Friday, April 01, 2005

Advanced Regeneration

Like a lot of people who geeked out about Doctor Who in college about seventeen years ago, I was excited about the BBC's announcement last year that a new Doctor who series was in production. Except for a Fox-BBC telemovie in 1996, there has been no new Who on television since 1990. I knew nothing of the actor selected to portray the ninth Doctor, but I had high hopes for the show and I still can't wait for it to come to the United States, either on BBC America or on DVD. Ratings for last Saturday night's debut were so high that a second series is already in the works.

By the time we get to see it here, the Doctor will have a new face back in the UK. The star of the show, Christopher Eccleston, has decided to step down after only one season. Apparently he was concerned about being typecast. Kind of silly, considering the variety of work that his predecessors have been involved in after leaving the show. The flamboyant manner in which the role was to be portrayed, Eccleston felt, was too "campy" and "effeminate". I've seen some clips on the BBC's Doctor Who web site and Eccleston seems no campier than the earlier Doctors, nor does he seem effeminate, even by American standards.

The BBC, which recently invested millions of dollars in merchandise featuring Eccleston's likeness, will waste little time in naming a replacement. The almost-certain choice for the role is David Tennant, who will be seen in the next Harry Potter movie. It's always fun to see the Doctor regenerate, but you kind of prefer to see each of his lives have a good long run before changing. If the new series stays true to the continuity of the old show, the Doctor has only three lives left after this. But then again, a show about someone who constantly interferes in history, and that comes up with multiple explanations of how dinosaurs died or where the Loch Ness Monster came from, shouldn't need to worry much about being consistent.

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