While production of the Christmas Special continues, rumors are starting to come through for the fourth season of BBC Wales’ Doctor Who.
The first rumor is for an episode title, ‘Planet of the Ood.’ You may remember the Ood from the excellent two-parter from Season Two ‘The Impossible Planet’/'The Satan Pit.’ A gentle telepathic race enslaved by the Human Empire, the Ood have a lot of potential as a new alien race… moreso than the Judoon and Slitheen in any case.
The second rumor is that Steven Moffat is returning for Season Four with a two-parter.
So far, Moffatt is the best writer to emerge from the new series. He won over fans with the most innovative and exciting story of the first season ‘The Empty Child’/'The Doctor Dances,’ brought us the moving and intelligent story that first allowed actor David Tennant to shine in his role as the Doctor in ‘The Girl in The Fireplace’ for Season Two and the incredible ‘Blink’ for Season Three.
The rumor goes on to say that Moffat‘s script is going to be a Cybermen two-parter. While I adore Moffat‘s writing and trust that he could very well make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, I hope that we get a ‘proper’ Cybermen story rather than the ropey ‘parallel world’ Cybermen introduced in the ‘Rise of the Cybermen’/'The Age of Steel’ story two years ago.
It’s a magnificent opportunity to utilize the ‘Spare Parts’ audio adventure that was initially the source material for the 2005 two-parter before it became a tale about Jackie Tyler’s birthday and Mickey’s gran.
Moffat has stated that he is a longtime fan of the classic 1968 Troughton story, Tomb of the Cybermen. To me, this is a good sign since it was is one of the better Cybermen stories and used the ‘monsters’ well.
The 2002 audio adventure ‘Spare Parts’ starring Peter Davison was the first attempt at an ‘origin’ story for the Cybermen.
Written by classic series and Virgin author Marc Platt (Lungbarrow, Ghostlight), the adventure tells the tale of the Cyber race in its infancy, and the terror that waits to strike upon the universe.
A fan favorite and one of the few times a writer has attempted to make sense of the convoluted history of the metal menaces, ‘Spare Parts’ stands out as the ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ for Cybermen.
With director Graeme Harper (Caves of Androzani, Doomsday, 42) confirmed for 5 stories next year, we can all cross our fingers that the two will get to work together and give David Tennant another chance to give a top notch performance before he leaves the program.
Producer Russell T Davies has been treating the new series like a series of checks in his greatest hits log so far (Regeneration, Daleks, Cybermen, Daleks Vs. Cybermen, the Master), leading me to think that there is one big opportunity that he cannot miss out on… the multiple Doctor story.
The Classic Series had three multiple Doctor tales, Three Doctors in 1973 featuring William Hartnell‘s last appearance on the program, The Five Doctors in 1983 which showed that the Third Doctor Jon Pertwee could take the role back on at a moment’s notice and The Two Doctors in 1985 pairing up Colin Baker and Patrick Troughton shortly before Pat passed on.
Of all of these tales, The Two Doctors functioned the best. A cracking story by Robert Holmes, some good character opportunities for both Troughton and Baker and some great guest star action with Jaqueline Pierce (Sevalan from Blake’s 7). While too long in parts and mis-using the Sontarans, it’s still one of Colin Baker‘s better stories and the two Doctors do seem to shine on the screen together. And you can see how happy Colin Baker is to be rid of that performance killing coat.
If Russ gets his chance, I wager that actor Paul McGann may be donning his wig once more to play the role against Tennant. I think that the two actors would provide excellent foils for each other and since McGann‘s Doctor is such an excellent example of the ‘classic series’ Doctor (the proper English gentlemen), it would be a nice to see the two interact.
It’s obvious that actor Chris Eccleston who refuses to even talk about his time on Doctor Who will never be returning to the program, which is a shame. But with Doctor #9 out of the running for a possible guest-spot and the other actors looking so unlike themselves from their time on the program, it only leaves McGann and also provides the opportunity to wrap up the ‘Time War’ story begun in Season X1 way back when… though I’d like to see Peter Davison return to the part. He did say that he should have been older to play the role better, after all.
While not official, many fans believe that McGann’s Doctor fought in the Time War which pitted the Daleks against the Timelords in a winner-takes-all war for space and time. McGann‘s Doctor turning up on the program could connect some of those missing pieces of the story, leaving a clean slate for the next production team who will take over in 2008/2009.
I’m sure we’ll be hearing more in the coming months and I’ll report the news just as soon as I hear it.
Doctor Who – The Complete Second Series
Doctor Who: Spare Parts (Big Finish Audio Drama)
Doctor Who: Cybermen
Doctor Who and the Cybermen
Doctor Who – The Two Doctors (Episode 141)
Doctor Who – The Three Doctors
Doctor Who – The Five Doctors (Episode 130)
Doctor Who – The Tomb of the Cybermen