The Long Game
The Doctor: This society’s the wrong shape.
Production Code: 1.7.
Doctor Who Season: S27 (Ep7).
Story Number: 162.
A crowded TARDIS…
So, Adam (from the previous story) joins the TARDIS. By the end of the story, he’s gone. So, what’s that all about? RTD has written (in the BBC 2005 scripts book for the programme) that he was originally writing the story from Adam’s perspective (even giving it the preliminary title “Adam”), so it was a kind of mirror to the start of the season Rose, (a story told from Rose’s perspective). The main supporting characters that appear in the season – from Mickey to Harriet Jones to Adam to (soon) Captain Jack – all cast light on the dynamic of the main duo. So, Adam is there to highlight how well Rose and the Doc function as a TARDIS team. The broadcast story is a curious one though as the main plotline gives much screentime to a lone character that goes at the end of the story, while the Doc and Rose together investigate why society is the “wrong shape” for the year 200,000.
If the main storyline is Adam’s fall from grace, the other storyline is perhaps more interesting. When the Editor says “Create a climate of fear and it’s easy to keep the borders closed. It’s just a matter of emphasis. The right word in the right broadcast repeated often enough can destabilize an economy, invent an enemy, change a vote”, it’s clear this is a another satire this season, though this time it’s (would-be) monopolistic media empires (Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World and The Sun and The Times and Sunday Times newspapers and Sky News. And that’s just the UK).
Simon Pegg is great as the Editor, a role he plays with sparky relish. The world of 200,000 is well-sketched by the story, though there is a certain amount of deja-vu with a space-station setting orbiting a future Earth. Tamsin Greig’s character is amusing too. (Plus Anna Maxwell Martin as Suki, excellent – this story has a brilliant cast.)
Adam’s storyline ends a little flatly though, a little bizarrely – it just seems out of character for the Doctor to give up on someone, especially a companion. Still, he isn’t a companion (any more), which is the point of the story, it just seems a strange point to make halfway through the season.