"Because your song is ending, sir...It is returning. It is returning through the dark. And then, Doctor? Oh, but then... He will knock four times."
Cos he's special, David Tennant got to spread his farewell over 4 specials from Christmas 2008 to New Year 2010, and as this also marked Russell T Davies' departure from the show, the stories start off grand and rise to operatic scales of drama by the time we hit the megalithic The End of Time. That finale works well in its quieter moments but does suffer a little from an overabundance of plot and whatnot. The Next Doctor and Planet of the Dead are good value for money romps but it is The Waters of Mars and all its attendant darkness that stands out most, teasing all the complex arrogance of a God-figure gone wrong.
Episodes, in order of preference
The Waters of Mars
The End of Time
The Next Doctor
Planet of the Dead
Top 5 guest spots
1 Bernard Cribbens' Wilf, graduating from guest appearances to fully-fledged companion for The End of Time was a masterstroke - their ruminative conversations a powerful counterpoint to all the bombast
2 As the would-be Doctor in The Next Doctor, David Morrissey's pained eloquence was just lovely, all the more so for its initial unexpectedness
3 Lindsay Duncan's intense Captain Adelaide Brooke and her defeat of the Time Lord Victorious and all his hubris - wow.
4 Velile Tshabalala's Rosita - another to add to the list of companions that could have been
5 This series also saw the last appearance of Lachele Carl's US newsreader Trinity Wells, a constant since the reboot whose brief reports were always nice to see.
I'm probably supposed to say Ten here but the portentousness of the farewell tour was too much even for me, so Adelaide's demise gets the nod for being so fantastically dark
Most wasted guest actor
Catherine Tate - given the sledgehammer of Donna's departure, bringing her back so minimally in this way felt like a slap in the face
Most important thing that is never mentioned again
Are the Weeping Angels Gallifreyan in origin as hinted here? Or is it just me?
Gay agenda rating
F - with the focus on Tennant's (and Davies') departure, I think they forgot about the gays (Alonso and Jack's implied hook-up aside)
Labels: Billie Piper, Catherine Tate, David Morrissey, David Tennant, Doctor Who, Gemma Chan, Jessica Hynes, John Barrowman, Lachele Carl, Lindsay Duncan, Matt Smith, Noma Dumezweni, Sharon Duncan-Brewster