The Doctor Who Finale Had Such a Great Ending, I Forgive Everything

6 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Alex Kingston: Why Doctor Who has to be a man.

The actress, who reprises her role as River Song in the Christmas Day episode of the BBC One sci-fi series, admitted she cannot imagine the Time Lord as a woman. “I would imagine, if anything, the Doctor might be of different race than gender.

The audacious Doctor Who series 9 finale saw Jenna Coleman’s Clara piloting her own TARDIS with Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams into the universe (for a spin-off of their own perhaps).Returning to Gallifrey, the Doctor overthrows Rassilon and the High Council and uses an extraction chamber to retrieve Clara from the trap street, her physical processes time-locked an instant before her death. Essentially, if one goes back historically, it’s really been a little boys’ show and girls have been brought onto it. “Certainly, when I was a child, I loved it as well but, and I hope women don’t hate me for this, I do think the Doctor has to be a guy actually. It’d be very interesting for River if it was a woman.” The 52-year-old actress, who has also appeared in US medical drama ER, BBC drama Hope Springs and US action series Arrow, gets to work with Peter Capaldi’s incarnation of the Doctor – but teased she’d like to flirt with Jon Pertwee, who portrayed the third Doctor from 1970 to 1974.

There he meets Ashildr, who counters his assertion that she is the Hybrid by suggesting that the combination of him and Clara forms two halves of a half-Time Lord, half-human hybrid, one which puts all of time and space in jeopardy. From mysterious, often frustrating beginnings, the longest serving companion in New Who has proved herself as one of the most compelling, complex female leads the series has seen. After a psychedelic, head-spinning finale that piled twist upon revelation on top of rug pull, Steven Moffat could not resist one final question mark that’s likely to keep us guessing until the end of everything.

This has been Capaldi’s reality for the past two years, as the 12th Doctor to take on the job of saving the universe from the most inventive and terrifying baddies on television. I think I’d probably give William Hartnell (the first Doctor) a heart attack so best to leave him alone. “Paul McGann, he would’ve been great fun to have worked with but I’m working with him now, potentially in the future as well, on recorded episodes. As Clara imparted the wisdom the Doctor had given her about memories becoming stories, surely knowing he wouldn’t remember, so couldn’t have told her in the Diner Tardis, he tacitly let it go and walked away. When the pair meet again in a diner in Nevada, he does not recognise her and flies off in his TARDIS alone, while Clara and Ashildr take the stolen TARDIS to head back to Gallifrey – the long way around.

Was she giving him just enough information to work out that Clara was OK, or had the whole conversation been the final flourish in the pair’s dance, knowing the universe could no longer handle their unique type of Hybrid, and nobly sucking it up? This Australian air steward was pretty upset at what she’d just witnessed in 1984’s Resurrection of the Daleks which featured a rather high death count (even by 80s Doctor Who standards) and decided to stay in London.

Sadly, Tegan instantly regretted her choice and fled back to the TARDIS to rejoin her chums – only to find it dematerializing in her front of her eyes. A visibly trembling woman steps up to the microphone during the Q and A and says, “I’m sorry, I think you’re amazing!” to which Capaldi answers, “I think you’re amazing!” When Capaldi reveals his Doctor’s hypothetical playlist to include the Killers, David Bowie, Arcade Fire and some Frank Sinatra, you’d almost think Bowie himself had snuck onto the stage as well. We’ve long since known that it was the Doctor’s arch frenemy that first engineered him hooking up with Clara, way back in The Bells Of Saint John with the IT helpdesk. “The control freak and the man who can never be controlled,” she cackled in last year’s Death In Heaven. Capaldi, 57, is on a break now for a couple of months, after completing nine months of filming — a new episode every two weeks — and what sounds like fairly gruelling international promotional duties. “It utterly takes over your life,” he tells the crowd. “I think it’s not entirely healthy living in a wholly Doctor Who world.” Yet Capaldi has famously wanted to be the Doctor since childhood, when he used to watch William Hartnell visit other worlds as the original Doctor.

This precocious boy genius (read: annoying arse), made one journey with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper after having helped beat off a solitary Dalek. He is living his boyhood dream. “I grew up in the 60s, so we had smog and bronchial disease and it was quite tough,” he joked earlier, in a hotel suite where he was giving interviews. “But in the corner of the living room there would be this flickering black and white image and the music would come on and then these incredible worlds would be evoked and these monsters, and I just loved all that. Their understated and funny final scene was concocted between actress Elisabeth Sladen and Baker, and included the heart-breaking line: ‘Don’t forget me.’

And the Doctor was such a mysterious character, much more mysterious 52 years ago than he is now.” Capaldi has returned much of that mystery to the role, following the reign of what producer Steven Moffat describes as “two brilliant, puppy-like Doctors”, played by David Tennant and Matt Smith, who brought slapstick energy to the BBC franchise and inspired fan frenzy. Like Heaven Sent, Hell Bent is an epic story on a small scale: a tale of a lonely traveller who is willing to risk all of creation because he misses his closest friend, with Gallifrey and the Time Lords merely a bit-part player. In contrast, Moffat says, Capaldi has “the gravitas and intellect to match the oldest man in the universe”. “I love all the new Doctors,” says Capaldi, “but they were becoming increasingly younger and one of their great charms was that they were user friendly. Moffat’s storytelling choices will no doubt have disappointed many viewers who were hoping for a spectacular Time Lord showdown but I still enjoyed this finale very much – with one noticeable exception. People adore David and adore Matt and I think they’d be very happy to have them come over for dinner and I thought, well, in a show that’s over 50 years old how do you generate any mystery?

I thought it might be right, if a little risky, to put some distance between myself and the audience, to try and not be accessible to them and make me a stranger, and more alien. Or, considering she might be running round the future of his timestream, could that be some kind of way back for Coleman to return for guest appearances in years to come? Despite the fact the General regenerates and the Doctor’s glib remark that ‘death is Time Lord for man flu’, this doesn’t change the fact that he murders one of his own kind.

The lighter side of his character comes to the fore in the Doctor Who Christmas Special screening on Boxing Day, which Capaldi describes as a “fun and festive romp”. In it, Alex Kingston returns in the role of his wife, Professor River Song, meeting the Doctor’s new incarnation for the first time and refusing to believe it is him. “I get to see her behaving terribly and flirting with lots of other people, which I object to. Divisive as it was, last year’s focus on Clara’s working life as an English teacher in the Shoreditch comprehensive gave the show an enjoyable grounding in reality. Of course, the point of having the Doctor kill the General is to show just how far he will go to save Clara, further than he would go to save anyone else.

We had a really nice time.” Superfans will know that Capaldi appeared on the programme before he became the Doctor, playing a Roman merchant, Caecilius, in Pompeii as Mt Vesuvius is erupting. The other part of Clara’s story that we don’t like to talk about any more is her stint nannying for siblings petulant Angie and creepy Artie after their mother died.

Later, Capaldi consulted with English designer Paul Smith on what the Doctor should wear (pretty much what Capaldi would wear anyway) and took predecessor Matt Smith to lunch. As we revisit the barn where the War Doctor contemplated setting off The Moment, his standing as a war hero, never mind a Hybrid, is the stuff of Gallifrey legend.

Her character died in a recent episode, devastating fans, even though they knew she was departing the show to play Queen Victoria in the drama Victoria. And be a Doctor.’ It’s an ending fitting of the character, as Clara races off in search of adventure, not concerned about death but wanting to make the most of her life, knowing that her next heartbeat will be her last. It’s not just that any LGBT representation on the telly is welcome until the medium reflects the real demographic and all of that boring, worthy stuff etc etc etc.

It’s a fabulous role, the Doctor’s companion — but there is that moment where you just have to scream.” Capaldi would like to see the Doctor one day joined by his granddaughter on his travels through space and time, to see the mystery of her origin explained. But more than that, since Clara was the tempering force that mellowed and humanised him, will the Doctor going forward be more like the grumpy killjoy from last year?

The founder of Time Lord society, he developed the time travel technology along with Omega (who thought just for a minute that we might be getting Omega?), and became the first Lord High President.

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