I have never enjoyed the hideous series I know as ‘Eastenders in Space’. I’ve always said it just misappropriated a bunch of terms and concepts, and names of characters from a mostly wonderful series I grew up with, which ran for about 26 years. You could put any characters in with the names of the ones they’re using, and it wouldn’t be any different. It’s not Doctor Who, it merely rides on the coat-tails of that series by stealing the window-dressing and using it for their own purposes.
What it is, however, is a self-aggrandising affair for the benefit of Davies and Moffat, a pair of hacks who deal in the tawdry and the trashy, which is appropriate since that seems to be what the BBC’s programming heavily concentrates upon post-millennium.
If you ever wondered why I hate Eastenders in Space so much, look no further than this delightful little morsel of arrogant idiocy, a huge insult not only to the real Doctors, but also to the fans. ‘Oh we can’t have them in it! They’re too old!’ Except of course that it never stopped them appearing in all the original series’ specials, aside from Tom Baker. Patrick Troughton appeared with the sixth Doctor and we were delighted, because it was more important to recognise how special that was and the part he played in the series than to say ‘oh he’s got white hair now’.
Maybe I’m ‘too old’ too. I’m certainly too old to be able to appreciate the soap opera-level carrying-on, the ludicrous sexual tension, the character assassination, the outright having no goddamn clue what characters they misuse were supposed to be, the ridiculous inflation of scope… What has been said by Moffat essentially reflects not only a slap in the face to these Doctors, but also to all of us fans who carried the series. Without us, there wouldn’t even be anything going on right now. And we’re being tossed out like refuse.
I’ve always held back a bit on saying this, but I grew up loving the show, and it was one of the few stable things I could enjoy since we moved around so much. I was always teased and mocked and derided for enjoying it…and now because it’s trendy to be a ‘geek’ and to be into science-fiction, at least superficially…now we have a show that’s more style than substance and, because it has a bunch of pretty people bunging about the universe, angsting and having irrelevant and inappropriate romantic tension, we’re all supposed to be happy-crappy that a mass of people have latched onto it and lick up the slightest thing tossed out at them. Not all of the people who watch the new series are contemptible or shallow, but to be honest most of them I’ve met are the same kind of people who would have happily tossed me in a rubbish bin or pointed and laughed at me for reading a Doctor Who novel in my younger days. I have no time for people like that, whatever their fandoms. And I certainly am not going to discuss something that got me through some of the loneliest, unhappiest times of my life with someone who hasn’t the slightest understanding of what the series is supposed to be about, who sees it as they know it: a rubbish sensationalistic soap opera, nothing more.
It’s like seeing a beloved family member brought back as a horrifying zombie. It’s appalling and sad. Doctor Who is one of the most potent lessons I have learned in life about being okay with something good ending, because you can still enjoy the serials. It had run its course, Cartmel intended to turn it into something just as ridiculously inappropriate by the end, so it was good it ended when it did. We have good memories. That’s great. I don’t need anything past that. And as far as I’m concerned, the series ended in 1989 and that’s all there is.
So if you ever wonder why the very mention of the series makes me vomit a little in my mouth, now you don’t have to wonder anymore. I’m sure some of you have had to put up with more than a few of the things I have and understand all too well my contempt, but it’s things like this that make it flare up even more than ever.
I wish they’d just end the series and let it retain a tiny amount of dignity instead of continuing to annihilate any respectability it had. And then I guarantee you ninety per cent of these people who are ‘so into Doctor Who’ will move on within a month and we’ll never hear from them again. But whatever your fandom is, whatever you think about the series in any form, if you’re okay with this being done to the actors and the fans…I’m not okay with you. And as far as I’m concerned, you are no-one I care to associate with.