Journey 50: The Tenth Doctor Who

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I have been faithfully watching Dr Who episodes with my grandson Dayan. On most Thursday afternoons, I pick him up from school, grab us a snack, and camp out in front of the TV with Dayan, learning about this long lived BBC series. We began with the 9th Doctor, and season one of the revived Dr Who. I have to admit, I have become a fan of this quirky, campy, sci-fi series, which originally aired in 1963. Watching with Dayan, and discussing the episodes, makes it more fun.

At the end of season one, of the revived Dr Who, I watched the phenomenon that happens to a Time Lord, when faced with death. He regenerates…and becomes new. New body, new face, new personality….and in reality, a new actor portraying the Doctor. It is a very clever way to keep a series alive over decades and keep the storyline lively and interesting. However, I began watching with actor Christopher Eccleston playing the Doctor and I wasn’t sure I was going to like a new actor in the role. Dayan assured me I would adjust.

It was well done, the regeneration. At first I resisted the idea of a new actor playing the familiar role. I had grown fond of Eccleston’s performance as the Doctor. David Tennant helped make the transition smooth by mimicking gestures and facial expressions of the previous Doctor, gradually bringing his own personality into the role. This afternoon, Dayan and I watched New Earth and Tooth and Claw of season two. The episodes were very well done, bringing a couple of past characters, Lady Cassandra and the Face of Boe, back in New Earth, which was set in the year five billion twenty three. Taking place in the city of New New York (not a typo!), the story raised the question of what’s ethical in the treatment of diseases and even more important, in the treatment of life.

Tooth and Claw won my approval immediately, as the setting was Scotland in the time of Queen Victoria. I felt sure it aired around Halloween time, since it featured a were wolf, but it originally aired in April of 2006. I loved the Scottish accents and landscapes. There was a nice twist to the story at the end, involving the royal family of Great Britain. And by the end of this episode, I had quit comparing David Tennant to Christopher Eccleston, quit trying to “see” Eccleston in Tennant’s expressions and mannerisms. I decided I liked David Tennant! He brings a freshness to the role, which is, of course, the whole idea.

I googled Tennant and found that he actually is Scottish, and knew by the age of THREE that he wanted to be an actor. I found it amazing that his early decision was inspired by….watching Dr Who episodes! The young David never wavered from his chosen path, and fulfilled his dream. I find that inspiring. David Tennant is a great role model for anyone who desires to follow his or her heart, persevering no matter what others think and say.

Dayan smiled with a “see, I told you” look when I confessed I liked the new Doctor. And then he surprised me with a story he wrote as a school assignment. He asked me if I wanted to read it. Titled “Numbers on the Wall”, I was so impressed with his short story, so amazed at the writing ability he already shows at the age of 15. He got an A on the assignment and has submitted the story in a writing contest. Wow. What an encouragement to me as well, as I see Dayan pursuing his dreams. Seriously, Dayan reminds me of Tolkien when that author was a young man, crafting countries peopled with remarkable and diverse personalities, creating languages, back writing a history that supported an entire made up world. I see that same creative spark and ability in Dayan, that same keen intelligence and curiosity.

I am enjoying watching Dr Who with Dayan. I have many more episodes to go to catch up to the current season and the latest incarnation of the Doctor. Even more, I am enjoying the conversations and shared laughter with my grandson, enjoying watching him grow and learn and journey. I’m glad we have so many episodes of Dr Who ahead of us. I treasure this time.

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