Dr Who has lost the plot

Dr Who and companion Donna - with a Dalek

Dr Who and companion Donna - with a Dalek © BBC 2008

Since I was a child, I have watched Dr. Who – a simple tale of time-travelling folk. Uniquely among children’s programmes, it is explicitly designed to ‘scare the pants off’ children. My brother even remembers the first episode in 1963 – which was repeated in the second week to help an astonished audience cope. Sadly ‘time shifting’ of programmes would not exist for a few decades, even for a time traveller, which made Saturday tea-time a must not miss slot for much of my childhood. And even more sadly, for much of my adult life too.

The most recent revival has moved the series on, to match the sophistication of a modern audience. But in the latest episodes the writers have simply lost the plot :

  • Episodes ending with “But Doctor… I’m pregnant…” belong on East Enders: They do not belong on Dr. Who.
  • Episodes where aliens are killed with guns do not belong on Dr. Who.
  • Episodes where the Doctor is passionately kissed by women who hint at future (or past?) intimacy do not belong on Dr. Who.

Which brings me to the plot. Dr. Who has always been ‘loosely’ plotted – often things didn’t quite tie up. But the current impenetrably entangled plot-lines are over indulgent in the extreme. By chance (while clearing the HD recorder) I came across an episode a couple of series back – Planet of the Dead. In 45 minutes it covered:

  • The theft from an Art Gallery of an ancient Chalice.
  • The thief’s escape on a bus and meeting with the Doctor.
  • The passage of said bus through a wormhole to a distant desert planet.
  • Stranded, the Doctor had to return to Earth before a vast storm of metal-clad, all-devouring flying monsters reached the bus. This is all foretold by ‘clairvoyant’ on the bus.
  • He managed to do this by helping stranded aliens repair their ship, and then borrowing their anti-gravity clamps (after the aliens were devoured by the metal monsters) to fly the bus back through the wormhole, just in time.
  • The use of the chalice to repair the clamps.
  • Did I mention that all the time he was liaising with Earth to co-ordinate the closure of the wormhole after his return?
  • The thief then escapes from the police on Earth with the aid of the Doctor and the flying bus.
Now by any standards, that is pretty dense plotting. But that episode was a model of simplicity and transparency compared to the over-stylised nonsense that passes for the current ‘story’. I love Dr. Who. My children love Dr. Who. But IMHO, the writers have currently lost the plot.


One Response to “Dr Who has lost the plot”

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