The Eleventh Hour
First Broadcast April 3rd, 2010 @ 6.20pm (10.8m viewers)
At the first time of viewing, ‘The Eleventh Hour’ was unlike any Doctor Who before yet somehow still remained familiar. This is because the episode retains none of the elements from the previous era, a feat which very few stories match and only ‘Spearhead from Space’ comes close to. This is because the audience are introduced to a new Doctor, a new companion, completely new characters, new TARDIS interior AND exterior designs, new title sequence and theme tune arrangement. ‘The Eleventh Hour’ sees Steven Moffat grab Doctor Who by the horns and interprets it in a completely fresh way. He has since revealed that so-called knowledgeable people in the BBC felt that Doctor Who couldn’t work without Russell T Davies writing and David Tennant in the lead role. Despite these obstacles, what is delivered is a truly engaging narrative and one of the best companion introductions centered around a meeting with a young Amelia Pond.
Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)
Ah, fish custard. A disorientated and confused Doctor post-regeneration is not an original concept. However, the adorable chemistry between the Doctor and young Amelia makes their scenes an absolute joy to watch. Witty lines such as “you’re Scottish, fry something” combined with the imagery of the Time Lord flinging a plate of bread and butter out of the front door is masterfully topped off by Matt Smith dunking fish fingers into custard.
Whilst Doctor Who is a programme which is deliberately aimed at the family audience and therefore is designed to appeal to younger viewers there are not always a lot of child actors who actually appear in the show. However the beautiful imagery of Amelia sat on her suitcase waiting for the Time Lord to reappear is a place that viewers young but also old can all relate to, dreaming of being whisked away in the TARDIS. This results in a typical Steven Moffat piece of genius by reintroducing the same character some 12 years later, as the kissogram turns out to be Amelia, now Amy, Pond some 12 years on. This is really clever as so often the Doctor appears and disappears without realising the footprints he leaves on the lives of the people who encounter him but finally ‘the girl who waited’ got to see that delay come to an end at last.
The remainder of the story is a fast-paced thriller with an entertaining conclusion, the Atraxi and Prisoner Zero both computer generated creations but both impressively realised and fitting in with the fairy tale feel of the rest of the episode. In a sequence lifted from ‘Spearhead from Space’, and repeated again in the 1996 ‘TV Movie’, the new incarnation of the Doctor raids the changing rooms in a hospital to find his new outfit. The viewer is then left in no doubt whatsoever that this new man with the floppy hair and a bow tie is well and truly the Doctor, placed amongst the pantheon of previous incarnations. With all that confirmed it is an exciting prospect as we venture forth for new adventures with this fresh face in a new TARDIS through the wide eyes of new companion Amy Pond.
Also first aired On This Day…
- The Crusade: The Knight of Jaffa
- The Claws of Axos: Episode 4
- Doctor Who Confidential: Call Me The Doctor