Before the last of these essays, a little bit of other stuff…

This post is going to go live at precisely midnight — at which point it will be the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who, and so this is the last of the fifty stories essays.

Enough people said they would want a book of this that I’ve put one together, and that is also available from midnight tonight. You can buy it as a paperback, hardback, Kindle ebook (US) (UK), or non-Kindle ebook (with no DRM on the ebooks). And for those of you who visit us at Thought Bubble, you can buy a paperback copy off me personally.

But don’t worry if you’re too poor to buy one, or you just don’t like me and don’t want me to have money — the essays are essentially the same as they were when published here, but without the dodgy screencaps, and with quite a bit of copy-editing and fact-checking. You can still read the original versions here for free.
But anyway, here’s the last essay

Continuity can be a useful tool.

Doctor Who has had several radical reinventions over the years — when it stopped being about Ian and Barbara, when the Doctor first regenerated, when it became an Earth-bound show during Pertwee’s time, when it stopped being on TV altogether and became a series of books…

Most of the time, the programme has a tendency to revert back to something like the mean, but each time it retains some of the new with the old. Steven Moffat’s reinvention of the programme is, one suspects, another time when this will be the case.

“What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Time War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”

With apologies to Francis Fukuyama

The End of Time is a resignation letter.

2008 was, artistically if not commercially, the nadir of Doctor Who. By this point, a series which, when it returned, had seemed fresh and vibrant, had become barely coherent, with each episode being little more than a set of effects set-pieces strung together with no thought for logic and topped off with a couple of ‘comedy’ moments and some over-the-top emoting. While Russell T Davies was regularly describing the series as “the best drama in the world”, there was precious little drama in it any more.

Midnight was a very welcome exception.

Blink is, in many ways, the most Steven Moffat script imaginable.

While Doctor Who seemed to have taken over the world in its TV version in 2006, Big Finish were being more-or-less ignored, but they were still producing regular Doctor Who audio stories, and some of them were very, very good indeed.

In particular, Nev Fountain’s The Kingmaker managed to do the kind of time travel story that had never been done before, or indeed since, in Doctor Who.

2005 was the year everything changed.

The battered wooden door was hesitantly opened, and a man stepped out. He had an elegant, curious face, with eyes that darted around his surroundings. And at the moment he was frowning a dangerous frown. He wore the sombre black tailcoat of an Edwardian gentleman under a heavy cape, with a Keble College scarf thrown over one shoulder. He would have merited hardly a glance on the streets of Edwardian London, but he looked somewhat out of place in the twenty-first century. This was the adventurer in time and space known only as the Doctor. Although he looked human enough, he was actually an alien from a far-off world. Among the many strange and wonderful things about his alien nature was his ability to regenerate, to replace a worn out or fatally injured body with a new one, which brought with it a whole new personality and oudook on life. It was something all his people, the Time Lords, could do. This form was his ninth.

Scream Of The Shalka, released in February 2004, is the last ever Doctor Who novelisation

Sometimes all you need is a good story.

2003 was possibly the peak year for Big Finish.