News from Telly to Belly

Just as an additional update, several things happenned while I was away – most inescapable of which was the hilariously bizzare row over the Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross/Andrew Sachs incident, which (as far as I was concerned) first cropped up on the front page of the Daily Express as one of those ridiculous stories about nothing, with tabloids leaping on any opportunity to wave their pitchforks and talk about moral declines. It was only when I was lurking in the Montague Pyke pub on Charing Cross road (mainly because the wireless at the BFI was hopeless- the net situation was much trickier and less convenient than it had been in Edinburgh) where they had the news channels playing silently, and I started to see oddball headlines scrolling past about how Gordon Brown was announcing how terrible this Andrew Sachs prank situation was and how it should never have been allowed to happen – it was then that I started realising something was up. Hopefully the wheels are finally coming off it now – I haven’t listened to the offending broadcast, and I’m not really interested in doing so (To be honest, just seeing Russell Brand makes me want to instinctively reach for a harpoon), but all it really seems to have been is two presenters who really should have known better going too far and behaving like complete dicks. Yes, it wasn’t wise, yes it does sound like it was fairly crude and tasteless, and certainly action should have been taken (it might have been slightly more excusable if it had been going out live), but let’s get a bit of perspective about this. It’s become a self-perpetuating story, and most of the snowballing complaints that have come in after the story broke have presumably come from people who’ve sought it out on the Internet knowing that it’s ‘offensive’, and then acting all shocked and appalled. And now, it’s gone quite ridiculous, careers are being destroyed, and we end up with the rather horrible sight of the Daily Mail trumpeting that it’s acheived some kind of wonderful victory for morality. The media’s treatment of the whole thing has left rather an unpleasent taste, and despite however crap and unfunny an item it may have been, there are bigger things to be worried about than this…

Admittedly, one of those bigger things is emphatically not the fact that David Tennant has announced that he’s moving on from Doctor Who, but it’s still worth a mention. Tennant has certainly become a generation’s Doctor – Eccleston may have brought the show back, but Tennant has stuck with it, and he’s probably doing a very sensible thing in moving on after the specials. I wasn’t his biggest fan when he took the part, and remained unimpressed for most of S2. It wasn’t until the appallingly smug Rose/9th Doctor chemistry was broken that things got interesting, and I really feel that Tennant has gradually grown into the role. Compare him in S4 to S2 and it almost feels like a different actor – he’s much more confidant, gives the whole performance much more depth, and feels genuinely Doctorish. S3 was the watershed season for me, where Tennant managed to genuinely make the role his own, even managing to make his scant screentime in ‘Blink’ count, and it’s hard to complain about his occasional mockney excesses when he does such an absolutely sterling job of the Human Nature/Family of Blood two-parter. Let’s face it – it’s a gigantic amount of work, it’s pretty impressive that he’s kept with it for three years, and wanting to leave while it’s still fun is certainly one of the best reasons for leaving anything. I’d hazzard a guess that this decision was possibly made a while back, and the news is being let out now so that we go into the special episodes knowing that they’ll be Tennant’s last stand. This also means that the Moffmeister really does have a blank slate when S10 starts shuffling into production at some point next year, and that we’re stuck back in that strange period of trying to work out who the next Doctor will be. I wouldn’t be completely averse to Patterson Joseph (although his frankly bloody awful accent in Jekyll has lost him some of the love he built up for his wonderful turn as the Marquis De Carribas in Neverwhere), I’d be kinda horrified if it was James Nesbitt, and I really just hope that they go for someone who isn’t exactly unknown, but lacks baggage from previous roles so they can make the role their own. I guess we’ll see how it goes…

2 thoughts on “News from Telly to Belly

  1. Yeah I was bogging about the Brand/Ross story the other day. It’s just been ridicuously overblown by the tabloids in their sanctimonious and deeply hypocritical way.
    Paterson Joseph could be great, but I have to agree that the only clip I saw of him in Jekyll (not having watched it) was of him looking really OTT and doing an apalling accent. He was also really OTT in Doctor Who. So I have reservations. I also agree that James Nesbitt would be a bad choice for me – way, way too much baggage.

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    • PJ’s turn in Jekyll is decidedly bad – I can cope with overacting (I was just watching The Ribos Operation, and glorying in the glorious shoutyness of Paul Seed’s Graff Vinda-K), I can cope with crap accents, but both at the same time is a bit too much. It was something of a relief when (**SPOILER***) his character unexpectedly got killed off in episode 3, even if that didn’t spell a complete end to the creaky accents.
      Jekyll is actually worth seeking out if you get the chance – I was genuinely surprised by it. The first episode or so is very uneven, and for a while it’s going exactly where you expect, and then it starts evolving and just keeps on going. There are some jaw-dropping miscalculations and stuff that simply doesn’t work, but it also showcases Moffat’s love of structure and does succeed in doing some new things with the Jekyll and Hyde concept (instead of just being a modern-day update). It’s also a good example of why Moffat’s stewardship of New Who is undoubtedly a good thing, but is also unlikely to be the paradigm of wonderfulness some fanboys are already imagining – Jekyll suffers from quite a few of New Who’s problems (especially with some very out-of-place humour at times), and doesn’t always know when to stop. It’s going to be genuinely fascinating to see what Moffat does (especially with the end of season climaxes, considering that after putting the whole of reality in jeopardy, they can’t really keep on getting bigger and bigger), but I’m not expecting a re-invention of the wheel.
      The James Nesbitt story will continue to crop up as a possibility, but it’s like all the suggestions of Alan Davies back in the late Nineties – it’s people’s idea of “Who’d make a good Doctor?”, not which actor would be best for the part. The left-field choices are often the best – neither Eccleston nor Tennant were people I would have expected. Although, of course, Sylvester McCoy also counts as a left-field choice, and while Sly did have his moments, I can’t exactly say that that was a magnificent choice (especially after some of his spectacular shouty moments in Battlefield – a story that’s unbelievably getting a DVD release ahead of a whole shedload of better stories)…

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