Doctor Who, Matt Smith, Toby Whithouse, Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat - Preview: Matt Smith as Doctor Who.

Chris Stanley 02/04/2010

Easter's flower dressed oval is hurtling towards us baring chocolaty treats which I'm sure little boys and girls are eagerly awaiting (why we need a day to inform us when we can eat confectionary is beyond me however) but I digress, what the most exciting thing about this approaching Easter is the new Doctor Who series. Nowadays a television event is rare but for a program that spans across three decades and even during its 16 year lull off screen produced countless multi-media of extreme high quality it's almost expected especially when there is a brand new Doctor. Many no doubt wept during the last minutes of David Tennant's residency as our cape less crusader in the End of Time and considering his last words were 'I don't want to go' it was all the more heartbreaking as well being radical for the Doctor to behave so before dying. It would be fair to say that Tennant is the Tom Baker equivalent of this shows era, predominately as a much loved portrayal of the character was replaced by a younger actor to the audiences' horror. This brings me to Matt Smith the eleventh incarnation as the time hopping time lord who is due to take the temporal stage on the 3rd April. The interesting thing to note is that Matt Smith is probably perfect for the role purely for the fact that show runner and producer Stephen Moffat was a huge fan of Peter Davison the now second youngest actor to play the Doctor and he became a fan favourite (check out Resurrection of the Daleks and Caves of Androzani if you don't believe me). Proof of Moffat's fandom can be seen an incredibly entertaining mini episode 'Time Crash' where Tennant and Davison's incarnations come face to face and the line 'You were my Doctor' felt like they are coming from the new show runner rather than Tennant.

Anyways back on topic, will Matt Smith be able to meet or exceed expectations? New fans will join the 'Whoniverse' obsession, present fans will no doubt be content, and some old fans will remain to deny its existence whilst having An Unearthly Child on repeat and the other old fans will tell them where to stick their sonic screwdriver as they adore it as much Troughton, Simm and Baker loved Jelly Babies. So why are we going to love series 5 of the reinvented Doctor Who? Well to start with the present reinvention of the series has only put a few steps wrong (Love and Monsters, Doctors Daughter, 42 and Martha Jones, seriously it felt like no one knew what to do with her after Shakespeare Code) whilst combining great acting and writing with BBC standard production. This is exactly what we can expect from the new series, appropriately Toby Whithouse creator and writer of Being Human has brought a Vampire story to the series, English all round writer Richard Curtis brings us a historical figure story involving Van Gogh, Moffat's six episodes are events in themselves, Mark Gatiss returns with an episode featuring Winston Churchill and Daleks, Gareth Roberts and Simon Nye also hand over their skills. My main concern is that of Chris Chibnall who wrote the lazy and uninteresting 42 and numerous Torchwood episodes has been given a two part story which only saving grace sees the return of the Silurians (classic series reptilian three eyed creatures). We are also promised new enemies (Smilers will appear in episode 2, The Beast Below) old enemies (Daleks in Victory of the Daleks, apparent appearances' of Cybermen and Sontarans, plus a Weeping Angels two part story) and reworked sonic screwdriver and TARDIS will be seen in Eleventh Hour due to be broadcast on Saturday 3rd April. Now for first timers all this talk may seem like information overload and a little alien (pardon the pun) so I've put together a little list of recommended episodes to gawp at before the new series hits the air this Saturday so get ready to grab your cushions and jump behind furniture.

1. Blink - Moffat's second story for the series has been voted best story in all of Doctor Who history numerous times and for good reason, its creepy, tense and features and incredible performance by An Education's Carey Mulligan.
2. Unquiet Dead - Mark Gatiss' first television story features ghosts, Charles Dickens, Walsh accents and Eve Myles pre-Torchwood.
3. School Reunion - Toby Whithouse's reintroduction of K-9 and Sarah Jane whilst analysing the relationship between Doctor and Companion. Oh and Anthony Head plays a teacher eating bat. Can't beat that can you?
4. Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead - Another Moffat scare fest which introduces series 5 character Professor Riversong (Alex Kingston) and combines scary monsters, great use of time travel as a story narrative and moments of great heartbreak and sadness.
5. Army of Ghosts/Doomsday - Russell T Davies' finest hour as show runner and one of Tennant's best performances. Cyberman and Daleks battle each other for first time ever with the human race stuck in the middle. Probably features the most famous moment between Tennant and Piper on Bad Wolf Bay.