There are many secrets to success, but possibly one of the most enduring is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Perhaps that is why the BBC and Russell T Davies have scored such a huge hit with the rejuvenated Doctor Who?
Despite losing the two principal actors who helped to relaunch the classic series in 2005 – first Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and then Billie Piper as his fesity side-kick Rose Tyler – Russell T and his team have largely stuck to a winning formula from episode one of the first series to episode one of the latest series.
Certainly David Tennant quickly made the role of the last Time Lord his own. With an impressive track record – primarily in Casanova, another Russell T and BBC collaboration – he fitted into the role with aplomb.
Arguably, however, Freema Agyeman had a much harder task in assuming the role of the Doctor’s assistant.
Billie Piper confounded many critics with her performance as the feisty right-hand woman and proved incredibly popular with Doctor’s Who diverse audience.
But just as Rose was an instant hit, Freema’s trainee doctor Martha Jones made a hugely impressive debut in the third series.
Billie and Freema are different actors and Rose and Martha are different characters. Yet they share so much which once again proves that old adage of not changing a winning formula.
Both are sexy, sassy, clever, funny, cheeky, cynical, caring, questioning, loyal and most importantly believable personalities tackling unbelievable circumstances.
Equally, the series itself has evolved without sacrificing the characteristics which have made it an instant hit.
Doctor Who is smart, clever, silly, funny, self-depracating, serious, adventurous and the right kind of escapism. From episode one of the revived series the writing has been sharp, the direction has been tight, the performances have been spot on and the enjoyment factor has been enormous.
It is a classic formula that seems to have escaped so many within the TV industry. Give us something fun, something entertaining and something that doesn’t treat us like imbeciles.
Imitation is so often the sincerest form of flattery and ITV’s own attempt at copying the Doctor Who formula, Primeval, was a brave attempt that is well worth developing.
But the return of the Doctor and the introduction of Martha Jones shows the original is still the best. Even the most cynical and hard-to-please of reviewers have been won over by Doctor Who and our blossoming love affair looks likely to grow stronger during this third series.
Television has thrown up some fantastic double acts over the years, three of most recent have all been provided by the same series.
First The Doctor (Eccleston) and Rose. Then The Doctor (Tennant) and Rose.
Now we have The Doctor and Martha to get excited over.