The Companion Is the Time Lord Part 2

There are myriad quantum possibilities, whole universes existing just a molecular vibration away from our own, worlds where things are very different and others where they're almost the same. In what we call "Whoniverse-B", the Doctor's adventures are just a touch different...

And following on from last week's foray into a version of Whoniverse-B where actresses who in our world played the companions were actually cast as the DOCTOR, we left things in the hands of Bonnie Langford as the 6th Doctor-B. Where do we go from there..?
This is about as close to Whoniverse-A and -B got, at least costume-wise. Sophie Aldred (remember the "Aldred must live" campaign that relaunched the show with late 80s sensibilities?) ran around in oversized clothes, hiding some deep mysteries about the Doctor until the original run's cancellation. For most of it, she was accompanied by "Ace", the aging "easy rider" who, ironically, only had one motorcycle scene in the entire series, one where he crashed the bike.
Seven years later, the Americans tried to resurrect the show. Because every planet has a West, they cast an American actress (strangely, the companions and Mistress were all Brits). So Daphne Ashbrook was a distillation of the Doctor, or at least the one with poise (she's been either graceful or a complete klutz, according to the incarnation), with the same love of hats, vaguely dressed like a "black hat" cowboy. The TV movie pilot didn't take off, but the 8th Doctor-B would show up around the show's 50th Anniversary, if only to finally get a regeneration scene.
When the Doctor returned in 2005, she was played by pop star Billie Piper (below), a colorful casting choice that surprised everyone. It was only years later, in "Century of the Doctor" that we got to see her black and white look from the Time War (above). Darker in appearance, she nevertheless fought the Daleks with all the levity of a stage magician.
When we first saw her, though, she'd become blond (regeneration energy is a versatile thing) and vamped around in long gloves and feathers. Despite some ludicrous running scenes that made naysayers call her the Ostrich Doctor (or the difficult to pronounce porte-manteaux "Doctrich"), the show was a hit, and Billie would tweak the outfit often over the next few episodes, though feathers were always a key element. Her career took off and she was soon gone, and though there was talk of finally casting a black actress in the role, the producers went another way.
She was replaced by comedienne Catherine Tate, who followed Aldred and Ashbrook's lead in wearing gender-ambiguous outfits. She was loud, brash, snarky, no nonsense, and broke with the recent tradition of cute, enigmatic young women without going quite as mature as some of the classic Doctors had gone in terms of casting. Her comedy chops helped the relaunched program to new heights in popularity not seen since the 1970s.
But enigmatic, cute young women would make an immediate comeback, with Karen Gillen (yes, yet another ginger in a now long list of ginger Doctors), becoming a fashion icon in the process. Just as brash as the previous incarnation, her Doctor had a more immediate authority, perhaps thanks to her arresting looks, and would, over the course of the next few years, frequently work with the London police, solving strange crimes like a modern day Sherlock (showrunner Steven Moffat would therefore never go on to make Benedict Cumberbatch a star).
And then there's the current Doctor-B, Jenna Louise Coleman. To contrast the previous Doctor, hers is relatively mousy, her gimmick a "smart-sweater" that always features the local year on the front (shot above from the UNIT homage episode, "The Zygon Reversion"), though the Holiday specials always gave her a different "ugly Christmas sweater" instead. Her petite but stern Doctor is still barging in where angels fear to tread, getting overlooked or underestimated every step of the way. That's how she gets ya.

Who will be next? Will we finally see a non-Caucasian Doctor, or - GASP! - a male actor in the role (outside of David McCallum's short term in the comedy sketch "The Deadly Lethal Curse", of course)?! You just have to keep watching across the dimensional veil...

3 comments:

Eric TF Bat said...

I absolutely love this particular series/idea/gimmick, but I have to say it was the mention of David McCallum that made me chortle the most.

Anonymous said...

Any idea how I can visit that other universe? It's got to be better than this one.

Siskoid said...

Eric: I write these with you in mind. Probably.

Anon: Now now, we like every era of the show here at the SBG ;)

 

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