The Doctor – David Tennant
Martha Jones – Freema Agyeman
Shakespeare – Dean Lennox Kelly
So, Martha’s first adventure and we get Shakespeare! There’s a lot to like about this episode. Ten is clearly enjoying himself on this one, and Martha does well for her first time travelling, don’t you think? Asking the important questions for us not in TV-land and getting timey-wimey explanations in return.
Yes I like that Martha has a very down to earth and practical approach to time travel, and while she has just as much sense of wonder as Rose, there’s a bit more of – I don’t know, is it snobbish to say she feels more intellectual in how she takes in history? Less giggling, more cynical nodding.
I don’t think it’s snobbish – true, maybe, but just another way to identify the differences between the companions I guess. Martha is better educated and a little more worldly than Rose, so showing Martha reacting quite differently to how we saw Rose reacting is reasonable.
I also think it’s important that Martha raises the race question early, and that the Doctor answers it – it’s a little glib for him to suggest she just walk around like she own the place, because he’s speaking from white male privilege, but at the same time it is important to note that there were people of colour (if not as many as now) in British history, and it’s only a century of whitewashed movies and television that makes us think otherwise. Important that the race issue is addressed in the time travel stories, because pretending Martha isn’t black would be bizarre. I rather like her “not exactly white, in case you haven’t noticed” line because, let’s face it, the Doctor probably WOULDN’T think about that sort of thing.