Big Finish Doctor Who News: The Doctor and Donna Are Back!

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The 10th Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) in “The Fires of Pompeii”

That’s right! Not only are the Ood singing, Whovians everywhere are rejoicing! You read it right! David Tennant and Catherine Tate are reprising their roles as the 10th Doctor and companion Donna Noble from Doctor Who, as reported earlier today on the Big Finish website!

David, one of my favorite Doctors (after Peter Davison, who happens to be his father-in-law, but I digress, as I often do…) remains a fan of the series and an advocate to this day, and in spite of his busy filming schedule for Jessica Jones (David plays the Purple Man/Killgrave, in case you missed it), he’s returned with the brilliant actress/comedienne Catherine Tate to record a series of audios for Big Finish Audios.

Big Finish has been championing the ongoing and missing adventures of Doctor Who since before its television revival in 2005, when the Doctor returned in the form of Chris Eccleston’s 9th Doctor.

Doctor Who – The Tenth Doctor Adventures  are due out in May 2016 – exclusively on the Big Finish site. Each of the (3) three titles are available to pre-order separately today for just £10.99 (approximately $17 US) on CD or £8.99 (approximately $14 US) to download. A bundle of all three titles is also available for £25 (approximately $38 US) on CD and £22 (approximately $34 US – American fans, please check your currency calculator) to download.

All three will be also available as a limited edition box set – only 5,000 copies – exclusively from bigfinish.com. The book-sized box set will include exclusive artwork, photos, articles and a one-hour documentary featuring interviews with the stars and production team. A must have for the 10th Doctor/Doctor Who fan!

For more, check out this delightful video featuring an interview with the dynamic duo of time and space, David Tennant and Catherine Tate, or as the Ood refer to them, the Doctor-Donna.

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Review: Doctor Who Series 9: Episode 1 – The Magician’s Apprentice

Hello friends and fellow Whovians. While I don’t like to post spoilerific reviews, there may be a few tidbits given away in this one. If you haven’t seen the Doctor Who Series 9 opening episode, Magician’s Apprentice, proceed at your own risk. – SylverWhisper

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Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), The 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) and U.N.I.T.’s own Dr. Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter) in a powerful scene from Genesis of the Daleks (1975)

You see, if someone who knew the future, pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives… could you then kill that child?”
The 4th Doctor in Genesis of the Daleks

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The 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) on Skaro

Painful Realizations…
The Magician’s Apprentice starts off Series 9 with more of a bang than a whimper, from the word go, on a war-torn planet in the heat of battle. A little boy is running for his life from sounds of weapon fire. We don’t know who the little boy is (not yet) and we fear for his life, as does a ragged young soldier attempting to rescue him, only to succumb to deadly hand-mines (you read that correctly), land mines in the form of creepy hands reaching up from the ground to grab you and pull you under. When The Doctor arrives on the scene, he’s too late to save the soldier, but not the little boy, only to find out the boy’s true identity… and OUCH, what a realization that is…

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Younger (angrier) Kate Lethbridge-Stewart in Downtime, portrayed by Beverley Cressman, Kate from the current series (Jemma Redgrave) in the middle, and Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (as portrayed by the late, great Nicholas Courtney).

The Family Business…
Meanwhile, back at U.N.I.T. HQ (haven’t seen Torchwood make an appearance in a while), the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce is investigating the mystery of planes hovering in the sky, apparently “frozen in time”, as they desperately try to call The Doctor (their former “scientific advisor”) for help.

Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (Jemma Redgrave), as many of us know by now, has taken up her father’s mantle (I miss The Brigadier terribly and keep hoping former U.N.I.T members like Sergeant Benton, Jo Grant and Mike Yates will show up). It’s ironic, given their initially tumultuous relationship, as revealed in earlier classic episodes and spin-off media (Downtime), The Brig and his kid had a rocky road.

However, it’s great to have a Lethbridge-Stewart in command of U.N.I.T. again, but to see her team falter (when trying to locate the missing 12th Doctor) only to have Clara point them in the right direction, while it’s great to see Clara step up and take charge, seemed a bit off. I want my U.N.I.T. to be more on the ball. Or at the very least, to show a bit more fire when a civilian starts pushing them around! Get it together, U.N.I.T.! Where’s Brigadier Bambera (Angela Bruce) from the 7th Doctor story Battlefield? She wouldn’t take sh*t from anyone, not even Clara Oswald.

I would like to see more of that friction/friendship between the U.N.I.T team and The Doctor again – showing both sides of an argument. It was the backbone of The Doctor’s relationship with The Brigadier, someone he respected, even when they disagreed. However, there was no doubt The Brigadier was a fighter and a leader, and loyal to The Doctor ’til the end. I want to see a more bad-ass Kate. I want to see her on the battlefield, like her father – right in the thick of it – not just in a control center away from the action.

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Terry Molloy as Davros and Peter Davison (my Doctor) as the 5th Doctor facing off in Resurrection of the Daleks (1984).

“I’m not here as your prisoner, Davros, but your executioner.
– The 5th Doctor in Resurrection of the Daleks (1984)

The Moral Dilemma…
For those who had a chance to see the Series 9 opener, the themes in Magician’s Apprentice may seem familiar. They should, even for the non-classic era Whovian. The Doctor has struggled to make a final decision to take out The Daleks (and Davros) before they could become too powerful and wipe out whole worlds over several incarnations.

The question that keeps haunting The Doctor, especially since the 4th Doctor story Genesis of the Daleks (a clip from that story is featured in this episode) is – can/should time travel be used to re-write some of history’s most tragic wrongs and change the course of its bloodiest events. Can a time traveller prevent evil dictators from committing atrocities that would kill thousands, perhaps even millions, or down the line, billions upon billions of innocents?

However, aren’t those events meant to be “time-locked” (as we’ve heard often in Doctor Who – only to have the greatest of time-locked events changed – The Time War itself) due to their scope? How will the outcome of those events shape the future of others for generations to come? Perhaps for the better? Who has the right to make that call? Does The Doctor (aka The Lonely Angel, aka The Oncoming Storm) have that right?

Of course I’ve always wanted to see The Doctor go back in time to stop Hitler and the rise of Nazi Germany. Instead, we have Davros and the Daleks to take their place. The Doctor has had many opportunities to avert the Daleks’ creation by destroying their creator, yet he has always failed, often due to his own lack of action.

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The Time Lords of Gallifrey (Timothy Dalton in the center as the Lord President of the High Council) from the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) finale The End of Time (2009-2010).

Then came the Time War… and the greatest regret for The Doctor. It cannot have escaped him that his earlier selves could have prevented The Time War and the eradication of countless worlds, including The Fall of Gallifrey (yes, I know it “falls no more” but bear with me here).

When you meddle in time, which version of events do you choose to influence? The moral dilemma keeps coming up: which timeline is worth preserving? Or meant to be preserved? We’ve seen it in come up in Doctor Who over and over again and we’ve seen this play out in other shows as well – Star Trek, Heroes, Continuum – after all, it’s the Butterfly Effect. Change a tiny event in the past and it can have dire consequences in the future.

The Time Lords had a strict “non-intervention” policy, but they’re not around to enforce it now. And let’s face it, the Gallifreyans did in fact interfere, using the CIA (Celestial Intervention Agency), when convenient, and then disavowed any knowledge of wrongdoing. So we don’t know how many events they actually shaped to their liking, but they had knowledge and oversight the average person would not possess.

The Doctor, as a Time Lord, has a sense of responsibility to keep timelines stable and in tact. But he’s been known to meddle, again, because he can see the fabric of space and time and which events are “time-locked”. If he wanted to, he could have gone back to save former companions Adric (Matthew Waterhouse), Katarina (Adrienne Hill) and other people he cared for, from dying, but wouldn’t dare contravene the The First Law of Time.

That Was Then. This is Now…
As The Doctor has grown older, he’s become more flexible when it comes to bending these laws. Perhaps, he’s grown more unstable himself. In his 9th incarnation, it was fair to say he was suffering from PTSD from the Time War and from the actions he remembered taking as The War Doctor (as we now know, he remembers incorrectly, as we learned from The 50th Anniversary Special with John Hurt). He has since, tried to redeem himself (in his 10th and 11th incarnations), but the pain and regret still linger…

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Missy (Michelle Gomez)

Friends and Foes…
When faced with another chance to rid the world of Davros, which road will The Doctor choose? Or did he already make that choice without realizing the consequences? The Doctor is not a murderer. He is most certainly not a child-killer, as he states in his speech in Genesis of the Daleks. But is willful neglect the same as murder? And was he, inadvertently, the architect of the very future he attempted to stop? And what happens once he realizes that abandoning that child on the battlefield of that war-torn planet, Skaro, left a fractured being that would go on to become one of his most despised enemies? Will he go back in time and finally make that one terrible choice? Will he kill an innocent child?

We know that’s not The Doctor’s style. Right? That’s The Master’s style, or in this case Missy’s (Michelle Gomez), whose relationship with The Doctor seems more grey than ever before. There is a precedent for this. The earlier Jon Pertwee incarnation and Roger Delgado’s Master had a friendly rivalry and a grudging respect for one another, that sadly, we never saw developed further once Roger Delgado passed away. Though Michelle Gomez is brilliant and gives us plenty of laughs and gasps, I miss Roger Delgado’s saner, charismatic version of The Master to this day. I imagine there’s a reason for Missy’s sudden attacks of nostalgia and sentimentality for The Doctor’s friendship in this incarnation (she keeps referring to their friendship in Magician’s Apprentice). Will she be the voice of reason this time around? Can she, of all people, save The Doctor from himself?

Time’s Champion? Or Time’s Bitch?
When all’s said and done, the question we’re left with – are we all time’s bitch? Are events pre-determined? Are we all just pawns with our role to play? Even The Doctor? Are certain truths inevitable? Are The Daleks inevitable? Or can their course be altered? Should it be? Should that timeline be tampered with? Even to destroy possibly the greatest evil that has ever lived? And what repercussions will that have for the rest of the universe?

We’ll find out tonight when Part 2 – The Witch’s Familiar airs.

Fore more, check out the Series 9 Episode 2: The Witch’s Familiar trailer of Doctor Who below.

Doctor Who Series 9 airs on BBC America on Saturdays at 9 pm ET, while British fans can see it on Saturday evenings on BBC One.

Doctor Who Series 9 Returns Tonight!

Hey there, fellow Whovians, I know I’ve been a bit radio silent lately, and I apologize. Sometimes life gets in the way, but it would be remiss of me not to pop in to celebrate the return of our favorite Time Lord, The Doctor, to our screens today. And as always, I look forward to more of his inter-galactic hi-jinx.

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Series 9 Cast of Doctor Who – Michelle Gomez, Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman

Once again, the TARDIS crew in the form of 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and companion Clara (Jenna Coleman), will be back to fight the good fight, and boy, did I miss them!

Series 9 of Doctor Who will see the return of Missy (aka The Master), played by Michelle Gomez, Rigsy, played by Joivan Wade (one of my favorite guest stars from Series 8), some classic era monsters like the Zygons and Daleks and another mysterious character in the form of Maisie Williams, best known for her role as Arya Stark on the HBO original series Game of Thrones.


GOODBYE IMPOSSIBLE GIRL?

At some point we will also see the departure of Jenna Coleman, finally confirmed earlier this week. Jenna will be leaving to star in the upcoming 8-part ITV series Victoria. Her exit had been rumored for some time, and it seems, has been in the works for some time as well.

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Joivan Wade as Rigsy in Doctor Who

NOT JUST THE TIN DOG!

I wonder how the Impossible Girl will go out? And who will replace her? Personally, I’m hoping Rigsy (last seen in the episode Flatline) will become a permanent addition to the cast and I look forward to seeing Joivan Wade reprise his role as the young graffiti artist. He was likable, bright, compassionate and seemed to have a great rapport with Clara.

We need another male companion. Traditionally, male companions haven’t done too well on board the TARDIS (Captain Jack, played by John Barrowman, was an exception, but even he had to die and be spun off onto Torchwood – no room for him and The Doctor in the same TARDIS). I think we’re overdue. The earlier Doctors had Ian, Steven, Ben, Jamie, and the UNIT team (The Brigadier, Sgt. Benton, Captain Mike Yates, even Dr. Harry Sullivan).

Unlike the novels and audios, male companions on the TV series have suffered from abuse or disuse since the 1980s. We need a fresh young face, someone the Doctor can take under his wing, but can also teach him a few things, and I think Rigsy fits the bill nicely. 

Fore more, check out the Series 9 Trailer of Doctor Who below.

Doctor Who Series 9 returns tonight. American fans can watch the Doctor Who Season 9 premiere on BBC America at 9 pm ET, while British fans can see it at 7:40 pm on BBC One.

DI Alec Hardy and DI Miller Are Back in Broadchurch Series 2!

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Series 1 Cast of Broadchurch (ITV, UK)

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”

It’s been nearly two years since the premiere of the hit UK drama Broadchurch starring the brilliant David Tennant (Doctor Who) and Olivia Colman. Having only discovered it after Series 1 had ended, while watching its US counterpart Gracepoint at the same time, it’s still very fresh in my mind.

When I learned Series 2 would come on the heels of Gracepoint’s unfortunate demise, I was relieved to learn the story wasn’t over yet.

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Series 1 Cast of Gracepoint (Fox TV, US)

For those who are unfamiliar, both Broadchurch and Gracepoint center around the death of 11-year-old Danny Lattimer (Danny Solano in the US version), and the lives torn apart during the course of the murder investigation led by Hardy (Detective Emmett Carver in the US version – both played by David Tennant).

Written and produced by Chris Chibnall (Torchwood), the murder mystery keeps you guessing until the very last minute, all the while drawing you into the personal lives of all the key players living in the sleepy seaside community. Underneath the idyllic exterior, deep, dark secrets are unearthed, and by the end, no one is left unscathed.

When Danny’s murderer is finally discovered, I’m sure most audience members felt saddened and disturbed. We knew the killer would be someone close to home, but like real life, it’s never someone you’d expect – rarely some stranger, instead it’s someone you’d trust with your own children. It leaves you with an uneasy feeling. Hardly resolved. There’s no real sense of closure. There’s no sense of peace as Danny’s and Ellie’s (Olivia Colman in the UK Version and played by Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn in the US Version) families are left to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. But how can they?

This is where Series 2 of Broadchurch begins.

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Series 2 Cast of Broadchurch (ITV, UK)

Joining the cast for Series 2 alongside Series 1 regulars David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who), Jonathan Bailey (Doctor Who)Jodie Whittaker, and Andrew Buchan, are Eve Myles (Gwen from Torchwood, Doctor Who) as Claire, Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Sharon, Charlotte Rampling as Jocelyn, and James D’Arcy as Lee.

Series 2 finally sheds some light on the events that brought a disgraced (and haunted) Alec Hardy to Broadchurch after the Sandbrook murders, as Danny’s murder trial begins.

Mysteries and courtroom dramas fascinate me, but you get so much more with Broadchurch. The cast is brilliant, and you believe Beth and Ellie’s heartache, you believe Alec’s obsession… you believe… You feel every moment, and I couldn’t help but have physical reactions as events unfolded. Tennant is so good at what he does I found myself both disliking Alec Hardy and finding him sympathetic at the same time, forgetting that underneath that scruffy beard was the Time Lord we all love.

Broadchurch Series 2 has just ended its run in the UK on ITV and premieres tonight March 4th, 2015 at 10/9c on BBC America in the US.

If you haven’t seen the series yet, I urge you to catch up with Series 1 of Broadchurch on Netflix.

For more, watch the Series 2 Trailer of Broadchurch below.

Attention Female Sci-Fi Writers: Doctor Who Needs YOU!

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Sandman and Doctor Who writer Neil Gaiman

Recently, Sandman and Neverwhere author Neil Gaiman, commented on the lack of female writers in Doctor Who.  He would know, having penned two stories himself (The Doctor’s Wife, Nightmare in Silver) for the current series.

But that can’t be right, can it? I thought long and hard to myself, and truthfully, while I can recall female directors and producers (after all, the series was birthed by the late Verity Lambert and producer Julie Gardner was instrumental in helping Russell T. Davies bring back Doctor Who in 2005), I can’t – off the top of my head – recall female writers for the series. This really gnawed at me.

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Verity Lambert and Russell T. Davies

FROM FANDOM TO CALLING THE SHOTS

Often, I cite Paul Cornell as one of my top writers for the current series. Paul writes compelling science fiction and drama, as evidenced in The 10th Doctor story (originally written for 7th Doctor Sylvester McCoyHuman Nature and Father’s Day (for 9th Doctor Christopher Eccleston). Even upon repeated watchings, I am always moved to tears by these episodes.

Back in the day, it was Robert Holmes who wrote some of the best stories for the classic era, including The Deadly Assassin and Talons of Weng-Chiang (for 4th Doctor Tom Baker) and Caves of Androzani (for 5th Doctor Peter Davison). Surely, my favorite sci-fi show of all time had just as many female writers, right? Right? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

I owe Doctor Who for inspiring my love of science fiction and desire for self-expression. I was one of those fanfic and fanzine writers who felt compelled to expand on The Doctor’s universe. Yep, I was one of the ones people snickered at. We found refuge at conventions and dared not share our creations with the uninitiated. They wouldn’t understand… They just wouldn’t get it. 

Times have changed, and some of those same con-geeks and nerds are among some of the most successful writers and producers in film and television today. Fanboys Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings), Russell T. Davies (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Queer as Folk), Mark Gatiss (Doctor Who, Sherlock) and of course, Steven Moffat (Coupling, Doctor Who, Sherlock), all started as fellow nerds and Whovians. But that’s a rather testosteroneladen list.

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Buffy, BSG and Torchwood writer Jane Espenson

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

What about the rest of us? Geek girls, fangirls, nerd girls – whatever label you choose. We’re out here, ready to produce the next Doctor Who, Star Trek or Star Wars, given the opportunity. And yet, my short list is, well, rather… short. This shouldn’t be so hard…

Maybe Buffy and Battlestar Galactica alum Jane Espenson (she also wrote for the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood starring Arrow’s John Barrowman) should have a go as head writer/show runner for Doctor Who? She’s written for just about every sci-fi/fantasy series in recent history (the ones I care about anyway), including Game of Thrones and Firefly.

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“Outlander” author Diana Gabaldon with her two Jamies

Perhaps Outlander author, Diana Gabaldon, should try her hand at writing for our favorite Time Lord? Considering Outlander’s connection to Doctor Who it wouldn’t be a stretch. I wouldn’t mind a return to purely historical Doctor Who stories like The Aztecs, The Crusades and Marco Polo (from the William Hartnell/First Doctor era).

Fellow Whovians, which female writers would you like to see pen a Doctor Who script?

NEXT UP

Series 8 continues… Stay tuned for tonight’s episode of Doctor WhoFlatline.

Airing Saturday, October 18th at 9pm on BBC America.

Peter Capaldi and Katy Manning Recreate Some Special Doctor Who Memories


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Earlier this week, former Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) companion Katy Manning, known to fans as UNIT agent Jo Grant, visited the set of Doctor Who. She and current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, had a blast re-enacting some scenes from her time with the series. The 67-year old actress truly enjoyed her time with the 12th Doctor, and it showed, calling him “one of the most charming men I’ve ever met.”

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Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

I can’t believe how happy these pictures made me feel. It struck me how right they looked together – Doctor and companion – together again. Thus proving that Peter Capaldi is the man for the job.

Katy loved returning to her old (if renovated) home, the TARDIS, and getting treated to a sneak peek of the upcoming Christmas special. “I know is going to be the best Xmas DW special!” She said.

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Days Gone By…

My only regret, these pictures weren’t part of an on-screen adventure with the 12th Doctor. I miss the late Lis Sladen (former companion Sarah Jane Smith) terribly and the last time we saw Katy in the “Whoniverse” was when she reprised her role as Jo Grant alongside Lis and 11th Doctor Matt Smith in The Sarah Jane Adventures episode Death of the Doctor. I’m still holding out hope for a classic companion to return to the series… A girl can dream. I wonder what ever did happen to Jo Grant and her son…? But I digress… as I often do…

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And as The 10th Doctor (David Tennant) says to The 5th (Peter Davison) in  Time Crash, “all my love to long ago…” We sincerely hope to see Katy on board the TARDIS again soon.

NEXT UP…

In the meantime, Series 8 continues. Stay tuned for tonight’s episode of Doctor WhoThe Caretaker.

Airing tonight on BBC One at 8:30pm and at 9pm on BBC America.

Taking In Doctor Who: Deep Breath

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“He’s the doctor. He has walked this Universe for centuries untold. He has seen stars fall to dust… You might as well FLIRT with a mountain range.” – Madame Vastra

Before diving into the Doctor Who Series 8 opener Deep Breathlet me get this declaration out of the way — Peter Capaldi IS The Doctor and I will tell you why.

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FAMILIAR FACES

Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax all make their welcome return in Deep Breath, Peter Capladi’s debut episode as the 12th (or is it 13th?) Doctor, to help ease companion Clara (and the fans) through The Doctor’s transition from The 11th Doctor (Matt Smith). As many of us remember, The Doctor in a regeneration crisis can be quite a predicament.

WHERE’S A ZERO ROOM WHEN YOU NEED ONE?

I can’t recall even one time when The Doctor had an easy time of it post-regeneration (unlike Romana in Destiny of the Daleks). It takes time for him to stabilize both mentally and physically. As the Fifth Doctor  (Peter Davison) tells his companions, it takes a little time for his “dendrites to heal”. And of course, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is no exception. He struggles with everything — his memories of his friends, how they look, how they speak, their appalling accents! That’s right… because apparently, not only do most planets have a North, but they have a Scotland too (picture me saying it with a Scottish accent, far more amusing that way).

“You’ve redecorated… I don’t like it…” – Clara Oswald

Even though a regeneration can be seen as a renewal, poor, traumatized Clara (Jenna Coleman) seems quite skeptical this is her Doctor (in spite of meeting his earlier incarnations – including John Hurt’s War Doctor). Her assumption is, The Doctor should start out young. Had she met the first four Doctors, she wouldn’t have been in such shock (but then she had met them, when she was splintered across time and couldn’t remember those encounters).

As Madame Vastra (played by Neve McIntosh) points out, The Doctor is not a young man. He’s lived for centuries, millennia, in fact.  The Gallifreyan is over 2,000 years old (if he even remembers his age correctly by this point) by the time we see him in Deep Breath. He has lived many lives and has worn many faces. It is fair to say The Doctor is far from young.

Still, Clara needs convincing… but that’s not The Doctor’s only problem…
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