Posts Tagged With: regeneration

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.

“Ah.”

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.”

Categories: Have I Got Whos For You | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Have I Got Whos For You (We Sure Picked A Creepy Night For A Drive Edition)

Boring Doctor Who episodes, #47.

It’s Scooby Doo’s birthday. The cowardly canine is a whole half-century (that’s an oxymoron, surely?): five decades of running up along corridors avoiding the portraits with living eyes and hiding behind lampshades and suits of armour, before discovering the larder and constructing geometrically implausible sandwiches. I just finished playing a mobile game called Agent A – one of those episodic adventure / puzzle type things that was actually quite good – and you spend five chapters exploring the villainess’s lair and its surroundings and NOT ONCE DO YOU ENCOUNTER ANYTHING THAT MIGHT REASONABLY PASS FOR A KITCHEN. I mean honestly. I know the woman is stick thin, but surely she must down the odd protein shake? Sushi? Bit of salad?

Perhaps it’s all fine dining and drive-throughs. You’d think it would show on her figure, except Shaggy manages to eat the monthly food allowance for a small Peruvian mountain village and still fit into size 32 trousers, so I guess these things don’t have to make sense.

“IT’S, LIKE, BIGGER ON THE INSIDE!”

In the news this week: rumblings in Scottish lakes, or lack thereof.

The Loch Ness Monster is rather like a no-deal Brexit. Everyone has their own idea of what it’ll be like, we’re all probably wrong, views from experts are being largely ignored in favour of populist trash and there’s considerable doubt as to whether the thing will ever actually surface, and so at the moment it’s mostly a marketing opportunity.

It was also Roald Dahl’s birthday yesterday, which led to the usual moaning on Twitter about how he was problematic, owing to some unsanctionable views on the Holocaust, some rather unfortunate stereotyping in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and the fact that when it came to family the guy was a bit of a nob. It’s ironic when you consider that Danny The Champion of the World contains one of the most beautifully rendered portraits of fatherhood I’ve ever encountered. David Walliams, on the other hand, is being touted as ‘the new Roald Dahl’, despite being a much nicer person (at least ostensibly) who possesses only a small portion of Dahl’s talent; I do enjoy The Boy In The Dress but is this really the pinnacle of contemporary children’s writing? Or can we do better? Because I can’t help feeling we can.

Anyway, I’m not getting into whether or not you’re allowed to read Dahl’s books or even celebrate his existence on the grounds of his personal life and political allegiance; if you’ve been around here long enough you’ll know my views on the matter, so I will leave it to grumpy Spectator columnists and millennial hacks writing for trashy, overly Woke online publications to have that particular argument. Instead, you can have a deleted scene from 2005.

And poor little Charlie Bucket was never seen again.

Oh, while we’re on mashups (I can’t believe I actually wrote that; mashups is all we ever do around here), perhaps now’s a good time to put that irritating Reddit meme to bed, albeit with a different image than the one that’s currently doing the rounds.

I leave you with the news that Fireman Sam has been dumped. No, not by Penny (with whom, I suspect, he’s been having a long-standing relationship, complete with fumblings behind the lockers during the evening shift and all sorts of innuendo about hoses and poles), but by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service, who deem him inappropriately male for their contemporary inclusive image. I suspect that as the epitome of white male privilege (yes, I had a bit of racist abuse at school for my Hebrew ancestry, but nothing to write home about) I should have no views on this whatsover, and thus will refrain from stating one.

Anyway, Sam needs to find a new gig, so accordingly:

“It’s all right, don’t panic! I’m ‘ere!”

Categories: Have I Got Whos For You | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doctor Who meets Beauty and the Beast

Let me tell you a story, children. Once upon a time there was a concept called regeneration and it involved the transition of one actor to another. In the 60s, 70s and 80s this was achieved using filters and white-outs and whatever trickery the BBC could afford at the time. At its best, it was highly successful. At its worst, it was Sylvester McCoy in a blonde wig. In 1996, they experimented with facial morphing, presumably because of Terminator 2 and the ‘Black or White’ video. It was a little strange to behold – Doctor Who, in actual special effects shocker – but it sort of worked.

Then came the Golden Sparkly Energy thing. It’s been used ever since, in every disappointingly familiar regeneration (Smith’s aside; at least that one’s quick) and if it looks familiar, that’s because they nicked it from Disney. Specifically, that bit at the end of the otherwise splendid Beauty and the Beast where Belle succumbs to her Stockholm syndrome and her grizzly captor turns into an Aryan Chippendale. It’s a wretched scene, which – whilst nonetheless remaining true to the spirit of the original story – says an awful lot about Disney and its obsession with appearances, often at the expense of what was actually best for the customer. (You will know this if you visited Disneyland Paris, as I did, back in the early days: the place was immaculate, but the shuttle buses were an unruly scrum. They’d hired people to pick up litter, but no one who could facilitate a queue.)

There are other versions of this. It’s an obvious joke: cellular regrowth instigated by magical sparkliness. But this one attempts to match the dialogue. This involved an awful lot of chopping and changing and shifting things around, which is not in itself a bad thing because otherwise you have Disney on your back for copyright infringement. At the beginning Eccleston has a long monologue, which I opted to present as a voiceover while we established the castle: this is actually the opening pan out from the beginning of the film, reversed. Am I saying that the Ninth Doctor was the Beast and his impossibly sexy successor is the human (and incredibly vain) prince? You decide.

I sent the completed version to Gareth.

“It might have worked better,” he said, “if I knew anything about Beauty and the Beast!”
“You got the idea, surely?”
“She kisses him, and we learn that looks are more important than personality?”
“And that’s why I love Shrek.”

But I’d like to close by returning briefly to Colin Baker, who we were discussing over dinner just yesterday.

“So he didn’t film his regeneration?” Emily said.
“He didn’t,” I said.
“So what actually killed the Sixth Doctor?”
“We don’t know for sure. But the first thing that happens in that episode is that the TARDIS is attacked, and when the Rani steps on board, the Sixth Doctor is lying on the floor, face down. And then they turn him over, and – ”
“It’s Sylvester McCoy.”
“Yeah, in a wig.”
“And that’s all you get?”
“Well,” I said, “Big Finish eventually filled in the gaps. They gave him a proper send-off, and there was a whole story with the Valeyard and loads of other people. But on TV, just the wig.”
“So McCoy’s lying there,” she said, “and you can see it’s him, but in a wig?”
“The moment they turn him over, they stick a filter on the screen. One of those photo negative effects. So it’s obscured and you’re supposed to not be able to tell. Except of course you can. What can I say? They did the best they could under difficult circumstances.”
“Right, right,” she said. “But there’s no reason why the McCoy in a wig thing couldn’t have been an entirely new Doctor. You know, a secret regeneration.”
“What, another one? Who just happened to like the same clothes?”
“Yep. So you have the Sixth, and then he regenerates into the Seventh, but that’s not McCoy. Which would make – ”
“Which would make McCoy the Eighth,” I said. “Oh, I’m going to have sooo much fun trolling the fandom with this one.”

And I will, but in the meantime –

God bless you, Deviant Art. God bless you.

Categories: Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to upset your children

Or: Talkin’ ‘Bout My (Re)Generation

Today’s little saga is a triple-video bonanza, but there is a point.

When I was almost six years old, I remember watching this:

It upset me. Davison was such a nice, gentle Doctor. Baker II, on the other hand, was not, at least not at first. His first story was a disaster in any case, but even if the Sixth Doctor eventually stabilised and showed his compassionate side, ‘The Twin Dilemma’ was enough to alienate me, and also my parents, who wouldn’t have him in the house. We stopped watching then, at least until McCoy showed up.

Whatever my childhood misgivings about the Sixth Doctor, that regeneration scene is still wonderful, even not-quite-thirty years later, simply because of the swirling heads, and Davison’s grunting. (His final words have become something of a meme in our house, and when some months ago I was ill in bed, and Emily asked me how I was feeling, I managed to croak out “I might regenerate…I don’t know…it feels different this time”. She rolled her eyes and left me to it.) If the Fifth Doctor was the Tenth Doctor’s Doctor, he was also mine: principled and a little stuffy, but the sort of man you’d follow into battle. I couldn’t imagine him ever being any different.

Conversely, I think the Tenth has been Joshua’s Doctor, and however much I may gripe about the stories in which he appeared the two of us have come to love him over the past few months. We started watching Doctor Who together back in April 2011, on Easter Sunday morning, the sun rising over Oxfordshire as I introduced him to a bunch of plastic dummies causing havoc all over London (and also the Autons). We viewed those first episodes in relatively quick succession, despite the fact that I had to have two goes at ‘The Empty Child’ after he found it too upsetting. One season isn’t really long enough to get to know a Doctor, and when Eccleston changed to Tennant, he was interested but not really bothered.

But Eccleston did thirteen episodes to Tennant’s forty-seven, including a number of longer-running Christmas specials. (Admittedly, he’s hardly in ‘Love and Monsters’, ‘Turn Left’, ‘Blink’ or ‘The Christmas Invasion’, but that’s beside the point.) Tennant has permeated our house. He’s on our toilet wall. Joshua dressed up as him at his birthday party. And the truth is that Tennant took far longer to wear out his welcome than Eccleston – who, by the end of his run, was particularly grating. Tennant’s main problem was the gravitas attached to his character in later years, when his Doctor stopped having fun and started getting very serious and intense. He never quite lost his sense of humour, but there were fewer bouts of silliness and far more pregnant pauses and comments about being over nine hundred years old and world-weary (should that be universe-weary? Multiverse-weary?).

Still, Joshua loved him. He guffawed when Tennant wore a gas mask in ‘The Poison Sky’, turned to the UNIT chief and asked “Are you my mummy?”. He cheered at the flying bus in ‘The Dead Planet’. The words “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry” were used constantly. I was rolling my eyes at all the silliness, but only on the inside. And just as the Tenth was on the verge of getting interesting again – specifically at the end of ‘The Waters of Mars’ – they took him out of play. And, frustratingly, Joshua didn’t seem to care.

If you’ve ever made a long car journey with a small child, you will know that one phrase tends to get repeated over and over again. I’m not even going to bother writing it down, because you don’t need me to. The parents among you are nodding in recognition at this point, and even those of you without children can probably guess what I’m talking about. And I can’t help thinking that there’s a reason for that. There’s a desire to get there quickly – the journey is no fun, the destination is the be-all and end-all. When you grow up, that little pocket of solace becomes far more important. The best times I ever have with Emily are when we’re on the road and the boys are all asleep in the back (better than being Dead in the Boot) and there’s nothing for us to do but talk – no trappings, no email, no chores or household tasks, just miles of road. I’m reminded, on these occasions, of Sally Carrera in Cars, bemoaning the death of the old, disused road that “didn’t cut through the land like that interstate. It moved with the land, it rose, it fell, it curved. Cars didn’t drive on it to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time.”

I can’t help thinking that children are naturally impatient, partly because they learn from their parents. It’s the price you pay for instant culture: downloads, mobile communication (how many times have you hung up in frustration and said “His phone’s off? WHY IS HIS PHONE OFF?”) fast train journeys, TV-on-demand, leaked films, spoilers…and we try and teach our children the value of patience, while bemoaning the late arrival of the Amazon courier, or the slow broadband speed, or the fact that it’s been a whole six minutes since we posted that witty Facebook comment and it hasn’t generated a single ‘like’ yet. I tell my children that they must wait for Christmas, but they don’t have to wait for much else. Why should Yuletide be any different?

All the same, it’s been somewhat frustrating to hear – consistently during the time we’ve spent exploring the Tenth Doctor’s run and with increased frequency over the past couple of months – endless cries of “Is the Doctor going to regenerate yet? Is he going to regenerate in this one? When is it going to happen?”. I wouldn’t mind if these questions were coming from someone who was anxious for it not to happen. That would, at least, be rather sweet. It reminds me of the child who wrote to J.K. Rowling after the release of Order of the Phoenix and pleaded “Dear J.K. Rowling, please don’t ever kill Dumbledore, Harry, Ron or Hermione”. (Well, three out of four isn’t bad.) Perhaps, looking back now, that may have been a part of it: the ambivalence of letting go, the desire to see the next Doctor and satisfy your curiosity, but not actually meet him properly, not yet.

But Josh, I always sensed, was keen to move on, perhaps to get to the episodes he knew we were watching and discussing, cryptically so as not to give anything away (referring instead to The Twist or The Revelation when we wanted to talk about Amy’s sudden disappearance at the end of ‘The Almost People’, or the news that River Song was actually…well, you know where I’m going with that). Perhaps he just wanted to catch up. I’ve tried to pace things, striking the balance between satisfying the demands of a whingy child who’s desperate for the next part of the story and taking our time because we must. I’ve tried to eke out the episodes we’ve watched, restricting them to one or occasionally two a week. He’s had to wait for cliffhanger resolution, because once upon a time the whole joy of Doctor Who was in the tension generated by its multi-episode stories, and when they arrive these days they are to be savoured and treated with reverence, like rare delicacies.

So last night we watched the second part of ‘The End of Time’. I kept the news of the regeneration hidden – Russell T Davies teases us on various occasions throughout the previous episodes, so that Joshua kept expecting it and then raising his eyebrows in surprise when the Doctor escaped from the Flood, or survived the crash into the Naismith mansion, or managed to direct his spare regenerative energy into a McGuffin. And when it happens, when he looks up from the floor and hears Wilfred knocking on the wall of the chamber, it’s actually quite upsetting. (The subsequent fifteen minutes, in which he embarks on a needless farewell tour, are a disaster, but let’s not talk about that.) Anyway, eventually we got to this.

Josh sat next to me. Thomas was lying on the armchair, splayed out, watching almost upside down, but interested. I was glad: it will mean I don’t have to explain it to him when he next catches an episode. Tennant disappears, Smith shows up and admires his legs and bemoans the fact that he’s still not ginger, therefore launching a flurry of complaints in what is a simple misunderstanding. Shouts of “Geromino!”. Roll credits. And the first thing I hear from Josh is “Oh, there’s no next time bit!”.

“No, there isn’t,” I said, seething in exasperation. “Anyway. Farewell Tenth Doctor.”
“But I wanted to see a next time bit!”
“They don’t usually run them between series, Josh.”
“Ohhh…” [stomps of disappointment]
“I think,” I said, “it’s because they knew people would be a bit upset about the Tenth Doctor leaving and wanted to concentrate on that. They might have had something afterwards when it was on TV; I honestly can’t remember. But it’s not on the DVD.”
“But I wanted to see what happens next!”
“Tell you what,” I said, caving. “I’ll find one on YouTube.”

So we did. And they both enjoyed it. And then I thought ‘Hang on, bugger this. I won’t have him moving on quite so swiftly’.

“You know what?” I said. “I think what we should do is watch a video I made last year, which has some of my favourite bits from the episodes we’ve been watching. Just as a way of saying goodbye.”

Somewhat vainglorious to include it, I suppose, but here it is.

So we watched that, and at the end, I turned to Josh and said “That’s the end. Will you miss the Tenth Doctor?”

Then he cried.

I am such a bad father.

Categories: New Who | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

On the edge

We just watched this.

Himself was not amused.

“Oh, why was it a CLIFFHANGER?”
“Because it’s more exciting that way.”
“But I want to know what happens next!”
“And you’ll have to wait.”
“Oh, but why do they have to stop there?”
“Do you want to know the best part?”
“What’s that?”
“There’s no next time bit.”
“WHAT?!?”
“I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to wait.”
[Joshua immediately bursts into tears]
“Come on, now. It’s not as bad as all that.”
“But I WANT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS!”
“Listen, when your mother and I watched this the first time we had to wait a whole week before it got resolved. I jumped out of my chair and said ‘YOU CAN’T LEAVE IT THERE!’. But they did.”
“I don’t want to have to wait a week!”
“You may have to. It depends when we get round to the next episode.”
“Oh, but [sniff] don’t you want to [sob] make me much happier?”
“No, because it’s past your bedtime.”
“Oh, but PLEASE!”
“Listen. I can tell you that there’s a new Doctor in next week’s episode.”

Well, it’s basically true…

Categories: New Who | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Adric?

This morning Joshua asked if every regeneration was performed standing up. I answered no, of course it wasn’t. And then later on we viewed one of those YouTube montages that are like a rash all over the web, showing every regeneration from the first to the most recent (which – given that we’ve just started season four – I refused to show him, much to his annoyance).

Anyway, my favourite one is undoubtedly this one.

(I apologise for the ads; if I can find a commercial-free version I’ll post it.)

I really should do a post on regeneration at some point, but my reason for mentioning it right now is that Thomas – who sat in on the video – seemed as taken with this particular rebirth as I was. After questioning the identity of the bearded ham (thus far he’s only encountered John Simm, which is a terrible pity) he then spent the rest of the evening wandering around the house muttering “Don’t die, Doctor. Don’t die, Doctor. Don’t die – no, die, Doctor. DIE, DOCTOR!”.

I am, I admit, rather pleased about this. And also a bit nervous.

Categories: Classic Who | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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