One of the things that having a six show season does for a series is create anticipation. The anticipation in America over the new season of Doctor Who, with the rock-star popular Matt Smith returning in the title role, couldn’t be greater.
In this year’s Christmas special, based on a long-lost script by the late Douglas Adams, the Doctor has finally succumbed to the loss of one too many of those he has cared so deeply about and has essentially just given up and retired from his adventurous life.
It takes the arrival of a new companion, Clara – played by Jenna-Louise Coleman – to bring him out of his torpor.
Head writer Steven Moffat says it is ‘one hell of a story’ – and one that has languished in the BBC archives for more than 30 years.
Douglas Adams worked as script editor on Doctor Who in 1979, prior to the ascendance of his Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. They filmed three of his episodes, but his story idea that built on the idea that the Doctor might be ready to quit wasn’t looked upon with favor by Those In Charge. It’s been brought back, rewritten for the modern Doctor, and now the Doctor has a strong point of pathos over the death of his last traveling companion Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillan.
“Being alone again isn’t exactly a first for the Doctor, but for the first time he’s admitting he’s had enough. He’s retired, withdrawn from the world and holed up in his battered old Tardis. No more friends, no world-saving, no more heartbreak. It’s a brilliant idea, and I can say that without arrogance because it wasn’t mine,” says Moffat.
“She’s drawn to the Doctor when she meets him and wants to know more,” says Ms. Coleman. “Clara is so clever, possibly smarter than the Doctor himself. There is definitely something between them, but she finds him amazing and ridiculous in equal measure. She’s not intimidated by him, that’s for sure.”
Jenna had never watched Doctor Who before getting the part. Her boyfriend Richard Madden, who stars in the epic American series Game Of Thrones, says: ‘I think I was more excited than she was when she got the role. I was like “What?” It’s one of my favourite shows. I’d love to be in Doctor Who.’
Jenna made her Doctor Who debut in September playing an entirely different character. As Oswin in Asylum Of The Daleks, she not only died but also turned out to have been a Dalek. Just how the writers will explain her return in a different guise has been kept under tight wraps – so yes, there is a story thread that goes with this, it’s not just one of those act0r-playing-multiple-roles things.
“I feel really privileged to have been given this opportunity and to be a part of the Doctor Who adventure,” she said. “I really can’t wait. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”
We can’t wait either.
The Doctor Who special airs Christmas night at 9PM Eastern Time, 6PM Pacific Time, followed by a special episode of Graham Norton with special guest Matt Smith.
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