You could say it’s become a bit of a tradition. Each of the nu-Who Doctors, save for Eccleston, has now appeared in a Doctor Who ‘spin-off.’ Tennant and Smith made quite fulsome appearances in the ‘Sarah Jane Adventures’ (in The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith and Death of the Doctor respectively). Now Capaldi gets his turn, albeit in more of an extended cameo, in the premiere episode of Class, For Tonight We Might Die.
But on the 10th Anniversary of the arrival of ‘Torchwood’ (an Anniversary which the Tour confesses we forgot to see coming–that’s on us), ‘Class’ brings with it its own set of issues regarding expectation. Granting that it’s a first episode, and there are a legion of examples of programs for which the pilot episode, often a premise setter, turns out to be atypical of the program in hindsight, but here at THT Worldwide ‘Class’ seems like an awkward stepchild of both SJA and Torchwood. ‘Class’ has effectively the rift from ‘Torchwood’, but aims for the youth appeal of SJA, albeit with an edgier ‘Torchwood’ tone for the teens to take. SJA was never as graphic as ‘Class’ was from the jump, and, of course, there’s no comparison between the female leads. None at all.
But then we remember that For Tonight We Might Die is just a first episode, important for setting the tone and template for what will follow, but not necessarily a harbinger. The Tour has always been more partial to SJA as a Doctor Who brand extension because it seems more in keeping with the historical tone from classic Doctor Who. And for Tour purposes we are treating For Tonight We Might Die just as we did its forbears, mainly that the direct presence of the Doctor in the story makes it worthy of Tour inclusion.