Saturday 30 March 2013

#Whoniversary – “Have you seen the price of stamps?”

It’s a great privilege that the nation will be licking the backs of our heads.
-Matt Smith

Me:  Are you excited?

Him:  About the end of the world?

Me:  Nah, that’s just North Korea showing off, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Him:  Have you ever wished you were a kangaroo?  In a spacesuit?  At the North Pole?  Fighting zombie polar bears?  In space.

Me:  So, is that your Big Finish pitch?

The Him sniffs.

Him:  Nah, still the original one.  Whatever it was.

Me:  It was the The Moonbase sequel.

Him:  Oh yeah, with Katarina and the Cybermen.

Me:  Well, it’s been a busy news week for Doctor Who – slightly cheerier than last week as well.

Him:  Frogs are amphibians that eat squids and can pilot small submarines.  In space.

Me:  Would you might not pitching while I’m trying to save the world?

Him:  I’m not pitching stuff.

Me:  You sure?

Him:  Yeah.

Me:  Right.  First up then: stamps.

Him:  Now then, caterpillars are small insect things with three legs, the ability to fly, shoot lasers and eat small houses.  They also land on spacecraft and can destroy them with one bite.  In space.

Long, long pause.

Me:  The stamps are lovely.  How about the prequels?

Him:  What prequels?

Me:  That one with the Doctor hanging around a Roath Park playground.  Oh – I think it might tie in later too, there’s not a huge amount of Roath Park you can film in – apart from the terrapin arboretum where Jenny came back to life.  I suppose there might be strolling.  And a shot of Scott’s lighthouse.  Hmmm.  Sorry, ‘spoilers’.

Him:  What?

Me:  Give it eight weeks and I’ll appear to be a genius.  Or erase that bit from Doctor Who.1

Him:  Erase what bit?

Me:  That’s the spirit.  What were your thoughts about that one?

Him:  On what?

Me:  The Doctor and Amy on the swings.

The Him thinks for a moment, and decides to play.

Him:  I don’t recall that.  Read what you’ve said.

Me:  I know what I said.

Him:  And what was that?

Me:  ‘The Doctor and Amy on the swings’.  Because I’m sure that’s what it was when the Moff first wrote it.  And then just ran a find-and-replace, substituting ‘Clara’ for ‘Amy’. 

Him:  Sounds fun.

Me:  Some of the cast for the Fiftieth just got announced.  Do you want to know who they are?

Him:  No.

Me:  Good luck avoiding it.  The BBC seem to delight in publishing spoilers as loudly as possible.  The Radio Times’ll never see a return to the glory days of Earthshock’s surprise guest appearance.1

Him:  I don’t read the Radio Times.

Me:  It doesn’t matter.1  It’ll be on a billboard or something.  Alright, I won’t tell you and we’ll see how long you can stay unaware.

Him:  Yay!

Me:  Now, back to Roath Park.

Him:  Were we ever there?

Me:  Lots of times.  I’ve got a photo of you on those very swings.  Somewhere.

Him:  Interesting.  I don’t remember that.

Me:  I wouldn’t have thought you would.  You were very small.  You clambered up the red wire climbing thing, fed terrapins and had an ice-cream next to the lighthouse.

Him:  Oh.

Me:  So, this prequel.  Anything you want to say about it?

Him:  Nothing in particular.

Me:  Did you guess the twist?

Him:  Yeah.

Me:  Well done.  So, the second one, The Battle of Demon’s Run: Two Days Later.  I’ve got some questions I want to ask you about that one before we go any further.

Him:  Alright, but if you ask me the sort of stuff that you know I hate and I don’t answer it then that’s why.

Me:  I’m not sure that makes sense.

Him:  I don’t care.

Me:  Right.  It solves the problem of Strax being dead and then all of a sudden back with Madame Vastra and Jenny in Victorian London.

Him:  Does it though?  Or does it just try and solve that problem?

Me:  I’m sure it felt like a particular sweet piece of problem-solving when it first rolled out of the printer.  However…

Him:  Yeah?

Me:  That means that everything’s happening in the right order.  On everyone’s timeline.  In the classic series that happened too, but mostly just with the Time Lords.  And no, I’m not suggesting anything.

Him:  Right, okay then.

Me:  And it’s obviously not part of any over-reaching plan.  Those three characters turned out to be massively popular, so they got brought back.  Kind of like what happened with Sarah-Jane and K9.  And, to an extent, Jamie.  I’d better mention Nyssa too, just to annoy people.

Him:  What?

Me:  Don’t worry.  My main question, before anything else, is this: does this prequel count? 

Him:  I have no idea what you even mean by that.

Me:  Okay.  Does Shada count?

Him:  I don’t know.

Me:  Well, what I’m going on is that it’s only the stuff actually shown on the BBC as part of Doctor Who that counts as being Doctor Who. 

Him:  Right.

Me:  Everything else – Pond Life, Night and the Doctor, Scream of the Shalka, Dimensions in Time, the comedy sketches, the New Adventures, Big Finish and so on – all of that can be ignored.  None of it counts any more than the comics or the adventures made up by kids playing with their Weetabix cards.  It’s fan fiction.  All of it.  Some of it’s a bit more public than others but that doesn’t mean anything.  It’s not part of Doctor Who.  It doesn’t count.

Him:  Right.

Me:  Am I?  It’s quite a hardline view.  But it does mean we don’t have to watch Downtime again.

Him:  Which one was Downtime? 

Me:  Victoria, the Brig, Sarah Jane and the Yeti.  In hell.  Remember it?

Him:  I thought you enjoyed it?

Me:  Some of the performances were excellent.  And that bit where the Yeti appeared in the middle of a traffic jam was hysterical.

Him:  Is that the one where: man goes into boat, Yeti comes out of boat?

Me:  That’s the badger.  Or I might be thinking of Peladonian industrial action analogies.

Him:  I don’t know what that means.

Me:  You’re not the only one.  Getting back to the point – what’re your thoughts on the marvellous DVD extra, The Battle of Two Runs Later at Demon’s Day?

Him:  Is it a DVD extra?

Me: It will be.

Him:  Oh.  How do you know?

Me:  Because the BBC will be expecting a return on their investment.  And turning Murray Gold on is probably quite expensive.

Him:  “Itsa-me, Murraygold!”

Me:  Ha!  The version we watched – do you want to say?

Him:  I don’t know if that was just the version we watched.  I think someone decided to put that in.  “Itsa not good enough.  Needsa more horns.”

Me:  Basically – and we were spoiled a bit by watching The Birds first, which has almost NO incidental music and yet, somehow, manages to be a masterpiece1 – the version we watched got almost halfway through without any comedy parp-parp music.  I thought it made it a lot better.  Y’know, hearing the dialogue without a Tom and Jerry soundtrack seeping in.

Him:  Yeah, and then it goes PAAAARRRP!

Me:  Jenny mentions London and someone turns Murray Gold on.  There’s a mad PAAAARRRP! noise and then it's CBeebies up to the final line.  Other than that, and some bum notes from the Moff, it’s carried by the excellent performances.  Having said that, it’d still be a better spin-off than that Torchwood thingy.

Him:  You’ll anger the Torchwood fans.  All three of them.

Me:  Harsh.

Him:  I’m so hungry.

Me:  Come on then, let’s get some grub and watch The Invasion until it’s time to crank up the Maggot of Patience.

Him:  The Maggot of Patience.

Me:  In space.  Oh, I forgot to mention the shoddy treatment of Babelcolour.3

Him:  I’m not getting into that.

Me:  Come on then.  Grub awaits.

Him:  Yay!  Grub!

Me:  In space.

"'Forgot about' what?"

1.  Are you listening, BBC?2 

2.  Obviously not. 

3.  The BBC are basically deleting the fine fellow’s videos from YouTube.  For copyright infringement.  This includes the colourisation that impressed BBC Worldwide so much that they gave Babelcolour the gig to hand-colour near-enough every frame of the first part of The Mind of Evil. An episode, by the way, the BBC wanted to make some money out of by releasing on DVD, but couldn’t because they only had a black and white copy after a zealous deaccession and junking session put paid to the original masters.  Still, I bet the poor chaps who recorded the soundtracks off the telly back in the Sixties are sweating.1

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