8 December 2013 | bob the moo
Really enjoyable film which pokes fun at the show and the Doctors in an affectionate and funny way
With all the overblown hype and excitement around the flagship Doctor Who I did feel that something was missing; it really doesn't feel very British to always be cheering for something and not be allowed to say that anything about it is anything other than perfect. In particular, although the newest episodes do have plenty of humor, not much of it is directed at itself and the show does tend towards an importance that maybe it doesn't full warrant. Thank goodness I managed to stumble upon this special short film written and directed by Peter Davidson and original put on the BBC website.
The plot sees Davidson realizing that he may not be part of the 50th Anniversary special and his two sons really don't seem bothered by the news that it may just focus of Tennant and Smith. Turns out he is not the only one frantically trying to have a meeting with Steven Moffat because Colin Baker has been neglecting his garden waiting for the call while Sylvester McCoy has been eagerly awaiting the call despite being busy on the set of The Hobbit (something he mentions quite often). With Paul McGann in the same boat but busy with filming commitments ("television?" sniffs McCoy), the three former Doctors combine to try to get into the 50th Anniversary episode one way or the other.
What this plot allows for is an effective frame for lots of self- deprecating jokes and references – to the fans, to the Doctors, to John Barrowman and so on. It is all done with great affection but yet also has some teeth as jokes are made about the new episodes and the distance between them and the Doctors of the 80s (which was the era I started watching). I really appreciated this sense of mischief and affectionate lack of respect – it was the perfect antidote for a show which is swimming in OTT praise and gives itself too much side in my opinion. It is frequently funny and when it isn't, it is still amusing. The cast are generally very good, with Davidson, McCoy and Baker all in on the joke and playing themselves up really well and it is hard not to be impressed when the film manages to even get Peter Jackson and Ian McKellen to deliver a nice gag. Likewise Barrowman, Colman, Tennant, Pertwee and others all show good senses of humor and timing.
It isn't perfect but it is refreshingly lacking in an inflated sense of its own importance and I loved the affectionate nature of the comedy which fans will really love. Well worth seeking this out if you remember that Doctor Who didn't start with Christopher Eccleston.