Revenge Of The Slitheen, part two
This Alice Troughton woman. Any relation to Pat? Is that how she got the gig as one of the few woman directors in the boys-only club that is Doctor Who (stop sniggering)? Though if that recap is any judge, she tutored under Lovett Bickford rather than Fiona Cumming. That was a long one for twenty-five minutes of programme, wasn't it? I'll wait a couple more weeks for the jury to pronounce on whether it was blatant padding or not, but I'd have been slightly narked if I copped all that at 5.30 last week on digital right after the first episode like I was some kind of lemming.
There is something glorious about the OTT antics in Sarah Jane Adventures, a quality that Doctor Who itself (don't even think of asking about Torchwood in this lifetime) doesn't quite seem to grasp. The same quality that makes the Slitheen far more at home in this show than they ever were in Aliens Of London / World War Three, that makes the headmaster's Kenneth Williams performance a delight when much the same New Earth larking on Tennant's part was an embarassment. The same quality that lets you accept turning off the sun without a second thought when you know it's the biggest load of cobblers the Whoniverse has ever seen. And it's hard to put your finger on exactly what that quality is. It's not the demeaning 'kid's programme' epithet in which anything automatically goes. It's more than the juxtaposition of the outrageous with the everyday, since we were sick of the suburbia angle by the end of Eccythump's fifth episode. Maybe it's the way that only the main characters are aware of the goings-on, that makes it an exclusive club to which the viewer is invited. Perhaps it's the audience connection to the script giving the cast things to do that the watching child fantasies about every day ("I blew up the headmaster!"), while Doctor Who remains resolutely out of reach. Maybe it's the Back To The Future music. I don't quite know.
Clyde shone this week, didn't he? Not so swaggeringly cocksure that you'd hate him, just the right amount of brains to earn his own self-gratulation with honours, nor so utterly useless that the Mickey alarm goes off. This is also fortunate not only for the makings of an appealing character the kids can really get behind (STOP SNIGGERING, I said), but because with the young-at-heart pseudo-Doctor and three companions in tow dashing about the set like headless chickens, Clyde is nothing like the morose psychic space-princess that would complete the unfortunate group dynamic of Adric, Nyssa and Tegan. So Clyde wins. Collective sighs of relief all round from a blog still trauamtised at the mere sight of a plastic bin - when they sign him on to write for Torchwood, then I'll worry.
"I am a child of the Slitheen!" Bastard offspring of Peter Cook's Superthunderstingcar sketch more like, with those arms continually waving about, looking for all the world like the loser in a game of kiss-chase while the hunt left him for dust. Get knotted, Klout. And I fully supported - nay, endorsed - Clyde's bloodthirsty pragmatism after they blew it at the end with the 'everyone feel sorry for the monster' hokum that I'd hoped Doctor Who had grown out of. They'd better not play the 'human' card with all the aliens in this series, making them seem so much like us in a plea for our sympathy. Maybe it's a reaction to the hardening of the Tenth Doctor's character, who wouldn't bat an eyelid about blowing them all to Slithereens after they pissed their chance for redemption away, but Christ; we got it two years ago, let's move on. If you want to feel sorry for the kid, try the one whose skin they stole in the first place as I pointed out last week.
Still, whatever. With SJA and oh alright, Torchwood, we now have Wholia catering to all tastes, whether you want old school creature features with razor-sharp dialogue, flashy setpieces with plenty of knowing winks or the fap material for your latest bishie three way fanfiction (probably be less embarassing than its source material). Old Who, New Who and Spoo Who. And if you don't believe that last one, you're not paying enough attention to the gushing fangirl love echoed in Sarah-Jane's heartfelt soliloquay to the longing absence of the Doctor.
Maybe if we all shout FREAK WEATHER CONDITIONS! in unison, we can bring him back.
Richard Scarry's Busytown Book Of Aliens has this to say about Revenge Of The Slitheen, part two: plans for the six-inch Clyde with chip sandwich accessory were dropped after they remembered what a flop the previous Chip Action Figure was.