Well, we finally hit our doorstep around 5.30pm last night (Tuesday 6 January 2009) and given that we were completely knackered after yet more hours of overnight flying, we only just managed to unpack and get down a pizza before we hit the duvet with the central heating on full blast.
So, no, I didn't see Doctor Who last night.
Instead, heaven bless a functioning iPlayer on Virgin's Catch Up service, I indulged in a mammoth run this morning of Doctor Who, followed by the Confidential and the 11th Doctor Confidential special.
The Next Doctor: dark, lots of deaths, David Morrissey and Jarvis specs from David Tennant as the tenth Doctor. I really can't ask for more. I may offer some more coherent ramblings after reading some of the reviews, to either pick holes or agree with them as fit. But right now, in jet lag exhaustion mode and still rampantly jealous of Helen Lisette*, I am happily contented by this most recent DW Xmas Special.
DW Xmas Special Confidential: the full length Confidentials are always something of a treat - missing from the box sets as they do all the glorious excess of history. It's a shame because although I love the behind-the-scenes stuff you get of the production for the new show, it's the setting it in context stuff that I really adore. All the old clips - ooh! I remember that! - and the lines and the... I'll get my coat. Anyway, with an extra David this was delightful, though I did wonder why Dirvla K got interviewed in her dressing gown. Oh, and did anyone else wince when David Tennant mentioned his back hurting doing the wire work? (Let's gloss over the innuendo of him discussing the protection he needed or the unflattering locations of clips).
DW Confidential - The Eleventh Doctor: Unless you have had your head in a bucket (also known as 'not spending most waking hours looking up Doctor Who related material on the internet' or alternatively you are one of those people inexplicably unconcerned by the career moves of one David Tennant) you will be aware that after the forthcoming special episodes, David Tennant is leaving the role of the Doctor.
Hush your tears now. Yes, I know that for some it will be the end of their temporary interest (obsession) with all matters DW, but that won't be the case for everyone. (Some will even be pleased at him leaving. Some may just be pleased that, back injuries permitting, he will do more stage work. Live, on a stage. Mmmmmm. Sorry, my mind wandered slightly then).
Anyway. Yes, undeniably Ten has been a Doctor who has stolen many hearts (greedy, really, given he already has two) but the role has coped with changes before.
This is the point to get anyone who doesn't know/want to know who the new Doctor is to look away NOW (skip to the bottom to read instead my * remark about Helen Lisette instead).
So, Matt Smith. Well, I'm actually rather hopeful. SM pointed out he had the eyes, the hands, the hair. Tick and treble tick (certainly the hair as seen in the Confidential interview was a winner for me). He has a certain surety and manic quality to his expression which will work well for the role and simultaneously that youthfulness of his will bring a tension to this role as the young minded but ancient Timelord.
Sure, my heart will break a little when David regnerates - if we have an onscreen regeneration, and we are pretty likely to, aren't we? I will miss the greedy excitement of 13 weekly 45 mins worth of him on screen, not just because he's a pretty boy but because he's a fabulous actor who has really brought an extra dimension to the role. In his portrayal, the Doctor has been spending so much time around humans, and lost his own people, that he has gained emotions but can't really get them to function in the same way as humans. He feels empathy and loss and love, but somehow cannot quite operate these emotions in a way that feels human. It's perhaps because of his age and experience - they can't live alongside him as long as he could around them - but it's also because he wants to try and do the right thing in their eyes, but keeps falling back on his own alien way of seeing the universe. Which makes him a temperamental mix of human and alien (though not in the way that the TV movie tried to make it). Anyway, what I'm trying to say, badly, is that Tennant is great at all the mixtures of emotions and unemotions. From subtle to gigantic, he can do it all, often in a flicker of a eye, a twitch of his lips, a tensing of his shoulders. And I'll miss him bringing all that to the role.
And instead I will look forward to him bringing his talents to other roles.
* Yes, Helen Lisette, I mean you and your spectacular lucky, lucky BITCA state of being. Helen was booked to see Hamlet the Saturday I was away still in New Zealand. 3rd January 2009. Pre-Xmas she contacted me to say 'bad news' - the RSC had contacted ticket holders saying David Tennant was still expected to be out of action until the final week of production, with no promise that he would return then either. (Their initial announcement of withdrawal had said he would be out until the New Year). Boo-hoo's all around for friends who had got tickets to be at the January 2nd performance and Helen for January 3rd.
That was until I turned my mobile on Sunday morning, New Zealand time (Saturday evening, UK time).
I think my response was "You have to be F'ING kidding me... what pact with Satan did you make?"
And yes, she made an effort to look and the verdict from the upper circle was ...
... no pants....