Friday, January 01, 2010

The Tenth Doctor Deserved a Hero's Death. He Didn't Get One.

David Tennant’s final voyage as Doctor Who was appalling.

Heroes deserve heroic deaths. David Tennant’s Doctor did not get a hero’s death. He got a coward’s death. He deserved better than that.

The mortal blow that finished the tenth Doctor was appalling. The director of The End of Time remarked on Doctor Who Confidential just now that they considered the twist – where the four knocks motif was not a death blow from a greatest enemy but something else – was a great twist. No it’s not. It was awful. Imagine James Bond taking on Ernest Blofeld in his lair, beating him, and then slipping on a bar of soap on his way home and breaking his bloody neck. It’s just stupid.

As for the rest of it, God forgive Russell T Davies for sending the tenth Doctor off snivelling into that good night. Shakespeare told us over four hundred years ago that cowards die many times before their death but the valiant never taste of death but once. This news has not reached Russell T Davies, who wrote the script. He takes every opportunity to say how frightened the Doctor is of dying. What’s so heroic about that?

There’s nothing wrong with being frightened of dying. But if you’re the lead heroic character in a sci-fi series it’s hardly appropriate. You can write a death scene where your hero is frightened without making your hero look like a chump. Butch and Sundance’s last stand springs to mind. Russell T Davis let his Doctor down. Making “I don’t want to go” his final line is worse than pathetic.

It’s obvious from Doctor Who Confidential that Tennant himself was deeply unhappy with that farewell line too. Doctor Who could never have realised the potential it has realised without Tennant, and he deserved better. All those final goodbyes were my hat as well. He had a longer send off than Frank Sinatra. The Doctor wasn't dying, he was regenerating. There's no need him to make that trip. No need. A terrible exercise in ego fulfillment. Shame shame shame.

But, as remarked here before, things can only improve when Stephen Moffatt takes over. It’s interesting to note that the official BBC Doctor Who site are already using the new logo for Matt Smith’s Doctor, and the trailer looks just wonderful. Onwards and upwards in the walk in eternity.

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