What do you feel? Anger? Sorrow? Despair?

Fortunately those emotions were the furthest from my mind yesterday as I attended the latest of the screenings at the BFI to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. This time the focus was on the tenth Doctor’s era, with the double bill of “The Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End”.

David Tennant BFI screening

You would have to have a heart of stone not to be touched by something in this epic story. It’s logically flawed and the plot resolution rather too convenient, but the heart of the piece overcomes that. It’s not Rose being dumped in a parallel world with a half-human-not-quite-the-man-she-loves version of the Doctor that is touching. It’s Donna, wiped clean of her experiences and returned to being the gobby temp from Chiswick that is the tragedy. This was a companion who changed more than any other through travelling with the Doctor, and the cruelty of undoing that in order to save her is horrendous.

It surprised me how long ago the stories felt, how I’ve got used to the style of show under Steven Moffat. River Song garnered only a passing mention and all the people the Doctor gathered round him are long gone from the show: Donna, Captain Jack, Mickey, Martha and of course Sarah Jane. The look on her face when she hears the Dalek voices is terrifying. *sniff*

The panel was particularly entertaining. Even alongside Graeme Harper, Phil Collinson and the man himself, David Tennant, Catherine Tate was the real star. Having referred to the potato-headed monsters as “Sultanas” she then revealed that for the whole of the first day she assumed they were mechanical. Tate also forgot the cover name she’d been given when checking into the Cardiff hotel to film her top secret surprise appearance at the end of “Doomsday”. Explaining that she had a room but had forgotten the name, the receptionist replied “Is it Catherine Tate, by any chance?” If the goal of these things it so find out new stories from behind-the-scenes then it worked.

And yes, we recorded another special edition of the Doctor Who podcast afterwards. So look out for it on the Facebook page.

Andy Pryor BFI

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