I started my post on Series 3 talking about the Christmas special, and I’ll be doing the same here, with ‘Voyage of the Damned’, which starred Kylie Minogue, and is essentially the greatest Christmas special that Doctor Who has ever made, bar none. It is an action adventure, sci-fi, disaster movie and romance bonanza and David Tennant is just utterly spectacular from start to finish. The special captivated me from start to finish the first time I saw it and I vividly remember binge watching it several times in the following weeks. I love Minogue’s character who is a bit like Rose, a bit naïve but tough and ready to fight against what is wrong. She’s awesome and a great bit of casting.
And after the excitement of the Christmas special, series 4 started and oh my god were we spoilt. Donna Noble is my favourite companion, and combined with my favourite Doctor, it was for me TV gold. Catherine Tate and David Tennant made Doctor Who funny and fun to watch again, but they were also both heart-breakingly brilliant at the serious stuff.
You jump from the hilarious mime in ‘Partners in Crime’ straight into the next episode ‘The Fires of Pompeii’ where the Doctor and Donna together blow up the volcano and ensure history goes on as it was supposed to happen. The writing and the acting just take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and the adventures they have together are great to watch; they are a couple of mates who happen to have access to a Time Machine. It’s amazing.
What is also great about the series is that Martha Jones returns for a few episodes, and like with her stint in the second season of Torchwood, her character is all the better for not being the Doctor’s companion. She just works better when she’s not travelling with him, and her journey throughout is about her realising that. Many of us dream of being the Companion, but not everyone is cut out for it and not everyone needs to be in order to be a success.
The other thing that is brilliant is the foreshadowing of so many themes, which is written into the series from the start. Donna manages to find her way back to the Doctor, as does Martha, and then eventually Rose as well. The Doctor/Donna is seeded into the stories subtly, with entire universes and worlds created around Donna a few times. It was a great end to Russell T. Davies reign as a writer for a full series and it was a great last series for Tennant as well.
Steven Moffat’s two part where he gets to start developing new characters of his own for his stint as the Head Writer is great, because we get introduced to River Song for the first time.
‘The Unicorn and the Wasp’ is one of my favourite historical character’s episodes. I like the one with Charles Dickens in series one, but in this episode we meet Agatha Christie one of the greatest and most prolific mystery writers of all time. I adore this episode, mainly because both the Doctor and Donna get a big kick out of title dropping as much as possible.
Essentially everything written by Russell T. Davies in this series. I’ll start with ‘Midnight’ which is one of the rarer episodes of Doctor Who which is dialogue driven rather than dialogue and action driven. Set in a confined space, it is pure dialogue and great acting that makes this episode fantastic to watch.
Everything else he writes includes the opening episode ‘Partners in Crime’ which is comedy genius. His genius though comes from the three part finale. ‘The Stolen Earth’ and ‘Journey’s End’ is a great send off with gut wrenching cliff-hangers, but I would argue the best episode of the series is ‘Turn Left’. Catherine Tate and the writing just combine perfectly to consider a horror most of us don’t wish to consider; what would the world be like without The Doctor.
Her development as a character as she forces herself to ‘Turn Left’ is one of the few times the show has properly managed to reduce me to tears and what happens to her is worse than the separation of Rose and the rejection of Martha.
*scuttles away to sob quietly*.