Hopes for Series 9

This week Whovian Leap speculates on Series 9 and it is not even Christmas yet…

(First published in December 2014)

Premature though it may seem, now might actually be the best moment to speculate about Series 9 of Doctor Who. Filming hasn’t yet started. No spoilers have leaked and spread like wildfire over the Internet. The BBC have released little, if any, official information. Is there really any better time for us to draw our own conclusions about what we want from a new series? For as soon as any news story breaks, we will focus exclusively on that, and all imagination flies out the window.

So what do we want from Series 9? What’s on the Whovian wishlist? Let’s not think only as a fan. What if you were in the show-runner’s shoes and had to act in the best interests of the show, in order to guarantee its success and survival? 

Personally, I would have no qualms about making the show more populist, so as to push those audience appreciation figures back up into the high eighties! Isn’t it time we buried the hatchet and invited ITV rivals Ant and Dec on board for an adventure or two? What if the Doctor and Clara appeared on an alien version of Pointless? If RTD were still in charge, he would surely jump at the opportunity. Strax and Handles need to make a return and inject some much needed silliness into the proceedings, in order to ensure that the show stays child-friendly. As for the pacing, some scenes in Series 8 dragged a little. Maybe it was deliberate, so as to focus on the dialogue. But I prefer my Doctor Who to be a breathless roller-coaster ride. Shorter, snappier scenes next year, please. I’m thinking “The Curse of Fenric” as a template.

We should make some of the Doctor’s adventures Earth-based. In accordance with Pertwee’s “Yeti on the Loo” theory, the show is scarier when the alien threat feels more real. Why not a mini-exile to Earth? Three or four UNIT stories, where the Doctor takes up his post again as “scientific advisor”? It would be most satisfyingly Pertwee-esque.

Given her popularity, Clara needs to stay for a whole season. What about a new likeable love interest for her and not one who alienates the audience by criticising the Doctor. Male eye-candy along the lines of Captain Jack is required, to satisy key demographics of fandom and viewing public.

Twelvsie needs to mellow and to lighten up a little. The First Doctor did, in his later adventures, so why not the Twelfth? Some fans might enjoy the idea of a grumpy Doctor, but do the public? The show is far more enjoyable if we like the Doctor and enjoy his company. 

Fans and casual viewers alike probably concur that the show has to be scary. I would argue, however, that this does not necessarily imply a later time slot. The show needs to be on at a family friendly time – seven o’ clock. On the dot. Every Saturday. Appointment telly. Forget the inexplicable whims of the schedulers and let’s not fret over complaints about scaring little Johnny. Mary Whitehouse is no longer with us – unless she has come back as a Cyberman – and besides all press is good press.

As for writers… Oi! Jamie Mathieson! Get back here right now! You can’t just pop up out of nowhere, write two modern day classics (“Mummy” and “Flatline”) and then dematerialise. We need you. Gareth Roberts is also required to tickle the audience’s funny bone. What about RTD? He wrote for the Eleventh in “The Sarah Jane Adventures”. Doesn’t he fancy a go with the Twelfth? Then, the tried and tested scribe Paul Cornell. He always comes up with the goods. Pick up the phone, Mr Moffat, and make those calls!

The hardcore fan within me has some geekier and more nostalgic requests. More Ice Warriors and Zygons please. Come on, you’ve got the costumes, Auntie Beeb! I want Sil, the Valeyard and the Chief Clown back. This fearsome threesome is ripe for a return. The production team has made Sixties and Seventies fans happy. Don’t the Eighties ones count? That decade wasn’t just all Michael Grade and hiatus, you know! It was full of originality, wit and ideas. It was the decade of Androzani!

Gallifrey? Make it dark and dangerous! What about a modern take on “The Deadly Assassin” and pop back into the Matrix? Imagine “The Ultimate Foe” on a modern day budget! We could redo “The War Games” and meet the War Lords again. What if “The War Doctor” were to infiltrate them? 

Let’s do a “pure historical”? Why not return to Ancient Rome, with no sci-fi in sight. The Twelfth could even enjoy a comedy encounter with his lookalike, Caecilius! 

Hartnell companions Ian and Steven should reappear. And if the Daleks come back too, as tradition requires, then bring along Davros! I’d love to see a shouting match between him and the new Doctor. What about the Eighth appearing in a full story? Gimme Doctor number Nine, even in CGI! 

When Doctor Who first came back, fans savoured squee moments in abundance. RTD knew which boxes to tick to keep us happy. Daleks did fly! Tardis doors could be seen from the inside! The police box didn’t just materialise and dematerialise –  we saw it fall out of the sky, rocket upwards and shoot along a motorway! We also witnessed the seemingly impossible, when Cybermen battled Daleks! 

Are there any more special requests which the Classic Series’s budget would not allow? Personally, I’d like to see some wonky Tardis parking. Upside down? On a mountain peak and then rolling down? Or falling off a cliff, into a river way down below, and then water rushing into the console room! And then the Tardis is attacked by a merciless Myrka! (One done properly this time, with no pantomime horse actors, if possible!) 

Before Series 9 airs, I would love for Series 10 and 11 to be green-lit without any talk of a hiatus and Moffat should only leave when someone else of equal talent and influence is found. And before that sad day arrives, I’d like him to dabble more with humour in the show and flex his comedy muscles. We have had the dark, sir, now the light, if you please.

In conclusion, however, I’m not at all worried about Series 9. In Moff we still trust. No cloister bells are chiming in my ears. In fact, with the ‘Last Christmas’ special fast approaching, is it Christmas ones I hear? And what do I hope from the upcoming Xmas extravaganza? Well, gold, incense and Myrka of course! I fear, however, I might be disappointed.


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