Emily Cook, the mastermind behind the Doctor Who global fan rewatches, has announced the next event. It's another two-parter, this time "Human Nature" and "Family of Blood". It takes place on Friday, April 24, at 7 pm British Standard Time, which is 2 pm US East Coast Time. The writer of the two-parter Paul Cornell and its director Charles Palmer will be live-tweeting the rewatch. "Human Nature" was originally a novel by Cornell that was published by Virgin Books back in 1995. Showrunner Russell T. Davies was a fan of the book. When he brought back the show in 2005, he invited Cornell to adapt the story for the show. It became a two-part episode in Davies' second season.
The book featured the 7th Doctor and Bernice Summerfield, the companion that Cornell created to replace Ace when the latter left the Doctor in the Virgin novels. Bernice would become popular enough to spin off into her own series of novels and Big Finish audio dramas later on. In the original version of "Human Nature", the Doctor buys some technology to transform himself into a human teacher on Earth named John Smith to understand how humans lived better. The book was one of the most popular novels in Virgin's series.
Human Nature Underwent Changes From Book to Screen
Cornell made many changes to the story and adapted it for the 10th Doctor (David Tennant). The TV version of "Human Nature" was one of the few stories that created something new to the lore of the show. It introduced the Gallifreyan technology that enabled Timelords to disguise themselves as humans. This included creating an entire human set of memories and identity so they don't even know they're Timelords. The Doctor and Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) flee to Earth before World War Two to hide from the Family of Blood, who wants to kill the Doctor to take his immortality.
As in the book, John Smith falls in love with a human woman named Joan but has to sacrifice himself to become The Doctor again when the aliens invade and threaten everybody. Out of all the new generation of Doctor Who writers, Paul Cornell is the one who dug deepest into the epic and mythical dimensions of The Doctor. His poignant and poetic portrayals of The Doctor were a huge influence on Davies, Steven Moffat, and now Chris Chibnall's approach to the character. It was about time his episodes got the global rewatch treatment.