Sunday, June 18, 2006


Saturday's Dr Who managed to straddle two time zones which, like the fate of the monster, pulled it apart into an incoherent mess.

Half of it was set in the here and now, the post-modern era of smart, intelligent Dr Who that has been with us since Christopher Ecclestone blew up the department store last year. A touching and well acted story about loneliness and friendship - about a sense of community and human worth evolving from a handful of very different people thrown together by circumstance. Really quite charming.

The other half was set twenty years ago, as the original series assumed the vertical position immediately prior to its final nosedive into the depths. We had a monster that was quite clearly a man in a rubber suit, played by a man in a rubber suit, with no effort on the part of the actor or the producers to disguise the fact that it was a man in a rubber suit, or the identity of said man, and (the cardinal sin) not even trying to take it seriously. Dr Who can be pretty preposterous at times. Everyone knows that. But even at the heights of zaniness it has kept one foot on the ground. The evil that the Doctor has always fought has always been evil. It has torn innocent lives apart. Stopping it has been a moral imperative, and the Doctor has known it.

By playing it for laughs, they gave the evil all the threat and menace of a strand of overcooked spaghetti. Bringing back Bonnie Langford would be an improvement.

And I never thought I would be saying that.


  1. Just evil for evil's sake never works well. Mr. Monster never showed any reason for wanting to absorb the doctor. WE NEED AN EVIL REASON!

  2. Absolutely! Consider yourself member #000002 of the Campaign for Real Evil.

  3. The monster in that episode was designed by a blue peter competition winner.

  4. That episode wasn't Doctor Who, it was Doctor Where?

    I'm all for shaking things up but it just didn't work here. It was a soap with a monster in it. There's the spin off for you: Space-enders.

  5. Simon - I know the monster was a competition winner but that's no excuse. You can use camera angles and light and shadow to disguise something. The more you leave to the imagination, the scarier it is. Think of a little boy wearing a gas mask and asking "are you my mummy?" In broad daylight that wouldn't be scary at all. Which is why they didn't show it in broad daylight, only the dark. Less is more. Hence my complaint that they didn't even try.

    But Yeti, in its defence it was nothing like Eastenders - the characters showed self knowledge and increasing maturity!


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