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In Memory of the Late Doctor Who

By Aden Shillito

I read each issue of TSV with interest, and notice the large number of people crying over the show's demise. Why? Do we really want Doctor Who back? I feel that the 'rest' the show is taking was a mercy killing. The series reached its prime in Season 26, leaving us with some really good stories (...and Battlefield).

Why try and resurrect it on the BBC's TV screens, or indeed ours? Let the good Doctor go out on a high point, or else it will end up like an American sitcom (i.e., commissioned for just three episodes, recommissioned for an entire season, then subsequently recontracted for the next nine years - at the end of which time it's used the same ideas 3.6 million times in just 257 half-hour episodes). Do we want this to happen to Doctor Who - after all, we are supposed to be its fans, aren't we?

As I see it, Doctor Who has gone. Let it rest. The series has nowhere left to go; it would merely lumber on like Jason Donovan on the comeback trail, reusing old plots and clichéd story ideas. The other alternative is much worse - Green Light! If a commercial group like this one were commissioned to do the series we could be looking at a cheap porno/sci-fi TV send-up. As it is (based on the ending of Survival), we are left with the fond memory of McCoy and Aldred in their perfect roles as the Doctor and Ace; the perfect end to a legend. Why let someone new ham it up as the screen Doctor, complete with an 'I want to be Ace' companion - or worse, the return of Mel?

As for The New Adventures, I hear they are fine in themselves, but do we really want them to be the Doctor's screen image? Jessica Smiler told me recently that they are '...good science fiction, rotten Doctor Who...' In these novels we are not looking at classic Who, just very good main-stream science-fiction writing. Jessica also says that '...you could replace the Doctor and Ace with any new characters and not notice a difference...' If this is what the fans want for the new TV episodes, they should just buy an old Isaac Asimov book and rename the central characters as the Doctor and his companion. I still feel that too much of the 'gritty realism' in The New Adventures is merely an attempt to raise the blood pressure and sexual urges of teenage sci-fi nerds with unbalanced hormones and a rabid craving for Sophie Aldred's body. That's just my opinion, don't quote me on it.

In summary, why bother trying to resurrect Doctor Who if all we want it to be now is ordinary mainstream science fiction television? Why not just tune into Star Trek: The Next Generation and pretend that it has a plot and that Captain Picard is really, really sexy...

Oh well, that's just the way I see it. I do hope I'm not alone in this view. Doctor Who is dead; I say leave it that way.

This item appeared in TSV 30 (September 1992).