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Doctor Who: Davies/Moffat as Blair/Brown

On Harry’s Place Arts, Andrew Harrison writes on the regeneration of RTD into Steven Moffat:

After this year’s Christmas special – a rich and timeless family tradition stretching all the way back to 2005 – there will be four extended Whos in 2009 and then nothing… nothing until 2010, whereupon Steven The Empty Child/Blink Moffat takes over as show-runner from Russell T Davies. The tale of Moffat/Davies can easily be projected as a geeks’ version of Brown/Blair, a symbolic battle for the soul of the show albeit without the rancour or the dodgy deals in North London restaurants. There’s never been any real doubt that “dour Scot” Moffat, who made his Who name with chillers featuring gas-mask-faced children and killer statues and actually isn’t remotely dour at all, would take over from the fluffier, more emotionally-centred Davies. Russell is scripting next year’s quartet of specials but nevertheless last night’s episode felt like his lap of honour.

Some denizens of the spodosphere – and not a few national newspaper columnists – are now exultant. Under Moffat they see the prospect of a return to the muscular values of Old Who: sombre plotlines, alien planets, hard sci fi, an austere vision of time and space. Davies’s angle on the show they have derided as inherently suspect, spin-driven populism possessed by the incubus of celebrity culture. Some of the Who hardcore were as irate about Davies’s tales of Rose Tyler and her family on the Powell Estate as certain old patrician Socialists who liked the idea of the working classes as long as they didn’t have to go anywhere near them (by the way, I’ve always thought that Beatrice Webb’s line about wanting to marry only Sidney’s head would have made a great Doctor Who, a bit like ‘The Brain Of Morbius’). As for Davies introducing a bit of modern, rainbow coalition, Big Tent polysexuality in the form of Captain Jack; as for the notion that the Doctor might have had girlfriends in the past; and as for Catherine Tate above all, the hardest-core’s response was best summed up as “Ew! Gross!”

Read on.

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