single piece of bombastic musical score in earshot! Anyway my point was its always best to employ a sense of balance as Caity has done even if you don’t like things. I’m not a fan of River Song as it goes, I find her a bit like a leery menopausal aunt but that’s just me, I might see it all differently when I re watch it all in the future. What I’m not going to do us demand Steven Moffat is sacked and Alex Kingston is hung from a tree!

  19. dr jon says:

    I do agree with what stl shawn said about consumer who, if it wasn’t the fans buying the products the bbc would think about pulling the plug.it has always been high on the list’ as it has through the 50 years of dr who.the bbc were laughing all the way to the bank when the daleks were huge in the 60s and they are still doing well today. So it’s not all about ratings or how many of the average person in the street watch the odd episode,it’s about the fan base who follow it year in and year out without them dr who would not be around.

  20. natcat413 says:

    Personally I have felt more attatchment to Matt’s Doctor in the last half of this series (with Clara) than I ever did with Amy and Rory. I just really feel a strong sense of connection with Clara for some reason.

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