'Doctor Who' has returned to Earth!
Fifteen years after the last regular episode, nine years after the one TV movie for the Eighth Doctor, we've had a full series of thirteen episodes featuring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Incarnation.
This past Saturday night, the final episode for this year aired, signaling the end of Eccleston's tenure and marking the debut of David Tennant in the role.
And so to celebrate, most of my essays and all of the Crossovers will be dedicated to the Doctor for the rest of the summer.
Be forewarned: In my essays during this summer salute to 'Doctor Who', there will be spoilers for each of the episodes, especially in regard to summaries.....
'DOCTOR WHO' - "ROSE"
First off, here's a recap of the episode:
Originally aired: Saturday, March 26, 2005 on BBC-1
Location: London, England.
Date: 4th/5th/6th March 2005.
Enemy: Nestene Consciousness.
Rose Tyler stumbles across a strange individual called The Doctor as he seeks out the Nestene Consciousness to prevent the living plastic it is controlling from taking over the world.
[Thanks to TV.com]
As this long-awaited return of 'Doctor Who' progressed, inspiration for possible crossovers came easily. But the first episode, "Rose", proved to be a stumbling block.
I didn't want to tie the Autons into that episode of 'The Twilight Zone' in which Ann Francis embodied a living mannequin. She had something akin to free will and she definitely had life. The Autons are just mindless mannequins under the sway of the Nestene Consciousness.
As for that gestalt mind, I was almost - almost! - desperate enough to use 'The Simpsons' to link the Nestene Consciousness to Squiddly Diddly.*
I guess I really was desperate.
But then I realized that the answer lay in the episode's title. 'Doctor Who' isn't just about the Time Lord and his enemies. There is a long tradition of traveling companions as well. So I would make the crossover through Rose Tyler.
My best bet would be to take the Wold-Newton Universe approach: Make the case for Rose's theoretical family tree; find other members of Clan Tyler in the TV Universe.
True, it's not a solid link. But I think the argument can be made for one particular branch of the main Toobworld Tylers Tree......
Keeping it close to home on that sceptre'd isle, there are two shows set in the general London environs which could serve as the Tyler home base.
First up is a short-lived sitcom from 1985, 'Three Up, Two Down'. Nick and Angie Tyler were newly married, but their families were from different worlds. And because of circumstances, her snobbish mother and his Cockney father had to share the same apartmen-# excuse me, "flat" - on the next floor down from them.
Nick's dad Sam Tyler (as played by the late Michael Elphwick) sounds as if he could have been Pete Tyler's father as well; at the very least, he could have been Pete's uncle. (Peter Tyler was Rose's Dad. He was killed in a car accident back in 1986.)
Also from 1985 - but still going strong! - is 'EastEnders'. In 1993, Debbie Tyler fell in love with Nigel Bates and finally found the inner strength to leave her ogre of a husband, Liam Tyler. As beastly as he was, Liam Tyler nearly succeeded in winning custody of their daughter Clare. Thankfully, Clare was able to live with her Mum and her new step-dad Nigel.
It's funny that it would be younger Tyler cousin Rose who eventually would meet the Gallifreyan Time Lord rather than Clare. At least Clare would have been prepared for the eccentricities of the Doctor's wardrobe, since her step-dad Nigel "owned what seemed to be the world's largest collection of scary shirts and terrifying ties." (from the BBC Online)
Again, Liam sounds like the type of lout who may have been Pete Tyler's brother. But since we didn't meet these three Tylers until nearly seven years after Pete's death, there was no reason why his name should have cropped up in conversation at any point during an episode of 'EastEnders'.
With 'Three Up, Two Down', it might be that the Tylers had become estranged from each other. Perhaps Pete had a falling out with Nick and Sam; or they had disapproved of Pete's marriage to Jackie some months earlier.
All of this has been supposition, of course. But there is another member of the Tyler family who might be able to stake a better claim to kinship with Rose, even though he was living farther north in Manchester. Mainly because - at least when it comes to the scriptwriting process in the Real World, - they share the same parentage.........
Stuart Alan Jones
'Queer As Folk'
Before he revived the long-thought dead 'Doctor Who', Russell T. Davies created a groundbreaking drama/comedy about gay life in England at the dawn of the new millennium. The show didn't preach; it didn't present its main characters with that "noble savage" type of portrayal you usually find when somebody is trying to right the wrongs for some down-trodden group of poeple in a tele-play.
The gay characters of 'Queer As Folk' were presented as if they were like any other character on TV; their homosexuality nothing more than just one more aspect of their nature, not the driving force of their existence. They weren't piled under a load of angst as though they had to suffer spiritually just because they were gay; they knew how to fully enjoy themselves. (But in the case of Stuart, this obsessive, narcissistic need to have a good time without worrying about the consequences proved to be a fault; so that the show made the case that neither extreme in the portrayal of gays was the right course of action.)
Vince Tyler was the stolid, dependable center for his small circle of friends, but inwardly he had a major desire for his friend Stuart; he had a jones for Jones. It could very well be that Vince is an older second cousin of Rose, first cousin to her Dad, and it's because of the distance between them that no mention of her or her mother Jackie came up during the run of 'Queer As Folk'. (I could picture their mothers, Hazel and Jackie respectively, getting along famously at family outings.)
Since Vince was open about his sexual preference, Rose would have known about it and more than likely had been comfortable about it. That's why she felt at ease in pegging the Doctor's attitude on some subject as being "that's so gay".
And it puts a different spin on her initial reaction to the "laid-back" nature of Captain Jack Harkness later in the series - she wasn't necessarily registering shock that this renegade Time Agent was attracted both to her and the Doctor. It might have been that Rose was surprised to find that people from the future were so openly free and easy with their sexuality.
(Considering the current climate sometimes, it seems like our descendants are doomed to be rubber-stamped to fit society's prevailing morality.)
I find it interesting that in both the show he created and in the one which he has revitalized, out of all possible surnames he could have chosen, Russell T. Davies picked "Tyler" for both Vince and Rose. For all I know, it's an in-joke shout-out to someone very near and dear to him.
But wouldn't it be fun if in the second season of the series, before Billie Piper leaves the show as Rose Tyler, Vince Tyler crossed over from 'Queer As Folk' to meet the tenth 'Doctor Who'?
There is, as always when dealing with a universe with so many individual creators, a bit of a contradiction for both shows. Vince Tyler happens to be a big fan of 'Doctor Who'. In fact, at one point he even quotes one of the previous incarnations of the Doctor:
It's fantastic, 'cause it never has to change,
It never has to grow up,
And it never has to die!"
(Hrrmmm.... notice how both QAF quotes contain the word "fantastic"? It came to be the most popular word used by the current incarnation of the Doctor.........)
But there's a way to splain our way around this apparent Zonk. In this very first episode we got to meet an obsessive student of everything pertaining to the Doctor, and Clive put all of his research into the mystery onto the Web. So it's possible that Vince could be familiar with the website rather than the TV show.
And if it is mentioned as a TV show, that doesn't necessarily mean that they're referring to the TV show we know here in the Real World. It could be that there have been TV specials based on Clive's findings.
(If you want to see what Clive's website looks like, visit the link for "Who's Doctor Who?" to be found over on the left hand side of this page......)
One last O'Bservation from the Real World perspective......
Christopher Eccleston auditioned for the role of Stuart Jones. He withdrew himself from consideration shortly after his audition, saying he felt he was "too old" for the part. When he withdrew, he recommended they audition Aidan Gillen.
All in all, it's just as well. This way, we got a fresh new Doctor without any preconceived image of him from Toobworld.
Besides, his ears are too big to be convincing as Stuart......
(I can hear his response now - "Hey!")
* The Nestene used to be "Octopoid" in physical form, but they got rid of their tentacles to become a gestalt energy source. They were able to take control of plastic objects to do their work for them.
And since both the Fourth Doctor and Huckleberry Hound appeared on 'The Simpsons'..... Squiddly Diddly!