Daftness to Darkness: Ten years of Doctor Who Trailers

You love them, right? You watch them online and then you share them. Doctor Who trailers used to be fleeting things that happened between the National Lottery and Casualty. Now they’re events. They’re picked apart, watched and re-watched and even watched after everything in them has been seen in context many times over. And then they’re mashed and remade and uploaded as monetized art. In the days of quick attention spans, a decent TV spot is worth its weight in gold.

The trailer for Doctor Who series 9 launched last week, and you can’t have not seen it by now, even if you’ve been living under a rock (mostly because at least one of your Facebook friends will have lifted said rock, shone a torch underneath and dragged you out to look at a minute and a half of thudding, fleeting images). This latest preview has been greeted with general wonder and rapture. I am, I confess, somewhat ambivalent amongst the myriad “permission to squee!” comments. But we’ll get to that later.

Because here’s the thing: it’s been a little over ten years since we saw the very first ‘proper’ TV spot, that brief introduction to the re-launched Doctor and his new look. And while the sum total of my narcotic dabbling runs to thirty seconds of secondary smoke inhalation while a couple of friends were doing weed one evening at Leeds University, I imagine that in some respects the experience of that first trailer is probably not unlike taking heroin. Irrespective of my eventual feelings about how he did (and please, let’s not drag that up again) I don’t think we were ever quite so excited about any Who trailer as we were the first time Christopher Eccleston walked into the TARDIS, peered straight through the fourth wall and said “D’you want to come with me?”

After the series nine launch, I went back to those old trailers. I watched all of them in sequence, and I discovered that they change an awful lot. There’s a development. There’s a slow and steady growth of self-confidence. The trailers often reflect the style and tone of the series they’re previewing with far greater accuracy than anyone could have predicted. Looking back on it now, it’s amazing to think how radical that first trailer was: the Ninth Doctor actively extending his invitation to Rose to the audience at large, in precisely the same words. The goal of this is primarily to hook an unsuspecting public, many of whom expected the show to fail – and the effect is rather like a telethon, in the way that its central character broke with the previously established convention of keeping the focus confined entirely within the set (The Daleks’ Master Plan notwithstanding, of course). Amazingly, it works. The delay on Eccleston’s monologue is borderline irritating, but it sort of emphasises the time travel theme.

To contrast, the trailers for Tennant’s first two series are a disaster. The series two trailer sums up many of the worst things about the Tenth-Rose series: the two of them against the world, armed with nothing but a mortgage. The Doctor invites the audience along in much the same way Eccleston did, with twice the panache and none of the sincerity. Piper has one line, and even then she comes across as irritating, which more or less sets the tone. Series 3 isn’t much better: if the Doctor spent most of 2006 fawning over Rose, he spent most of 2007 completely ignoring Martha, and the series-wide gap between them is manifest in an interesting split screen effect. They’ve not even had a proper scene together yet, and already she can’t get close to him.

It’s in 2008 that things start to get interesting, because the fourth wall is re-bricked, the show apparently no longer feeling it needs to prove itself. Observe:

“It’s OK,” this one lets us know at the outset. “I know this is Donna, but look! She’s gone all sensible and calm! She’s taken up astronomy! SHE’S SPEAKING IN A REASONABLY PACED VOICE BELOW 95 DECIBELS!.” This embodiment of a grounded, mature Ms Noble is almost immediately followed by the memorable scene from Partners in Crime in which the Doctor-Donna mug at each other through two panes of glass, unaware that Sarah Lancashire is watching, but it was an amusing moment, so we’ll let that one go. And as a side note, this is where the booming starts big time – you know, the big, heavily reverberated THUD that accompanies each fresh image; it is a contemporary harbinger of doom. It is used in everything, and it sets my teeth on edge. Curiously there are five identifiable monsters in this one, if you include Clone Martha, and six if you include Billie Piper’s teeth.

Actually, spotting the recurring themes and images is a big part of the fun. Besides the booming, there are the explosions, usually (but not always) accompanied by someone diving away in slow motion. There is the TARDIS spinning through space. And the Doctor runs, sometimes quite a bit. From 2011 onwards, there’s a tendency to showcase certain scenery, particularly if it’s on foreign soil. “Somewhere different,” muses the Doctor as the camera rolls over the Utah desert; “somewhere brand new” – coded language for HEY, AMERICA! WE SPENT SHEDLOADS OF MONEY TRYING TO MAKE YOU ENJOY THIS!

Things change gradually. Series 7 – or at least its first half – was about the Ponds outgrowing the Doctor, of course: he’s next to useless in The Angels Take Manhattan and not much better in A Town Called Mercy. The trailer actually encapsulates this beautifully, even if the resulting effect grates. This is the Doctor’s ‘difficult, teenage phase’, the triceratops joyrides awkwardly juxtaposed with the moral angst he experiences when debating whether or not to turn Kahler Jex over to the Cyborg. Oh look, now he’s in his bedroom, and I think he’s smoking weed. I’m not angry, Doctor. I’m just disappointed.

What eventually happens is this: the Doctor sneezes in the TARDIS, and then Peter Capaldi turns up and from then on all we’ve had are jump cuts of briefly-seen monsters; nothing tangible, but enough for a quick screen grab and discussion on the forums. Capaldi looks sinister and ambiguous: this is a dark Doctor, who has traded ballet for moral indifference and acidic quips about rubbish humans. And then:

There are numerous things that could be monsters. The Doctor does look chirpier, mostly thanks to the hair, which is emulating Pertwee’s in the same way his clothes did last series. The rest of it seems to be a maelstrom of unconnected ambiguities that are about nothing at all, designed to keep the Tumblr feeds ticking over until September. Who was that masked woman? Is the hand-in-the-ground a deliberate nod to Carrie or simple coincidence? Am I confused because this is the only trailer I’m not able to view with the benefit of hindsight, or is this stuff actively getting worse?

And what do we learn from all this? Well, I’ve learned there’s more than one way to skin a cat, or re-invent the wheel, or flog a dead horse. I’ve learned that Murray Gold really needs to rein it in, although that’s hardly headline news. I’ve learned that I will always want to go with the Doctor, whatever the contents of his press releases and how much they either hook me or fail to.

But most of all I’ve learned that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Because there’s a bit in that final trailer that I notice each time I watch it, but whose significance was initially lost on me, until quite recently. And it’s marvellous because of what it does, perhaps even by accident. It’s a moment after the Doctor’s “kiss it to death” monologue where Capaldi is in the TARDIS, shot from below, and he looks down at the camera, shrugs, and offers the faintest of smiles, directly through the fourth wall. And in an instant I’m as excited as I was when Eccleston first proposed a little spin in his time machine.

In an instant, it’s ten years ago, and we’re right back where we started.

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43 Responses

  1. Planet of the Deaf says:

    What’s interesting about the S9 trailer, is that apart from the final section with Maisie it’s incredibly fast and turbocharged, and dialogue is a voiceover, rather than a full clip. The earlier trailers have far longer scenes with more dialogue, and even S7a seems a lot slower and less interesting. From memory the S7b trailer, showed at the end of The Snowmen was snappier.

    The S9 trailer is a quite a long time before the show is actually aired, and is aimed at Comic-con and internet audiences, I don’t know if there will be another trailer on BBC1 in the run up to transmission?

    • John McJohnson says:

      Wouldn’t shock me. Most things tend to have two (or sometimes three or occasionally even more) so I’d expect one to materialise sometime over the summer.

    • SMC says:

      Hope we get another! As to the quick cuting, these folks know that many of us have the capacity to stop-motion and study the trailer frame by frame if we choose, and they’re trying to keep it spoiler-free. And the voice-over is wonderfully creepy and provocative. “I want to kiss it to death”? What? WHAT?!

  2. Doctor Moo says:

    It’s interesting to note how every trailer is more cinematic than the last. It feels like I could be sat in the cinema about to watch some movie during the trailers and if that was among them it wouldn’t feel out of place. I like that increased confidence. This is a show on the up, growing in stature every year. May it continue this way for many years to come!

    • Quite right Moo. It’s strange when you realise the scope of the recent trailers if you consider that when I found the show late in ’03 the BBC wouldn’t dare make something like that for Doctor Who. How far things have come!

      • Mrs F says:

        Even worse for me. The ’90s. The flop TV Movie was what got me interested and I had videos of the classics to go investigate. At least you had a full series on the way when you got going!

  3. WarBeBestDoctor says:

    It’s funny watching the series one trailer now how dated it is. It’s not at all like the way they’d advertise it nowadays. Can you imagine a trailer for the fiftieth anniversary special with the War Doctor breaking the fourth wall in that manner? It just wouldn’t be done!

  4. Doct-Her Who says:

    Watching the trailers of RTD reminds me how this used to be a good show before Moff took over. He did all his good work, then he took over and ruined everything. I wish he’d leave and let us recapture the glory days of old. Maybe it’s not too late to salvage something.

    • Novecento says:

      As usual, RTD apologists forget to mention that the previous 40 years of Doctor Who looked nothing like their pet era.

      • Doctor Moo says:

        Well said. There are different eras and each has a different tone. Some you’ll like more than others. Personally I’ve loved Moffat’s, other people don’t but such people need to stop going on mindless rants about it like.
        Doct-Her Who seems to be one of these mindless ranters, unfortunately.

      • Edward Delingford says:

        I always like to think the series 2 to 4 of the revival (particularly series 2 which should be thrown in a black hole) sort of don’t exist as they are so out of tone with everything else in the preceding years of the show and what came after. Also, Moffat has fixed a lot of the loose ends now, so even the running plot arcs are no longer of real value to the continuity of the show.
        If anyone wanting to start watching Who for the first time asks me, I would always suggest jumping on at The Eleventh Hour or Deep Breath and then going back to either see all of the 11th doctor, and if they don’t mind the lack of HD and the more old fashioned style of story telling, as much of series 1 as you wish to consider. I’d also suggest fast forwarding through most of series 2 to 4 to just dabble in what interests them as it isn’t necessary for the continuity of the show but definitely stopping for Silence in the Library, Human Nature and Blink. The former to see how River fits in, the latter to see some examples of the flexible format of the show. I think if anyone started with series 2 of the reboot or went back to it straight after seeing series 8, that would certainly put them off Who for life. Once people have seen series 5 to 8, it’s much easier to then go back to the classic era as they’ll be able to pick up so much from the many references in classic Who from watching 11 and 12, especially Day of the Doctor.

        • TimeChaser says:

          If there is any season of the RTD era that is good, it’s Series 4. To me, the team of Ten and Donna struck the proper notes. What brings it down, as usual, was the Doctor’s extreme hang-up on Rose, which I’ve always found out of place and out of character. But at least he didn’t treat Donna as poorly as he treated Martha at times.

          • Edward Delingford says:

            It’s a real pity that RTD’s obsession with Rose had to infect series 3 and 4. I greatly prefer either to the abomination that is series 2 (series 3 is slightly better as Tennant finally finds his feet as the doctor after his skittishness in series 2 and he is still being firmly directed to rein in his overacting before it all dissolves into the ego fest of series 4.)

            Unfortunately even in both of these we have to be reminded of the Sainted Rose which takes away from the surrounding story. The other real problem with series 4 (and not so much series 3) is that we had too much of the idolatry and fetishisation of Tennant in the role by RTD. He’s a reasonable actor but simply fell to pieces under the bombastic way 10 is written as we move inexorably toward his final moments of hubris with his whiny cringe-inducing farewell. Series 4 is fine but Tennant’s tics and gurns in lieu of acting as the series progressed reduced so much of it. Look at how a good strong director like Alice Troughton keeps him under control in Midnight but others let him loose in Journey’s End or The End of Time – I wonder if by that stage no one was able to overrule Tennant in his acting choices? It’s quite noticeable that he struggles when the writing is poor – look at the wonderful performance in the brilliantly written Blackpool against the woefully written pantomime of Casanova or how poor he is in The Politician’s Husband compared to the much better written Broadchurch 1 (he’s dreadful in Broadchurch 2 but so is pretty well everybody – it’s a complete mess all around). Matt seems to be able to sail over the rough patches in writing very elegantly – he’s excellent in Lost River and Terminator Geneysis, although neither film is anything to write home about!

            Finally, Piper has *so* much more chemistry with Eccleston that with Tennant and the romance angle between Tennant’s doctor and Rose never took wings. All I get out of it is two highly irritating and smug gits that you hope get their comeuppance, not the great romance spanning all of time and space. Not blaming Piper as she has proved since leaving Who that she is a fine actress but she’ll have to bear the shame of being Wose (the infantilised Rose we get in series 2 onwards) for the rest of her acting career.

          • TimeChaser says:

            All points I tend to agree with. When I go back and watch those seasons, I just do my best to ignore the bits I don’t like.

            I do still think that if Big Finish gets any kind of license to produce new Who audio drama, I’d want Tennant and Tate to do some. I trust the BF people can tell good stories without having to reference Rose at any point. I’ve always been unhappy that Martha got so many novels while there were only four written with Donna as the companion.

          • Edward Delingford says:

            Time has not been kind to Tennant’s time in the Tardis and you’d certainly put some kind of flag up to anyone dipping their toe into Who to have their fast forward finger at the ready if they decided to step on at this point. 10 was wildly popular at the time, but since then his doctor’s stock has slumped massively and now seems to be considered the weakest of the five we have had since then or at least in line with 9, well below 11, 12 and War. Tennant’s own acting stock has also fallen a little as a result as any boost given by Who has well and truly dissipated after the passage of the years. I guess that’s the nature of things which seem shiny and new at the time and then fall under the shadow of something much better that follows it. While I doubt we’ll ever see any resurgence of good feelings towards Tennant’s time, particularly as the quality of writing and acting with Capaldi at the helm of the TARDIS seems to simply be at another level, even beyond that with Smith, it is pleasing that Eccleston has gone through a bit of a renaissance and his doctor is now being seen more positively, just as Tennant’s is now seen more realistically for the ‘not quite good enough’ that 10 ended up being.
            Tennant seems to be focusing more on voiceover work and cartoon/genre things these days, so I think he might be tempted to come back to BF. He’s got a lot of experience as a voice actor and Tate is a pretty good if you have ever heard her on audiobooks and the like (she tones down Donna by quite a bit), so I think that combination might work well. Still prefer series 3 over series 4 (although I think both are failures when you consider how poorly both story arcs were resolved and that unlike other series, the bad/dull episodes well and truly outnumber the good).

          • SMC says:

            Great job of explaining what people (like me) who didn’t care for Tennant’s Doctor were reacting to.

          • Edward Delingford says:

            It’s so frustrating as we could have had a reasonably good doctor with Tennant. As his post-Who career has shown, he’s clearly not as capable an actor as Eccleston, Smith or Capaldi, but he’s no worse than Colin Baker or Peter Davison in the actual acting stakes. Davison has managed to keep fairly busy since his time on Who and has carved out a pretty impressive CV.

            The hype which Tennant’s doctor received, the constant banging over our heads in print and on television about his supposed greatness all became a bit wearing until near the end, you couldn’t turn on a television set without seeing Tennant leering at you. By confusing the actor and the role and making the actor the focus, RTD really lost his way by the fourth series and did a major disservice to Tennant’s legacy by writing bigger and more bombastic finales. It cruelly exposed Tennant’s lack of strong dramatic acting chops (I have seen him on stage as well and he tends to fall back on a range of familiar tics and grimaces and pauses when he is defeated by the text) but more crucially it seemed to signal that we were watching David Tennant – ACTOR, not David Tennant, 10th doctor. The absurdity of the messianic series 3 finale and The End of Time illustrate this well.

            As a result, Tennant’s tenure has fallen rapidly in popularity and continues to fall just as the quality of the acting and writing after his era continue to rise. ‘I don’t want to go’ has become a familiar punchline to jokes (including tellingly in The Day of the Doctor where I think Tennant’s very distracted and lukewarm performance may reflect some envy over Smith’s more dynamic and doctor-y doctor and the fact that Moffat felt so comfortable taking the p*ss out of his previous popularity), rather than heartbreaking words. Tennant’s time has been reduced to a series of gifs and catchphrases and as an actor, it has probably trapped him forever in playing increasingly obscure genre roles and cartoon voices. As Colin Baker has complained, it’s no fun becoming a bit of a joke when at one stage you felt all the world loved you.

          • Doctor Moo says:

            Series one as well. It’s held up remarkably well, thanks in no small part to the two/three leads in Eccleston, Piper and Barrowman. I think Nine is the only Doctor (War notwithstanding) with a 100% good story record.

          • TimeChaser says:

            Uh… I’d have to disagree with you there personally. There are some pretty bad stories in Season 1. I find the first season of anything often has a lot of bugs to be worked out, and having a burping rubbish bin and farting aliens in it automatically prevents me from giving Season 1 a passing grade. Season 2 as well, since with Doctor Who’s almost unique built-in method of starting fresh each time we get a new leading man, Season 2 was basically like Season 1 all over again.

          • Edward Delingford says:

            I think series one of RTD’s is the only one which stands up well today. Yes we have the burping bins and farting aliens but the show was trying to find its feet and get the right tone – for kiddies? for families? throw in cheap laughs? keep it completely grounded? silly or serious?
            Ecclescake’s doctor really does grow on repeat viewing. There’s some truly great stuff from him, Dalek, Empty Child, Rose and Parting of the Ways all feature him and his doctor at their best. There’s some lovely interplay with Rose as well before RTD completely rewrote her from the interesting person here who wants to see the universe to the semi-stalkerish obsessive girlfriend more interested on whether he has lipstick on his collar than bothering with boring old aliens.
            While I do love Time of the Doctor for all of its faults and will continue to opine that Matt’s performance in that stands still as the single greatest in all of Who history, I’d say Parting of the Ways stands as the best regeneration story we’ve had in new Who to date and it’s also not a bad Dalek story too. I might even go to say that the two best Dalek stories we’ve had since 2005 are both in series one – Dalek and Parting of the Ways.
            All of Tennant’s time could easily be thrown under a bus (Moffat penned episodes excepted. Their quality is so very much superior to everything else that it does make you wonder if Moffat had Tennant as his doctor, if we might have ended up with something better than the gurning spiv we ended up with).
            But the good thing about Who is that even the failed eras and doctors must come to an end and something better is bound to come along.

          • Castellan Spandrel says:

            “Matt’s performance in that stands still as the single greatest in all of Who history”

            -That’s one hell of a big call to make, though he is wonderful. One of my favourite Doctors.

            Davison (not as much of a favourite on the whole) is tremendous in Caves of Androzani as well and I’ve lost count of the number of brilliant Tom Baker/Troughton renditions or indeed Hartnell in the very first episode or John Hurt.

            And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the Doctors, never mind Delgado, Philip Madoc … countless others …

          • Doctor Moo says:

            It’s a big call for sure but I see where Edward’s coming from. It may not be the best but it’s definitely up there. (Nick Courtney and Caroline John in Inferno?)

          • Castellan Spandrel says:

            McGann is terrific in both TV stories he’s in. Limited screen time as the Doctor but never put a foot wrong.

          • Doctor Moo says:

            Quite right! And shoutouts also to David Tennant’s John Smith persona and his Time Lord Victorious. Sir John Hurt’s War Doctor. Julian Bleach as Davros. Bernard Cribbens as Wilf. They’re the best of NuWho in my opinion.

          • Castellan Spandrel says:

            “Dr Moo to reception … Dr Moo to reception, please …”

            Yes to all of them.

            Michael Wisher as Davros too – to paraphrase Tom Baker, a one or two-note performance, but what a note!

            I imagine it’s difficult to convey a strong character beneath layers of latex, but him and Nabil Shaban as Sil did it brilliantly.

    • TimeChaser says:

      Please change your broken record, unless you just enjoy coming back here to get banned time and time again. You can hate on Moffat all you want, but do you have to bludgeon us in the head with it all. the. time?

      • SMC says:

        Hate is no fun for the hater without the bludgeon, apparently. How is it that knee-jerk haters can’t actually see that hate is mind-numbingly boring? Reminds me of a speaking gig at a library in the midwest once, years ago, where at the end of the author’s presentation (about SF stories), an old man hauled himself to his feet to ask how an author could justify writing *stories* — silly fantasies — when there were so many real and terrible wrongs going on the world that needed to be righted? I was told later by my hosts that he was an old Wobbly who came to every reading and lit. event at the library to ask exactly the same question, since obviously the point was to attack the writer for not being a labor organizer, not to get an answer.

        I get exactly the same feeling from the knee-jerk Moffat haters (although frankly, the old Wobbly actually had a real point about real reality, and things certainly haven’t gotten any better for working people than they were then). It’s the groove they’ve worn into their own thought patterns, and they can’t get out of it even if they want to. They’ll still be railing at Moffat for (their mindless mantra) “ruining” everything when we’re two show runners down the road. It’s an affliction. Let it be theirs, since they claim it. Let’s just decline to allow it to be ours as well. Don’t feed the bludgeon.

  5. TimeChaser says:

    Am I the only one who feels the tone of this article is a just a little too mean-spirited? Or am I just missing a lot of sarcasm?

    As for trailers and their evolution, I’ve enjoyed their development over the years. And frankly, I commend Murray Gold for moving from a very 80s synth type music for the first season to more orchestral and bombastic. Doesn’t bother me in the least.

    • bar says:

      a teeny bit mean maybe – the dig at Billie’s teeth is a tad unfair.

      But thanks James for showing that evolution – which I see as positive; it shows the trailers change to match the show’s development, especially the audience’s ever-keener attention.

      I wasn’t happy that Missy got a longer glare than those two fascinating expressions between space-suited Clara and the resolute Doctor.

      you have to glean what you can from the ‘anti-blinking’ glimpses (close your eyes, open then close them again instantly, brain stores the images as stills. fun with winmills, traffic etc – but NOT when you’re driving!)

      • TimeChaser says:

        There is that, but for me it was the digs at the Eleventh Doctor that rankled me more.

        “This is the Doctor’s ‘difficult, teenage phase’, the triceratops joyrides awkwardly juxtaposed with the moral angst he experiences when debating whether or not to turn Kahler Jex over to the Cyborg. Oh look, now he’s in his bedroom, and I think he’s smoking weed. I’m not angry, Doctor. I’m just disappointed.”

        So the Doctor can’t flip between mood/behavior extremes? I see Matt as being a lot like Tom Baker in that respect, so going from “Whee, Dinosaurs!” to “Rawr, evil people!” is nothing new to me and I don’t think it warrants that sort of reaction. But in the end, it’s one man’s opinion vs another’s.

        • Doctor Moo says:

          That’s why I liked series 7A more than is considered the norm. I liked seeing the different sides to Doctor 11 in such close juxtaposition. But I can see how that may also seem jarring to others.

        • Edward Delingford says:

          No fan of series 7B but I think the jabs at eleven were just a bit of fun and most people seem to really like the series, dinosaurs and all and maybe the author is one of the minority for whom the series doesn’t quite chime. I agree though that any perceived failure in series 7 has nothing to do with Matt. One of the few strong takeaways from series 7 for me was that Matt continued to make silk purses out of sows’ ears – case in point, how marvellous he was in Rings and Journey, particularly the lovely quiet scenes with Clara and how fascinating and funny he was in both Nightmare and Crimson Horror. His reaction to the dinosaurs puts a real smile on my face and reminds me how his doctor can turn on a dime from childlike to scary and ancient. Unlike Chris and David who you could never imagine being completely silly and childish in the way Tom Baker could be, Matt just nails it every time. He’s always a joy to watch even if the surrounding story (looking at you Journey and Nightmare) is as bad as anything written under RTD’s watch.

    • sj says:

      I’m pretty sure it’s all sarcasm.

      As for Gold, his music is fine, it’s just that it’s too. loud. I think that’s what he was getting at. Many times it’s nearly impossible to parse dialogue without the subtitles/captioning on because the score is deafening.

      • TimeChaser says:

        True, but that’s more of a fault on the audio mixing than the actual score. I suppose that task would be Gold’s as well, so in that case he needs to be more careful.

  6. Planet of the Deaf says:

    Thinking about it the S9 trailer has a completely different purpose to the S1 trailer.

    The S1 trailer was all about getting people to watch a new series, most of the audience will never have seen Doctor Who before, plus winning back the people who watched the original show. Back then if you wanted to watch S1 of Doctor Who you had to do it the traditional way!
    The S9 trailer is (a) a present to the fans to give them something to see, and (b) a way of keeping the series active on the internet. In a world of downloads and catchup TV, a high profile on the internet makes it more likely someone will watch an episode of Doctor Who for the first time, any episode.

  7. Edward Delingford says:

    Great article and quite a few chuckles – yep, I found those Billie Piper teeth in series 4 about the most scary thing in the series and they (and the horror that is anything to do with Rose and 10) still give me nightmares.
    It’s hardly surprising that the cinematic quality and confidence of these trailers has increased over time – it makes sense when you consider the increased quality of the each series, the increasing number of viewers and the better tech but looking through them again, it’s quite true you can see lots of other pointers to how the series each publicised ended up coming across. I think the trailer for Eccelston’s series really sells the show and I remember how excited I was to see it. It makes me remember the really great things about the first series and why it is still held in high esteem, notwithstanding our friends the farting aliens. It shows us that the doctor is someone you’d actually want to travel with and I like the ‘to camera’ aspects here, although it wore thin by the time the second series arrived. It is also a reminder of a time when Rose was likable and interesting and actually useful on the TARDIS before she was reduced to a highly irritating,clingy and whiny girlfriend to appease the Twilight audience RTD was chasing. The trailers for series 2 and 3 really do make you want to punch the television set with 10 and Rose coming across as unbearably smug in the first and poor old Martha looking vaguely irritated and confused in the latter. The Tennant gurning grin in the trailers is emblematic of the vacuousness of those two series and reminds us why his stock has fallen so badly since these series were screened. The series 4 trail is highly bombastic, hinting at the onanistic tone of the later Tennant years with the groan inducing mime scene. Thankfully we pass to the trailers for series 5 and 6, and they point to something new and fresh and we also have the striking change in the colour palette as well from brown/gold hues to blue hues which immediately gives you a more alien, less reassuring feeling (moving from the fairly brain free adventures and jolly romps of Tennant to the more complex, intrigue of Matt’s time where the possibilities of time and space travel are explored). Not a fan of series 7 and the blockbuster of the week, but the trailer is pretty exciting – a bit like the series itself, it promises treats which aren’t delivered. Finally, we get to series 8 and 9 and you can see how completely confident everything becomes. The show just needs to feed you enough titbits to remind you it is returning and assure you that you are in safe hands and add in enough tantalising peeks at monsters and situations to keep the internet chatter alive.

    Thanks – very interesting article. I bet we’ll see another trailer closer to September to build on the teaser trail. They are getting awfully slick at the promotion now (with admittedly excellent results given the massive growth n viewers overseas and the continuing steady audience in the UK) but sometimes I do yearn for the simpler days to which the series one trailer transports you when we first started the second leg of this 52 years journey.

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