All right. Question one: who in the hell is watching this?
Let me give you a little deconstruction of my Youtube viewing figures. About six weeks ago I uploaded a Flight of the Navigator / Portal 2 mashup which took an entire summer and of which I am really quite proud. It’s got about eighty hits since I stuck it online – some for the full length edit, some for the four minute highlights. This isn’t very much at all, and while I know you can hardly breathe for new uploads on YouTube, it frustrates me that I apparently can’t increase its exposure without spamming people and generally being a pest, neither of which I will do unless my life happens to depend on it.
Perhaps more damningly, back in April I produced a mashup of Willo the Wisp and The Silence. It’s got about three hundred and fifty hits. That’s about fifty a month. And about two hundred of those were in a single day when I referred to it in a Guardian discussion. (I was also rather depressed at the number of people who hit the dislike button, because I really thought I’d made something fun, until Emily pointed out that referring to a video that mocked the Silence in an article that basically revered them was hardly going to win me any fans.)
But this one? Put together in one evening more or less as a joke? Over nine hundred hits in a month. Yes, it’s no Double Rainbow. It’s not even chicken feed. It’s barely even amoeba feed. Still, by my standards it’s practically viral – or as close to viral as I ever get unless someone dies. The same happened with the Numberjacks / Prisoner thing, which as I write this is at 142,000 and rising. The YouTube traffic sources indicate that it’s predominantly people searching for Numberjacks episodes online, presumably to watch with your children, but this doesn’t explain why you’d then want to watch a video that openly sells itself as a mashup. My friend Laura is convinced that it’s probably drunk students at three in the morning, and she’s probably right.
Anyway. This one was basically made for Gareth. We’ve all been fans of Yoho Ahoy! for years, long before Em and I had children, in my case purely because of its offbeat quirkiness. In the same manner as Shaun the Sheep, it’s one of those shows that seems to transcend cultures and communication barriers, largely owing to the fact that there are only two words of dialogue (the titular ‘Yoho!’ and ‘Ahoy!’), delivered in any number of ways by the inhabitants of the Rubber Duck. It’s always clear what’s going on, each episode is brief but eventful, and everyone has their favourite characters (I think mine is probably Bilge, the crazy-haired captain, but honourable mentions must go to Grog, the ship’s cybernetically enhanced cook, who features heavily in this episode and who apparently lost his hands in a fondue accident before the series began).
Then, of course, there was the day I went shopping and found this.
They’re cute and cuddly and THEY MAKE NOISES! Em and I have been trying very hard to cull our soft toy collection rather than buying new ones, but I made an exception here.
There are nearly forty episodes of Yoho Ahoy!, and ‘Fish With Grog’ is the episode that we usually show to people who never seen the show – Gareth informs me that he does the same – and as it’s a popular one with Thomas (who will happily watch it on a loop), it seemed right to honour it here. The idea of redubbing all the dialogue with cries of ‘Exterminate!’ and ‘Delete!’ stems partly from the fact that if you ask a casual fan of the show to impersonate a Dalek or a Cyberman, that’s probably what they’ll do – but really, you need to look at this.
You see what I mean, right? I know the Daleks have a history with cries of ‘Exterminate!’, but if you examine the classic series the Cybermen really don’t say ‘Delete’ very much at all pre-2006. Never mind the fact that in ‘Doomsday’ the so-called seminal scene in which the Daleks and Cybermen try and talk to each other is about as interesting as watching a computer play Scrabble with itself: the whole episode is basically a fanboy’s wet dream, and not a very good one at that.
Anyway. The biggest challenge I had with this was finding instances of ‘Delete’ that weren’t surrounded by other stuff. There are plenty of ‘Exterminates’. (Not to mention the fact that someone had helpfully put every single one of them into a YouTube compilation that I used for reference.) But finding an audible ‘Delete’ that didn’t have guns or Murray Gold’s intrusive score in the background was harder than I thought. In the end I could only locate one, and it’s not a very good one, but at this point I really didn’t want to switch exclusively to ‘Exterminate’. So it’s in there, and I added a couple of K-9 clips for good measure. This dilutes the effect even further, but at least it keeps you on your toes.
It was hard to finish: this was a tinkering video. I said before that I did it in one evening, but the problem was knowing when to stop, because I kept coming up with new ideas. The use of the TARDIS noise is one such example; so too is the collection of effects I stuck in towards the end of the episode when they’re throwing stuff out of the window. Basically the whole thing is very silly. And it could probably have been much better, or at least more polished. But the boys all enjoyed it. And in this instance, that was actually all I cared about. Yoho!