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Jul 08, 2006

Strapping Down Sharks

Army1Army of Ghosts wound me up from the get-go. You see, it all kicks off with a lie - a bare-faced lie. And it's the worst kind of lie too, one that is told for entirely selfish reasons, namely: bums on seats. Because Rose dies in this one. Honest, guv. And that's got to be worth missing a BBQ for, surely?

Yeah, right, pull the other one, Russell. I am willing to bet editorial control of this blog on Rose surviving Doomsday, and if she really snuffs it then James and Chris can call themselves Pinky and Perky for all I care. Sure, Rose will almost certainly suffer a figurative, symbolic "death" and she'll probably end up stuck on an alternative earth forever (that's "forever" in the "oh look, Mickey's back!" sense of the word by the way) but if I had a quid for every time a friend or colleague came up to me this week to inform me (like I wouldn't know!) that "Rose gets killed in the next one" then I'd be able to finish off my Doctor Who sticker collection.

And so, with my hackles already up, it didn't take very long for that familiar feeling of ennui to descend over me, as I slogged through my weekly Doctor Who bug-bear checklist:

  • Suburbia - check
  • Smugness - check
  • TV personalities playing "themselves" - check
  • Extra Smug moment laced with gratuitous pop culture reference - check
  • Rose makes doey eyes at the Doctor and promises never to leave him - check
  • Weird EastEnders moment - check check check

Reality check: the same moment they cast Tracy-Ann Oberman as Yvonne Hartman someone should have stepped in and cut the Babs gag in the Queen Vic - it just drags you kicking and screaming out of the drama because the woman who killed Dirty Den is currently running Torchwood! Staffed, as luck would have it, by the least annoying Ferrera brother. Huh? Next you'll be telling me that one of the dead temps is the Doctor's new companion!

I was punching the air and laughing like a lunatic as four Daleks came gliding in over a couple of dead sharks that had been strapped down by production team...

Ah yes, Torchwood. Coming soon to BBC3 and all that. What a bunch of morons. And none of them took off their kit or said the f-word once!

Army3Now own up - who wasn't hiding behind the sofa with acute embarrassment when the Doctor was "captured" like that? I thought I'd seen it all but nowadays even the bad guys will take time out to boost the 10th Doctors ego with a quick round of applause. Strewth. Perhaps the Dalek Supreme will ask the Doctor for his autograph when he finally bumps into him.

Sure, Tom Baker's Doctor could be a smug git at times, but unless I'm very much mistaken he never once goofed off to Carl Douglas or Abba.  And he never, ever sounded like a constipated Kenneth Williams either. Seriously, I'm getting tired of writing the words "a new nadir" on this blog.

However, as if sensing my fug of resigned desperation, Doctor Who played its joker. Only Paul McGann turning up with only one arm could have topped it for pure, unadulterated - and bloody glorious, it has to be said - fanwank.

A Dalek V Cybermen punch-up is a curious concept - both sacrosanct and childish at the same time. It's the sort of thing you might find scrawled on the back of your English Lit textbook in 1978 or a really bad Terrance Dicks PDA, but to see it realised on-screen?  Surely no one would have the balls to pull it off. Well, we'll just have to wait and see, I guess, but what a start to the proceedings!

Army4I was feeling thoroughly let-down by both David Tennant and Wayne Rooney that afternoon, but there I was, punching the air and laughing like a lunatic, as four Daleks came gliding in over a couple of dead sharks that had been strapped down by production team earlier. If I was an eight year old kid at that precise moment, still replaying Gerrard's penalty kick in my head and mopping up the tears with my replica shirt, then I'd have been magically transported to a world of pure joy and excitement. Who am I kidding, I'm 36 years old and that's exactly how I felt.

By accident or design, for a second there Doctor Who existed as a public service for a grieving nation, and you can't say fairer than that.

So forget Italy versus France - this is a final well worth waiting for. Just don't hoy it over the bar, Russell.

The Bumper Book of Made-Up Doctor Who Facts has this to say about Army of Ghosts: the footage from the 'Trisha' show was actually created by the Mill. They simply rented a copy of 'Shaun of the Dead' and replaced the zombie with a CGI ghost instead. Ms Goddard provided an extra word of dialogue in an ADR session that was covered by a phalanx of tabloid journalists. Hooray!

Comments

"Paul McGann turning up with only one arm"

Whee Faction references <3
Thank you Neil!

I've done my best throughout this season to avoid spoilers as much as possible. I didn't even know the names of the stories. So now we're getting into the last episode of the season, one thing that has been too difficult avoid is that this is indeed Billie Piper's last Doctor Who.

I'm still not even sure either way whether she's going to die or just leave the Doctor. For someone who hasn't read any interviews or whatever like me, there's still enough wiggle room in what Rose said at the start of Army of Ghosts for her to still live but just not be wih the Doctor any longer.

I think those that have been annoyed by Rose this season and are hoping she'll die a brutal screamy death will be disappointed...if she does indeed kick the bucket then I expect syrupy music and "I'll die when I've finished my long speech" syndrome rather than that. And on the other hand she could live, which would annoy them as well.

So there's still enough mystery for me to be unsure about what'll happen...I didn't have a problem with Rose this season, I just thought that she'd been looked at in such detail with the 9th Doctor that they'd kinda gone to the well once too often. So it fits as a time to let go of Rose...however it happens.

Yes, I'm one of those people eager to see the Cyberleader snap Rose's neck. Perhaps we'll get a silent credit run to accompany the death of the most annoying companion since Adric?

I don't know what to expect from tonight, the speculation about the Genesis Ark has been interesting. Will it be Davros? I'm thinking probably not. But it would be fun if it is.

I just hope the Cybermen don't get completely emasculated by the Daleks.

Paul McGann with one arm?

I don't get it?

The Beast talked about "the child who will die in battle"

Hasn't the whole season ark been "Childhood's End". No, not the Arthur C Clarke one, but Rose, Mickey, Reinette, the kid in Crouch End [and more besides] all leave their childhoods behind through their interaction with the Doctor.

So, it may only be Rose's 'child' that dies, as Jackie discussed in 'Army Of Ghosts'.

Well, it's a theory anyway.

Crouch End?

Does Peter save the world?

"kid in Crouch End" = Tommy Connolly in *The Idiot's Lantern*

Yes I know. I was trying to be funny, unfortunately. Must do better!

Paul Meggan with one arm = Faction Paradox, the bizarrest spin-off.

http://diysheep.tripod.com/id52.html has an explanation, (err... sort of).

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