Ten years ago today, Martha Jones joined the TARDIS. We review her introduction to the show to celebrate 10 years of our second favourite Doctor…
‘Dooooweeeeooooooooooooo!’ The titles roll, a new name shining from the vortex: ‘Freema Agyeman’. 10 years ago, this was a massive deal. The character of Martha Jones was the first ethnic minority companion in Doctor Who’s history (Mickey Smith had appeared previously, but not in the leading role). This made episode one of series three, Smith and Jones, an incredibly important story for the show.
After the familiar titles role, we haven’t got long to wait before being thrown into our new leading lady’s life. Not only are we introduced to Martha, but the rest of her middle class, explosive family. A concept that still resonates with us all today: good old family get togethers! Or terrible ones, as they mostly always seem to be. And within two minutes Martha meets The Doctor in the middle of the street. Taking off his tie and walking away, it is one of the more random introductions. In 2017, this scene is still exciting and different, and the first 2.5 minutes are fast-paced and packed with information about our new characters lives.
Martha is a Doctor! Or at least she will be if she ever passes her exams. This is a far cry from the previous TARDIS girl, Rose Tyler, but a completely refreshing take. Even now after all this time, I find myself buzzing in my seat. An intelligent, strong woman of colour taking on a degree in medicine AND saving the world! 2017 Television could take a leaf from 2007 Doctor Who’s book. The importance of this character is vastly under-rated. She realises something is wrong almost straight away, ticking the first companion box. And smart, and funny. Two more boxes. Oh, and the rain is going up! We’re thrown straight into the adventure as the whole hospital ends up on the moon.
Throwing Martha straight into a terrifying situation is almost like a test. Not only for her as a companion, but for us as viewers. Will she prove herself? Agreeing to venture outside, she ticks the next box: bravery. Freema absolutely shines, convincing us of every emotion. The drama is ramped up with space rhinos and a blood sucking old lady because it wouldn’t be Doctor who without a sentence as weird as that. The CGI and makeup teams must be applauded for what they’ve done here, even rivalling some shows that we have 10 years later!
Martha and The Doctor get on like a house on fire, bouncing off each others’ intelligence. There’s even a ‘Run!’ moment for our new girl, channelling Rose two years earlier. And boy can she run! The classic chase scene, Doctor and companion hand in hand, villain close behind. This is almost a moment of acceptance, that the viewer knows this woman is here to stay. Together they slowly start to work out what is going on. There are aspects of an angry, bitter Doctor through his bubbly personality, the effects of saying goodbye to Rose apparent. Martha’s humanity in the situation shows the need for someone to bring some perspective and compassion into his life, proving he is better off with someone by his side. This development is pivotal for both characters and how they’ve changed in the years after this series. She is put in danger by him, making us wonder about how reckless he has become. After only just meeting The Doctor, Martha bravely stands up and risks her life for him and the rest of the hospital. Without a second thought, she saves him. And in return, he saves her. The pair secure our hearts straight away.
After a day of saving the world, it’s back to family dramas for Martha Jones with Russell T Davies’ magic writing reminding us that she is just a normal woman. Any normal woman would want to escape from that. Which one of us would say no to getting away from our hectic lives? And still, Martha would turn down a trip to space for her exams. The old ‘it also travels in time’ trick works a treat, bringing the episode full circle in a fantastic timey-wimey way. Martha is truly an inspiration to young girls, dedicating herself to her profession, her family and being a strong, independent woman. A truly special introduction for our second favourite doctor, the episode screams 2007, yet still feels so modern. 10 years ago, we were introduced to Martha Jones, and it changed the world of Doctor Who forever.