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The Waters of Mars

It’s been an incredible ride. Dr Who, which started on BBC1 in 1964, saw an amazing renaissance in 2005 after a 16-year gap. Writer Russell T Davies (who also penned Queer as Folk) must be praised for his work in this wonderful transformation.

Christopher Eccleston became the 9th Dr when the series was rejuvenated and it featured brilliant episodes such as The Empty Child and The Dr Dances (written by Stephen Moffatt who will take over from Russell Davies in 2010).

After Eccleston left after just one series – a decision which many believed was far too soon – he was replaced by David Tennant who has proved to be an incredible success. In my opinion, highlights of David Tennant’s tenure include the episodes The Girl in the Fireplace and Blink – again both written by Stephen Moffatt.

The Waters of Mars, which has just been screened on BBC1, was billed as the scariest Dr Who yet. Alongside Mr Tennant, Lindsay Duncan stars as Captain Adelaide Brooke, leader of a colony established on Mars in 2059. The colony is called Bowie Base One – a nod to David Bowie’s famous song Life on Mars. The small team has been on Mars for two years creating a home with a biosphere to produce their own food. It seems pollution is causing life on earth great difficulty. The Dr arrives in the Tardis and somehow knows the names and details of everyone on the station and their fate. That is because they are very famous indeed, world renowned…

The theme of this episode is water – a major problem with the water from an underground glacier on Mars. We are repeatedly told everyone will die – it is written, a fixed point in the time. But is history fixed or can it be unfixed? There is a surprising ending to this unhappy episode and a major shift in the character of the Dr. Usually, Dr Who plays a good deal to humour, but there is surprisingly little of that in this bleak episode. It leaves us with a huge feeling of foreboding.

The Christmas special, at the end of which David Tennant will transform into Matt Smith, also stars John Simm making his comeback appearance as The Master. We can’t wait but it will be a sad, sad day.

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