Come on, does anyone really think this person was any good? The character was a hopelessly underwritten and poorly acted drip. She was supposed to be training as a doctor but behaved more like a lost chav. The fault could be attributed to the writers, but a great proportion of the blame must lie with an actress chosen for looks not talent. Mind you, Doctor Who can survive weak assistants - 'American' Peri anyone?
That's ridiculous. You don't write a character out and then write them back in again because they were such a failure with the audience. And you certainly don't write a 'failing' character into the spin-off show AND THEN RETURN THEM to the original show.
I also hardly find Martha not only choosing to leave, choosing to qualify as a doctor, choosing to help Torchwood, and then choosing to travel with the Doctor again representative of a character who can't find her own direction. If you want to moan about the 'unrequited' storyline then talk to the writers but what you're referring to re: the character seems to be in complete opposition to what happened and will happen on screen.
It's my opinion that they only intended Martha for one season (given that they would have to book someone as busy as Tate well in advance of their actual guesting season, not to mention the hints you get listening to The Runaway Bride commentary) but that the character became so popular they not only brought her back but put her in Torchwood too.
Rubbish! I agree Martha was underwritten - very little of her personal motivation is given or explored (other than her affection for the Doctor - to the point that you don't wonder if she's not in the middle of a rebound herself), as is true of her supporting characters, and the fact that every time there's a guest star or a 'more pressing' plot element Martha gets pushed to the background - just look at how often she ends up with supporting characters rather than with the Doctor - feeds into this.
But Freema's a great actress, who put many levels into her portrayal of Martha. I'd say the writers didn't give her enough to work with frankly, but what little they did she put to brilliant use. She was excellent in The Family Of Blood, and absolutely lit up Smith & Jones making viewing compulsive. I hadn't even intended to watch Doctor Who anymore (because of what I felt was a bit of an over-emphasis on the 'importance' of Rose), despite loving The Runaway Bride but Freema/Martha drew me back in.
If anything poor Martha spent a ridiculous amount of the season competing with Rose's presence/impact when not only wasn't the character there but she wasn't coming back. That's poor form, imo. If this was another show I could see the need to do that maybe but with the Doctor having said goodbye to so many companions in so many different ways over the decades it's a bit silly to have him pine so much for a character that isn't even dead but estranged from him, for so extended a period that undermines the introduction of a new companion, and his dynamic with that character.
I can put money on the fact that we won't hear him lamenting Martha's absence next season. If anything we'll probably be hearing yet more about Rose. And while I get the need to show him grieving, it's starting to ruin what Doctor Who's about, sure his companions can get damaged by their association with him but to have them damaged because he's so myopicly focussed on one particular companion - esp. when we never saw him moping over Sarah Jane - is a bit much.
Oh and another thing, what the hell is up with Martha not being on the box set? I hope they know that if she's not on it some people are not going to buy it. I certainly won't. The Master was in two full eps and came in at the end of the third. Martha was in ALL 13 episodes. They never hesitated to put Rose on the previous box sets, the omission here of Martha raises my eyebrows - and not in a good way.
yep she needs to be put on the box set although it's good that thay have put John Simms on as the Master. Anyway who knows what thay are going to put on the back of the box, Martha and Donna Mybe, I hope so as thay are are both coming back next year.
Sorry S. Fraser (aka Count Orlok), you are mistaken. The chronology is as follows (see Doctor Who Magazine 385). Martha's exit was decided in the second half of 2006. Her return was planned by January 2007. The idea of bringing back Donna was proposed at the same time and Tate was contracted in March 2007. All of this happened before series 3 had even aired. What has happened to Martha is nothing to do with Freema's performance, therefore, (which I thought was wonderful, btw) and nothing to do with panic buttons. It has everything to do with complicated plans, storylines and a desire to keep chopping and changing for innovation's sake.
Too many people have put 2 and 2 together and got 5 on this one because they fail to understand just how far in advance of transmission this type of decision is taken.
I repeat: Martha was always going to be written out and brought back again as that is how the story was planned from the outset.
Edited to add: this post was a reply to an earlier post that has since been deleted by its author!
Hi S. Fraser (aka Count Orlok)! My claim is based solely on the facts that we now have which are the pieces of information provided by two of the show's producers and the actress herself in DWM magazine. Of course, they could all be being economical with the truth or have got their facts wrong. I find both of these possibilities difficult to accept, though.
Naturally, if you do not accept what these three key people say, then all sorts of alternative scenarios become possible and, as you say, we shall go round full circle while the cows are on their way back.
What I do grant, though, is that RTD himself says he realised what a "trap" Martha was in and what a "curse" he had placed her under and that this was not "sustainable" and needed to be ended because both the character and the story were "suffering".
I guess, then, all we are really debating is the precise point in time at which he (and the others?) took the decisions regarding Martha's development that they did and, as you say, we may never know the truth about that.
Edited to add: March is not "long after the episodes were filmed" as filming extended at least into February. Tate's contract was FINALISED in March; negotiations would have begun some time prior to then. Series 4 writers were already under orders to write for Donna (or a Donna like character). Rose could not be brought back for obvious reasons (unless another actress were chosen, which is highly unlikely).
You seem to be suggesting a sudden, spur of the moment decision taken very late during filming but, as I have said, unless we choose to disbelieve everything we are told by the people involved and ignore the practicalities of scripting, filming and producing generated by the chronology involved, this seems improbable if not impossible.
Edited to add: this post was a reply to an earlier post that has since been deleted by its author!
OK, based on what little information we now have, here is how I see what made Martha the once and future companion.
* February 2006 Freema passes her audition and is subsequently hired to play Martha.
* Mid-2006 (?) Tate is hired to play Donna in TRB.
* July 2006 Tate films TRB, RTD and the rest are mightily impressed and they resolve to try to secure her services for S4. Tate later says, speaking about the ending of the programme, that she was not asked to be a companion. Obviously, not for S3, as Freema had already been hired.
* In "the second half of " according to RTD in DWM but, quite conceivably, at about the same time as the filming of TRB RTD "just realise[s]" that he has placed Martha in a "trap" and under a "curse" and that the story of unrequited love is not sustainable so he decides to have her exit stage left in LotTL, quite coincidentally (!) paving the way for Donna in S4.
*August 2006 onwards Freema films S3, RTD pats himself on the back and realises, as he later says, that the woman is "just brilliant". At some point, probably later in the year (the chronology given in DWM is vague), RTD instructs S4 scriptwriters to write for Donna and the show's headhunters to get Tate. Eventually, Freema herself is let in on the secret (she says in DWM it was later rather than sooner).
* January 2007 The "complicated plan" is now well in train as Phil Collinson has wall charts in his office dovetailing the filming schedules of DW and TW to enable Martha to play a part in both.
* February 2007 Freema gives the performance of her life as she films LotTL. Meanwhile, behind her back, negotiations with Tate are progressing well.
* March 2007 Tate puts pen to paper and commits to S4 (but, remarkably, nobody publicly gets wind of it). Martha's first two episodes receive critical acclaim at the official press launch of S3. RTD pats himself on the back, again.
* April-June 2007 Martha is not everyone's cup of tea but the critical, viewer and fan reaction is largely positive. RTD pats himself on the back, again, but looks rather pensive doing so.
* May-June 2007 A certain newspaper *spit* gets wind of the fact that Martha is not in the festive season special nor in early episode scripts of S4 and puts its own special gloss on the situation. RTD becomes even more pensive. Freema loyally and bravely takes the blows in public on his behalf to protect the integrity and sanctity of the storyline that will see her exit (temporarily but quite lengthily) and Donna return.
* July 2007 The BBC makes its two announcements about the future of Martha and Donna. Freema loyally and bravely declares herself excited by the challenge and blown away to be in TW. RTD pats himself on the back, again, openly and gushingly in public.
* July-August 2007 The announcements divide viewers and fandom alike. Insofar as it is possible to gauge, though, the majority reaction to both is negative. RTD says 'ooops' (in private, of course). It is now up to the whole of the Who team, producers, writers, cast, set and the rest to pull out all the stops to make sure S4 works well given the configuration it will have.
Sorry, Torchy, in all the excitement, I forgot to answer your question. Yes, I do think the character of Martha is good, very good and, not incidentally, so do the majority of critics, viewers and fans alike. I find her attractive, intelligent, well-educated, resourceful, sassy, brave and ultimately heroic, all in all "fantastic"!
I thought that Martha was great ... for a while. Then she lost her independence, and her spark, and turned into this puppy eyed, "i love you" girl. Admittedly, Rose was slightly like that (although she never said the words out loud) and I still liked her, but I thought it created a better dynamic... maybe it was the Doctors reaction and the way it made the series feel that put me of. Either way, I didn't like it, although she did improve in the last few episodes. After all - she gained her independence back! And I think that Freema is a great actress, don't misunderstand that, I do. But I think she was given a poorly constructed character to act with. She would have been better off leaving in The Lazarus Experiment, and the Doctor could have gone and found someone else - I know that seems a bit harsh, but at least Martha would have gone out on a high, rather than the redeemed-but-not-quite-there state she was, in my opinion, in when she left. But there we are. I'm looking forward to Donna's return - I just hope she stays as fiery and independent as she seemed in TRB! It's gonna be strange seeing her out of a wedding dress!
I think the problem with Freema's acting is not only that she was given very little to work with (who IS Martha, really? What makes her tick? What function did her family serve? What are her habits and mannerisms?), but that she seems to have acted straight off the page and not added anything to it. Tennant has added tons of little quirks to his character, Piper was constantly reacting in the background, never coming out of role even when the camera wasn't on her. Freema seems to have done what is asked of her and that is all - no innovation, no ad libbing, no new ideas.
Besides, she had more chemistry with Barrowman than with Tennant (but then doesn't everyone? *wink*). All this love stuff was utterly unbelievable.
I'd complain about her style - which, if you ask me, comprises of an over-breathy voice for emphasis and the range of two facial expressions - but a lot of people seem to really like the <i>way</i> she acts, so I suspect I wouldn't have a very long-standing point there.
It's a real shame, because I felt Martha had a lot of potential and, even without much material to work with, could have been brought to life much more successfully by another actress (Martha's sister, even; I really enjoyed her performance in TLE and felt from that that I know more about Tish than I do her sibling!).
Also, I agree with Ms. D. Drew - very excited about Donna's return, and whenever I try and think about her in the new episodes, she always pops up in her wedding dress! Her and Ten played off each other very well.
Just a point of fact, if I may: it is utterly untrue to state that Freema had only "two facial expressions". A simple glance at the screencaps available on the Internet (on Live Journal, for instance, or, indeed, in the galleries on the BBC web site itself) shows this to be a wholly wrong assessment.
Opinions are one thing and fine, of course, but untruths are quite another.
I guess you could say I can't judge on a 'professional' basis how goood or bad an actor/actress is, but I'm the kind that go with the 'gut-feeling' when it comes to characters.
Somehow, I don't feel the chemistry between the Doctor and Martha... as I would with Doctor and Rose, and maybe even Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith. It isn't something tangible, you just feel it's there or it's not. Like Capt Jack felt more 'right' with the tenth Doctor, than it is with the ninth Doctor. The episodes with Martha just sort of fade into the background.
I think Freema is probably a good actress in her own right, but I think she's not really suited to be the Doctor's assistant.
Not really sure about Donna either. But I think I'll keep an open mind about this.
Wow - all this discussion about a 3rd rate actress. It's obvious she failed in the role which is why she was sacked. Simple. S3 was great despite the Martha character not because of her. I can't wait for S4 when we will at last have an actress worthy of featuring in such a great show. If we can't have Billie back than Catherine Tate will do just fine. Torchwood is rubbish anyway so Martha will be well at home there.
My my Torchy, what a load of sanctimonious claptrap you've inspired. I mourned the loss of Rose, (I love Billie to bits), but then took my time to get to know Martha - something a lot of 'reviewers' don't seem to have bothered to do. I was gutted when she 'decided' to leave at the end of S3, but kind of assumed she would be back at some point, (I don't read DWM) And what's with all of these 'experts', (including you Torchy my old mate), critisising her acting & portrayal. I believe that Freema played Martha exactly as she was meant to be, to suit coming storylines - I'm sure that she'll return as a stronger woman, (she was already showing this at the end of S3).
I do love Rose, and i think that over all Rose did make a better companion than Martha, purely because The Doctor did look at Rose and he actually ' loved ' her. Although i do think that Martha was a great Actor and she took over from Rose brilliantly at the beginning of Series 4. However i am looking forward to Series 4 to see how Martha and Donna deal with them both being the doctor's companion. and for evreyones information Freema WAS NOT sacked. Hence the reason why she's coming back half way through S4! duhhhh.