Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode3Time for another rousing discussion about which story best exemplifies a Doctor’s era. This time Deb, Erika, Liz, and Lynne tackle the 10th Doctor (not literally—as much as Lynne would probably enjoy that). “School Reunion” lies at the heart of the discussion, though “The Girl in the Fireplace” is touched upon and “Journey’s End” is defended quite ably.

We start the show with some Who-centric items that excite us, and end by taking a few minutes to talk (and rant) about the “Tennant Fangirl” phenomenon, awesome and unfairly-derided cosplay, and how to not be a dick.  (Wheaton’s Law, people. Follow it!)


Also covered:
Doctor Who the Writer’s Room!
New Zealand Doctor Who Coins!
New Doctor Who Soundtracks!
Classic Doctor Who on BBC America!
How to Spot a Real Doctor Who Fan

Download or listen now (runtime 1:14:52) 

Comments on: "Verity! Episode 3 – A Perfect 10?" (24)

  1. I just found this podcast yesterday and I am really enjoying the conversion. I personally think that Waters of Mars was the pinnacle of Tennant’s era. It really shows him making a very hard discussion. Also you see how he is without a companion. Even though I did like the relationships with Ten, what I got from his doctor was the lonely god theme. I love that the Doctor needs someone and I felt that’s what Tennant’s era was. You see very different sides of the Doctor and this being his darkest hour. I love that the episode served that to his character.

  2. Reblogged this on vikz reads; weird tales, punks and literary ghosts and commented:
    Check out this brill podcast

  3. Ray Adamson said:

    I still find it very exciting to listen to an appreciation of Doctor Who from a feminine perspective but must confess to being apprehensive about your latest discussion because it was inevitable it would involve women discussing how dead sexy David Tennant is.Properly problematic for an ordinary Who nerd with no gay inclinations.It is re-assuring to note your podcast is solid evidence that Doctor Who actually had a female fan base pre Tennant ,Davies and Gardner although i would never deny that this period of Doctor Who’s history is probably a particularly good access point for a female audience with a lot of drama based around emotional relationships as well as scary monsters and action as well as a good looking leading man.Tennants’ Doctor is not really consistent with my favourite interpretations of the character because the patriachal quality which Matt Smith employs so well and was such a big part of early versions of the character was absent.I suppose it was sacrificed for the sake of modernising the romantic adventurer idea of the tv movie and emphasising the alien super geek thing.It proved popular and most people think he is a good Doctor.I’ve never understood the comparisons with Tom Bakers’ Doctor but if Lis Sladen thought there was something in it,i’m probably wrong.Immensely relieved nobody decided on Doomsday for the sake of the traumatic separation with Rose and everybody preferred the Sarah Jane Smith stories.I agreed with a lot of Liz’s criticisms of Davids first year but i would pick Love and Monsters as my representative episode of the Tennant-Davies era because the episode defines The Doctor by his relationships with other characters and thoroughly explores the consequences of accidental and deliberate involvement with him.It features one of my very favourite Rose Tyler scenes when she consoles Elton when he remembers how he lost his mother the last time he heard the Tardis,Whenever i watch it,it always strikes home Rose is always carrying about the loss of her Father wherever the Tardis takes her and nothing she does with the Doctor will ever compensate her for it, I think it’s why the ninth Doctor was so immediately attracted to her. She just seems so close to Elton in that scene and it’s so sad to me.About your discussion concerning Doctor Who fandom,i’m afraid the longevity of Doctor Who means a certain amount of elitism is always going to be a particular cross to bear .Most fans are unfortunately extremists who have their own perceptions of what is real Doctor Who but i’m regularly appalled by attempts to interfere with discussion on forums and spread false rumours about production because they don’t agree with the current direction of the programme and have particular preferences and agendas.Not people i would ever consider myself as distantly related to or involved with.Great podcast but with so much content, i’ll probably need another listen.Thanks.

  4. I like the idea that the Tenth Doctor has more than one definitive episode of his era since there is so much to play with. So probably his true definitive episode would be a mash up of aspects of the episodes mentioned.

    Awhile ago there was a blog article on the Guardian website about romance on television and if it takes too much time away on the plot itself. Doctor Who was mentioned because of the kiss between Clara and the Doctor.

    I was told once by my boyfriend that you’re not a true Doctor Who fan until you have seen classic episodes. I thought ‘good luck telling that to a six year old fan’. I didn’t like that he was trying to force it on me so when the time came that I decided to watch classic Who I asked him for episodes with Sarah Jane Smith as too have control and watch it on my own terms. I like to discover things on my lonesome and in my own time.

    I love fandom but only when it’s nice and friendly. I hate ship wars, hate on certain characters and discussion that turns nasty or serious.

  5. Shelley Lee said:

    I would love to hear the argument for how The Sound of Drums is the rep ep for 10.

    • Ray Adamson said:

      I would think because there was a lot of running involved and a bit of reminiscing about Gallifrey,at least.

    • Deborah Stanish said:

      Me too! That was Kat’s recommendation and since she wasn’t on this week I’m hoping she’ll give us a post on why she selected that episode. I’m intrigued.

  6. I can’t believe I’m actually leaving a comment on something…but that’s how much I enjoy this podcast.

    For me, possibly a combo of School Reunion and Waters of Mars. It’s that juxtaposition of the impact the Doctor has on his companions’ lives (for better and worse), with what they keep him from becoming.

    I maintain that if you’re arguing that a certain group of people can’t be considered Doctor Who fans, you must somehow be missing the whole point of fandom altogether. I love that whether someone is a Classic Who fan, a new Who fan, is a devotee of Troughton or has a bit of a crush on Tennant, I can instantly connect with them on any or all of those points. 50 years of a show, and 11 different lead actors, truly means something for everyone, but it doesn’t mean you have to love every minute of it. There are aspects of my husband I like better than others, but I don’t think people would argue it makes me less a fan of him. 🙂

    Off-topic, but at least twice in this episode there was an exclamation of “I have a theory!” I dearly hope I’m not the only listener who immediately sang to myself “it could be bunnies!”

    • @Jan

      I agree wholeheartedly with paragraph two. WHOLEHEARTEDLY.

      And yes, you are not alone in paragraph 3 #alsoaBuffyfanoverhere

  7. […] to the Things We Like Post!  Below are links to related works for Verity! Episode 3: A Perfect 10?.  You will find links to things such as fan art, tie-in media items, fanvids and even Trock!  […]

  8. Another great episode of Verity. As someone who listens to about half a dozen Dr Who podcasts Verity its quickly becoming a favorite.

    My comment isn’t on the definitive 10th doctor episode, (My choice would be the Satan Pit/Impossible Planet) it’s more of a request.

    In episode 0 of Verity, where we were introduced to the hosts, a comment was made by one of you about how the show would have a broad range of opinions with the example of River Song given. (the implication being that the hosts feelings for this character runs the gamut)

    Personally I love the River Song character but people tend to love or hate her. What I have noticed (just my observation/opinion) is that when men express dislike for the character it almost always revolves around the perception that they don’t like how she ‘bosses him around’ or thinks she’s on his level. Again, I’m not saying that ALL guys dislike River Song for that reason. I’m just saying that, in general, I sense a tinge of chauvinism in the criticism of River Song when it comes from men.

    I would love for the hosts to discuss her on Verity. It would be fascinating to hear female perceptions of this polarizing character.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents. Keep up the great work. Hope to see you guys at Gallifrey One soon.


    • Deborah Stanish said:

      Thanks for the comment! You are correct in that River Song was a polarizing character – even among the members of Verity! (I like your observation regarding the “uppity woman” trope.) We do have plans to discuss River in a future episode so don’t worry, there will be River debate.

  9. Hello!

    I didn’t get a chance to see the re-airing, but I remember, decades ago, my local PBS station played Doctor Who serials in one gulp, calling it “The Doctor Who movies”. Edited down, seen at one gulp. It was wonderful!

  10. Fantastic episode. This has quickly become one of my favorite podcasts, with an energy and passion and humor in discussions that’s much more hit and miss in most others. I thought the frank discussion of the alleged “problem” of “Tennant fangirls” was particularly interesting and important. Would that the guys (yes, guys) on other DW casts could talk about gender and fan-shaming with as much thought as you four did in this episode. Would that they would have more women on their shows. But I digress…

    As far as a representative Tennant episode, I’ll also offer up a dark horse, or cat, more specifically: Gridlock. It features several hallmarks of not only the Tenth Doctor (he’s alternatively manic, insensitive, angry, brooding, domineering, and guilty throughout) but also of Davies’ take on the show:

    – Wacky far-future hodge-podge of 20th century design and character types (seen not only in the “5 billion” stories, but also in The Long Game, Bad Wolf, and Midnight).

    – Companions’ psychological tussle of doubting/believing in the Doctor

    – Doctor’s inability to understand the effect he has on his companions

    – A sense of melancholy and death under all the action and comedy (cf. “Doctor Who is steeped in death.” — Russell T Davies, OBE)

    – A bright streak of moralism (in this case, Drugs R Bad!; in others, it’s journalism, or human paranoia)

    As much play and interest as the big “tentpole” stories generate (i.e., the season-enders, or “event” episodes), I’ve always been more interested in how the more run-of-the-mill stories carry the series along. And to my mind, Gridlock is the purest distillation of the Tennant era.

  11. Bob Davidson said:

    I’m loving your podcasts, and this was very interesting. I’m also surprise that there were fans who didn’t like Tennant’s Doctor. I would like to think that I like Tennant’s Doctor because he was just a perfect fit for the role. I also think you do David’s acting skills a great disservice by imprinting your own fan reactions onto him doing his job. I think it was a mistake for him to have laboured the point that he had been a fan and how much he loved the series because it seems to have opened the door to suggestions he just a guy playing at being the Doctor and not acting. Just because he has said in the past that he was a long term fan too. I’ve seen David in many things going back to the early nineties, (Taking over the Asylum series). And he is just a brilliant actor and he wouldn’t have taken the role if he couldn’t disassociate himself from the fan “him”.
    “Girl in the Fireplace”- Doctor enters the TARDIS. Rose- You alright? Doctor- I’m always alright.
    That small scene in itself broke my heart. David Tennant is too special an actor to

  12. Willow'sCat said:

    10! Easily accessible 10!

    I think 10s episode was The Family of Blood. Two reasons:

    He reverts back to the Doctor; you can really see David Tennant shift from John Smith, to the Doctor, it was wonderful to watch. He changes back to a Time Lord and his conversation with Joan makes it clear that he really doesn’t understand how it works for humans. She also starts, or continues, the discussion about the Doctor being a good man, or more to the point; not a good man at all.

    Which flows into my other reason: 10 is evil. He is evil here. I hated and loved that ending. I hate it because I don’t like to think of the Doctor as evil. I know he has been written in other stories as having a dark nature. I particularity loved that about 7 and wished we could have seen more of his Doctor, and I guess this is where we finally do.

    Of course the real payoff is in The Waters of Mars when he finally realises how out of whack he has become. It is still unnerving to see the Doctor behave so blatantly wrong, but then he is an old man who has suffered so much recently, revenge seems to fit 10 but it wouldn’t have worked for 9 (as we see in Dalek and even in PotW) and I don’t think 11 is capable of this level of evil without it being for a very good reason. It is there, it sits just below the surface. This is purely my take on it, but I don’t think the writers ever gave the Doctor a good enough reason to do to them (the family) what he did, and he talks of being a God along the way and to his end… but he talks into the wind.

    I think it would be good to watch these episodes (TFoB/TWoM) back to back to just see the final outcome of his actions. This is pretty much where I started to not like his Doctor. I know this is where many started to really like his Doctor.

    I am not one for revenge. I think I may be out of step with many of my fellow humans. lol

  13. Chris (@Silver_Nemesis) said:

    Another great podcast, really enjoying this addition to “Things That Keep Me Sane At Work”.

    I’m also very grateful for the amount many people online are picking up Wheaton’s Law because it’s such an easy thing for an established fan of anything to fall foul of. I used to have a big hang-up about people who identify themselves as fans of Doctor Who but only like one Doctor. I saw the regeneration and mixed personality process as so intrinsic to the show that I was adamant that to be a fan you had to like at least two Doctors (any two, it didn’t matter). I now have so many close friends that only really identify themselves with one Doctor that I have to look at them and the amount of devotion to that era and I am forced to admit – yes, I was a dick. Now reformed and a lot happier and more at peace because of it.

    On a related note, I have never gotten into cosplay (mainly a ££ thing) but I have been a medieval reenactor for a good while now so I know that the time, effort, cost and skill that would go into something as intricate and brilliant as the TARDIS dress makes it something that even artisans should celebrate, never mind base fandom.

    Back on the point of choosing a representative story for the 10th Doctor. Whilst I don’t think there’s too much difference in the number of stories between the 10th and 11th (I make it 47 to 34) I did find this one a lot more difficult personally. I think this is because Tennant’s Doctor had several distinct story styles. He was a very different person inhis comedies, his Lonely God stories and his love stories with Rose. Matt Smith’s Doctor is much more the same character throughout. If pushed, I would probably go with Girl in the Fireplace because it does show not only the relationship with Rose developing as much as it ever did but also the character of Rose. It also has the much-maligned Micky the Idiot, to be later replaced by Action-Micky (the greatest Micky of them all).

    On a final note – have to say that between being left with my clan at the battle of Culloden with a memory of my first adventure with the Doctor or facing an eternity of temping in Chiswick being emotionally abused by my mother I would definitely have to go with the battle.

  14. Just catching up with this now… and I find myself agreeing utterly with Liz regarding the utter appallingness of ‘Tooth and Claw’, particularly as there is no follow-through within the episode to sufficiently humble them for their behaviour. ‘Rise of the Cybermen’/’The Age of Steel’ is slightly different in that Rose has learning experiences – meeting these parallels of her parents, seeing one of them turned into a Cyberman (which is presented as the central trauma), and seeing Mickey find a new mission beyond pining after her. Otherwise the Rose character arc does feel really very elongated beyond its natural lifespan.

  15. Sarah B said:

    I am shamed. I dismissed the Tennant girls not because I don’t find Our David attractive (I do, rather), but because I don’t find the Doctor a sex object (I know, I know. I’m one of those). Similarly, Matt Smith pushes all my tall-gangly-phoar buttons, but as the Doctor… nothing. But I’m not really a reader of fanfic or slash either, so… I guess my part of the sandbox is somewhat limited too. 😀

    • And that’s all okay! (Well, except for dismissing the fangirls, but even I did that, and have now learned the error of my ways.) There’s no shame in preferring an asexual Doctor. (Cheers to that, btw.) Just as there’s no shame in liking a randy Doc. (Though I simply don’t understand it!) 🙂

  16. […] recommends Episode 3 – A Perfect 10? – “This was early days for us and this ep sort of shocked listeners. We disagreed – […]

  17. In the 6th doctor’s defence he had just regenerated so you can see his actions as a result of being unstable. It was a poorly thought out move by the writers but at least Colin Baker got a chance to portray the Doctor he wanted in the big finish audio dramas.

  18. Caught up with this finally (working backwards through it). Fascinating conversation. On the ‘being a dick thing’ I don’t think one should under-estimate some of the hassle Doctor Who fans of a certain age – in the UK – put up with in the mid-80s through to mid-90s as a reason for the defensiveness of some Doctor Who fans about the influx of new Doctor Who fans. (See the moment between Paul Cornell and Matthew Sweet on the Culture Show Doctor Who special for the most extreme version of this)

    I know I got a lot of unpleasant flak about it at school (from people who didn’t know any better) but I was always quite evangelical about the show so didn’t really care. To the point at which when Doctor Who came back I got a long email from someone I used to work with who said how right I was about Doctor Who back in the day and he wanted to congratulate me for being right, which is always nice.

    But for some people it’s like discovering that a band you’ve been following has suddenly gone from playing small pubs to playing stadiums and all these new fans are a shock to the system because they’re getting something else out of it. Or to use a football analogy (soccer) there’s a chant used a football when a team that was rubbish and gets good and has lots more supporters that other supporters of the same club sometimes sing: “Where were you when we were s***”.

    So I think there’s an element of that to all of this. It’s my thing. Where have all you new people come from who DON’T UNDERSTAND. The Doctor’s not this or that or this. He’s THIS. And I love Colin Baker’s Doctor btw. Even though Tom was my first Doctor, Colin is the reason I’m a Doctor Who fan so I get a bit testy when people are horrible about his era – even though I’m aware it has problems. Anyway that’s my belated tuppence worth.

  19. Oh, dear.

    I found this episode a little harder to get through. You all definitely have much more conflicting ideas about 10 than you do about 11!

    As a former Tenth Doctor Fangirl TM who fell off that wagon and fell REALLY HARD off it in the later years, hearing the Raging 10-Fangirl take on School Reunion for so much of the episode was…rather difficult for me as a listener. But then getting to listen to Liz (I think? Sorry, bad with your names, still) tear into 10 from the completely opposite side of the fangirl spectrum really helped to make me feel less awkward and out of place. Fandom: It takes all sorts.

    (I also really liked Liz’s take on Sarah Jane’s story and how actually offensive School Reunion is regarding her personality–I hadn’t thought about that, before, and I agree that it’s a REALLY GOOD thing that SJA came along and did her right.)

    Really interesting overview BECAUSE of the different view points, but I do hope the upcoming retrospectives are slightly less intense, for the sake of my (admittedly very fragile) nerves.

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