Doctor Who: The Runaway TARDIS Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: The Runaway TARDIS Review

Chris Morley takes a trip.

There seems to be a concerted effort to make the Thirteenth Doctor the most child friendly of the lot, at least in print that is. A journey that began with David Solomons' The Secret In Vault 13, was quickly followed by The Maze Of Doom and then last month Doctor Who broke new ground with the release of a story aimed squarely at the youngest of those dreaming of adventures with the Timelord - The Runaway TARDIS, by Rebecca Gyllenhaal with illustrations from Kim Smith, aiming to help them with a journey to a corner of the universe potentially as terrifying as any that Sexy has seen in her time.

While it may not be a particularly faraway destination, Lizzie, a small child looking to run away from a new school, will eventually instead run into someone who has more experience than most with new friends & indeed new places. Travelling solo on one of her breaks away from her latest band of companions, but characteristically happy to welcome a young stowaway aboard, so begins a trip which takes in outer space, prehistory, ancient Egypt & the planet Plorp - home to master engineers the Glorp.

By way of a simple bottle review, think of The Runaway TARDIS as Series 11 made even simpler. It's an introduction to who the Doctor is with confirmation that she's most definitely an alien, as well as what makes her old faithful police box so special, but tailored squarely for those who might take most joy from imagining the magic within. All approved by Jodie Whittaker herself, down to her depiction within its pages. We shouldn't be surprised by her being so down with the kids, as Bleeding Cool point out,
“At the end of the day, what really matters is what children think of the show. And children love the Doctor.The Doctor doesn't need a reason to be heroic. She is heroic simply because it's the right and kind thing to do. The Doctor simply is. “
The Radio Times had also run a piece in the wake of the newest incarnation's big d├ębut in The Woman Who Fell To Earth, with particular focus on the reactions from the childrens' section of its audience. It didn't exactly hurt that their parents were so on board, either, mind!
“Seeing the look on my 9yr old science-geek daughter’s face as she watched a highly intelligent woman science the bejeepers out of a load of random stuff to make a sonic screwdriver to save the world with was EVERYTHING,” one Twitter user wrote. “A million thank yous.”

Another added, “Girls couldn't believe it when I told them that the 1st 12 Doctors were men. Needless to say they are now massive fans. It might only be a TV show, but these things matter & these things are lovely.”
In light of which it might cause us to wonder just how it took so long for a character based on girls of that age bracket to appear alongside the first female incarnation? Whittaker had expressed, from her earliest days in the role, her hope that she could be an inspiration to them.
“Girls will no longer just think, ‘Oh, I could be a companion.’ Being the first female Doctor and showing children that their heroes in shows don’t always look the same is a huge honour for me.”
Part of her readiness to approve The Runaway TARDIS may well also come from her clear memory of being in a similar position to those she now entertains every Saturday tea-time.
"It was incredibly emotional because my entire life has been spent as a child, all I ever wanted to do was to be an actor and I wanted to do it because I wanted to play pretend and that is the ultimate. I get to play an alien, a Time Lord and as a girl? Who knew?!"
Even one of the key facets of her performance stems from younger years!
‘I’m a quiet person’s nightmare – the only time I shut up is when I’m reading, because I’m a book geek. I was the attention-seeking child in class who needed everyone to look at meee...Luckily that got channelled into acting, because I would have been terrible at anything else. I would have been a nightmare in any kind of office, because I wouldn’t have had any friends in any environment other than performing. I’m quite loud and quite overconfident.”
She went on to make quite the in-character appearance on last year's Children In Need into the bargain. Bringing two of her Fam with her on that occasion as well.

Unsuspecting youngster Anastasia had come on stage with host Tess Daly during the telethon to tell her how a charity helped build her confidence by giving her access to drama classes. Daly then surprised the Anastasia with a special video message from the stars of Doctor Who, telling her they were filming in America.
"Hi Anastasia, we're so sorry we're not there with you tonight but we hope you're having the most amazing evening, we're in America shooting the next series."
With the reception failing, Jodie pointed her sonic screwdriver at the camera, the screen parted in two and the trio were stood there in the studio. The Doctor simply is magic to the younger generation. Just as she should be.

It's this enthusiasm to inspire that is evident in the pages of The Runaway TARDIS. Regardless of age, who among us hasn't wanted to stumble across a mysterious blue box that's bigger on the inside and can take them to places they've never dreamed off - and still be home in time for tea! Young Lizzie may well make us all envious as she joins the likes of Steven Taylor, Zoe Heriot, Sarah Jane Smith, Leela, and Adric by stowing away aboard the TARDIS for an adventure of a lifetime...

There are a multitude of ways in which people become fans and there are far less entertaining options that this one. For those very young ones who have yet to experience hiding behind the sofa, The Runaway TARDIS works well as a soft introduction to Doctor Who. Perhaps preparing them for selected not-too-scary adventures and watching them with a parent. The Runaway TARDIS also works well as a way of introducing children to the unknown; like new friends or a new school, and pointing out that what might first seem scary may turn out to be entirely the opposite.

In short then, as a Doctor Who story aimed squarely at children, The Runaway TARDIS offers great bedtime reading to the smaller members of your household, and you might just find it reignites the dreamer in you too.

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