More Who

The lovely Belgian Waffle complains that there is too much Doctor Who here, and looking over the past few weeks’ entries, she has a point. (And I haven’t even revealed the Speshul Prodjekt I’m currently working on.) So, while I don’t intend to cut down especially on the dockeroo posts, I will start employing the cut tag a bit more judiciously. And don’t worry, there’s a big long post mainly about me and hardly at all about Doctor Who coming up, with lots of answers to interview questions.

No need for a cut-tag for the first of the two stories I’m looking at here though. “The Gunfighters” is just a silly story of time-travellers landing in Tombstone just before the gunfight at the OK Corral. Hartnell has some great lines; trying to pass off the Tardis crew as entertainers, he introduces himself as “your humble servant, Doctor, er, Caligari.” “Doctor Who?” asks the bewildered local. “Yes, quite right!” comes the response. I still think Jacki Lane is good as Dodo as well, and of course so is Peter Purves as Stephen.

It really did take me until last night to get around to watching, for the first time, the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie. I think it looks fantastic. The inside of the Tardis, especially, but also the other scenes, hospital, party, city, the policeman riding his motorbike into the Tardis, the lot. The final scenes with the Master, the Doctor and the Eye of Harmony are impossible to look away from. I think it sounds good as well. The arrangement of the theme tune is the only one to take serious liberties with the original and get away with it. (Apart from the original 1963 version, the only good opening music for the TV series is the present one. Though the opening titles for the Tom Baker era are the best of the classic series.)

There is, of course huge violence to continuity which can only really be dealt with by assuming that the post-regeneration Doctor and body-transferring Master were deluded in their statements. There is really no way the Doctor can be half-human. We suspect that Gallifreyans and humans can mate (see Leela’s departure, and the follow-up in Lungbarrow), but the Doctor has made so many remarks over the years about his own separateness and difference from humanity that I must assume he doesn’t mean what his eighth incarnation says. Also the Eye of Harmony was on Gallifrey on the Tardis as far as I remember. (Though Wikipedia has some heroic retconning on this topic.)

But in general I come down in favour. I think McGann, Ashbrook and Roberts are great. I also liked the links to continuity both forward and back – McCoy’s appearance for the first twenty minutes, McGann’s fondling a scarf as he decides what to wear; but also of course (a point that was new to me) the Doctor looking through Grace’s letterbox, a scene repeated by the Ninth Doctor and Rose in the very next episode (nine years later). Sure, the plot was just a bit threadbare, and the revival of the dead companions at the end a bit silly (if repeated for Captain Jack in The Parting of the Ways); and I can see why this did not lead to a revival of the series’ fortunes. But it is far from embarrassing.

One thought on “More Who

  1. The Ormeau Road was always a particularly vivid piece of micro-geography. Its northern end is the southern extremity of the Markets area which was traditionally Catholic (though not especially IRA); within 100 metres you were in the Loyalist Donegall Pass area, and then suddenly you cross the railway line and are into a more hardline Republican area. And then across the river to the foot of Ormeau Park, and a mixture of the elderly Protestants who had lived there since the houses were built mid-century, an d the upwardly mobile graduate community who were more likely to be Catholics. You could write an entire lecture course on the Ormeau Road, if you wanted.

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