This post contains information some may consider of a spoilery nature to an upcoming episode of Doctor Who, penned by Mark Gatiss, so if you don’t wish to be spoiled, this is your warning.
Ever since we found out two weeks ago that Ian Holland has been cast in Doctor Who as a character named Alan-a-dale, many thought it a dead certainty that his character would be one of the Merry Men (a group of outlaws formed by Robin Hood). Well several new images released over the past week from the set show us in detail that, yes, this will be a Robin Hood period-themed episode. The tentative episode title was also purportedly unveiled (the first of the season if true). It is being dubbed “Robots of Sherwood”.
That sounds pretty awesome if you ask me, but in the back of my head I feel this nags at me ever so slightly. Why? Because it’s just SO Doctor Who. Think back to any historical episode released in the past decade (The Girl in the Fireplace, Human Nature/The Family of Blood, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Snowmen, The Unicorn and the Wasp, etc.), and what accompanies each? Either monsters or robots. Actually every single episode of the series since it’s returned has incorporated monsters or robots. Has it always been that way? Well, no.
Pure Historicals are stories set in periods prior to the broadcast date and feature no alien/alien tech outside of the Doctor and his equipment. Below is a list of all Purely Historical TV Stories.
|Pure Historical Story Title||Doctor||Story #|
|The Reign of Terror||First||8|
|The Myth Makers||First||20|
|The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve||First||22|
As you can see there aren’t many after the First Doctor’s era. Why not bring these back? Would they really be all that less interesting? There are so many great stories in history. They don’t ALL need a monster running around in the background! For a show that prides itself for being able to adapt to any time, any setting, any genre, it’s rather unwilling to step out of its shell in this respect. I know Steven Moffat has expressed his negative opinions of the pure historical stories, claiming them “boring,” but I disagree. Especially as many of those stories are highly revered among fans.
I’d like to see a good historical story in the near future, and I hope they give one to Capaldi. Doctor Who IS my favorite television series and I want to see it shine. And I think a pure historical story in which the Doctor is an innocent bystander (well maybe not totally innocent), or the catalyst that starts a revolution would be brilliant without any foreign alien involvement. What do you guys think? Am I crazy, or do I have a point? What do you wish to see from Doctor Who?