What Classic Who Ideas Could Come Back?
Yes, yes, I know this is one of the most obvious clickbait style articles I could write. They show up every year, often between series, as we speculate on what could be next for the Doctor. But, every year it can get a little bit tougher as fewer and fewer iconic elements from the classic era are left unexplored.
That being said, there’s still plenty to go on, even now. The Daleks, Cybermen, Silurians, the Master, and even the Macra may have bounded back onto our screens, but they’re not the only things.
What planets could we revisit? What ideas and concepts could we dive into that maybe didn’t get a fair shake first time around? Are there things that modern special effects should have a go at? The possibilities are numerous!
Since Chris Chibnall decided series 11 should have no returning monsters (apart from a Dalek in the New Year special, but does that really count?), it makes sense that there’d be a ton next year. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so here’s my own list of things I’d like to see make a comeback!
Back in Jon Pertwee’s run the Doctor found himself on the planet Peladon a couple of times. The planet Peladon is on the verge of joining the Galactic Federation, a decision that is causing an ideological split in the population. There are the traditionalists who wish to maintain the status quo, and there are the young hopefuls who want to join this new venture.
There are clear and deliberate parallels to then contemporary politics. The UK was asking the question of whether or not it should join the European Economic Community (which would become the European Union). The series presents the differing sides of the argument with the Doctor trying to prevent it turning into all out war.
Not long after, in The Monster of Peladon, the Doctor returns to the planet to see how things are getting on. There are tensions between the workers and the ruling classes, and fears are being stoked about the presence of aliens on their planet. An outside force is manipulating events and seeking to stoke internal conflict in the hopes of throwing Peladon out of balance.
This, again, came at a time when class tensions were high in the UK. Membership of the EEC was still a controversy. You have probably already guessed where this is going. We need a third story to round off this trilogy!
The Brexit of Peladon (probably with a better title) feels about right for now. It’s a ready made setting for the show to explore the major issues of Brexit and give us a chance to see it without the names or faces of political parties. Peladon has a lot of potential to see things from the point of view of the working class (the miners) and the ruling classes.
I’d hope such a story would at least be a two-parter to really let us get to grips with the people and their plight. Also, in Empress of Mars, it’s already been established that this may have taken place. It’d be nice to see it on screen.
Now… Hear me out. I’ve always been a bit of an ashamed fan of Warriors of the Deep. I enjoy it semi-ironically and appreciate that the production staff did what they could with the budget they had. Which was about £3.50, I think. But I do recognise that it is not the most well thought of story, and the Myrka one of the most laughed at classic monsters.
But recently, twitter user @taylored_tube brought me back to the story with a thread about how and why the Myrka should be given another shot.
— Taylored (@taylored_tube) January 14, 2019
The thread gives a lot of really good ideas, including how modern visual effects could realise it much better than they could in the 80s. But further to that, the fact that we have seen characters like Vastra and given the Silurians more of a sense of presence, it’ll be a real opportunity to develop their culture.
“The Myrka adds a unique aspect to the culture of the Silurians. Not many Doctor Who enemies have their own beasts and animals so to ignore the Myrka entirely would strip away this element.
The Myrka also introduces a unique battle strategy to the Silurians. Many modern day monsters simply use guns so a powerful and aggressive creature would help to shake this up. The Doctor can destroy or disrupt Silurian guns using the sonic screwdriver (as seen in Cold Blood) so the Myrka would introduce a different threat to overcome.
The Silurians usage of animals as a workforce and military tool adds further parallels between them and humanity.”
There’s a lot more in the thread and I highly recommend reading through all of it. You’ll come out of it wanting to DEMAND that Chibnall brings the Myrka back!
We haven’t really seen a lot of other Time Lords out and about since the classic era. The Master has turned up, but we haven’t seen their TARDIS. We’ve seen Gallifrey and the odd TARDIS in the background.
We’ve seen Clara and Me head off in their own model. But we’ve not really seen much in the way of rival TARDIS action. Let alone a newer models’ interior.
Now, I’ve got a bit of a hankering to see what these more up to date TARDIS consoles look like. The Doctor’s has always been a bit of an antique, last of its kind, borrowed from a repair shop. What does the latest Time Capsule actually look like?
I’m imagining something not unlike Star Trek the Next Generation. The central console would be sleek, touchscreen interfaces, like something off an Apple factory line. But there’d be something a bit off about it.
Perhaps the show could explore why the Doctor’s TARDIS gets away with so much while newer ones don’t. Did Gallifrey install more ‘safety’ features on new TARDIS models? Are they full of tracking devices so the Time Lords can keep tabs on them? Do newer TARDISes have so many features set to automatic that it can be impossible to break some of the laws the Doctor so constantly flouts?
It’d be really interesting to see, I think.
The Eighth Doctor
We did get his regeneration in Night of the Doctor back in 2013, but who out there really thinks that was enough? Paul McGann was a brilliant Doctor, weighed down by a less than stellar script in 1996, but has brought his Big Finish adventures to splendous heights. If anyone deserves another shot, it’s him.
The fact that I can’t watch Day of the Doctor without constantly wishing it was McGann probably shows my bias here. But maybe in a Christmas (or New Year) special, it’ll be time to see him again. Jodie and Paul dashing alongside one another, discovering things about themselves, and reconciling the classic and modern eras. It’d be something special.
Come on, Chibnall, give us the Eighth Doctor Story we’ve all wanted to see!
There’s so much more we could delve into, but these are my personal favorites. How likely are they? Probably not very.