Companions past and present

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  • #14659
    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @nick @janetteb @bluesqueakpip

    I must be the only one who doesn’t really see the problem with Martha as a problem with the actress, but I do see it that way.

    Martha is not written any more or less well than either Donna or Rose. And the Doctor looks after her and treats her in very similar ways to Rose and Donna at various points. She gets the phone and the TARDIS key; he is desperate to rescue her in 42, where she really gets a chance to shine, and she has the one true “success” arc of Tennant’s female companions – she travels, she learns what she has to,  she grows up, she comes back in the Sontaran two-parter after her time, she becomes integral to UNIT and she is there, with all of the other important characters from the AG Doctors’ life, in Journey’s End.

    To me, the character is well conceived and well written (quite dry and funny often) and she has many opportunities to shine – but the actress does not make the most of those opportunities and so the character lacks sizzle and chemistry with the Doctor.

    Yes, Tennant’s Doctor keeps Martha at a slight distance – because he knows how hurt Rose has been by their separation, he has seen for himself what he did to Sarah-Jane Smith and he can see that Martha wants something from him that he cannot give. But there is nothing in any of that which means that the Doctor treats her badly – I really don’t think he does.

    And I don’t think Martha does a single thing to “humanise” the Doctor. Indeed, it strikes me that Tennant is at his most “inhuman” with Martha.

    But, you know, just my own perspcective.

    🙂

    #14665
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @htpbdet

    I must be the only one who doesn’t really see the problem with Martha as a problem with the actress, but I do see it that way.

    Well, you do have a tendency to demand rather high standards of the actors. 🙂

    I’d agree that there were moments when Freema Agyeman didn’t make the most of her opportunities. Generally, my take on her throughout her time on Who was that she was a very talented – but relatively inexperienced – actress. You could see that quite clearly when she played against Catherine Tate – who was hugely more experienced, and it showed.

    The Who production team seemed very happy with her; the only reason she wasn’t in Torchwood’s Children of Earth was her filming commitments for Law and Order UK clashed.

    Yes, she gets the phone and the TARDIS key. How many episodes in does she get them? Yes, she has a successful arc, in which she works out that this passion for the Doctor is going to be forever unrequited – and goes.

    Now compare that with any other AG Companion (the main ones, not the ‘invited because Rose/Amy want them along’). Rose, Donna, Amy, Clara – they all get the ‘invite’ at the end of their first episode. Donna turns it down, Victorian Clara does the traditional Christmas companion thing of dying at the end of the story 🙂 But they all know their status by episode 2.Except Martha, who spends much of the first part of her series being told how Rose would’ve done this better.

    Yeah, rebound girl. Instead of the actress being allowed to establish herself as the new Companion, she has to tackle a script which constantly reminds the audience of her predecessor, and then not-so-subtly implies throughout the first few episodes that she’s not a real Companion. She’s only along for one trip. And one other trip. Oh, okay, you can have the key…. Her best performance comes in Human Nature/Family of Blood, because in those episodes she’s out from under the shadow of ‘not really a Companion’ and has to play the only person who knows what’s really going on.

    #14666
    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @bluesqueakpip

    Guilty as charged – I do have high standards for actors. Because there are so many excellent ones to do the work, why use an average one?

    But I think you are wrong about Martha being treated differently by the Doctor. This exchange occurs at the end of Martha’s first episode:

    DOCTOR: I just thought since you saved my life and I’ve got a brand new sonic screwdriver which needs road testing, you might fancy a trip. 
    MARTHA: What, into space? 
    DOCTOR: Well?
    MARTHA: But I can’t. I’ve got exams. I’ve got things to do. I have to go into town first thing and pay the rent, I’ve got my family going mad. 
    DOCTOR: If it helps, I can travel in time as well. 
    MARTHA: Get out of here. 
    DOCTOR: I can. 
    MARTHA: Come on now, that’s going too far.
    DOCTOR: I’ll prove it. 

    The Doctor makes the invitation – it is Martha who is reluctant to go. The “just one trip” line (which comes later) is to encourage her to keep travelling not to dismiss her.
    Martha is reluctant to discover her inner wild child, to travel freely with the Doctor. It takes time for her to accept that she should be travelling and not be the “sensible” one.
    I never had any doubt that she was a “real” companion and I had no problem with the Doctor referencing his loss of Rose – although I really never thought of it as being “constantly reminded” of Rose. Comparisons between Rose and Martha were inevitable in any event.
    Martha had to earn her place. All the potential for that was there in my view. but the playing did not achieve it.

    #14670
    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @bluesqueakpip

    And Martha specifically calls the Doctor about “rebound” in Gridlock doesn’t she?

    If she really was envisaged as “rebound” girl why would RTD have her do that?

     

    #14671
    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip – I’ll answer @htpbdet on that last point.  He obviously doesn’t understand girls as much as RTD!  But please put your tuppence in too, because I may not express what you think; it’s only my thoughts.

    And Martha specifically calls the Doctor about “rebound” in Gridlock doesn’t she?

    If she really was envisaged as “rebound” girl why would RTD have her do that?

    Because, HTPBDET, we girls can realise when we’re simply rebound material for a guy, and we can reference that in conversation in a wry (albeit hurting so much on the inside) manner.  Doesn’t make it hurt less, but we know it when we see it.

    #14672
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @htpbdet

    why use an average one?

    Somebody who gets series regular on Doctor Who, series regular on Law and Order UK, series regular on a children’s TV series and series regular on a US TV series is not an ‘average’ actor. Actresses, even the pretty ones,  just don’t get that amount of work by being ‘average’. They might manage one show (and stay there comfortably for years), but they don’t keep repeatedly convincing different production teams that they’re the one to fill those intensely competitive top slots.

    I accept that you didn’t like her performance. But the scriptwriting meant Martha had to do more to ‘earn her place’ than any AG companion before or since.

    #14673
    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @Shazzbot @bluesqueakpip

    Okay – I submit. I am not arguing with you two! 🙂

    Maybe we can just agree that different people will see these arcs differently.

    I never saw Martha as “rebound” girl because I never thought Tennant was in love with Rose.

    It seemed to me that RTD showed, quite cleverly, how little the Doctor understood the way he impacted upon his companions. Even with the evidence from Sarah-Jane, he blithely assumes that having fun with Rose carries no consequences. Then he sees how much she has grown to be in love with him and he realises what his nonchalance has done to her.

    So, he is on guard with Martha – determined not to hurt her the same way. But first he assumes that she will fall for him and then he gets over that and consequently does not realise that, after all, eventually she has. And with Donna he is subjected to someone who expects him to fall for her and keeps telling him off – and that is the person to whom he gets the closest – the one who fundamentally rejects him.

    But what would a mere boy know?

    #14674
    Anonymous @

    @htpbdet @bluesqueakpip – This is fun.  So many different points of view on offer!  (take that in the eye, those commenters in t’other place who think we all sit around on this lovely site and nod agreement at each other all day long)

    Then he sees how much she has grown to be in love with him and he realises what his nonchalance has done to her.

    HTPBDET – you wrote that line about Rose, but I think it sums up Martha perfectly.  And my take on early Martha episodes was not that 10 was ‘on guard’ with her – he was instead absolutely oblivious to her (to me, anyway) obvious infatuation with him.  And still thinking about Rose all that time.

    I’m interested to know (and I can’t remember the episode name) what your take is on Rose saying ‘You’ll hafta get a mortgage!’ in that hotted-up space ship episode (42?), and 10’s reaction to that comment.  From my perspective as a viewer, there wasn’t any nonchalance in 10’s reaction to Rose’s teasing, at all.  Nor did I see any misgivings about misleading her on his intentions.  More, simply, great sorrow that he would, in that scenario, outlive her (shades of Mme de Pompadour?).  Well, also, that living the suburban lawn-mowing life would be the absolute death of him, remaining regenerations or not.

    #14675
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @Shazzbot

    Because, HTPBDET, we girls can realise when we’re simply rebound material for a guy.

    Indeed. Modern Clara is scripted as recognising that one very fast – and going: ‘oh, no, you don’t play that one. You take ME along, not the ghost of your ex.’

    But Modern Clara’s almost a riposte to the way Martha was taken on board. She recognised that she was ‘rebound’ in one episode, instead of taking several episodes to wake up to it. Instead of the Doctor being the one to whisk her off for a long term break from her current responsibilities, Clara’s the one who establishes that HE visits HER on Wednesdays. And she’ll travel with him then. Or not.

    🙂

    #14676
    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip – ooh, that’s right.  Clara does indeed provide a riposte to the whole ‘Martha-rebound’ issue.  I hadn’t thought of that in that way before.

    Now, that started me thinking … why did Martha assume that she could be ‘the One’ for the Doctor, so early in their relationship [with the concomitant assumption that there were no ‘others’ before her to complicate things]?  And why did Clara instantly ‘get’ that there had been plenty of others before her, but she was in no way competing with them, and simply therefore was offering her assistance to the Doctor – on her own terms?

    There are not enough years between Martha and Clara to assume a cultural shift.  Is this, then, one of the differences between how RTD viewed companions / women, and how SM does?

    #14691
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @Shazzbot

    why did Martha assume that she could be ‘the One’ for the Doctor, so early in their relationship

    Well, to be fair to Martha (and RTD’s writing of her), if a guy does everything he can think of to get you in his ‘snog-box’, then whisks you off for an exciting holiday, then ‘accidentally’ books you in a room with only one bed – what are you going to think? As Steven Moffat later has Amy say: the Doctor’s not so much giving out ‘mixed signals’ as saying ‘Hello girls, I’m the Doctor! Get your coat.’ 🙂

    But yes, it’s a shift in writing. The Doctor in the RTD era, as I’ve said before, is ‘unsuitable boyfriend’. Seemingly, any heterosexual girl in her twenties will fall for the Doctor. It’s just a given. Perhaps it’s some kind of Time Lord aftershave? Which, fortunately, stops working when women hit their thirties. 🙂

    But both Amy and Clara find the Doctor attractive – but not irresistible. In fact, they find it rather funny that he clearly assumes he is irresistible. 🙂

    #14693
    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpipPerhaps it’s some kind of Time Lord aftershave?   Which, fortunately, stops working when women hit their thirties.”

    I don’t want to cast ageist aspersions, but I always assumed Catherine Tate’s Donna character was in her early 40s.  Perhaps this is because actors / actresses are regularly cast to play so much younger than their actual age (regardless of what they admit to in public!)?

    And this:  “But both Amy and Clara find the Doctor attractive – but not irresistible. In fact, they find it rather funny that he clearly assumes he is irresistible”

    Oooh, there’s a lot of debate to be had by that assertion!  Both Amy and Clara had their ‘snogbox’ moment with the Doctor.  Did they really, each, find it ‘rather funny’?  Amy snapped to attention in her arc by realising that Rory was the (Doctor-substitute) real person that she had really always fancied.  And Clara – well, I’m still flummoxed by her unexpected staircase snog in Snowmen.  What in the rest of that [woefully half-] series of episodes, makes you think that Clara decided that it was ‘rather funny that he [the Doctor] clearly assumes he is irresistable’?

    #14697
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @Shazzbot: well, the ‘rather funny’ evidence for Amy is

    and Clara calling the TARDIS a ‘snogbox’ and finding his attitude a bit hilarious is in Bells of St John.

    Catherine Tate was, I think, 39 when first playing Donna and 40 when she was a regular Companion. So we’re both right. 😉

    #14699
    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip (and @htpbdet , re Leela) – regarding your first clip:

    AMYWas that a leather bikini??!  [re Leela]  he he he.

    But as entertaining as your clip was, I’m not sure it advances your debating point that Amy found it funny that the Doctor thinks he is irresistible.  She was curious about his previous female companions, to be sure.  But nothing I saw in that first clip indicated, to me, anything about her laughing about the Doctor finding himself ‘irresistible’.

    And in re your 2nd clip – still not sure you’ve nailed your thesis regarding Clara finding the Doctor finding himself irresistible, funny.  (that was an incredibly awkwardly grammatically expressed sentence!  Yuck.  I’m sure you know, though, what I was trying to say!)

    #14702
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @Shazzbot – really? Perhaps we just have a different sense of humour; it was fairly clear to me that both Amy and Clara were indulging in a bit of leg-pulling.

    #14704
    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip – I agree with you that both Amy and Clara, from the evidence of those clips, were pulling the Doctor’s leg in a ‘human female’ way of saying ‘oh yeah,  you’ve had bits on the side before’.  But I’m being tiresomely pedantic on the point of ‘Did they think that he thinks he is ‘irresistible’?  And did they laugh about that?’

    Knowing the Doctor had had prior female companions doesn’t automatically, imo, mean either of Amy/Clara believes  that they think the Doctor believes himself to be ‘irresistible’.  (The grammar is getting more convoluted the more I type.  I’m getting into your ‘Timey-Wimey‘ territory.  🙂  I don’t think there are actual grammatical descriptions for the case tenses I’ve tried to exposit here tonight.)

    #14706
    Whisht @whisht

    @shazzbot @bluesqueakpip – from a (ie this) bloke’s point of view, I’d say in these two clips, both girls were quizzing him in a “what are you up to/ what have I got myself into?” as well as a “I’m more sure of my position of ‘strength’ than you are when I pull your leg/ ask leading questions” kind of way.

    I must say, you could argue either way as to both your views on Smith’s Doctor, because he vacillates (rather brilliantly on occasions for me) between cock-sure* and completely befuddled with the “sex-stuff”.

    He has it both ways** (much like an adolescent).

    .

    .

    * yes – deliberate pun. no, not wearing coat…..

    .

    ** yes – also a deliberate pun but I’ve left too quickly now and not bothered getting my coat

    #14707
    Anonymous @

    {runs after @whisht brandishing his coat} 😀

    Come back @whisht!  No need to leave so quickly!

    #14708
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @Shazzbot:

    Okay. In evidence, I present the lines:

    Amy: Get your coat, love, the Doctor’s in.” and

    Clara: Does this work?
    The Doctor: Eh?
    Clara:Is this actually what you do? Do you just crook your finger and people just jump in your snog box and fly away?

    Now, I get that in text these are ambiguous, but the on-screen delivery is very much saying ‘do you seriously think you’re irresistible’? Amy’s line is a variation on ‘Get your coat, love, you’ve pulled’ and Clara’s equally saying ‘does this chat up routine actually work?’ And they are, both, finding that attitude more than a bit funny.

    I’m going back to watch the movie now. I may be some time.

    #14712
    Whisht @whisht

    @shazzbot @bluesqueakpip

    btw – a guy/ bloke/ geezer on a Doctor Who Forum, trying to explain how they understood the inter-relationships between women and men is so amusing that I’ve signed up for a Comic-Con convention.

    Mother would’ve been proud.

    ;¬)

    #14713
    Anonymous @

    @whisht – and what is your cosplay for said convention?  🙂

    Why does your Mum believe (or better, why do you believe that your Mum believes that) she raised you to be oblivious to female/male relationship insights?

    {answers on a grammatically confused postcard, please}

    #14714
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @whisht – and you did it pretty well, too. Or should that be ‘do it pretty well’? 🙂

    #14720
    Nick @nick

    @htpbdet @bluesqueakpip @Shazzbot @whisht

    I’m surprised you didn’t comment on this sentence from HTPBDET above

    I never saw Martha as “rebound” girl because I never thought Tennant was in love with Rose

    Whilst we could debate exactly what “in love” means for the Doctor, my impression was that this was exactly what RTD was showing us in series 2 (especially at Bad Wolf bay), building on the special relationship developed in season 1 where Rose helps the Doctor to recover and rediscover himself (sort of). Rose’s return in Turn Left to Journey’s End continues this theme and its by dumping the Doctor/Donna on Rose in the parallel universe and by having Mickey return to normal Earth that RTD that RTD brings it to its conclusion (not very satisfactorily for me, buts that’s a different discussion). For me it was very clear that Martha was rebound girl and that this really did colour the Doctor/Martha relationship because of the way that the Doctor behaved.

    Bluepipsqueak, Shazzbot your descriptions of D11 are spot on (and very funny)

    Nick

    #14723
    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @nick

    Ah, you are a proper troublemaker aren’t you? 🙂

    The thing is, in my humble and old fashioned view, RTD wrote in a multi-faceted way. You can read the Rose arc as you do – teenage love angst in time and space – and then go on to Rebound arc and then whatever you regard the Donna arc: sure, of course those that want to can do that and support it from the text.

    But others read the same arcs, the same text, the same characters as demonstrating the Doctor’s inherent misogyny.

    Still others can cite chapter and verse about how the entire RTD era is about turning viewers gay and that the relationships between the Doctor and females are emphasised as dysfunctional entirely to spur this “Convert, Convert” agenda.

    I am sure there are others – I have just listed the ones I have come across or been subjected to at parties.

    For my part, I think the four RTD years show the Doctor in essentially post-catastrophe mode. And I see the Doctor’s relationships with his Companions and their loved ones as a fundamental part of his recovery process.

    He is lost – and they bring him home. All of them in their own way contribute to this. And the high point, the joyous moment, finally comes when they are all there in the TARDIS, bringing the Earth back, and the Doctor is as happy as we have ever seen him since Eccelston arrived.

    Then the Double Donna crisis takes it all away from him and he goes right off the rails again – in every way, he is worse after Double Donna than he ever was  in Rose.

    His last stories are an inevitable progression to regeneration – because the hearts of this incarnation were broken by what happened to Donna ( not as far as I know a person anyone thinks he was in love with nor she with him ) and he basically goes nuts.

    I don’t see the Doctor falling in love with humans – but that is just me. I certainly see that he can love – no doubt. He does – often. But that is not the same to me at all.

    #14725
    Nick @nick

    @htpbdet

    I’ll admit I wondered how you might justify your comment. I rather expected you to refer back to a series of scenes which made it absolutely clear why you were right ! I actually agree with your analysis, I can’t really see the Doctor would fall romantically in  love with a human, although I’m equally sure he loves all of his companions and it would be natural if he cared for some more than others. I’m perfectly satisfied that the Time War has emotionally effected each of 9, 10 and 11 in their own way and that Rose in particular helped him recover from that hidden trauma. That’s what makes Rose special in my opinion. However, equally my impression is that RTS over egged it into a romantic love between 10 and Rose and we ended up with the smug series 2 with its “look at us aren’t we wonderful” arrogance and the sticky and untimely ending in the Cybus parallel universe and then the series 4 completion (of sorts).

    I deliberately write my impression as that’s what I felt I was being shown and hated at the time. The fact that Rose’s character didn’t appeal to me from the outset just made it worse for me.

    I agree with you, RTD for 10 (and I think SM as well for 11) have created a Doctor character arc, which you can seen as an underlying reason for moving the Doctor towards regeneration over the three or four seasons they appear in the show. SM’s is probably more of an intellectual journey (and I fully expect his to tie together all of the individual season arcs in the two remaining episodes) where as from the way you describe RTD;s version with 10 its obviously much more of an emotional justification. Its the same with 9 as well although its packed into a single series (and 10’s arc obviously starts in series 1 with 9. Again my gut tells me that SM is likely to try and pull together the entire 9, 10 and 11 story arc into a single overall narrative and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we see the two mystery Timelords from End Of Time (Claire Bloom – the Doctor’s mother ?) explained as well.

    Thanks

    Nick

    #14731
    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @nick

    I am glad I am not completely predictable!

    I certainly think RTD’s era was an emotional journey for the Doctor.

    Until, SM’s is over, though, I can’t really assess it. You might be right in your suggestion that it is an intellectual journey, but that is not my current tentative impression.

    Time will tell.

    I don’t know how I would feel about actually meeting the Doctor’s mother in the series…but, then, Moffat says he is going to change everything so…who knows? Might be delicious to have the Doctor’s mother travel with him for a year…

    See @Shazzbot…this discussion IS about companions….

     

    #14732

    @nick

    That’s what makes Rose special in my opinion. However, equally my impression is that RTS over egged it into a romantic love between 10 and Rose and we ended up with the smug series 2 with its “look at us aren’t we wonderful” arrogance

    This, I think.

    I suspect sometimes writers pay too much heed to internet fan feedback and wonder if RTD got sucked in here (a bit like how Joss Whedon kept tweaking scripts in S7 to appeal to Spuffy shippers (you could hear the clunky gear changes sometimes) – and then in the commentary for Chosen inadvertently revealing that Gellar and Marsters had a much stronger grasp of the relationship than he did).

    Writers are taught of “slaughter their babies” and for all the wonder that RTD achieved in reviving Who (a let’s not forget that!) he had visible difficulty letting Rose go. Fortunately Moffat invented Captain Jack as a corrective that emphasised the Doc’s alien-ness.

    #14733

    SM’s is probably more of an intellectual journey (and I fully expect his to tie together all of the individual season arcs in the two remaining episodes) where as from the way you describe RTD;s version with 10 its obviously much more of an emotional justification

    This I don’t agree with – Moffat is dealing with different emotions – but not different from those in Empty Child/ DD and TGITF – his themes are loneliness and abandonment and there is nothing “intellectual” about them.

    #14734
    Nick @nick

    @htpbdet

    “Intellectual” – I should obviously choose my words more carefully, although as a science graduate all this airy fairy humanities lark never suited me :). What I mean is that what SM is trying to do with the overall narrative is rooted in an idea or concept that has more than the emotional journey that RTD showed, rather than that it doesn’t have emotional components or expression. You’re obviously well ahead of me as I don’t really have much of an idea what its going to be just yet and probably wont twig until I read the discussion here :). Then I’ll probably get annoyed again.

    Cheers

    Nick

    #14735
    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @IAmNotAFishIAmAFreeMan

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is a “Spuffy shipper”?

    I don’t think RTD had difficulty letting go of Rose…I think he knew exactly what he wanted to do and he did it. And I think he was right.

    Rose was fundamental to the reboot. Like her or not, we would not be here today but for Rose.

    #14736
    Nick @nick

    @IAmNotAFishIAmAFreeMan

    Yes loneliness and abandonment are themes I can recognise, but I think he must have some form of underlying concept to link the various elements of his story arcs together with the TimeWar if his overall narrative is to work in any coherent way. I may be wrong here, but he’s dropped hints about things which are currently happening right from the very beginning (11th Hour). That demands some form of resolution before the regeneration. I’m expecting some might be delivered in the Christmas story

    Nick

    #14737
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @htpbdet and @nick – you have to address him as @pedant, or he doesn’t get the email.

    But I can answer that one: a ‘Spuffy shipper’ is someone who prefers, sometimes very vocally indeed, the Spike/Buffy relationship to the Angel/Buffy relationship in Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

    It’s a contraction of ‘Spike and Buffy relationship’.

     

    #14738
    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @pedant

    I missed that memo! Sorry!

    Thanks @bluesqueakpip

    As a matter of interest, where did you sit on the Buffy/Angel v Buffy/Spike divide?

    And, before my dimming memory completely forgets, as to this:

    Somebody who gets series regular on Doctor Who, series regular on Law and Order UK, series regular on a children’s TV series and series regular on a US TV series is not an ‘average’ actor. Actresses, even the pretty ones,  just don’t get that amount of work by being ‘average’. They might manage one show (and stay there comfortably for years), but they don’t keep repeatedly convincing different production teams that they’re the one to fill those intensely competitive top slots.

    I am afraid I have to disagree. Many actors and actresses audition excellently but perform in an average way. Getting jobs on TV is rarely about talent – sad, but lamentably true, especially in America but certainly often in the UK. And the truth is that once you score a regular role in a profile television series, you have a good to great chance of getting further work, regardless of your actual ability.

    I don’t think she is a dreadful actress, but I also don’t think she rose to the opportunities/challenges which the script and Tennant offered. With a different actress, Martha might have overshadowed both Rose and Donna – but she didn’t.

    Ophelia is often regarded as the most difficult role for a woman in the Shakespeare repertoire and people say that she does not get the opportunities that other Shakespeare women got. But once you have seen a great actress play Ophelia effortlessly, you know that is just not true.

    #14739
    Nick @nick

    @htpbdet @pedant

    I don’t think RTD had difficulty letting go of Rose…I think he knew exactly what he wanted to do and he did it.

    I’m not sure quite the same can be said for AG Who though 🙂

    @bluesqueakpip

    I saw enough Buffy and Angel to know the Spike/Angel/Buffy triangle existed, but I assume there is something more than just a preference for Spike rather than Angel ?

    That the actors have a better idea of the characters than the writer/show runner doesn’t surprise me somehow in a long running show.

    Nick

    #14740
    Nick @nick

    @htpbdet @bluesqueakpip

    You both obviously know this better than me, but (simply) it seems to me that you have two sorts of actors. Those who can actually act and those who play endless variations of the same character (themselves ?). Is it just that Freema didn’t really get the Martha character motivations and the Martha/Doctor relationship or something more fundamental ?

    I always thought RTD had some sort of problem or he wouldn’t have written Martha out of Who (regardless of her time in Torchwood). She obviously want prepared to sit around and wait on the production team to make up their minds by the way shejumped at the Law and Order opportunity. I didn’t watch much of that show as my wife and I weren’t really interested in watching UK remakes of the (better) US original we’d already watched.

    Nick

    #14741
    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @nick

    Acting is a very subjective thing.

    One person can watch Judi Dench and say she is always playing variations on the same character and another can say she is the greatest living female actor on the planet.

    Equally, some people are not actors but personalities and that is how and why they work.

    I don’t think FA is a very good actor; I don’t think she has good instincts; I don’t think she has good timing; I don’t think she has any warmth and I don’t think she has good delivery. But she is mostly perfectly watchable.

    Martha is not thrilling. Both Rose and Donna were thrilling. And you can see from what Arthur Darville did with the meagre scraps thrown to Rory, how an excellent actor can make something wonderful out of very little.

    @bluesqueakpip, I think, prefers the view that the problems with Martha lie in the writing. Which is a perfectly fair position to take.

    To me, though, the performance of Martha is what is lacking. I honestly don’t see much lack of opportunity in the writing. In the right hands, Martha could have been blisteringly good.

    But you are right: If RTD had been happy with Martha, she would have done Season 4.

    #14744

    @htpbdet @nick @bluesqueakpip

    The whole point of Spuffy/ Bangel (or Spangel for that matter) is that SHIPPING IS EVIL. It is a cancer on fan discourse. Shippers are the Tea Party of fandom – and they actively drive normal fans away (if it wasn’t so damned sincere it would be indistinguishable from trolling).

    The official SMG fan site banned all shipping discussion.

    Anyhoo, as you were 🙂

    #14745
    Nick @nick

    @pedant @htpbdet @Bluespeakpip

    I thought I knew what shipping was, but obviously I don’t ! Please elaborate

    Nick

    #14746

    The placing of Spuffy (or Bangel or whatever) above all others considerations when assessing to the quality of the show.

    Shippers think the whole point of a show is to get there preferred ‘ship shagging.

    #14747
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @htpbdet and @nick

    But you are right: If RTD had been happy with Martha, she would have done Season 4.

    And this is what annoys me so much about the whole ‘Martha’ debate. Freema Agyeman, however much you may dislike her, DID do Season 4. She did five episodes in Season 4. She also did three episodes of Torchwood. She would have done more if she hadn’t, by that time, been very busy doing Law and Order.

    Clearly everyone needs to work for RTD, because when he’s unhappy with an actor/character, he … re-employs them?

    Or, we could take the story given out by RTD as accurate. He thought of Martha as a one-series character. Because Freema Agyeman had been told she was only in the show for one season, her agent was looking for other work for her. So she auditioned for the part in Law and Order, got offered it – and accepted it; because as far as she knew, she was only in Who for one series. Thereafter, RTD could only work in Martha around her other commitments. 

    I realise this is not as exciting as ‘he had a problem with her, so she was fired,’ but it fits the known facts a lot better.

    #14749
    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @bluesqueakpip

    Forgive me, but I did not say that FA was fired. I don’t think that.

    But, equally, it is a little rich to rely upon the “RTD only ever saw Martha as a one season character” when she does appear in several episodes of Season 4.

    For my part, I think RTD wrote Season Three, saw how it went and how FA and Tennant worked together, and then wrote Season 4. And Martha appeared in as many episodes as RTD wanted her to appear in.

    Contractually, RTD had the option to tie FA for a full series if he had wanted to do that. Which is why I said what I said.

    What I should have said, and forgive me again for being loose with language, was that if RTD had been happy with Martha she would have done Season 4 as the incumbent companion. I thought my meaning was clear, but apologies as it obviously was not.

    @pedant

    Good grief. Is this “Shipping” an American thing? And, spare me, are there Shippers in the world of Doctor Who fandom?

    #14757
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @htpbdet – I think we’d better agree to differ on this one, because you may be thinking that I’m making statements that are ‘a little rich’, but I’m certainly thinking you are. We just disagree, okay? Let’s leave it there, before we end up with a flaming row.

    Incidentally, I quite like Eric Roberts in some of his roles, but I will say he was absolute pants as the Master…

    🙂

    #14759
    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @htpbdet

    Good grief. Is this “Shipping” an American thing? 

    Nope. There was quite a lot of shipping going on in the Harry Potter fandom – until JK Rowling sensibly squashed it by informing us firmly who got married to whom.

    And, spare me, are there Shippers in the world of Doctor Who fandom?

    Doctor Who ones? Well, there’s the Doctor/Rose, of course. Rose is his Won Tru Luv. Even if he did get married to someone else. 😈

    Then there’s Doctor/Master. I will say you could just about imagine the two of them (in their Tennant and Simm incarnations, anyway) having had a brief fling when they were both young men.

    And finally there’s Doctor/Amy, though in fairness it’s often Doctor/Amy/Rory, and even Madame Vastra wondered about that one.

    But as @pedant says, let this forum avoid all Shipping. Shipping is notorious for becoming … fraught.

    #14760
    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @bluesqueakpip

    Fine. Of course. Always happy to agree to disagree. I don’t know what I have said which offends, but it was not my intention to offend.

    I don’t, however, disagree about Eric Roberts. He can be really quite good – so the choices in the McGann movie must be deliberate – which make them even more extraordinary…

    #14761
    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @pedant & @htpbdet & @nick & @bluesqueakpip

    Davros & Max Capricorn. What a ship!
    z

    z

    The trouble with talking about not talking about something is that you end up talking about it.

    #14762
    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @wolfweed

    I think I am too old to think of Shipping as anything other than a way for Amazon to get stuff to me…happily!

    #14768

    Og God. Nobody mention slash….

    #14776
    Whisht @whisht

    @everyone

    bloody hell – I leave one gag about guys actually having a clue about relationships and then come back and its all gone…. wibbly wobbly!!

    😉

    To be honest, I love the debate around scripts and acting, as its really interesting for someone like me who only did a couple of school plays as a kid, rather than work in the industry.

    Its great, because as with any art or entertainment, the ‘artwork’ is as much about the viewer’s take on it, as the artist(s) intent.
    And I get an insight here to both sides (that I don’t normally see!)

    thanks!

    Now, back to the “Shipping News” companions and how they took on the role (see what I did there Shazzbot?)

    😉

    #14796
    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @whisht

    Quite right.

    All responses to acting are entirely subjective – that is one of the great joys and mysteries of the craft.

    Equally, it means that everyone’s opinions are as valid as everyone else’s. I like the democratic nature of it enormously.

    Few things interest me more than discussing the fine details of acting, but I know that is an esoteric topic for many.

    This particular conversation has made me wonder, not for the first time, whether it is impossible for men and women to watch the same performance and react the same way. McLeela and I used to debate this for days…such fun!

    Bless you.

    🙂

    #14867
    curvedspace @curvedspace

    @bluesqueakpip don’t forget Captain Jack/Everyone, which is actually true to Jack’s character even though not every character would have been open to the idea.

    On the one hand, I think that “shipping” — trying to figure out who will get with whom, and who we’d prefer to end up together — is something endemic to television. I think that watchers have been having these imaginings since watching began. I don’t know when writers twigged to the fact that a little relationship uncertainty kept viewers hooked, but at this point writers obviously do it on purpose.

    On the other hand, the phenomenon of shipping can cause the problem of writers doing too much “fan service” (writing stuff just to make fans happy) or drawing a dynamic out just to keep people guessing (I personally thought Amy and Rory’s ups and downs, not to mention the issue of whether she preferred Rory or the Doctor, went on too long). So it can sometimes interfere with good storytelling.

    Either way, viewers (or readers) caring enough about characters to have opinions about their relationships is something that writers should want, I would think, because those viewers (or readers) are passionate about the story being told. Passion keeps shows alive longer. Though I am getting the impression that passionate fans can also be jerks? I’m always shocked when I hear about fans going amok, but I guess it happens.

    In general I support the making fanworks of any sort, just on the creative principle of the thing. I believe that any good story is worth telling, and having fans inspired enough to create derivative works is good for keeping fans engaged with the source material. But I’m not going to clog my brain with much of it because few amateur stories are told well enough.

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