This is what happens when you sit on a notion for too long. The Tour had been nursing along a thought or three that the news of September 24th simply blew out of the water. So while there’s still a slim chance that any of them might still have some relevancy, or had simply crossed the minds of other fans. Here they are in brief:
- That Faint Whiff of 1989. Once it had been announced that Jodie Whittaker, to the surprise of no one given the timing, was leaving, the inevitable thought of what’s next began to percolate. Fortunately the drip feed scheduling that Doctor Who feels like it has been on recently gives at least a little runway for what that might be or … a reason to go silent and, as in 1989, simply let Doctor Who fade away. Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred have both recounted that in 1989 and 1990 that they thought there would indeed be a Season 27 up until they were told it wasn’t going forward. Was it possible that we could have seen Jodie Whittaker walking into the middle distance at the end of her last adventure and then fading to black. Fortunately, we’ll never know.
- The Real Stars at the BBC are Producers. Time was the Producer of Doctor Who was a staff job within the BBC. By 2003 however that had all changed. It would be revisionist history to suggest that Doctor Who would not have come back if RTD hadn’t signed on, but his reputation had already been established by then, and as a ‘name’ Producer that became a leverage point for selling the series going forward. Steven Moffat and Chris Chibnall followed in exactly the same mold, both having their name made before the time on the program. Now RTD returns. It’s a shame that the modern equivalent of Innes Lloyd, a longtime BBC staffer/stalwart who ably oversaw the Hartnell to Troughton eras and beyond, could not have been found, but in RTD there will be ready-made acceptance that the show is on a sure footing, and that’s not unimportant.
- Next Steps. Surely RTD will get a chance to pick his own lead, but will it be an immediate follow-on from Whittaker? It’ll be his call, but Paul McGann did not get his phone call … until 2013.
Still isn’t it nice to know that at the very least there is a path going forward, almost certainly until 2025, and who knows how much farther than that.