Doctor Who’s Greatest Monster, no Reincarnation Please

I don’t watch the modern Doctor Who. This has nothing to do with thinking “it’s a show for kids” and more to do with rarely being in when it is on, and if I am it clashes with bedtime stories for my son. I would catch up with it on DVD, but I only finished The Sopranos back in January, just six years after the final episode. I have been slightly put off by some of what I’ve seen, the increase in the lachrymose scenes of love and loss and the lengthy “I am just going to say goodbye to everyone” story that was on one Christmas. Last night was the same, so much hullabaloo, why even Frazer Hines was on the Pointless Doctor Who special, but Jake and the Ghost and a book about what happens beneath pavements  took precedent. I saw the last 25 minutes and it all seemed pretty good and obviously there was delight at seeing Tom Baker, when isn’t there. (I am told there wasn’t always delight at seeing Tom Baker in the Soho booze cellars of the 1970s and Francis Bacon and him were particularly pissed, but that’s another thing).

Delighting in having a few hours off, I made the mistake of being led to BBC3 for the Doctor Who After show Party, and that was when my eyes began to bleed. I know I can be a grump when it comes to what the great minds and controllers of television fashion to destroy our dreams and ambition, but this departure from sanity was more startling than any prosthetic hampered actor that lunged at me during my teatime Tom Baker years.  

These sort of shows, and there are so many of vaguely different hues, seem designed to wake up the eugenicist in us all. It panders to the presumption that everyone fears depth, insight or interest. 

“You are a moron who whose depth is measured by the time it takes for you to decide on a new ringtone and the length of your stories about vomiting at Oceana after details of each shot and cocktail and how some of the chips spewed were still whole”. 

I am delusional, this does not represent the teenagers I meet, but a core demographic of most TV stations does not take into account anyone who does not fit into the required demographic of the imagination free, self-aggrandising, Groucho club yelpers. I’ve heard their alibis before, “our audience won’t get this”, which means, “I don’t understand it, but I am using the alibi that it is the audience who cannot take it.”

The Doctor Who After Show started as all these live, hubbubby vacuities are meant to. A presenter says, “wasn’t that amaaaazing!” This is the era where superlatives surpass insight. On the few occasions I am in a hotel with a broken TV and briefly trapped with a youthish channel (which seems to be most), “Aaaaammmmazzzing” seems to be the catchphrase of the end times. My nightmare vision saw what my childhood would have been like if BBC3 had encroached on it. Straight after Horror of Fang Rock, there would be Tony Blackburn and Dave Lee Travis with the after show, “wasn’t Horror of Fang Rock sensational, so let’s see Dollar and Dancing in the Moonlight!”

 Back in 2013, here we were at a party. Why the hell do all these things have to be a party?

“That’s The final part of The Nazis: A warning From History, but over on BBC3, it’s time for the aftershow with Fearne Cotton and Alex Zane.”

“Wasn’t that aaammmaaaazzzing, I had no idea those dude were so cruel, here’s some guys who wouldn’t commit genocide, it’s One Direction!!!!!!!!!!!”

Do viewers enjoy the party atmosphere? Going to a party is one thing, some people enjoy them I’m told, but what if someone says, “we can’t go to the party, but we can look at it through a window” or worse, friends come around and show you a video of a party that had. “sorry we didn’t invite you, so I thought you’d like this tape of background noise. John Hurt was there, but thought most people wouldn’t really be interested in what he was talking about, so we left the microphone by the ladel of punch bowl so the majority of what you can hear is slopping and slushing. Aaaamaazzzing”. 

I returned to writing and looking at floorboards as a better alternative. Every so often, the Pandora in me couldn’t help but watch a few minutes more. There were the companions of many years, each surely holding in their memories stories of the creation of this television landmark, and all addressed by the presenters only by their companion name. “here’s Leela”. Were the producers fearful that the idea that these people were actors, that information such as “here’s Louise Jameson who played Leela” would overload their viewers synapses forcing them to hastily retreat to Paddy McGuiness? Or was it too much effort for the presenters to hold that amount of information in their heads. It all seemed rather insulting and, yet again, utterly unrevealing.

Whatever you may think of Doctor Who, it is clearly made by people who aspire to create the best television they imagine, they are passionate people with a great depth of care for what they create, an interest in the history and future of television. Immediately after The Day of the Doctor, the antithesis to such aspirations was revealed. If TV is a party, I am glad to spend most of it in the kitchen.

my new show and tour starts in 2014 (Salford, Leeds, Nottingham, York, London and many more) Details of new and current tour and all the Christmas shows both with and without Brian Cox are HERE

Happiness through Science DVD is HERE (guests remains secret but we’ve got bloody loads of them and Ross Noble is the one we’ve sneak previewed, he’s at Hammersmith on 12th)

FOOTNOTE

The sort of monstrosity I witnessed last night is the sort of thing that my new club nights in London, Northampton and Brighton will be railing against. Here is a post about those https://robinince.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/from-onanism-to-orgy-the-joy-of-collaboration/

FOOTNOOTE 2 – Everything that was wrong with that ghastly aftershow, was counterbalanced by the brilliance of Mark Gatiss’s Adventure in Space and Time and the fun of The Five-ish Doctors

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20 Responses to Doctor Who’s Greatest Monster, no Reincarnation Please

  1. Zoe Ball.

    I rest my case.

  2. Rob says:

    I sat through the ‘aftershow’ programme too. Pointlessness of the exercise aside, it was a bit of car crash TV. They decided to interview One Direction for no readily apparent reason, and the satellite link had such a delay and the feedback from the other end was so pronounced it was five minutes of audio acid tripping. Throughout it was littered with low production values and it was like no-one had thought to rehearse at any point.

  3. There is that hackneyed cliche told by old Who fans of “hiding behind the sofa”. I’ve watched Doctor who since the Tom Baker era and never once hid behind the sofa… until last night, watching that atrocious “aftershow party”. I think it highlights everything that puts me off watching TV these days, BBC three in particular.

    No, I’ve no idea why I put it on. They hyped it after the main feature on BBC1 and I caved into curiosity I guess. There was a Family Guy marathon on afterwards which made up for it somewhat.

  4. Pjbwilson says:

    I enjoyed the Classic Doctor Who, and a lot of the new stuff since they brought it back. I really enjoyed Day of The Doctor, though it did not make a lot sense not to have Christopher Ecclestone in it sadly. Unfortunately I put the after party on, though as it was a recording I could fast forward through parts, and I did not see any of the One Direction stuff.

    I think the programme was indicative of BBC3 in general, dumbing things down for a youth market it probably doesn’t understand. There is plenty of scope for insight into a show with 50 years of history, but it seems no appetite at the BBC to produce it.

  5. Scurra says:

    What was really weird was that The Five(ish) Doctors – possibly the true highlight of the anniversary programming, although An Adventure in Space and Time was pretty good – was relegated to being merely on the Red Button, always assuming you could find it there, or on the BBC website, whereas the horror that was the Aftershow Party was actually broadcast…

  6. Peebz says:

    Really enjoyed the episode, only managed to last 10 minutes in to the after show paartay…. absolute drivel

  7. Graham says:

    My pet hate is the use of “amazing” for pretty much anything these days. I can’t judge whether I am turning into (or already) a grumpy old man or whether it’s shared by anyone else, so your comments help a lot. Thanks!

  8. Haven’t watched Dr Who since the sixties but the episode wasn’t bad and when I saw Ingrid Oliver (I love her) well, that made me happy. Aftershow Party – no way I was going to watch that.

  9. The After Show Party was truly the worst Doctor Who thing I’d seen or heard over the past few days: totally pointless, trite & irritating. The Five(ish) Doctors Rebooted was excellent – funny, self-mocking & didn’t miss a trick – that should have been on instead as the post-show highlight.

    The drama – An Adventure In Time & Space – was also extremely well done, as was the Culture Show episode, which proved you can have some more intelligent items on the topic.

    Jeanette

  10. ellpezz says:

    Very much enjoyed the Day of the Doctor last night – good balance of scifi, character storylines, emotional depth, snappy script etc. But if you think that the after show ‘party’ (although what sort of party appears to be avoiding any fun whatsoever?) was aimed at the ‘yoof’ of today, and thus was ‘dumbing down’, I can only say that my 12 year old son, a big Who fan, found it to be pants. So exactly which demographic was it meant to appeal to?

  11. sam says:

    I watched my kids watch Dr Who, it was alright, they also needed a big budget to make…

  12. Richard says:

    I laughed at Mark Gatiss’ “Eternal Life” line (In answer to someone asking “What do we win?”), but otherwise it was completely pointless. Reviving Doctor Who Confidential would have seemed a far more sensible thing to do if they had to have extras on BBC 3. That always seemed to be popular with the fans.

    • Dan Gusset says:

      That would’ve been good. Although even that lost it’s way when they stopped including Clayton in it. He was the only person who related it back to the old show, which was what made it interesting.

  13. A Snyder says:

    The Day of the Doctor, The Five-ish Doctors, and Adventure in Space and Time (and the Prof. ‘S science show) were brilliant, lovely, clever and heartfelt, clearly the work of the creators, the people with passion for the story and the characters, and it shows. The silly after party seemed like the work of the suits, trying to wring one too many gold stars out of the event. Too bad they had zero plan of what to do. Different set of folks put that together, I would guess, and they were just trying to, well, do something or other. But that doesn’t ‘t dim the good nature, good-hearted fun or the wit of the rest of the presentation. Overall A-plus. Every ui picnic has an ant or two.

  14. I did not watch the after party on BBC Three but I am presuming that it was so vacuous that the TARDIS would have found it difficult to navigate.

  15. lanceleuven says:

    “That’s The final part of The Nazis: A warning From History, but over on BBC3, it’s time for the aftershow with Fearne Cotton and Alex Zane.”

    Hah! Excellent.

    Nah, didn’t watch it. But you describe it much how I imagined it would be.

  16. NotApleb says:

    Phew, I am not alone in reacting like this, I thought I was the last of my species…where the brain is actually used, and evolves rather than devolves. And yes, Da Yoof need some stimulation…invest or the return will be poor.

  17. Pingback: Glasses do not make geeks as bobble hats don’t make international skiers – my definition | Robinince's Blog

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