Friday, 23 December 2011

Doctor Who in the Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph website yesterday published a trio of Doctor Who articles. Firstly, actress Arabella Weir was asked to write about her new role [of Bilis] in "the biggest, coolest show on television." Working with Bill Bailey on The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe was the highlight of her career. And Weir's co-star, Alexander Armstrong, has revealed his favourite Doctor today - the present incumbent, Matt Smith.

Writer Gavin Fuller then lists his "top ten female assistants" from the programme:
  • Zoe Heriot "was played with great charm by Wendy Padbury, who had to don some interesting costumes"
  • Nyssa "was the perfect foil for the Fifth Doctor"
  • Jo Grant was "the clumsy UNIT operative" and part of "one of the "warmest Doctor-companion pairings"
  • Ace was "the streetwise tomboy" and the first, pre-RTD era companion "given an emotional journey"
  • Barbara Wright played "an integral part of establishing the series"
  • Donna Noble "was a mature woman.. able to.. keep the Tenth Doctor in much-needed check"
  • Peri Brown was "the most physically attractive of all" TARDIS travellers
  • Leela was "an Eliza Doolittle figure" who's "success was due to Louise Jameson's fine performance"
  • Rose Tyler was given "a very fine, naturalistic performance" from Billie Piper
  • and unsurprisingly, Sarah Jane Smith is revealed as "the best of companions"
Finally, readers are offered Fuller's "top ten best Doctors":
    • Paul McGann is described as "the George Lazenby" of Doctors, who "instantly nailed how to play" him
    • Christopher Eccleston - here given the usual "serious" tag again - played "a different kind of Doctor"
    • Sylvester McCoy "brought a Troughton-esqe eccentricity to the role with this most Scottish of Doctors, and.. tried to bring back an element to the part"
    • Matt Smith "has charisma to burn in the role, looks suitably alien, and has brought a subtlety.. not seen since Troughton" but, like McCoy, seems "too light-hearted at times" and currently lacks gravitas
    • William Hartnell "was a Doctor who mellowed from crotchety anti-hero to benevolent old sage"
    • Peter Davison had the "most difficult task in taking on the role" and seemed "to be more of a big brother to his companions"
    • "For many the definitive Doctor" Tom Baker only polls here at #4! Baker's "natural eccentricity" was "helped by a memorable hat and scarf costume" and his "first three years.. were possibly the strongest consistent run of serials in the programme's history"
    • Patrick Troughton "brought a huge degree of subtlety to the role, which makes it a terrible shame that so many of his episodes were lost"
    • David Tennant was able "to show us just what a good actor he is" and is "easily one of the great Doctors"
    • and the best Doctor here (thereby pushing Colin Baker out of the rundown) is Jon Pertwee - "an action hero.. with a strong moral slant" and "a panache that has never been bettered"

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