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Casino Royale

Partners in Time

The new Bond film, SPECTRE, is out this week (I'm going tomorrow!), and new Doctor Who has been gracing our screens for a month or so now. Two very British franchises, both of which have played a not insignificant part in my life - Doctor Who from the age of eight or so, Bond from my teens.

The two have plenty more in common than my affection, of course. Both have a hero who, every so often, gets a different face; both are accompanied by a succession of young women who, this time, are different, because they're feisty and independent (in Bond's case, I think this was first said about Pussy Galore and has been repeated for every film since). The principal difference is that violence and killing are a last resort for the Doctor, and usually the first for Bond.

When I was a teenager, both series were in a state of hibernation, as well as deeply uncool. The BBC drop-kicked the Doctor in 1989, while Licence to Kill, released in the same year, looked for a time to be the end of Bond. Both were fatally holed by concerns about dwindling fan interest, and the licence to make Bond films also disappeared into legal hell for some years. (Timothy Dalton, my favourite Bond, and Sylvester McCoy, my second-favourite Doctor, both got a bit of a raw deal.)

Both made a comeback during my first year at university, Bond with GoldenEye and Who with the TV movie. Here their paths diverged for a while, the Bond flick enjoying more success than its counterpart. Pierce Brosnan went on to make a further three Bond films, while Paul McGann became a crucial component of the quietly thriving Doctor Who audiobook scene.

The re-reboot of each occurred within a similar timeframe, too. Christopher Eccleston made his debut as the Doctor in 2005, and Daniel Craig starred in Casino Royale in 2006. Both brought a new, slightly thuggish quality to the role, which worked better on Bond. And, suddenly, both franchises were cooler than they'd ever been.

They had new, young fans who were fans because the new stuff was good in and of itself, rather than of interest for what it represented. There was fanfic. The respective fandoms stopped being so male-dominated.

Neither seems to be for kids any more (and let us not pretend that the Bond movies weren't for kids). Doctor Who has been airing long past the bedtime of its former target audience. As for Bond, just look at the merchandising: when The Living Daylights came out, you could get collectable stickers in multipacks of Trio bars. Tie-ins for SPECTRE include Sony hardware and premium vodka.

So what is my problem? Why do I resent the popularity of something I liked during the wilderness years? Maybe I feel I deserve some kind of recognition, to be a higher-tier, more senior fan than the squealing Tennant-is-sexy/Craig-is-sexy mob (conveniently overlooking my own Pertwee-is-sexy/Dalton-is-sexy motives).

Obviously I'm not going to get it, because there is no higher authority (the M or Rassilon of Fandom) to bestow it. But I am grateful that both are providing me with more adventures to get excited or cross about, and while neither Peter Capaldi nor Daniel Craig will ever be my favourite incarnation of the character they play, both are doing a smashing job.

Carry on, chaps.


A lovely post, and I am glad they are both still around to give you such pleasure!
Thank you! Someone has already told me they didn't think much of SPECTRE, but the good thing about both Bond and Who is that I will have plenty to say whether I love or hate them.
BBC 4 recently (this week but I can't remember when) had an evening of Bond-themed programmes. I only watched one, in which Matthew Sweet and Mark Gatiss, appropriately dressed (not Speedos) and equipped with dry Martinis, discussed which of all Bonds was the best.
I won't tell you the verdict in case you decide to watch the programme.
I missed this, but did catch it over the weekend. Very entertaining!
I always thought Sylvester McCoy was better than some of the scripts he was given... I mean... how seriously can you take Bertie Basset as a villain? And lovely guy though he was,(I met him once)Roy Skelton's Daleks did sound increasingly like Zippy as the years went on.

McCoy was definitely under rated though.

I was never a Bond fanatic, but the films were a regular thing in my family, they were one of the few things the whole family would be willing to sit down and watch together.
I found the Kandyman pretty scary, but I was about 9. I haven't dared rewatch that one, though Curse of Fenric has stood up pretty well.

Although I was the big Bond fan, my parents never seemed to object if one of the films was on!
I liked Timothy Dalton's Bond, too - he seemed most like the Bond of the books to me. Not that I don't harbor a certain tendre for Sean Connery and that 60s flash.

And I'm fine with Daniel Craig's Bond, though he's best with the strongest story and direction (which is why Skyfall worked better than its predecessor).

The woeful production values kept me from being a fan of old Who, so I was delighted when it returned in the modern era. Maybe Eccleston was just the lucky recipient of a lifetime's worth of yearning, because I did enjoy his Doctor. Tenant had to earn my affection, but he did so in spades; Smith never hit those heights for me. I'm liking Capaldi fine, and I especially like what his Doctor has done for Clara - I couldn't stand her with Smith's Doctor, but the new dynamic has made all the difference, and I'll be sorry to see her go.

I think basically I just enjoy the worlds that both characters inhabit, and there are always things to like if one is minded that way.
I was prepared to dislike Matt Smith merely because he was so ridiculously young, but he did an amazing job of playing a 900-year-old in the body of a young man. And Peter Capaldi does an amazing job of playing someone who recently inhabited a much younger body. Very impressed all round.

Seeing Bond's interactions with Q and Moneypenny in SPECTRE brought it home to me that he is now a very old-fashioned character in a modern world, but it worked. I think we all want to believe that we have 007 and the Doctor out there, secretly protecting us.
We do!
I find it incredibly amusing to see the prettyboy fangirls upset by Capaldi, and I take every chance to say how much I like him and how he's the first of the newschool Doctors that I have watched every episode for, if not on airing, the day after (I missed the last one last year due to something I forget, and I missed last weeks because I was having a housewarming party and the last person went home ten minutes after it started (and it's criminal to turn over mid episode of course) but both I've watched within 24 hours. It hasn't been like that since I was a little tiny and I love it :D
Heh! Yes, I've bothered to see all his episodes, while there are some from the David Tennant era I missed for one reason or another and still haven't caught up with. (I will miss tonight's for fireworks! Must catch it tomorrow!)