During BBC One’s annual ‘Children in Need’ programme there was a surprise Doctor Who-related appearance. Tissues at the ready.
Presenter Tess Daly shared the story of Anastasia. A wonderful young woman who has flourished through the work of Hackney Shed, a drama club supported by the donations made to ‘Children in Need’. It was a deeply emotional film but a perfect highlight of the tremendous work that so many groups do across the UK. This work is largely only possible due to the success of ‘Children in Need’ and other fundraising.
Like the very best of us, Anastasia is also a Doctor Who fan. So, as a huge surprise to her, the studio audience and viewers watching at home, The Thirteenth Doctor, Ryan and Yaz appeared on stage with the TARDIS. The latest incarnation of the Time Lord then passed on a sonic screwdriver to the next generation. Cue even more tears. It was a beautiful moment and proves without a shadow of doubt that the show still resonates with young viewers.
Oddly though, Tess introduced the trio as Jodie Whittaker, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill. The trio were all in costume and in character so it was a bit odd for them to be introduced in this way.
For context Anastasia was already aware that Jodie is an actor playing the part of The Doctor. The fan also described her as a great actress, unsurprising given Anastasia does go to a drama club and can therefore appreciate the skills involved in acting and performing. However, this raises an odd question. Have the lines between the fictional world of the show and the reality of a television production become more blurred?
Cast your mind back to 2010 and the Doctor Who at the Proms. Matt Smith donned his costume and performed a skit as the Eleventh Doctor. You probably remember the young boy saying he could see the psychic wire! That was all done in character as the Doctor. If memory serves the Doctor also said how dull a name like Matt Smith was! Actors who play the Time Lord are inextricably linked to the role. But on this occasion when Matt Smith did appear as a presenter he was now no longer in costume. Basically, there was a clear distinction between the fictional character and the actor.
It was a lovely moment between the actress and her fan but the mixture of actors names and character costumes was a bit confusing. There was a lack of consistency perhaps.