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2013 was, by all means, the year of the Doctor. Steven Moffat promised that the show would “take over our screens”, and despite the earlier months of the year perhaps being a little bare, Doctor Who was everywhere you turned by November. The anniversary special The Day of the Doctor was the most watched programme on British television last year, and if that doesn’t prove its impact, the total iPlayer requests for episodes from the last year is over 19 million. That is a lot of requests for 10 episodes.
As a whole, the last series of Doctor Who was one of the best in some time. Each self contained episode felt like an event, like something worth watching on its own without the bother of trying to follow the needlessly-overcomplicated storylines that dominated Matt Smith’s previous series. Yes, the mystery surrounding Clara was somewhat strung out, and the second episode “The Rings of Akhaten” was perhaps the worst episode of Who to grace our screens since its return in 2005, but other than this, the series was the best it has been for some time. The anniversary special was wonderful, and Matt Smith’s final episode was a fitting tribute to his time as the Doctor. Perhaps a little overambitious in its ideas (particularly a needlessly aged version of his Doctor), but nevertheless, it Moffat wrapped up all the loose threads he had hanging on from the previous series. The neat and simple resolution to the regeneration conundrum (that the Doctor has a finite number of lives) which has worried fans and producers alike since it was first established in 1976 was well implemented. Though far from the send-off he deserved (particularly the weak script that let it down), The Time of the Doctor brought together most of the elements that Smith’s fans have grown to love about him and as such, it was a fitting end for one of the most popular Doctors of all time.
But where will the series go next? Peter Capaldi sneezed into existence at the end of the Christmas special, wide-eyed and a little bit terrifying, looking at Clara as though she was missing an arm and ranting about his new kidneys. If this is anything to go by – and if truth be told, a new Doctor’s first scene usually isn’t – he looks to be one of the barmiest Doctors we’ve had for some time. He’s as fine an actor as any who’s been before, and it’s likely he’ll be giving us some proper old-fashioned Doctor Who stories, akin to David Tennant or Tom Baker’s eras as the titular character. Jenna Coleman is also staying on for another series as the increasingly likable Clara Oswald, and now that she’s left the shackles of her “impossibility” behind, let’s hope we see some genuine character development on her part frankly, she needs it.
2013 was truly the year of the Doctor, and the show has never seemed more popular. But that’s all in the past. 2014 is the now, with a new Doctor and a fresh approach to the show. And do you know what…?
It’s going to be absolutely fantastic.