For all your cult film, tv, cartoon, comic and video game needs

Doctor!!! No!!! Why Christmas is ruined!!!

I was so looking forward to Christmas. The tenth series of Doctor Who finished with an astonishing cliffhanger, revealing the First Doctor — played by Game of Thrones’ David Bradley — would play a fundamental role in the multi-doctor Christmas special later this year. But it was all ruined by a particular casting decision.

No, it’s not the news of Jodie Whittaker as the new doctor. I think she’s an excellent choice. The first Doctor Who producer was female; the first director a gay Asian, the person who gave it its bizarre theme/identity was also a woman. Doctor Who was formed in diversity. Not only that, but the entire point of Doctor Who, throughout its run has been about change, innovative ideas, supporting minorities and rejoicing in the original and the unusual. Did all the naysayers learn nothing in fifty years?

No, the thing that ruined Christmas (In July) was the announcement of Clara Oswald’s appearance. why was Clara so… bad? I don’t mean Jenna Coleman’s was bad. She’s an accomplished actress who managed a unique rapport with four separate Doctors, and that’s something only Elisabeth Sladen or Nicholas Courtney could say. There are many great Clara moments I’ll remember. However, she never developed as a character. Nothing ever stayed with her and nothing ever changed who she was. She drifted from being a mystery to being part of a dull love triangle to being a decent companion. It took the writers two whole seasons to do with Clara what they achieved in two episodes with Pearl Mackie’s Bill.

Consider the four other main companions and how their stories played out. Rose was a shop girl whose life felt empty and meaningless, but then she realised her own heroic potential and was left to be that hero in a universe without The Doctor. Martha was in love with The Doctor, who didn’t love her back, and she learned to accept this. Donna was terrified of not mattering in the world and became the most important woman in it. Amy was afraid to commit to her husband, but stranded herself in the past away from everything to be with him.

Some of these arcs are stronger than others, but they all have a basic form. Clara never did. The entire payoff for the reveal of how the three separate versions of her we saw happened was eclipsed by the War Doctor and the lead-up to the 50th anniversary. Then, it was her job to take care of us through the regeneration of a new Doctor, but she was left with zero to do or be in a season of scripts that were often uninspired. While Danny Pink was a good character, he never joined the Tardis crew, and as a result the love triangle that the show tried to build was hamstrung around the Coal Hill School rather than in the middle of adventures.

Once Series 9 came on and Peter Capaldi seemed to have his heels planted in the title role, Clara and he brought out the best in each other right until her stupid, stupid death. Perhaps as someone “born to save The Doctor,” Clara’s newfound reckless streak was a way for Clara to define herself separately from him, but as she ended up wandering around space and time with someone else, even that doesn’t work. There’s no indication that Clara was transformed by meeting The Doctor, and that is a cardinal Whovian sin. 

The show also threw away the best versions of her character. Who didn’t fall in love with Oswin in “Asylum of the Daleks?” Soufflé Girl was tough, clever, humorous and charming, and Coleman played her ups and downs perfectly. She appeared the ideal candidate to replace Amy and Rory until she committed suicide.

Then came Victorian Clara in “The Snowmen,” and she was even better. Her double life as a serving girl and posh nanny had suggestions of Lady Christina, and her ability to reach a grieving Eleven melted all our hearts. According to Neil Gaiman, this was the original version of the character, and that may be why she’s the strongest of the bunch. In later episodes where Clara Prime would don Victorian fashions, as in “The Crimson Horror” and “Deep Breath,” these were the places she would best fit in.

Clara Prime was a pale imitation of her other characters. She was colder and more austere, and she insisted on keeping a distance between her and The Doctor by not travelling full-time with him. Sure, Amy and Rory did something similar near the end of their tenure, but that was after months, perhaps years of adventures. Clara wanted to see the universe, but only on her terms, and it made her feel condescending. Maybe that’s why her reckless streak in her last season bothered me so much. Had time travel and fighting monsters become boring to her?

I guess Clara as a character became a victim of terrible timing. Steven Moffat crafted an alluring mystery in her, but he used it for a twist ending that dragged her into “Day of The Doctor” having to carry the companion load for three different actors. I’m not sure anyone expected Matt Smith to leave the role when he did, and Clara was there to hand us over to a new Doctor. A few episodes into Series 8 would have been the best place to let her go, but if Capaldi had been badly received, a new companion might have been a change too much.

Fond as I am of Jenna Coleman, I doubt Clara Oswald will go down in many people’s books as a beloved companion, even just of the revived era. She carries too much baggage, and she’s an excellent example of why characters should not be written to fill holes in The Doctor’s stories. Whoever runs with The Doctor next, I hope he or she can just be him or her.






Related Posts
Ōgon Bat

Ogun Bat is a Japanese superhero created by Takeo Nagamatsu in 1931 and is considered to be the first Japanese superhero. The anime ran 52 episodes between April 1st 1967 and March 23rd Read more

Zork: The Great Underground Empire – Part I (1980)

Released in December 1980, Zork: The Great Underground Empire - Part I aka Zork I was an interactive fiction video game written by Marc Blank, Dave Lebling, Bruce Daniels and Tim Read more

Zoom in Coming! Flash releases new trailer!

The CW has released a new extended trailer for The Flash, offering up some new footage from several upcoming episodes and teasing the unmasking of Zoom:

Zoolander 2 trailer released

Zoolander is back but a lot has happened since 2001! Rest assured the Ben Stiller comedy features familiar faces and a few new ones with plenty to get you excited. Read more

Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1966)

At a dinner party with their wives, NASA scientist Dr. Keith Ritchie (Tony Huston) reveals to his colleague Dr. Curt Taylor (John Agar) that he has secretly been in communication Read more

Zone Troopers (1985)

In Italy during World War II, an American military patrol discovers a spaceship that has crash-landed in the woods, along with its alien crew. A nearby Nazi unit also Read more

Zone Fighter

Zone Fighter was a tokusatsu science fiction/superhero television series produced by Toho Company Ltd. It aired from April 2nd 1973 to September 24th 1973, with a total of 26 episodes. The series follows Read more

Zomboat! Episode 6

It is the final episode of Season 1, and as expected following the somewhat calmness of last week's episode this week is about to go off the scale. Our crew Read more

Zomboat! Episode 5

Episode 5 of Zomboat! is the penultimate episode of Season 1 and it gave the audience a chance to catch their breath before the grand finale. Instead of the fast Read more

Zomboat! Episode 4

In Zomboat! Episode 4 we discover that even a shopping trip can be hazardous to your health in post-apocalyptic Birmingham. With the boat moored and apparently safe Amar (Ryan McKen) Read more

Zomboat! Episode 3

After our diversion last week our Zomboat crew begin travelling in the right direction and end up back where they first got on the boat. This also happens to be Read more

Zomboat! Episode 2

Zomboat! burst onto our screens last week and while we loved it we noted that it felt "a bit rushed with lots crammed in." As Episode 2 washed over us Read more

Zomboat! Episode 1

Debuting on ITV2 in the UK, Zomboat! is filmed in the 2.35:1 widescreen ratio of most zombie movies and answers the life long question of what would happen if you Read more

Zombo – You Smell of Crime And I’m the Deodorant

When the government's latest crime deterrent, obmoz, goes completely off the rails and starts to destroy everything from the underfunded super team Planetronix to the president himself, who ya gonna Read more

Zombies-Outlive The Undead trailer released

Tony Todd is back in an all new zombie movie: When the world is in shambles, plagued by a zombie outbreak, only the strong will survive, but just how Read more

Zombiegeddon (2003)

Directed by Chris Watson and distributed by Troma Entertainment, Zombiegeddon begins as Satan creates a human-like race called zombies. When the zombies begin taking over the world, dirty cops Jeff Read more

Zombie Hotel

Zombie Hotel ran for twenty-six episodes in 2006 and focuses on Fungus and Maggot - two child zombies who pretend to be human to get into their local school. Read more

Zomben #1

After surviving the 'Multipocalypse', Ben tries to live a normal life, hiding the fact that he is infected with a zombie plague. His new friends have just found out ... Read more


A dutiful Samurai, a madcap Ninja and a bizarro Zen Monk team up to battle the undead in Feudal Japan. Can these unlikely allies stay friends long enough to stop Read more

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2 teaser promo released

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist is returning for a second season and have released this teaser trailer for it...

Stephen Pryde-Jarman is a Cult TV and Film journalist, award winning short story writer, playwright and screenwriter. A natural hoarder, second hand shopping fulfils his basic human need for hunter-gathering; but rummaging through a charity shop’s bric-a-brac shelf also brought him the inspiration for his novel Rubble Girl having seen a picture of a Blitz survivor sat amongst the rubble of her house with a cup and saucer. Rubble Girl has been described as " thought-provoking" and "fast paced ... with plenty of twists and turns." Amazon.

%d bloggers like this: