Doomsday.



TV Fuck me, Catherine Tate.

In a wedding dress. With a promise that the Christmas episode will be called The Runaway Bride.

This isn't the show it once was.

It's the perfect set up for a new companion of course - the number of times the Doctor's dropped one off only to find another one hiding in a cupboard ready for the adventure. I suspect much of the special will be about him trying to go on alone but with Ms. Tate tantalizingly close. Perhaps he'll spend his time assuming that she'll be just like Rose before realizing that she's not the companion he's looking for and dropping her back off in the arms of her would-be husband before convincing them that they're made for each other.

Seriously, this isn't the show it once was.

It's been a bumpy year. When I've got the time to sit down for the inevitable marathon, I know that I'm going to find that as the momentum builds, the episodes I didn't love will seem much better than they did the first time round and all of the subliminal plot points leading up to Doomsday will be clearer. But really, if you compare pretty much all the episodes with each other this year, they all look like they could have come from a different programme. As the generic barriers all crash in on one another, does it seem possible that the writer of the languid New Earth would so many weeks later drop in something as ludicrously brilliant as this season ender? As the infrequent Big Finish audios with Paul McGann drop into a disappointingly esoteric tailspin it's comforting to know that the television version can still knock out thrill, chills and excitement, with big explosions and thousands of Daleks and Cybermen battling each other on screen.

But still at the centre of it all was David Tennant. He's been getting a few knocks this series but for my money he was as good as if not better than Eccleston in this episode. Although he still lacks that visceral quality and deep seated anger he managed to pass the Dalek test with flying colours - just watch his face too as he helplessly watched Rose save the world again and risk loosing herself. If we didn't quite see the big moment when some of the personality excesses of the past twelve episodes came home to roost there was still a convincing feeling of loss. So what if in the story ended up basically being Torchwood under siege, with the Doctor saving the world from an office and a few corridors again. That's tradition.

You can see why Tracy-Ann Oberman had been so cagey in interviews about whether she was going to be in the Torchwood series. She had a perfect exit and resurrection, although it is a shame that she wasn't retained - she looked and sounded amazing through to the end. For the first time ever, I think, I loved Murray Gold's score with all the choruses and big dramatic booms. Even the returning themes seemed appropriate. Nick Briggs must have had a ball voicing two alien races at the same time - I'd imagine it was rather like Roy Skelton on Rainbow voicing George and Zippy, but with a finger poised on the ring-modulator for the tonal shifts. Graeme Harper's direction felt slightly less old-school this time around and actually quite close to Euros Lynn with his funny camera angles.

But you know, as usual, despite the fantechnoporn, the most effective moments were between the human characters. As other shows have found out to their cost, robots killing robots is not all that exciting because unless you care about one of the sides it's just computer generated stuff crashing into stuff. This series absolutely understood this yet again, so whilst the war happened on the outside, the inner world of relationships and humanity was all the more touching. I loved that it took some time to resolve the Pete and Jackie story, give them one final moment. And that Mickey got to be the idiot again one last time and start the Dalek prison break leading to the death of a tens of people. Saved the sun at least.

I like that Rose died that way. The killing off a major character in a series is a tricky escapade. Get it wrong and you've got an oil slick of the week glooping all over a security officer. Get it right and you've got a few million Firefly fans actually shouting at a cinema screen. In this case there wasn't a way in hell that Rose was going into that void. She was going to be saved in the nick of time. I hadn't expected it be her Dad, but it seemed right some how, demonstrating that parallel Pete could be just as courageous as his whoniverse counterpart. Still some cruelty - no final hug from the Doctor. I didn't cry but I'm glad that he did - it seemed consistent with this incarnation that he cares that much. Even recalled that moment in Neverland when he told Charlie that he loved her. Except then he could get the words out and you weren't sure if he meant it in a passionate way. Here, you knew differently somehow. If the show has some meta-character arc across i's forty-odd year history, it's about the Doctor learning to feel.

Actually a great send off with the driving to Norway and the Bad Wolf Beach. Reminded me somewhat of the BBC adaptation of The Day of the Triffids with a crusty van driving through a wilderness As The Lord of the Rings film trilogy demonstrated, sometimes you have to take your time over endings to let the viewer say goodbye and extricate themselves from a story or characters that they've invested so much of their time with. I thought the ending of The Age of Steel, seemed slightly forced. This didn't, probably because you knew this was the final walk on the beach. The last time we'd probably see Jackie and Mickey and Pete and Rose. Probably. After just two years it feels like the end of an era and actually the title of last year's finale The Parting of the Ways would have been just as appropriate here.

How many other shows have lost all but their main character and still have the power to go from strength to strength? All the excitement about what the new companion is going to be like. Will they hit it off? What will the Doctor see in her? Still those unanswered questions. Just what does The Face of Boe have to say for himself? What did happen at the battle of Arcadia? If the Daleks managed to grab this bit of timelord technology, what else is bouncing around the universe? Possible escape pods? You mark my words there'll be more than one known timelord in the universe by the end of the next series.

And good lord I've just thought - if there is another Pudsey Cutaway this year, what's that going to look like?

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