Monday, 18 February 2013

Doctor Who 50th anniversary: Can the fans' high expectations be met?

It must be tough running Doctor Who, and basically being Steven Moffat, especially in the show's 50th anniversary year. Not only does he have to actually run the show, but he also has to deal with The Fans - and the weight of their expectations for how the show will mark its special birthday. So we will have our wildest dreams fulfilled or be left with a crushing sense of disappointment?

The message from some of the fans so far  - at least from reading the ranty contributions of the comments sections of websites like Digital Spy or over on Twitter - seems to be that more Doctor Who is needed than what's already been announced. What form will this more take? It's not specific, it's just MORE.

Doctor Who - The Eleven Doctors:
It might look something like this, sort of
It's like a blind battle-cry from a child who isn't getting their own way. Yeah, that's what it is, a blind battle cry from a child not getting their own way.

Confirmed so far, along with eight new episodes on BBC One from March 30 ('Actually that's just the second part of last year's season,' says a disguntled fan) and a docu-drama called Adventures in Time and Space about the show's origins, is a 60 or maybe 90 minute anniversary special to be shot in 3D, which will also get a limited cinema release.

While the 3D bit might be a bit 'whatever' for some, however you look at it, the idea of a special episode is still officially quite exciting, particularly as it's likely all the surviving actors to play the Doctor will feature in it in some way, as well as possible appearances from the first three Doctor Who actors who are dead.

How? We don't know. Some sort of retro-special effect involving CSO and mirrolon? Perhaps.

But it's likely that numerous amounts of bearded men who work in the digital effects industry and spend their days in dimly-lit rooms getting RSI on a Mac are all gearing up for weeks of 20 hour days in order to make it look like the second Doctor's somehow walking in the background of a scene with the eleventh, say.

We know, sort of but not officially, that the surviving actors have all been approached, despite the public denials and coy responses from them when they've been asked. And although that's a lot of Doctors to fit into 'only' 60 - or 90 - minutes, what fan isn't going to get a thrill from that?

And let's also remember: Moffat is a fan himself, but perhaps he partly created this problem, this monster, this oh so heavy weight of expectation, when, a few years ago, he said something like the anniversary year 'would feature more Doctor Who episodes than ever before'.

This, in turn, may have led some fans to fantasise about new solo tv adventures featuring old Doctors. Or a live episode. Or the return of old characters.

And, who knows, some of those things might still happen...

With shooting on the anniversary special to start in April, announcements about what else is coming must surely be due.

The fact is, this is basically an issue of patience - or the lack of it. We - that is, the fans of Doctor Who, in all our levels of enthusiasm and passion - want to know everything, now. And we can't.

We have to wait. And Moffat tells us it'll be worth it, so we have to try and understand the notions of 'surprise' and 'excitement' but also, perhaps, 'restraint'.

And we have to trust him.

Don't we?

Related stories:
Doctor Who: Are the Cybermen the vainest lifeform in the universe? (Yes, yes they are)
Doctor Who - The Name of the Doctor: Amazing flashbacks, some relief, excitement ahead

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