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Mar 17, 2006

Full Furry Jacket

This is a bit late, but what with Star One, hair-touching and a bad case of Avonian flu (Strain H1-Star-1 according to Dr Querry) I feared for my sanity. A cocktail of buttercup syrup, ibuprofen and paracetamol seems to have sorted me out though – possibly.

I thought this was a cracking episode. The casual opening scene, where the Doctor and crew dismiss Salamander’s hideous death as they chomp on a sandwich, sets the tone, and things progress nicely via inexplicable webs and cranky fake old men until the Doctor loses his mind and recklessly follows an obviously dangerous cable. Did they not have public information films on Gallifrey? No child in Britain would have followed a bomb cable down a dark tunnel, and expected some kind of random webby substance to conveniently muffle the explosion. Oh no – they would naturally have expected to be gorily decapitated by the blast and their twitching corpse fried on the live rail.  Because the PIFs said so.

But it’s Camfield’s episode. He directs the action wonderfully, and really gets the best out of the legendary underground sets. More importantly, you can believe the soldiers are really in the army, and this and the early UNIT stories make the most of that shadowy paramilitary organisation before they became the ludicrous Boys’ Brigade outfit skipping around during the worst excesses of Pertwee’s era. Camfield would surely never have let their hair get quite so long for a start.

Hold on a minute – time for a quick dose of Day Nurse. That’s better.

All of that aside, I have been a fan of this episode ever since I saw the clip of Silverstein’s death during the Did You See? item in 1982. Afterwards, I re-read the Target novelisation, and imagined that the whole series had been directed like a Universal horror film from the 1930s. Now I realise that Camfield was ramping up the gothic for just that one scene, but it’s a great set piece, and demonstrates that when those making it could be bothered, Doctor Who could handle a host of different styles not only in the course of a series but in the course of an episode. There’s even a suit of armour in shot at one point.

Day Nurse doesn’t seem to be working. I obviously need Night Nurse after 6pm. Mmmm!  Feels different this time.


It’s obvious that Doctor Who played a big part in Stanley Kubrick’s life and work. Look at the evidence. Kubrick’s crew on 2001: A Space Odyssey got in touch with the Who production team about Camfield’s work on The Daleks’ Master Plan, and therefore the detail-obsessed Kubrick would obviously have kept an eye on Camfield’s subsequent work on the series. And so is it entirely fanciful to suppose that when the K man decided to ditch Wendy Carlos’s score for The Shining he remembered a brief but brilliant scene in The Web of Fear that also used Bela Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta so effectively? Get Andrew Pixley on the phone.

Was Kubrick a Doctor Who fan? I like to think that somewhere in his rambling mansion in St Albans, the great Stan had a huge bank of televisions picking up TV channels from around the world, including all UK regional variations of course. Maybe Kubrick was a secret Gus Honeybun fan, in addition to having a yen for the Doctor’s thrilling adventures. In fact, he almost certainly had an assistant (who looked like Dr Strangelove complete with wheelchair) who busily recorded every Doctor Who adventure for Kubrick’s vast archives. Kubrick even modelled his later appearance on the Yeti in The Web of Fear.

 

KubrickYeti

Hold on – this is how rumours start. I don’t want to be responsible for Kubrick’s widow being harassed by Ian Levine and the army of sinister individuals on the Missing Episodes forum. Though a fitting punishment would be to strap a fanboy to a cinema seat, pin open his eyelids and force him to watch The Sensorites and Time and the Rani for a week. Without the eyedrops. Viddy well my brothers. Any Night Nurse left?

Comments

Hang on a sec...is this an elaborate extension of something from the Christmas Invasion pod-cast, or was Kubrick actually impressed by the Katarina death scene? I just thought it was too good to be true.

Kubrick's team did get in touch about the Katarina death scene. I don't have a Pixley reference to hand but it was referred to many times in the pages of DWM. That much is true.

Yes, amazing as it may seem, occassionally our podcasts contain snippets of... gasp... truth!

Incidentally, our next one - The Claws of Axos Part 1 is now online.

Or Day Nurse and Night Nurse could be "Abducted by Daleks" and -

Oh nevermind I'll shut up now. Oh and anyone that didn't get that, google "Abducted by Daleks" or "dalek porn film" for more info(I think it was featured on here at one point - any chance of that for a Stripped Down session?).

That would be for Stripped Down Phroawwww!!!

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