The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

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Mark
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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Mark »

"Blakes 7" cheap.?....."Who" had a bigger budget for a start.

By the mid 70's, "Who" cost £20,000 an episode, that's half a million for a series, if that's a cheap filler, I'm Liberace's Piano tuner.!

Be interesting to see what the overnights will be for Sat's episode, as the rugby match is a dead rubber.
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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by GarethR »

Mark wrote: By the mid 70's, "Who" cost £20,000 an episode, that's half a million for a series
In TV budgetary terms, fuck-all, especially for a sci-fi drama.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by drmih »

Mark wrote:"Blakes 7" cheap.?....."Who" had a bigger budget for a start.

By the mid 70's, "Who" cost £20,000 an episode, that's half a million for a series, if that's a cheap filler, I'm Liberace's Piano tuner.!

Be interesting to see what the overnights will be for Sat's episode, as the rugby match is a dead rubber.
£20,000 in the mid-70s equates to about £200,000 now - if it was early 70s it would be nearly £300,000 because of high inflation back then. Current episodes cost about £1M. If that price was per episode, then that would be £400,000 for a current story. Given the budget for CGI etc which wouldn't have been anything like that (pro-rata) for model shots etc, I think it's not such a low budget thing. I think I've seen the budget for Tom Baker stories quoted at around the £100,000 mark, which would seem to tie up with £20,000 per episode mid 70s.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by spflog1 »

Can we please firmly knock on the head this false idea that the 'classic era' Dr Who series was 'cheap'. Certainly from the Jon Pertwee era onwards it was anything but. Just pause for a few seconds to give honest thought to the costs of fulfilling the weekly requirements of such a show.

Nobody's pretending it had a Hollywood sized budget to work with but by BBC standards it was easily one of their costliest productions. It was the very reason why it attracted the ultimately fatal, hard-nosed critical attention of BBC bosses when its ratings slipped during 1980s. They didn't want to devote so much of their resources to something that was no longer bringing in the viewers. It's often been said that the problems of that decade weren't due to a lack of money but more with how the money was being spent.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Duncan »

spflog1 wrote:Can we please firmly knock on the head this false idea that the 'classic era' Dr Who series was 'cheap'. Certainly from the Jon Pertwee era onwards it was anything but. Just pause for a few seconds to give honest thought to the costs of fulfilling the weekly requirements of such a show.

Nobody's pretending it had a Hollywood sized budget to work with but by BBC standards it was easily one of their costliest productions. It was the very reason why it attracted the ultimately fatal, hard-nosed critical attention of BBC bosses when its ratings slipped during 1980s. They didn't want to devote so much of their resources to something that was no longer bringing in the viewers. It's often been said that the problems of that decade weren't due to a lack of money but more with how the money was being spent.
I've never in my nearly 40 years as a fan heard anyone claim that DW was one of the BBCs costliest productions - they got rid of it in the late 80s because they were embarrassed by it! Who has been "often" saying that the problems of the 80s weren't down to a lack of money? True JNT had no dramatic ability or affinity with scripts, but if you watch the DVD extras the one thing that is "often" said is that they wish they'd had more time - and that means more money.

BTW applause to Gareth for manfully trying to inject a bit of sanity into this thread...

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Mark »

Mickey wrote: It's been namechecked in both "Agents Of SHIELD" and "Sleepy Hollow" in the past year, which suggests that it has a fairly high profile in popular culture in the States, something that it never managed before.
Not quite true, there was an episode of "ST:TNG" in the 80's, which featured a scene of Dr Crusher reading a crew list on a screen, when paused the list included the names of the first six "Who" actors in order.
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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by drmih »

I missed the 'never managed before' line. There are multiple references in the Simpsons (starting in 1995) and also The Big Bang Theory.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Mark »

Duncan wrote:
spflog1 wrote:Can we please firmly knock on the head this false idea that the 'classic era' Dr Who series was 'cheap'. Certainly from the Jon Pertwee era onwards it was anything but. Just pause for a few seconds to give honest thought to the costs of fulfilling the weekly requirements of such a show.

Nobody's pretending it had a Hollywood sized budget to work with but by BBC standards it was easily one of their costliest productions. It was the very reason why it attracted the ultimately fatal, hard-nosed critical attention of BBC bosses when its ratings slipped during 1980s. They didn't want to devote so much of their resources to something that was no longer bringing in the viewers. It's often been said that the problems of that decade weren't due to a lack of money but more with how the money was being spent.
I've never in my nearly 40 years as a fan heard anyone claim that DW was one of the BBCs costliest productions - they got rid of it in the late 80s because they were embarrassed by it! Who has been "often" saying that the problems of the 80s weren't down to a lack of money? True JNT had no dramatic ability or affinity with scripts, but if you watch the DVD extras the one thing that is "often" said is that they wish they'd had more time - and that means more money.

BTW applause to Gareth for manfully trying to inject a bit of sanity into this thread...
Rubbish, they did not get rid of it because of embarrassment, it was because it was too costly, at over a million a series by the mid 80's, and because of the resources it took up, it was one of a number of shows that were cut because of the high costs created by Breakfast TV and "Eastenders", so it was a no-brainer for Grade, who didn't like it anyway.

And no one in their right mind in the film and TV industry would EVER answer "Yes" to the question, "Did you have enough time and money.?"

Gareth said the budget wasn't much, especially for a Sci-Fi drama, compared to what?...other Sci-Fi dramas, the only one I can think of that cost (a lot) more was "Space 1999" and as has been mentioned many times that was beaten by "Who" in the London area, even Martin Landau was spotted marching down the road with his luggage in the direction of the Airport.

It's ridiculous to suggest the BBC saw it as a cheap filler, this is the BBC we're talking about, not some tin pot TV station, going by that argument, they could have cancelled "Who" and replaced it with "Blakes 7" and had an even cheaper filler.

drmih and spflog1 are quite right, the show took up a lot of the resources of the BBC, it may not have been a blockbuster (thankfully) by anyone's standards but it wasn't a cheap filler either.

Tonight's episode ( and last weeks) was half decent, I thought, which surprised me as I wasn't expecting to like it at all, some sane dialogue for a change ( points off, for the use of 'bloody' again, "Who" is better than that) anyone notice the guitar in the theme music.?
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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Mark »

drmih wrote:I missed the 'never managed before' line. There are multiple references in the Simpsons (starting in 1995) and also The Big Bang Theory.

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There was also a cartoon short with a scene full of well known spaceships, and The TARDIS amongst them.
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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by drmih »

Mark wrote:anyone notice the guitar in the theme music.?
I do wonder if they're just indulging PC's ability to do this - he's pretty good but I think I've had enough now. They may well have even sampled him from the bit on the tank when he did a variation on the theme.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Mark »

drmih wrote:
Mark wrote:anyone notice the guitar in the theme music.?
I do wonder if they're just indulging PC's ability to do this - he's pretty good but I think I've had enough now. They may well have even sampled him from the bit on the tank when he did a variation on the theme.
Yes, it does seem to be because it's one of his talents, and perhaps to counter the stern and grumpy persona of last year.

That scene between The Doctor and Bennett, about knowing who would be killed was well written and very well performed by the two actors, it has to be said, it certainly shows how good Capaldi can be, when given the right material.

The location was very good too, and somewhat unusual.
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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Richard Charles Skryngestone »

I thought that Before the Flood was patchy. There was some good stuff in there, certainly far better than the two-part Davros mess that started this year.

And yet the conclusion which doesn't make sense. Does it make it more impressive that the Doctor actually points out that it doesn't make sense? Rather than just saying "Wibbly wobbly timey wimey" actually explaining why the episode has a gaping plot hole? Sorry, but what was a promising first part was let down by part 2.
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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by drmih »

As a story it was good but the second part didn't keep the quality (and downright scariness) of the first. The time travel conundrum was interesting, but perhaps leave it to Brian Cox et al and just stick to storytelling (even if it's a nonsense).

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Duncan »

Mark wrote:
Rubbish, they did not get rid of it because of embarrassment, it was because it was too costly, at over a million a series by the mid 80's, and because of the resources it took up, it was one of a number of shows that were cut because of the high costs created by Breakfast TV and "Eastenders", so it was a no-brainer for Grade, who didn't like it anyway.

And no one in their right mind in the film and TV industry would EVER answer "Yes" to the question, "Did you have enough time and money.?"

Gareth said the budget wasn't much, especially for a Sci-Fi drama, compared to what?...other Sci-Fi dramas, the only one I can think of that cost (a lot) more was "Space 1999" and as has been mentioned many times that was beaten by "Who" in the London area, even Martin Landau was spotted marching down the road with his luggage in the direction of the Airport.

It's ridiculous to suggest the BBC saw it as a cheap filler, this is the BBC we're talking about, not some tin pot TV station, going by that argument, they could have cancelled "Who" and replaced it with "Blakes 7" and had an even cheaper filler.

drmih and spflog1 are quite right, the show took up a lot of the resources of the BBC, it may not have been a blockbuster (thankfully) by anyone's standards but it wasn't a cheap filler either.

Tonight's episode ( and last weeks) was half decent, I thought, which surprised me as I wasn't expecting to like it at all, some sane dialogue for a change ( points off, for the use of 'bloody' again, "Who" is better than that) anyone notice the guitar in the theme music.?
Do you have any idea about the finances of television? Doctor Who was cheap - sure there is an opportunity cost to making anything, but £1.6m for 14x25 minutes of drama was not expensive! I don't think you can talk about DW being budgeted as a Sci-Fi drama because the BBC didn't think like that. I recall reading interviews with people like Ian Scoones about B7 and he said it was given the same budget as Softly Softly - i.e. the BBC didn't distinguish between a police procedural show using contemporary sets, costumes etc and B7 where pretty much everything was bespoke.

Whilst it is true that everybody in the industry would say yes to more resources, theres a difference between an extra helping of pudding and actually having a pudding in the first place.

So DW in 1985 and then in 1989 was cancelled due to the high cost of breakfast tv - which started in January 1983, and Eastenders whose budget allocations would have been set in 1984? Even if you meant to say daytime TV that doesn't stand up - these are the sorts of myths which paranoid DW fans clung to from Feb 85 onwards because it felt better than admitting that the BBC management either just didn't like DW or just didn't care anymore, and they loved having Grade as a pantomime villain. You only have to see the interviews with people like Jonathan Powell and Peter Cregeen in Ed Straddling's numerous superb documentaries to see that the old myths are just that - myths.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by GarethR »

spflog1 wrote: Nobody's pretending it had a Hollywood sized budget to work with but by BBC standards it was easily one of their costliest productions
Whatever it is you're smoking, can I have some?

Mark has already suggested the figure of £20,000 per episode in the mid-70s. That was cheap, and for a sci-fi series that needed entirely new costumes, props and sets for each story, it was ridiculously cheap. As Duncan has said, you have to think in terms of relative TV production costs, and not what seems expensive to you as an individual.

When the BBC made I, Claudius in 1976, it was for around £60,000 per episode - and crucially, that was considered low-cost at the time. It was on BBC-2 as well of course, if it had been planned for primetime BBC-1 it would almost certainly have had a larger budget. An episode of DW was half the length, but it only cost around a third as much - and that was with much greater demands in terms of props, sets and effects.

EDIT - I've just found out that 60s episodes of DW cost between £2500-3000, and by 1985 that had increased to about £180,000 - which was significantly *below* the cost of an average episode of a typical 30-minute BBC drama at that time (£220,000).

Season 24 had a total budget of £1.4m, which breaks down to £100,000 per episode. By season 26 that was up to £1.6m, which represents an increase slightly below inflation.

By any measure, DW was one of the cheaper - and by the mid-80s possibly even the cheapest - drama series the BBC made. And that cheapness inevitably reflected on screen, which only increased the management's embarrassment with it.

BTW, it's an unfair comparison, but in 1966 the average budget for a first-season episode of Star Trek was $190,000, which equates to roughly £68,000 (in 1966 pounds, if the historical exchange rate calculator I found is to be believed). So the budget for one episode of Star Trek would have paid for 27 episodes of DW, or around half a year's production (there were 46 episodes in 1966).

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Mickey »

Fair enough on the other Who references in popular culture. As so often, there are people here far better informed than me. I do wonder how many of those older references are jokes made by self-confessed nerds though, who don't necessarily expect their jokes to be got by the wider audience; whereas the references in modern shows are far more likely to be understood. But that's a question that is perhaps unanswerable.

Richard, you mention plot holes, but do you really think that that's what was going on there? What the Doctor referred to is a familiar trope in time travel fiction - it's the central conceit of Michael Moorcock's "Behold The Man", for instance. Other shows have used it, including recently "Lost" - the question of where Richard's compass originates was a popular topic of conversation amongst fans. It's known as a causal loop, or a self-contained paradox, and I think it's more likely that it's a little joke rather than a failing. Of course you're perfectly at liberty to think otherwise. It may even turn out to be a running theme in the series, with such a loop being important further down the line. It's the kind of thing likely to appeal to Steven Moffat.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Bernie »

I don't know what the costs were, but Dr Who was made pretty much in the same way that any other BBC drama was made in those days - a chunk of filming, followed by a standard amount of rehearsal, then one studio day per half hour of programme. Having worked on a few in the studio, I look at the modern ones and am endlessly amazed at the amount of dosh that goes into pretty much everything. I doubt that Dr Who was either particularly cheap or expensive for a standard drama, and would have paled into insignificance against some of the operas we did, with a symphony orchestra in TC3 and huge one-off sets in TC1, or an election taking up several studios for days.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Richard Charles Skryngestone »

The Girl Who Died:

Something has died all right.

I wonder if all these 2-parters is supposed to be a lead into the Sherlock-like future nature of the show that the tabloids have been talking about.

As for this episode, it was mediocre. But compared to last year, "mediocre" is a definite improvement.
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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by drmih »

Richard Charles Skryngestone wrote:The Girl Who Died:

Something has died all right.

I wonder if all these 2-parters is supposed to be a lead into the Sherlock-like future nature of the show that the tabloids have been talking about.

As for this episode, it was mediocre. But compared to last year, "mediocre" is a definite improvement.
Oh come on it was perfectly ok if not earth shattering. If they do single episode they're 'not long enough to develop....' and two parts - the traditional classic series length, is somehow leading to having a series if 4 or 5 feature length stories. I'm surprised given your antipathy to the current set-up that you're not happy about that as it might lead to a change in tone / direction / exec producer etc - it's currently not what you want so perhaps this is a way forward. As for last night, it wasn't really a two parter as it wrapped everything up. The fact that a character returns next week is no different to say the (old) Series 8 where they flogged the Master to death in every story (remember that: Terror [great] / Mind [not great] / Claw [meh] / Colony [awful] / Daemons [great])- imagine if there had been trailers in the credits back then.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Richard Charles Skryngestone »

The problem is far more than just whether here are single episode stories, or a few feature-length episodes.

The problem is that Doctor Who the television show as it is now is pretty poor. Poor writing, poor execution. It's stale, it's embarrassing, it doesn't have a clue which way it is going. It has all the hallmarks of badly written fan fiction, only with big special effects.

There is of course a good and easy way to improve the show completely, by simply replacing a single person. And in my opinion until that happens the show is going to continue to be poor, regardless of how how long each individual story may or may not be.
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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by drmih »

Richard Charles Skryngestone wrote:The problem is far more than just whether here are single episode stories, or a few feature-length episodes.

The problem is that Doctor Who the television show as it is now is pretty poor. Poor writing, poor execution. It's stale, it's embarrassing, it doesn't have a clue which way it is going. It has all the hallmarks of badly written fan fiction, only with big special effects.

There is of course a good and easy way to improve the show completely, by simply replacing a single person. And in my opinion until that happens the show is going to continue to be poor, regardless of how how long each individual story may or may not be.
I'm afraid that yours is just a minority fan opinion not supported by anything but a rose coloured view of a historic program which was never as good as fans convince themselves it was. When it was on it was often mocked (in mainstream tv / media) for the wobbly scenery, iffy acting, screaming female parodies, low cost special effects but loved in that British way of supporting the underdog (and I'm one of them). At least the current show appeals to a family audience and comfortably holds its own as a mainstream tv drama in a peak slot and even has that iconic Christmas Day position (it is in effect the Morecambe and Wise of its time).

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by simon10011 »

Richard Charles Skryngestone wrote:The problem is far more than just whether here are single episode stories, or a few feature-length episodes.

The problem is that Doctor Who the television show as it is now is pretty poor. Poor writing, poor execution. It's stale, it's embarrassing, it doesn't have a clue which way it is going. It has all the hallmarks of badly written fan fiction, only with big special effects.

There is of course a good and easy way to improve the show completely, by simply replacing a single person. And in my opinion until that happens the show is going to continue to be poor, regardless of how how long each individual story may or may not be.
What people on here keep pointing out is that the show isn't being written solely for the fans of the classic series. I doubt it would have lasted 10 years if it were. Can you not just be happy that it's back and still doing reasonably well, because i'm sorry to tell you it's not being written just for you!

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Ross »

Criticise the current show and you get the same old straw men...

For the record:

I don't think the old series was perfect.

I don't want the new series to be the same as it was in the Seventies, filmed inserts and all.

I want the show to head off in a new direction (as long as it keeps the core; a traveller in a time machine helping the oppressed).

I just don't think the Moffat era is very good at all. It's just - to my mind - badly written drama. As for it not being written for fans... The first episode had the Master, UNIT, the Sisterhood of Karn, Davros and the Daleks. It's like Eighties fan fiction come to life.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by drmih »

Ross wrote:Criticise the current show and you get the same old straw men...
The issue of criticising the new series isn't the point - like any drama there are good and bad bits. It's criticism that it somehow isn't to a format which is acceptable to a minority of people at the expense of the general viewer. I would agree with you that one of the things which spoils it for me is the shoe-horning in of classic references - it spoils it and yet the very people it's aimed at pleasing are the most vociferous critics. The best of the new series are, in my opinion, those stories which ditch the history and just tell good stories.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Cole »

Falling ratings.

My better half said something about Peter Capaldi which I get the impression is the problem with the current Doctor Who. It is a comment that I’ve over heard from younger viewers and echoed when I read social media comments when Peter was announced two years ago.

“He’s a bit old and craggy looking.”

I honestly believe that if Moffat had cast some young boy-band member type, the audience would be lapping it up and the programme would be getting the ratings that it always enjoyed. It’s a far cry from fifty years ago when a grandfather-type figures could hold the audience. Today’s kids don’t want old heroes.

Ironically, the press are loving the series and Capaldi’s Doctor has mellowed enormously this year, but even the addition of a ‘rock Doctor’ isn’t enough to save the character; He’s ‘old’ and unlike bow-ties, old isn’t ‘cool’!

Just an opinion formed from observation.

Personally think that this year is an improvement on last. Last year's series' episodes tended to leave me a bit cold, but I've rather enjoyed this year's offerings.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by drmih »

Cole wrote:Falling ratings.
Although we're still in the World Cup Rugby window and it was still the second most watch program on Saturday behind Strictly, so I'm not sure if actual ratings are the benchmark with different viewing methods and timeshifting.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Cole »

drmih wrote:
Cole wrote:Falling ratings.
Although we're still in the World Cup Rugby window and it was still the second most watch program on Saturday behind Strictly, so I'm not sure if actual ratings are the benchmark with different viewing methods and timeshifting.
Fair enough, but this was more of a response to the 'ratings crisis' rumours.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Alice80 »

Mark wrote:
drmih wrote:I missed the 'never managed before' line. There are multiple references in the Simpsons (starting in 1995) and also The Big Bang Theory.

ImageImage
There was also a cartoon short with a scene full of well known spaceships, and The TARDIS amongst them.
A few years back there was a mention in that ratings juggernaut for CBS, NCIS...that's when I thought Who had gone mainstream in the US...

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by brigham »

Capaldi is the right age for the part.
Unfortunately, I'm now the wrong age to hide behind the sofa.

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Re: The All-Purpose Current Doctor Who (2005-) Thread

Post by Doom Patrol »

I always think Capaldi's Doctor is a good idea, in principle. Unfortunately it was done rather ham fistedly. Personally, I think they made a huge mistake making him quite so unpleasant and bigoted. Whereas what we have now is a downright embarrasment. A poorly dressed, mid life crisis, rock and roll Doctor. No thank you.

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