UK TV

Review: Doctor Who – 2×2 – Tooth and Claw

Tooth and Claw

Ah, that’s a bit more like it. Only a couple of slack moments and a not totally convincing bit of CGI but otherwise, ‘Tooth and Claw’ was classic Who:

  1. Good plot with a load of made-up science
  2. Good dialogue
  3. Good supporting cast
  4. Lots of running around corridors
  5. A companion running around with nothing to do but escape after being captured and ask, “What’s going on Doctor?”
  6. A scary monster
  7. A research scene where they work out how to kill the monster
  8. Lots of people dying

And they had some wu shu-ing monks and a reference to Jamie McCrimmon. Cracking. What more could you ask for from Doctor Who?

Incidentally, wasn’t David Tennant good? No more companion overshadowing the Doctor. Mr T totally wiped the floor with Ms P. Ah, just like the good old days. Talking of which, it’s the Sarah Jane and K9 episode next week. Can’t wait.

Couple of extra things. Number one, I’ve turfed up an interview in my MP3 collection of David Tennant explaining his love of Who and his Big Finish work. It was actually done while the Christopher Eccleston series was airing, amazingly enough. Email me if you’d like to hear it (note: it wasn’t me who did the interview, so you won’t get to hear my dulcet tones).

Number two: I’m in Wales at the moment. My lovely wife wanted the house to herself because she had three of her friends coming down for the weekend. So I’ve upped sticks to the mother-in-law’s and have spent the day cutting hedges, creosoting fences, mowing lawns, uncovering hedgehogs (Ahhhh!), climbing into lofts, moving heavy things and a whole lot more. So now I’m a funny pink colour from over-exposure to sunshine. Curses. Outside bad. Inside good.

But if you’ve never watched Who in Wales, it’s very entertaining. Short of having a man in a red rugby shirt signing at the bottom, there’s almost nothing more they could have done to make it clearer that this was “Made in Wales. God man! That’s cowing lush!”. They even have a little placard with an announcer at the beginning saying “Made in Wales by BBC Wales”. In Wales. That was Wales. Sorry, did I mention that it was shot in Wales?

Incidentally, I have no idea if that headline is accurate Welsh. Despite my best intentions to learn Welsh, I’ve been unable to find an Instant Welsh book, those Instant books being about the only language-learning books I get along with. So my Welsh stops somewhere south of the numbers one to six. Don’t, therefore, quote me on the headline, but I think it means “Welcome to Doctor Who”. Which is pretty meaningless of course. Oh well.

UPDATE: Further thoughts – Another ‘classic’ point was the TARDIS didn’t turn up at the right place or the right time, which is always refreshing. But all that Torchwood stuff is starting to hack me off and doesn’t make a lot of sense at the moment. Yes, we get it, there’s a spin-off called Torchwood coming.

Advertisements
Advertisements

David Tennant: good at British accents; nicht so gut with your German accents though

John Thaw in Redcap

Over the last few months, I’ve been forcing myself to get up to speed with the Big Finish audio stories. My excuse? I have to write about this stuff. Think that’s bad? I have to review 10 episodes of John Thaw’s 1964 military police series Redcap this week.

Anyway, in case you don’t know, the Big Finish plays are officially licensed stories based on Doctor Who, The Tomorrow People, Sapphire and Steel and a whole load of other British ‘telefantasy’ series and books.

What sets Big Finish apart from a couple of teenagers in a bedroom in Hull, enacting something they rattled off in their lunch breaks, is the presence of the original cast members – or a few of them, at least. So The Tomorrow People stories get Nicholas Young (John) et al while the Doctor Who stories have Peter Davison and co as well as some of the original companions. The producers have also managed to get some reasonably heavyweight actors to do guest roles, including David Warner, Susannah Harker, Don Warrington, Sir Derek Jacobi and, erm, Tony Blackburn. Basically, these are professional productions, endorsed by the BBC et al.

David Tennant in a bow tie
So yesterday I’m listening to one particular audio play, Colditz, and I notice a voice that’s very familiar, despite the extremely iffy German accent. Various poorly oiled cogs slip into place and I realise who it is. It’s David Tennant – Doctor number 10 to the uninitiated (although why the uninitiated would have made it this far into this particular blog entry, I don’t know).

Oh dear. I’d been impressed by DT’s acting. As one of my esteemed colleagues on Off The Telly points out, Tennant’s appearance in ‘The Christmas Invasion’ exposed just how naff Christopher Eccleston is as an actor. He’s also good at audio work, having appeared, it turns out, in a ridiculous number of Big Finish productions: he’s particularly good, in case you’re interested, in a couple of the Doctor Who Unbound plays, namely Sympathy for the Devil, in which he’s a swearing Glaswegian colonel who’s hunting The Master (Mark Gatiss); and Exile, in which he’s a posh English Time Lord who’s hunting The Doctor (Arabella Weir. Seriously) .

But German? Oh dear. I’m guessing that Big Finish can’t quite muster the budget for a dialogue coach, but Herr Tennant seems to have headed straight for a bucket of old Monty Python sketches for his research, rather than Berlin. How disappointing. Still, it’s easy-ish money I guess and I don’t suppose they have too many listeners, so he was probably hoping no one would notice.

In case you’re desperately interested in what I think about the Big Finish stories, I’ll natter on about them after the break (since I have no plans on writing about them again on this blog. Oh no).

Continue reading “David Tennant: good at British accents; nicht so gut with your German accents though”

Advertisements
News

Kaiser front man offered role of Doctor Who?

David Tennant as the Doctor

Ah. More reasons to hate those twats in the Kaiser Chiefs (about whose pretentious, self-love I’ve already written). Now lead singer Ricky claims he was offered the role of Doctor Who. I suspect there’s a certain amount of tongue in cheek here.

“The BBC offered it to me but I was so busy they got a lookalike. It’s the kind of thing I’ve got down for my autumn years.”

But he goes on:

“I’m worried David [Tennant]’s too young for the part. Eddie Izzard would be perfect.”

If he’d stopped at the first quote, he’d just have been cheeky. A twat, but cheeky. But he didn’t know where to stop. He crossed the line from cheeky to rude. Can the next person who sees him give him a thumping? (It might be construed that I’ve written this article just to come up with a thin pretext for people to beat up the Kaiser Chiefs. I couldn’t possibly comment…)

Incidentally, following on from yesterday’s discussions about it being who you know, not necessarily what you can do, that gets you the job, it should, to a certain extent, be clear that Mr Tennant got his job through the exact same mechanisms that Charlie Skelton did in Space Cadets. Not to diminish his acting skills, etc, since he’s a fine actor and does one of the better mockney accents I’ve heard, but

  1. He appeared in Casanova, which was exec produced by Russell T Davies, who is the exec producer of Doctor Who. He replaced Christopher Eccleston, who appeared in Davies’ Second Coming for ITV1.
  2. Tennant says “I did a show that he’d written, called Casanova, at the end of last year, so I knew him through that. And, I guess, unbeknownst to me, that was my audition. So it just came up after that, I guess, when they knew that Chris Eccleston was moving on. They just came to me and asked me to do it.”
  3. He’s been up to his neck in Doctor Who work for years, through the Big Finish audio plays. Russell T Davies is a big fan of these, using their writers in his own show and mentioning them in his own stories and articles from time to time.

Anyway, my point isn’t that this is necessarily a bad thing, only that this is how the industry works.

PS David Tennant’s been a Doctor Who fan from way back. Despite his playing it down somewhat in this interview (search for ‘Doctor Who’), I hear from sources that he’s able to list every single Doctor Who story in order. Not too difficult for a Doctor Who fan: I’ve met many who can do this quite easily, although I never hung around long enough to hear the full 27 seasons’ worth. However, the earliest stories only had episode titles on screen, not story names. Given that ‘The Dalek Masterplan’, for example, had 12 episodes, each with its own title, you’ll immediately spot that that’s a whole lot more learning and obsession to deal with. Tennant can apparently list even these episodes in order, which I’ve never seen anyone do. I think I’d be frightened.