Doctor Doctor Who Guide

I'd been enjoying the new series so far but this episode broke the trend. 

Firstly, can I point out something for the benefit of all would-be sci-fi writers? 99.99999% of all history involves no famous people whatsoever. The Charles Dickens character added nothing to this episode and using a historical figure is a lazy plot device which allows the writer to forego establishing a character the audience can connect with. It also stretches credibility that Dickens just happens to be in the same place and time that the TARDIS accidentally materialises. The scene where the Doctor tells Dickens how great he is was excruciating and had no sense of reality. Frankly, hardly anybody in literary circles cares about Dickens now and it's hard to believe that anyone will in another thousand years, so the fact that the Doctor has even heard of him shows appalling cultural bias. Britain is not the centre of the universe. 

The special effects were lovely to look at, but it felt as if the plot had been designed specifically to let the BBC FX department show off. Special effects are not the point of a series, they are window dressing. And even at £1 million an episode, the BBC is not Lucas Film and any special effects done on a licence budget are always going to come off as cheap. 

This was the second episode in a row that had Rose banging on a door yelling "get me out of here." Billie Piper has done a great job in capturing Rose's sense of wonder, but three episodes in, the character really needs to become more three dimensional. 

Similarly, I'm concerned about the direction that the Doctor is being taken in. Eccleston's performance in "Rose" was spot on, but more recently there's something worryingly ordinary about both the performance and the character itself. I suspect there's been a conscious move to try and make the Doctor more "human" and it's becoming irritating. For example, it strikes me as entirely wrong and ridiculous for the Doctor to be constantly apologising for things (for the fact that Charles Dickens will die, for rescuing Rose from her life as a shop girl, for the death of various supporting characters....the Doctor's seen too much death to be taking it so seriously). 

I hate to say this, but this episode has the overall feel of very obviously being written by a fan. Whilst Russell T Davies is, of course, a fan of the previous series, he's a good quality writer who conceal this in his writing and approach the job from a neutral standpoint. Mark Gattiss doesn't manage this. The insertion of Charles Dickens wreaks of a desperate attempt to bring credibility to the whole venture - something you might expect from someone who's spent his life defending a Who obsession. But next episode is a Russell T Davies product, so hopefully it will see a return to previous standards.

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