TV Did you watch it, tonight's special episode of Doctor Who? Wasn't it lovely? A slight tale to be sure, but a relevant one in this fiftieth year. In what seems like another homage the Eighth Doctor, and interrupting Clara's holiday plans, the Time Lord loses his memory and when faced with his 1200 year diary as a reminder has to question who he is (without answering the ultimate question obviously) and how he's the sum of his adventures.
This leads, what we must assume to be
"I remember now. I remember everything. It's like seeing it all for first time. Like seeing me, me, the Doctor. Eleven faces, hundreds, thousands of years of space and time."
"And now it's all back in there again, ready for a proper holiday?"
"I don't know if I deserve a holiday, I don't know if I deserve anything. Not knowing was good, it was a relief. So much death, so many friends I've lost, I mean how do I carry on?"
"Because. Because you've saved billions of lives, and every time you go to a place and there's something wrong, you could turn and run but you don't. You never do. You stay. You help."
"Wouldn't anyone stay and help?"
"No. And because you don't know that and because you don't understand it, that my friend is what makes you the Doctor."
"And that's why you'll never stop."
"You've made me feel better."
"You make everything better."
"Now don't get soppy. I won't have soppyness in the TARDIS, young lady."
Isn't that marvelous? Notice how Clara, because she's one of the few companions who's seen all of the Doctor's life, or at least all of his incarnations, knows enough about him offer these convincers. But none of this is said with the awe of perhaps Amy in her earliest days, or Martha before, but matter of factly, though there remains a slight ambiguity as to to whether the impossible girl remembers the lives of her counterparts from throughout the Doctor's life or whether there's just an undercurrent of repeated elements, the souffles and the quotes.
We're in an interesting spot now with these two since the Doctor knows who she is too, "the only mystery worth solving" solved, and Clara who until now has been more of a plot point than a character is allowed to stand on her own. How long after The Name of the Doctor is this set? Have they had many adventures in between (for example the Doctor Who Adventures comic strip)? It's quite nice just to see then as the Doctor and a companion and not two characters in search of an authorial voice. It'll be interesting to see how Clara is handled outside of her previous reason for existence.
It's also fascinating for being the first glimpse of Matt and Jenna together in a recording block from this year, presumably the one in May for the 50th anniversary. Both seem more comfortable with each other and Jenna in particular with her character, more clearly bringing her accent to the fore. Given what this is, both of their performances are as committed as they would be in any episode, these minisode-type dramas never feeling like the poor cousins to the mains show, just like short stories to novels.
If you did miss it, do try and catch up on the iPlayer here. It should be online in a few hours, the first and last few minutes of the two hours. But be warned they're prologue and epilogue to one of the very worst Doctor Who documentaries ever made, with few clips longer than a few seconds, shreaky, sexist, unfunny voiceover script, earbusteringly loud soundtrack and some of the lamest observations on the show ever broadcast. But it was worth watching on broadcast for Paul McGann's authority and understanding of all the incarnations and this brilliant, brilliant minisode.