Back when the announcement that Doctor Who was coming back (in 2003! how time .. well you know) for long-term fans of what would later be called for purposes of distinction only, the ‘classic series’ there was legitimate reason to wonder what RTD had in mind for the new series. Would it be a true re-boot starting from scratch but taking the fundamental concepts and bringing them forward, or rather would it be a continuation which in turn could either use or eschew what fans remembered for a series that had been in hibernation, in any real televisual sense that is, for 14 years at that point.
Drilling further down, even with a continuation in mind, could the same storytelling sensibilities really be brought forward?
Now as we approach 10 years from the commencement of actual production on the first series we all know the answer. RTD had promised a more emotional tone to the storytelling, but it wasn’t until the newest Modern Recap-itulation, ironically not penned by RTD but by Paul Cornell that this really hit home in a big way. Father’s Day, once the basics of the plot are laid out, doesn’t necessarily surprise all that much, but it is terrifically emotional, and that’s all down to the performances of Billie Piper and Shaun Dingwall.
They’re terrific together and made better with the revelation that as the scales fell from Rose’s eyes regarding her parents’ marriage became apparent. Their abilities grounded the drama and were cemented when Pete knew that the story that Rose spun about his presence as a father didn’t fit.
This story also may have been Eccleston’s most ‘alien’ performance as the Doctor too, all the more to contrast what else was happening.
Father’s Day is terrific nu-Who and quite unlike anything the series has done before or since for that matter. There aren’t any historical antecedents, and that’s why it was wonderful. The new caps for Father’s Day follow the Modern Recap-itulation pattern of being both larger and more plentiful than before.
We go to the dogs when Classic Capitology resumes … next time.