W H A T I S A W L A S T N I G H T
Doctor Who - The Day of the Doctor
I'M NOT A fan of Doctor Who - not the show running under that title since 2005, that is - so The Day of the Doctor, a feature length episode celebrating the series' fiftieth anniversary was never going to satisfy me.
I approached it with a degree of cynicism, a small part of me hoping to be enchanted, but fully expecting the disappointment and frustration that seems to be the show's raison d'être in the twenty-first century.
When it was all over, the sense I was left with was of having seen a compilation of bits of different episodes, fused with various Comic Relief sketches. There's even a T.V. comedian playing a comedy scientist in a Tom Baker scarf.
The return of the Zygons, a much-loved monster last seen in 1975, was a criminal waste. They barely registered in a disjointed, shopping list plot that ticked off various unrelated elements that included a pointless motorbike stunt, various London tourist attractions, the Daleks, Queen Elizabeth, and that f**king stupid fez.
Particularly grating were the risible comedy performances - Joanna Page's Queen Elizabeth was a joke, and not the kind that made me laugh. John Hurt tries to inject some gravitas, but he's struggling against an idiotic script, and the, frankly, stupid larking about by Smith and Tennant. Matt Smith, as ever, left me cold, a miscast, kiddie Junior Dr. Who, and David Tennant's worst traits were (puerile shenanigans with the Queen) were eagerly signposted for the "casual" viewer: look, Doctor Who is f**king the Queen! What a hoot! Clara, the companion with no personality (a good friend always refers to her as "just some girl"), barely registers. One of the few good things in it was Billie Piper.
There's no sense of drama or danger. The infamous Time War is depicted as extras running around amidst dry ice, no one actually dies on screen. War is hell - for f**k sake, show it. But no, this is the BBC in compliance mode, joyless and soulless, its balls lopped off by focus group. The only monsters are the accountants calculating the megabucks the show will generate.
This is Doctor Who emasculated, a sickly canapé served up for people who enjoy Strictly Come Dancing and Downton Abbey.
The Day of the Doctor was, in the end, simply a massive corporate circle jerk; regurgitated, high calorie, low nutrition swill for the publicity machine, all hype and no delivery. I don't know what it was I just watched, but like much of the last eight years of noise, it wasn't Doctor Who.