TV So anyway, yes, The Science of Doctor Who, the only piece of televisual Matt Smith playing the Doctor I had outstanding, both for scrutiny and review which I’ve finally seen in high definition from the 50th anniversary boxed set. Fairly typically while the rest of the world was all light sabres, Millenium Falcons and “Is that Cumberbatch?” I was watching Charles Dance firing chemicals at a Bunsen Burner.
Someone I know hasn’t seen the second half of The Ultimate Guide short so that there’ll forever be some piece of Eleventh Doctor out there he’s tantalisingly never seen, but I’m not like that. I’m too much of a completist. Plus having blubbed my way though Time of the Doctor (which is odd considering how disappointed in it as a send off I was the first time), I wasn’t quite ready to let him go just yet.
There he is, Matt Smith, all Doctorish, flying around the TARDIS, pushing levers saying sarcastic things to Professor Brian Cox and generally demonstrating all the reasons why he’s still so beloved by so many people and was probably the reason the show broke the US. Or rather was the reason the US finally embraced the show and more to the point have been discovering its history.
The story such as it is here, is about inspiring Brian to feel confident enough to produce a brilliant lecture and in time honoured timey-whimeyness, we’re essentially cross cutting between the lecture itself and the various moments before he’s about to give it. The drama inserts also serve to introduce the lecture’s various chapters about travelling forwards and backwards in time and about aliens.
The script this time is by Stephen Thompson and it really captures the Eleventh Doctor’s manic energy, ideas flying off in all directions and manages to be something other than simply pieces to camera. Bits of it are genuinely hilarious especially Professor Cox’s perfectly timed reaction to The Silents and poignant in the closing moments when we’re reminded of how inspiration can come from all sorts of places.
Is it canonical? Well of course it is, there's nothing in here to suggest this isn't the Whoniverse's Professor Cox giving a lecture in the Whoniverse, the Doctor having landed the TARDIS backstage, if not necessarily this lecture, which strenuously keeps clear the differences between that fictional universe and ours. Thanks again, then, Matt Smith. It's been a time.