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David Tennant calls it quits October 29, 2008

Posted by ce9999 in Doctor Who.
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Huge news:

David Tennant quits as Doctor Who

He’ll be missed, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t count him as my favorite Doctor of all time, but he’s been pretty good in the role. I get annoyed when he talks so fast sometimes. Other than that, he’s been very cool.

He has some appearances left yet, so we’ll all have time to get used to this idea of him leaving. They’re doing another Christmas special, and then the four special episodes in lieu of a regular season next year.

Russell Davies has promised that Tennant’s final appearances will be “spectacular”, “spectacular” (yes, he said it twice) and “enormous”. Actually, that kind of scares me. I admit I haven’t been too happy with some of what Davies has come up with in recent seasons. His thing is maximization of drama, and hang all other considerations. So, for instance, we end up with that travesty double episode season-ender back in 2007, where the Doctor was shrunk down into a living voodoo doll and all sorts of other ridiculous things happened.

That whole story was just awful, although it did manage to avoid my main beef with what has happened over the past several seasons: Historically, Doctor Who has always kept the teeming masses of Earth sheltered from the direct impact of alien plots and machinations. The Daleks may plan to destroy the earth, for instance, but we never find out about it. This allows us happy fans the delusion that the Doctor is actually out there somewhere, we just don’t know about it because he, and the UNIT people, have been doing such a good job of keeping things out of the public awareness. However, in Russell Davies’ Doctor Who, that is no longer true. In some instances, the general public has become aware of what’s actually been going on. This, sadly, relegates Doctor Who into the less desireable category of “actual fiction.” Any fantasies of us being companions someday, of perhaps running happily towards the TARDIS like Rose Tyler, are forever gone.

Don’t get me wrong: None of us are actually dumb enough to have believed that the Doctor was really real. But there can sometimes be a slight gray area between pure fantasy and reality, where one can temporarily, for one’s own amusement, imagine what might happen if the fantasy wasn’t really a fantasy. One can feel, just for a little while, what it might be like if it was all really happening. This is possible because the tale has respected the boundaries of our own day-to-day realities. We can allow our own reality and the story to meld, just a little bit.

This melding, this little side-trip we take into the fantasy world, it may not even be a conscious thing. But it definitely adds a certain element, giving the fantasy a little extra zing of excitement. That element is now gone from Doctor Who, forever. It was the Slitheen who started it, by the way. You and I, all of us, we know full well that there have never been Slitheen smashing into Big Ben. This puts a permanent wall between our world and the world where the Doctor lives.*

But I digress. David Tennant is leaving, after next year. I wonder who they’ll come up with to replace him? Whoever it is, I find myself hoping the choice isn’t made until after Davies leaves the picture.

The other issue that’s going to have to be dealt with sooner or later is the question of the Doctor’s 12 regenrations. He’s only got three left. (Yes, three, not two. William Hartnell’s Doctor was not regenerated, which makes Patrick Troughton’s second Doctor the first regeneration, and so on. That means Tennant’s Doctor is the 9th regeneration, leaving three more. This is confirmed in “The Five Doctors”, where Peter Davison’s Doctor identifies himself as the fourth regeneration.) Three may seem like plenty, but it’s really not. How are they going to get around this? Does it matter that the Time Lords are no longer in existence? Does the elimination of Gallifrey from the Universe somehow negate the limit on regenerations? Furthermore, didn’t David Tennant’s Doctor already regenerate back into himself or something like that, back at the end of the last season? I admit, I can’t remember all the absurd details of that little farce. But if he did, then maybe that really does leave us with two, which makes the question even more urgent. So, would someone at BBC Wales please start paying attention to this problem? Thanks. :)

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*Honestly, there were some pretty big gaps in my viewings of the original series, so perhaps I am wrong about all of this. But for me, at least, that incursion by the Slitheen right near the beginning of Davies’ tenure as producer of the show, that was where the line was crossed.