The principal focus of this book about the new Doctor Who is on the relationships which it explores and develops between its characters, and the emotional challenges with which these face them. The format of the show has been constant in at least one respect for the fifty years of its existence. It is the story of a superhuman Doctor Who who travels through time and space in his spaceship, the TARDIS, saving various kinds of beings from harms and evils. Although the Doctor often seems to be motivated in his journeys merely by whimsy, or by a desire to amuse or impress his companions by what he can show them, there is invariably a more serious reason why he arrives at any specific place or time in the universe (or indeed, in the show’s terms, beyond the known universe). The Doctor seeks out trouble, harm, and cosmic danger, in much the way that Sherlock Holmes seeks out worldly crimes and evil deeds. Those found to be in danger in Doctor Who may be entire worlds, especially Earth to whose people the Doctor is especially attached. Or particular communities, such as A Town Called Mercy, in the American Wild West. Or vulnerable kinds of beings, such as children, or the tortured Star Whale in The Beast Below. Or they may be particular individuals, such as Van Gogh in Vincent and the Doctor, or Mme de Pompadour in The Girl in the Fireplace. Saving worlds and 258people is essentially what the Doctor does—that is really why he is called the Doctor. Sometimes he seems to discover sinister features of the environment simply through his keen powers of observation (again like those of Sherlock Holmes), in a place or time which has been chosen for a TARDIS visit for apparently “innocent” reasons. An example is the monster which the Doctor spotted in Van Gogh’s painting of a church in the Musée D’Orsay, where the Doctor had taken Amy as a special treat. Or the distress of a father at the disappearance of his daughter, in The Vampires of Venice, where the Doctor had taken Amy and Rory ostensibly as a wedding present. (Should they not have known by now that it would not be that simple?) Sometimes the Doctor is specifically summoned across time and space in response to a known menace—for example, when he is called by River Song in The Time of Angels to the planet Alfava Matraxis to assist her in recapturing the Weeping Angel which is believed to be hidden inside a mountain there, following the wreck of the starship Byzantium in which it was imprisoned. But whether the Doctor merely comes across a danger as it were “by accident”, or knowingly goes looking for it, seems to make little difference in practice. Wherever and whenever he appears, however apparently benign the setting, evil forces will be found to be present and active. It is his vocation to be drawn to them. He becomes bored and restless when asked to live, even for a few days, the mundane routines of everyday life. (As we see, for example, when he stays with Amy and Rory in the story of the strange black cubes, The Power of Three). He puts his malaise down to boredom, the converse of the pleasurable excitement and adventure he seems principally to be offering to his companions in the TARDIS. But the reality is that it is the continuing confrontation with perverse, dark forces that give the Doctor his principal—perhaps his only—reason for living. 1