Wednesday, July 04, 2007


As a Brit there has never been a point in celebrating Independence Day. The one time I was over in New York for July 4th we had got so ripped the night before that everyone spent the day sliding in and out of consciousness.

By the time everyone got their act together to head down toward the East River and watch the traditional Macy’s fireworks display it was pretty much over. Walking through the virtually deserted Upper East Side I bumped into a chap from my year at The Esteemed School of Art who I hadn’t seen since I ran screaming from the building, three years earlier.

With the renewed terror alerts, torrential rain, power cut and fouled up public transport, this week had been something of a downer so far. It probably wasn’t brilliant for ITV who had planned to broadcast Die Hard 2 late on Monday night. It certainly wasn’t brilliant for anyone tuning in, either ready to complain at the channel’s insensitivity if the screening went ahead or, for curiosity’s sake, wondered what would replace it.

They went for Cliffhanger instead. Is there an action movie more inept then Cliffhanger? I’m surprised Renny Harlin is still allowed to make films. Obviously it’s difficult to recreate the same lighting conditions from the exterior mountain shots, but all the studio-filmed scenes scream, “Fake!” at the top of their voice.

Could there be the faintest glimmer of a silver lining to boost spirits. Actually, yes, and from the most unlikely of places. Step forward Doctor Who.

I’ve pretty much nailed my colours to the mast when it comes to my opinion of this rancid old pile of ocelot vomit. So much so that some commentators have suggested that if I don’t like it, don’t watch it.

That seems to be the most sensible thing to do, and I tried to stop for a couple of weeks, but the show managed to elicit an alluring siren call. Every time I’d watch in the hope that it would be good – which, for a brief moment it was – only to have my expectations cruelly dashed on the rocks.

At least the first year made some attempt to draw in an audience who doesn’t have time for this juvenile “sci-fi” crap. As the weeks and years went on, with generally piss-poor stories and the blatant theft from other, far more accomplished material, it was a perfect example of what happens when grown-up fanboys are put in charge of this kind of material.

Now I’m happy to be done with it. The final straw? The news that the new companion for next year has been cast and it’s Catherine Tate – yes, that loud-mouthed, unfunny harpy, who appeared in last December’s Christmas Day episode. Some called it a special. “The fairy on top the Christmas Tree of Stupid” is what I called it.

I may be a traditionalist when it comes to sketch comedy but I prefer sketches that are funny, whether through visual gags amongst the jokes or very clever plays on words. Getting made up into a succession of grotesque characters and spouting tired, idiot catchphrases ad nauseam simply doesn’t do it for me.

So with that miserable old sow added to the mix, that’s it for me. What a bloody relief. I think a few people have suggested this is a clear example of Doctor Who jumping the shark. More like jumping the shark and then dragging it onto the beach and beating it to death.

I don’t know whether they’ve made the news official but the word from very reliable inside sources is that the next series is the last for Russell T Davies and Tennant. Maybe RTD is going for a full-on Viking Funeral, burning it down so that if he isn’t doing it all that’s left for the successor is an utter shambles.

Thinking back to the third series finale just gone, here’s something to mull over. It was daft enough already but then the companion goes walking the Earth telling people about this unrecognised saviour who have saved their drab and dreary lives.

What subtext should we deduce from this? Would it have anything to do with a writer/exec producer who got into a strop because his show hadn’t been feted at the last BAFTA ceremony? Just a thought.


At 7:22 pm, Blogger Jaded and Cynical said...

I always wonder when a weird casting decision like that is made whether some undisclosed contractual issue is in play. As in, you can have John Barrowman for Torchwood, but only if you put him on the panel of some crap reality show as well.

By the standards of the Beeb, whatsherface is a big enough star to pull a stunt like that.

Then again, RTD is perfectly capable of making dreadful choices all by himself.

At 7:46 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Stunt casting like this is usually a result of a stunted imagination.

Putting Eccles Cake in the lead role initially was quite an interesting move but after that it seems to be one dreadful choice after another.

At 8:31 pm, Blogger English Dave said...

Fuck you and the horse you rode in in! I cream myself on Doc Who. It is well wicked and the boss.
And Jon Pertwee is God!


The Master.

At 8:42 pm, Blogger Phill Barron said...

Is she playing the same character as the Christmas special? Or are they pulling that 'cousin' excuse again?

At 8:58 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...


Actually, it's the snake I slithered in on.

God, the mouthy old bint is playing the same character.

At 1:16 pm, Blogger Riddley Walker said...

“roll on thou grate and restless ocean roll over the LOT”

-N. Molesworth.

At 5:39 pm, Blogger Lara said...

Tate? Tate? Am I reading this right? WTF is going on with the water in Cardiff?

At 6:14 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Steady girl, we don't want you screaming your lungs out as well.

I think they're on sheep crack.

At 6:43 pm, Blogger Jaded and Cynical said...

And hopefully they can get Paul Whitehouse to play Davros.

I wanted to post a comment about a programme that isn't Doctor Who (starting to sound like a broken record, and all that) when it struck me that DW is the only UK show that I've actually watched this year. I've sampled others like Hustle, Jekyl, Primeval and Rome, but none of them made the sale.

So what's a licence-payer to do? Maybe I'll have a stiff drink, hold my nose, and see if I can sit through the opening titles of True, Dare, Kiss. It can't be that bad, can it?

At 8:18 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...


I know what you mean. There's a certain restless to my viewing habits. I thought about True, Dare, Kiss - even though the title alone is putting me off - but I'll probably watch House and Shark.

Even those shows, with the two standout performances, I've found myself zoning before the episode reaches the conclusion.

It's not like my attention span is collapsing. I suppose after so much of the same old, same old, with the odd twist here and there, I just want to see something different.

Otherwise I fall back on the likes of The Wire or the new Battlestar Galactica to see me through.

At 9:49 am, Blogger Eleanor said...

With any luck - slim chance - the end of series 4 will have the Tardis getting forced into an alternate reality that happens to be nearly the same as ours, but at a point before all the time wars malarky started ... the alternate universe version of The Doctor can be in the same place when this Doctor materialises - the two thus meld into one - solving the paradox of having both of them flitting about.
Then at some point in series 5 he can prevent the time wars from ever starting, and we can hopefully get a return to a rational doctor in storys, not Earth-centred, that have at least a stab at science based science fiction.


A girl can dream.

At 3:30 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Sounds more like a nightmare to me.

At 6:05 pm, Blogger Eleanor said...

One nightmare for another? :)
Personal taste, that's all.


Post a Comment

<< Home