Wednesday, April 02, 2008

today : Companion Wars

Freema : Is it because I is black?

There's something wrong. Something I can't understand. Something I don't quite believe. Everyone is playing a straight bat in the press but it just seems to be odd. This is the big question. Why on earth is Catherine Tate on Dr Who?

Now I have to admit that I am not a fan of hers. I think her feted comedy show was okay, but not the superb brilliant wonderful ground-breaking thing that we were told it was. I think there are plenty of comedic character actresses who could have done just as well.

But to make her into The Doctor's new companion is a mis-step. Her character of Donna doesn't fit the bill. I hate to say it but she is just too old. All the way back in history, companions have been ingenues who discover their strength and resourcefulness during their time travelling adventures with the Doctor. That's why Billie Piper's Rose was so spot on. She was a modern feisty girl who took on the mind-blowing adventures offered by the Doctor with aplomb.

Yes, there is something in the 1000 year old man showing a young the ways of the universe that perhaps requires some psychological investigation, but to have an older companion breaks the formula and frankly risks alienating the audience. After all, one of the functions of the companion is to be the eyes of the audience. An audience which is on the whole fairly young.

But here's the thing that just feels wrong. What did Freema Agyeman do to upset everyone? The character of Martha Jones was potentially terrific. Yet she was never really given the chance to develop much beyond being besotted by the Doc. I've seen this given as the reason for the character being shifted sideways into the rather dull Torchwood - a bit like when football clubs 'sack' their manager by shifting them upstairs to be director of football. But aren't all the Doctor's companions besotted by him? That's the idea - that he offers them a life so much more colourful and fantastic than being drearily earth bound. But he has to ditch them because he is immortal and they are not.

Dumping Martha after one measly season smacks to me as premature, as if there were some politics at play that we don't know about.

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