Doctor Eccleston I Presume…?

I always feel very out of my depth when discussing all things Gallifrey. I’ve met people with ridiculous amounts of knowledge on the topic, but I should be alright here because it’s just my opinion and I do enjoy comprehensive information on that subject. BBC 3 has been re-running the adventures of the ninth doctor this week. I’d missed most of them when they were first shown. I couldn’t help but be struck how po-faced a lot of it was. I really like Christopher Eccleston in almost everything I’ve ever seen him in, from Shallow Grave to Our Friends In The North; from eXistenZ to Elizabeth, but he’s no Doctor Who, is he? There is no real charisma, certainly not much (successful) wit and disappointingly a real lack of the refusal to take anything seriously that made you feel so comfortable with the other time lords (which oddly seems to make everything less scary here). Maybe it didn’t help that BBC 4 showed Jon Pertwee‘s scrape with The Green Death the week before which was fantastic stuff about radioactive, mutated maggots in a Welsh mine and a sinister chemical-peddling corporation controlled by a camp super-computer. I just didn’t get the same sense of fun in this recent series. Maybe David Tennant will be more fun but if his adventures are as disappointing as the Christmas Special then I won’t hold my breath.

What is the Point…

…In “Green Wing“? Firstly and foremostly; it’s not funny. Secondly; despite the hype, it’s actually woefully unoriginal. They try too hard (and fail) to do the smug, aloof comedy that Chris Morris was pulling off successfully in “Jam” SIX years ago. Many of the stylings and self conscious editing techniques were also used to much better effect in “Jam” and “Spaced” (which incidentally was SEVEN years ago) except that the programme makers of these shows had a tad more imagination than to repeatedly play around with the speed of the film; a trick, I think we can all agree, has had its impact significantly lessened by using it in EVERY OTHER SCENE. By setting the show in a hospital it has sadly become reliant on many soap conventions and now we’re all supposed to care what becomes of these vain, nihilistic
and frankly contemptable wankers. The show might have retained some charm and overcome these flaws but for some reason someone wanted to capitalise on the serial element and made the show 50 minutes long which has the effect of stretching out the tired plot; highlighting the show’s reliance on its hackneyed style-over-substance approach and makes you wonder how it can get by on so few jokes (that don’t come off). Also, someone should point out to the programme makers that using established comedy actors such as Mark Heap and Tamsin Grieg only serves to remind us that Spaced and Black Books respectively are more successful and effortlessly more rewarding than this (undeservedly) self-satisfied, confused tower-of-wank.

Surrealismo

In addition to attempting to invent a few additional Rules to Mornington Crescent (in this case taking Mornington Crescent to mean the entirety of the London Underground and that there could be no clarifications of any statements made between Waterloo and London Bridge on The Jubilee Line on a Sunday if you didn’t posess a valid form…)  I encountered much strangeness this weekend. Dave explains the great Mammal Cheese Debate of our time better than I ever could but in addition to these important issues was the notion that we are all using far too much management-speak and pat phrases around and if the trend or habit of using them instead of bothering to think of the words that would serve you better, then we are in danger of becoming a society that is inarticulate and insincere (alright more inarticulate and insincere, then). We attempted to construct phrases that consist of nothing more than popular phrases and metaphores (hybrids were allowed) something like; “Grass never grows on the tip of the iceberg which will never boil at the end of the day but could in a perfect world because the bigger pictures reveals it can jump through hoops if brought to the table.” Then everything is followed up with, “That’s really the thin end of the wedge” as if to imply that it can get a lot worse, which of course it can, as afterall it’s only the “Square slippery slope in a round edge of reason”. This could even become a drinking game if more of the Rules of Mornington Crescent were involved. Wait, it gets worse.
I continued this thinking (pointless musing) on the train home last night (after Kelvin and I had managed to come up with a cookery show about maths hosted by Tom Selleck that had sprung from changing Magnum P.I. to Magnum ? and then ultimately Magnum Pie) and decided that if you had a good knowledge of actors, politicians, sportsmen, authors, musicians, scientists, religious leaders and the Christmas Special of Father Ted you could play the “Mrs Doyle tries to guess Todd Unctious’s Name Game”. Bet you’re curious now, huh? Each player takes it in turns to say famous (or infamous) people’s names prefixed by the word “Father” e.g. “Father Eamon Holmes”. The other player retorts with another famous person from a different background such as “Father Pol Pott”. At any time a player can play a wild card by using the name of one of the Fathers Mrs Doyle actually guesses such as “Father Neil Hannon” or “Father Hiroshima Twinkie”. When they do, the other player must counter with another one of Mrs Doyle’s guesses. The player who loses is the one who is forced to guess “Father Todd Unctious”. I’m going to go and look for a job now…