04 March 2013

Doctor Who, the complete Fourth series (starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate)

Long before we reached the end of Doctor Who series Three, I had put Series Four on my wishlist, and was given it for my birthday last year. So we were able to start watching Series Four almost immediately - although it has taken us about six months to complete it.

Season Four is the last full season with David Tennant as the Doctor. There is a great first episode featuring Kylie Minogue, of all people, as a waitress called Astrid. She would have made a good companion to the Doctor - they got along extremely well - but alas, it was not to be.

Donna - Catherine Tate - appears in episode Two (out of fourteen in all), a quirky and somewhat amusing one featuring some weight loss pills, and the cute aliens known as adipose (which can now be bought as plush toys!) Donna had appeared briefly in the Christmas Special at the start of Series Three, but had been absent from the show since then.

I didn't much like Donna at first. She seemed a bit feeble and not particularly intelligent. However, her lack of romantic interest in the Doctor was quite refreshing, after Rose and Martha, and she grew in confidence as the series progressed. By the last few episodes she had become - as another companion put it - the most important person in creation. By the final exciting two-part episodes Donna had shown herself to be a loyal and brilliant companion... which made her eventual departure from the show, in the last episode, really rather sad in the way that it happened.

There are threads running through this whole series which make it more complicated than the old ones I used to watch from behind the sofa. Yet there are still quite a mixture - from the cuddly Adipose to the terrifying Vashta Nerada, not to mention the ancient daleks with their battle cry 'exterminate', which still makes me shudder and want to hide, like I did as a child.

Lots of companions re-appear in this series, including one from the Doctor's future (should that be 'pre-appear?') in a spooky episode involving a vast library, some terrifyingly tiny aliens, and a small girl. Then there's a delightfully light-weight episode featuring Agatha Christie (at a house-party hosted by a society lady played by Felicity Kendall) and a script which includes a large number of titles of Agatha Christie's books. There's a giant wasp, too, which could have been terrifying but somehow didn't ever feel quite real.

David Tennant is brilliant throughout. It's hard to imagine how he can ever be bettered.

The final DVD - out of six - contains a wonderful documentary, seeing into the lives of those involved in the show, with script-reading, filming and post-production.

All in all, this is great stuff and we are now complete fans of Doctor Who. I just wish I had known sooner that there are some extra episode from 2009 which are chronologically between Series Four and Series Five. I was given Series Five for Christmas, but we need to get hold of these specials before we can move on to see Matt Smith as Doctor...

Definitely recommended. Rated 12, which seems about right, as the storylines are complex and some of the ideas are scary, even if the violence is relatively mild compared to much of what passes as entertainment these days. No nudity or sex, unsurprisingly, and only a few instances of minor bad language.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

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