Most have agreed that the BBC’s decision to revive Doctor Who has proven inspired, with the Christopher Ecclestone-led ‘first’ series proving a critical and ratings success. Yet when Ecclestone announced he was departing the role after just one season, eyebrows were raised, Could the momentum be kept going for a second series?
Absolutely. The seamless casting of David Tennant as Ecclestone’s successor in the TARDIS has been equally inspired, and while it’s a fair debate as to whether he matches the standards set by his predecessor, the show rarely lets you draw breath to think about.
This second series collection kicks off with the 2005 Christmas special, which finds the Doctor struggling to overcome the effects of his regeneration, just as the Earth happens to be invaded. It’s a smashing episode, and much of the thirteen that follow manage to match it. Particular highlights? There’s “School Reunion”, which cleverly works old favourites K-9 and Sarah-Jane back into the mix, while “The Girl In The Fireplace” finds the Doctor in a slightly more romantic frame, “The Idiot’s Lantern” is a super, snappy episode set just before Coronation Day, while the two part “Impossible Planet” and “Satan Pit” shows just how far you can stretch a BBC budget.
Yet the series will ultimately be remembered for different reasons. The triumphant return for the Cybermen for one, and the depature of Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler in the superb final two-parter, which also happens to see two of the Doctor’s deadliest foes waging war. And while it’s not unfair to say that this series of Doctor Who hasn’t been without one or two low moments too, the vast majority of it has been really quite brilliant. Fast, energetic, well-written and cracking entertainment, you’re only left wondering how they can top all this next time round…–Simon Brew