Posts Tagged With: journey’s end

Have I Got Whos For You (Tenth Doctor Special)

You know how this works by now, folks, so let’s crack on. Today we examine the lighter, darker and more idiosyncratic sides of poll winner and sex symbol extraordinaire, David Tennant – better known as the Tenth or Tenth and Eleventh or Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors, depending on how you count. But seriously, let’s not go there this morning. I haven’t the stomach for it, particularly not after all that Photoshopping.

First and foremost: alternative Alien 3 casting.

Boring Doctor Who episodes, #53.

Star Wars revisited.

Alarming discoveries in the Antarctic.

David Tennant, reluctant trumpet player.

Seasonal observations, part one.

We did Roald Dahl the other week, but any excuse.

“What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again…”

If you’ve seen Akira, then…

There, I fixed it.

I fixed it here as well.

And talking of beach farewells.

“When I finally do what frozen things do in summer…”

David Tennant, reluctant Oxford tryout.

Presented without apology.


In later years, the Meta-Doctor would experience a midlife crisis, and an exasperated Rose would eventually leave him.

“Parachute? PARACHUTE?!?”

Seasonal observations, part two.

David Tennant, reluctant sunflower.

“I don’t wanna – actually, yeah. Yeah, I do.”

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“I think we’d better be going home now, dear…”

Today’s entry starts with an If-Then statement, that occurs as a result of this question: Are you, dear reader, familiar with The Fast Show?

To some of you that’s going to seem like a dumb question, because you know every Ted and Ralph gag and have been impersonating Jazz Club’s Louis Balfour for nearly two decades. But I’m aware that there’s a whole new generation growing up online who’ve never seen it – and I’m never sure how well it did in America (where it was in any case known as Brilliant). Anyway, if the answer is yes, then you may skip the first of the embedded clips I’ve posted here (unless, of course, you’d like a quick reminder of how funny that lot could be with the right material). If the answer is no, then I strongly recommend you watch both, in order, because otherwise you’re going to get very confused.


Done? Right.

I can’t work out why no one’s thought to do this one already. It seems like such an obvious joke. Actually, it is an obvious joke, because we were making it back in 2008. As soon as ‘The Stolen Earth’ had aired, complete with its view of the multi-tentacled, one-eyed ‘insane’ Dalek Caan (resembling the lovechild of Cthulhu and TMNT’s Krang), the internet forums were on fire trying to work out whether the Tenth Doctor might actually be regenerating next week. But sandwiched between all the remarks about Billie Piper’s teeth and whether David Morissey’s Christmas role was going to get an early showing, there was another thread of discussion doing the rounds – doesn’t Dalek Caan sound incredibly like Johny, the manic-depressed artist?

Higson and Whitehouse’s oft-imitated sketch show always was a little patchy, of course. On the one hand, it gave us the likes of Denzil Dexter, Ted and Ralph, the Offroaders, Jesse the country bumpkin and Rowley Birkin QC. On the other hand, Chris the Crafty Cockney was irritating to a point, and that Suit You gag wore out its welcome in episode two. It was also far too reliant on catchphrase humour, and spawned a wave of paler imitations. Without The Fast Show there would arguably be no Little Britain, and the world would be a nicer place.

But Johnny the Nice Painter was one of my favourites. The payoff to his trigger word – the cry of “Black! Black! Black like a SOUL!” – was wonderful even when you knew it was coming (and in later episodes his wife Katie apparently did, and it was always fun trying to watch her desperately circumnavigate). Higson times his rants to perfection, and Arabella Weir is always nicely understated. We live in sensitive times as far as portrayals of mental health are concerned – recent headlines are testament to that – and it would be interesting to see whether something like this would get the green light today, but even bearing that in mind, Johnny’s condition is too ambiguous to really cause offence.

I put this together over three or four evenings – time I really should have spent tidying the house, but if it took longer than usual it’s because I was experimenting a bit. The first thing you’ll note is the ring modulator on Johnny’s voice. It didn’t really work without it, the artist’s tones being slightly too squeaky to really compete with the other layers of sound. Results (thanks to Audacity and a bit of help online) were reasonable, although the modulated laugh track sounded ghastly, so – with unavoidable exceptions – I’ve kept its use to a minimum, splicing in the equivalent spots from the unaltered original. Then I worked with some isolated audio tracks, which enabled me to dip in and out of the dialogue from Davros, the Doctor and the Supreme Dalek without having to worry about score – which I added in later, using cues from earlier series. The result is one of the cleanest edits I’ve produced in a while, certainly the cleanest from anything in the New Who canon.

Structuring the thing was a bit of a bind. I still worry that it starts too slowly, but the expository conversation between Davros and the Supreme Dalek felt like the only logical point at which to begin. You needed to have the other characters interjecting, so I isolated as many instances of ‘Dalek Caan’ as I could and then spliced them between Higson’s rambling. I then had no idea of how to finish the thing, so I blew them all up, because that usually seems to work.

When I showed it to Emily, she said “So, now you have these audio tracks, are you going to be going back through the other stuff you’ve made and redoing them?”

I looked around at the cluttered hallway, the unhoovered carpet and the pile of ironing.

“I might,” I said, “but today is not that day.”

Tomorrow doesn’t look good either.

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Doctor Hurt

It’s been far too long since we had a video, and today I bring you not one, but two.

There’s a catch, of course. They’re two different versions of the same piece, presented in two different forms for reasons I will shortly divulge. But the lesson you need to take from this today is that less is sometimes more. There’s a reason why ‘Midnight’ is one of my favourite episodes of series four, and the first instalment of ‘The Ark in Space’ is one of the best twenty minutes of 1970s television. Budget problems have cursed Doctor Who for decades, but doing things on the cheap does allow for inspired bouts of creativity in the right hands.

Anyway. That John Hurt chap. Who is he, and does anyone really care? Well, I don’t, because whatever they do with him he will be chronically underused. Hiring big names and giving them nothing to do seems to be the hallmark of series seven (cf. Richard E. Grant, David Warner, Diana Rigg) and already there is a shedload of speculation about whether John Hurt is playing the Ninth Doctor, an aged version of the Eighth, the Valeyard or even the very First Doctor, mostly in the form of lazy, semi-coherent YouTube vlogs recorded on badly-positioned webcams. Cue a hundred comments underneath, most of which involve poor spelling and a smattering of bad language, and that’s just the ones that bother talking about the show.

The short answer is we don’t know, and it’ll probably be disappointing – so instead of looking forward, I looked backward. Because it occurred to me, almost as soon as the episode aired, that Mr Hurt’s tied to certain visual images, at least in my head. One of them is the shot of him sitting in a car with Jason Priestley in the poster for Love and Death on Long Island. Another is the time he lampooned his role in Alien by giving birth to a singing extra-terrestrial baby, in a scene which parodies both Ridley Scott and Michigan J. Frog. And the third? Well, that would be Whistle and I’ll Come To You.

Those of you who’ve followed my video posts from the outset will recall that I’ve talked about Whistle and I’ll Come To You before. It was, indeed, the very programme that kick-started this little hobby, and revisiting it in the last week or two seemed oddly circular. If you haven’t seen it, you really should, largely because it’s utterly terrifying: there is no CGI, no overwrought score, and only a bare bones cast, with Andy De Emmony favouring slow buildups and long, dialogue-free passages where Hurt sits brooding in his hotel room or imagines he’s seen a ghost on the beach. It is apparently vastly inferior to the 1968 version, which I really should get round to seeing, but as a ghost story in its own right it’s minimalist and thoroughly successful, largely as a result of leaving so many questions unanswered come the closing credits.

This basically came about because of ‘The God Complex’, a similarly creepy episode of New Who, which manages to tease out the suspense by keeping the minotaur largely hidden for most of the story (it’s only in the closing minutes, with the final deconstruction of the hotel and the tacked-on epilogue, that the episode is in danger of unravelling). No one ever found out what was in the Doctor’s room, but for me the answer was apparent more or less the moment that John Hurt turned round at the end of series seven. It just seemed an obvious gag. Then I tried to turn it into a video, and all hell broke loose.

In the first instance, this was suffering from lack of clear direction. If you could use Whistle… as a basis for that hotel scene, why not stop there? Why not stick in footage from more of Hurt’s performances? And so I thumbed through the DVD collection to see what I could find. I’d envisaged him landing on LV-426 in his space suit and encountering David Tennant in ‘The Satan Pit’, or Matt Smith in ‘Hide’. Then I remembered that Fox are notoriously picky about what they allow online (YouTube footage from Alien, in particular, seems to be pretty sparse). Or I’d thought of him running into Daleks during his death scene in Hellboy, except that this sequence is compiled chiefly from over-the-shoulder angles that make it obvious he’s being interrogated by Karel Roden. There is an earlier scene which showed promise, but at this point I was bored with the idea.

Then there’s Harry Potter. Specifically there’s the bit  in Deathly Hallows Part II when Harry interrogates Ollivander in the upstairs bedroom of Shell Cottage. Which is fine, if you can find something suitable with which to match it. But all I wound up doing was wrecking emotionally laden scenes from ‘Blink’ and ‘Vincent and the Doctor’. So I gave up, and concentrated exclusively on Whistle…, which features various bedroom scenes (and that sounds far more kinky than it actually is, unless you’re mysteriously turned on by vanishing rugs and hammering on the door, which indicates you have a bedroom farce fetish). There are also a couple of beach sequences, which lent themselves to obvious throwbacks to – well, you’ve seen it now, so there’s no need to elaborate.

Except. Except! Our poor Mr Hurt spends half his time running away from ghosts when he’s on that beach. And I immediately thought of the pterodactyls-that-aren’t-really-pterodactyls in ‘Dinosaurs’. So I stuck that in as well, and then found that the lighting was completely off key, suggesting that they filmed that scene in the middle of winter. What you can see in the video at the bottom of this post is footage that’s had the brightness cranked up and the colour saturated, and even then it doesn’t look great. But I ran with it, because it basically hung together, by the skin of its teeth. The beach and hotel room scenes didn’t seem quite enough, at least not where the rule of three was concerned, so I added a bit where Hurt climbs the stairs and comes face to face with a Weeping Angel.

And it doesn’t really work. I mean, it sort of does. But I don’t have a clue what it’s doing there. Really, it should have been Hurt coming face to face with another Doctor, who stared back – a silent Mexican standoff. Or perhaps Gabriel Woolf in a gorilla mask. The whole thing felt rather flabby, and Gareth said so when I let him see the preview. “It would work better without the Angel,” he said (and I’m paraphrasing), “because I don’t see the point of it. And it’s confusing having the two Doctors stepping out of the TARDIS, and then seeing the Eleventh turn up. And there’s a jarring contrast in lighting between the dinosaur scenes and the John Hurt scenes.”

And he’s right, of course. So I uploaded a leaner version, and that’s probably what I’ll wind up using in emails and other plugs. Nonetheless, the original stays, and is accessible below, because it gives an idea of what I was trying to do – an experiment that didn’t quite work. Paradoxically Gareth and I were talking just last week about some of the extras on the 2 Entertain Doctor Who DVDs, and how some of them contain single jokes that are stretched to breaking point (a notable example of this being The Elusive David Agnew). And that’s something I could have done with remembering here. Sometimes if you scale things back, they’re far more effective.

Still. Dinosaurs. On a beach!

Categories: Crossovers, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Four have fun on a Sunday

Walking the Ridgeway with Joshua.”So Daddy, why can’t the Doctor just go back in time and stop that Dalek from shooting him?”
“Because he can’t travel back over his own timeline. Just not done. Ever.”
“I see.”
“Besides, if he hadn’t been shot, he wouldn’t have had the near-regeneration that eventually created the second Doctor. Donna would then have died in the fire when the TARDIS fell into the core. And they wouldn’t have saved the Earth.”
“That’s right!”
“So that’s why – ”
“And then there would have just been a blank screen and a lot of  screaming and wailing as everyone in the whole universe got killed.”



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