Being a good citizen and TV licence holder, I felt no guilt at all watching the début of Matt Smith as the Doctor on Saturday with Jo, nor did I feel any watching it again on the iPlayer with Allegra on Sunday. I thought the episode was enjoyable and I’m prepared to give Matt a chance. This is a huge achievement for him: I object to the fact that the Doctor is several years younger than me. But then, Steven Moffat has been my favourite Doctor Who writer since The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances. So, as Jo says, optimism is the order of the day. Maybe with a hint of caution, because the scars RTD has left run deep. The fact that the entire planet Earth was under attack yet again and it barely registered on my bile-o-meter speaks volumes as to how deep.
There was something about the episode that left me feeling a little uneasy, though. It’s taken me a couple of days, but I’ve finally worked out what it is.
We meet Amy at three points in her life: When she’s a small child; when she’s a young adult; and when she’s just a plain old adult and old enough to leave with the Doctor. (If she went with him before she was a full adult, there would be ugly undertones of him abducting her as she’s not old enough to be responsible for her own decisions.) How do we know she’s crossed the line from, ‘young adult’ to, ‘responsible adult’? Because she’s getting married. Yes, all little girls should aspire to get married because then, and only then, can they be considered ‘responsible adults’.
Then I started thinking. Donna–the best companion without question from New Who–was a complex and layered character, a lot older than the normal companion, and a fully functioning and interesting individual away from the Doctor. Like a lot of real people, she was unfulfilled. But she got a happy ending in the end. We know she was finally happy and fulfilled… because we saw her getting married.
Then there was Martha, who was a pathetic excuse for a character and spent her entire time angsting over the fact the Doctor didn’t love her. It’s okay, though. By the end of the tenth Doctor’s life, she had grown beyond that and become a full, independent person… by getting married.
And then there’s Rose. Oh, dear, Rose. When did she pick up her lisp, anyway? But we all know how her story ends. She gets to be fulfilled… by finally having a Doctor-copy of her own she can settle down and raise babies with. Yep, finally having the man in her life makes her complete and happy.
So, there you have it girls: BBC flagship family entertainment would like you to know that you can only be fulfilled and happy in this life when you find a man and marry him.
I guess this is the sort of thing that people mean when they talk about the implicit obligations engendered in a specific group. No one says that women need to get married to be happy… but the message is there.
I am looking forwards to the Spitfires in space and British Daleks, though. Now that’s what I pay my licence fee for!