“Journey’s End” for Doctor Who on CBCPosted: 13 December 2008
I really am loath to admit this, and I hope I’m proven wrong, but the new Doctor Who‘s tenure on the CBC is likely over with the recent (mangled) airing of “Journey’s End”. It’s a parting of the ways as ig-“noble” as Donna’s fate (please forgive the pun). DWIN should soon have has the list of what was cut – but if you can, buy, borrow, or beg for the Series 4 DVD set featuring the uncut episodes; disc 1 (“Voyage of the Damned”) and disc 5 (episodes 11-13) must be re-watched again for full effect. And supposedly the full version will stream on the CBC’s Doctor Who page. However you re-watch “Journey’s End”, re-watch all 63 minutes of it.
Cover of Doctor Who Magazine 399 (17 Sep 2008). Catherine Tate’s performance as Donna in Series 4 blew away all my expectations and Donna Noble can be considered one of, if not the best, companions of the Doctor. Full. Stop.
And it all started very promisingly; this is what made the CBC’s Series 1 airing a success:
- A spring 2005 airing, only 10 days behind the UK, thanks for the CBC’s need to fill programming during the hockey lockout;
- Christopher Eccleston’s specially-filmed introductions and inserts certainly gave the CBC airing a personalized touch not seen anywhere else;
- sponsorship of the season by Volkswagen;
- and as a bonus, “The Christmas Invasion” aired one day after the UK; Billie Piper provided the intro and inserts.
Then came the long descent:
- Series 2 started airing in the fall of 2006, but was drawn out to mid-winter 2007, thanks to an interruption during Christmas, leaving viewers with a long-standing cliffhanger between “Impossible Planet” and “Satan Pit”;
- Series 3 aired in the summer of 2007, always a poor time of year for any programming. “Runaway Bride” was aired, but at midnight, after “Smith and Jones” had aired earlier in the evening. A small bonus for running “Sound of Drums” and “Last of the Time Lords” back-to-back; I consider it small because the latter had been edited for time.
- Series 4 (fall 2008) was moved to Friday night, a noted graveyard in the recent past (jPod, MVP, and Torchwood series 1 all aired in this slot). “Voyage of the Damned” was not even aired, but it would have provided a good setup for the rest of the series, notably the Doctor’s recognition of Donna’s grandfather in “Sontaran Strategem”. The final straw, of course, was the aforementioned edit of “Journey’s End”.
- Series 2-4 were brought to air with very little promotion relative to Series 1. Actually, there was probably more promotion of Series 1 than of 2-4 combined.
Having noted all that, it has to be acknowledged that the Doctor Who revival might not have been possible (or as successful) without the CBC’s contributory funding. And I would still like the CBC to continue airing Doctor Who in the future, including “The Next Doctor”, the gap-year specials, Series 5 and beyond. But the way it’s been presented the last three years, maybe it’s time for another broadcaster to show that Doctor Who can still succeed in Canada.
(Updated 13 Dec 2008, 0755 PST to add DWIN link)
(Updated 17 Jan 2009, 1245 PST: episodes no longer streaming on the CBC DW page, but I kept the link.)