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Dec 29, 2006

Christmas Wrapping

The Runaway Bride

When I first watched The Runaway Bride about 1am on Boxing Day morning, half in a drunken stupor, half sniffling and coughing my guts up, I must admit that it pretty much passed me by and I found myself looking forward to The Sarah Jane Adventures more than I am series 3 of Doctor Who. I probably wasn’t in the best of moods to watch the story at the time and I was very tired.

I watched it again the other day and, you know what, I quite enjoyed it. The plot won’t stand up to much scrutiny and it was almost a retread of last years The Christmas Invasion but it was simple, old fashioned Christmas entertainment and I think that it just about worked, some of the best Christmas television specials over the years have been markedly different to what you would get in the normal run of the show, but as it is made for the Christmas market then it doesn’t matter if it is different, and I don’t think that either The Runaway Bride or The Christmas Invasion are that different from what we get on a weekly basis, apart from the obvious links to Christmas such as killer Christmas trees and evil robotic Santa’s.

Basically what happened in this story was just bigger and better than what we got last year, hell, it even started the same way: last year we got the TARDIS crash landing on the Powell estate, which was pretty good at the time, and then this year we got a full on chase scene down a motorway; then we have the killer Christmas trees where this time we have an extra large Christmas tree complete with explosive baubles. You see the same only bigger and better.

The script was chock full of great lines, most of them coming from Catherine Tate’s Donna at the Doctor’s expense such as “How many wedding dresses do you see with pockets?” and “Before she left, did your friend punch you in the face?” There were also some really cheesy lines such as “This time it’s personnel.” God, that line made me cringe.

Was I the only person who wasn’t that bothered when Gallifrey was mentioned, I mean what the hell are the general audience going to make of that, they aren’t going to be all that bothered, they will just now know where the Doctor came from. No big deal really. It was nice for the fans but it is hardly going to have the same effect on anyone else is it?

Catherine Tate was excellent in the titular role of the Runaway Bride and was a perfect example of what a woman would be like on her wedding day, after all it is supposed to be the best day of her life and how would you feel if you were walking up the aisle and then suddenly vanished and found yourself in a strange space ship with a strange bloke you have never seen before? Pretty pissed off, if you want my opinion, no wonder she was yelling at him and giving him what for.

By the end of the story she had warmed to him a little but she still didn’t want to travel with him. Now, that is not going to endear the character to Doctor Who fans is it? I mean she doesn’t want to travel with the Doctor. How very dare she, to quote one of Catherine Tate’s own characters!

The story was ok and was enjoyable enough Christmas fare and totally and utterly bonkers. I mean what in the hell was that all about. It did seem a bit odd after the typically sci-fi opening shot of zooming straight down to Earth from space to suddenly find you witnessing the beginning of a wedding ceremony!

I am sure that is not what quite a few Doctor Who fans were expecting, but it was called The Runaway Bride, so maybe that did give you a sort of clue that there might been wedding scenes in there somewhere.

What you say, weddings and Doctor Who? Surely they don’t mix, its like Doctor Who and sex, that doesn’t go together either, does it? Well, it sure does now, whether you like it or not.

Perhaps after Christmas Dinner they didn’t want to blind us with science and give us a plot that we in any way have to think about, at least not for more than a couple of seconds anyway, and just bombard up with long chase scenes such as the one with TARDIS chasing the taxi on the motorway.

It was certainly an exhilarating scene thanks to the direction of Euros Lynn though despite being as daft as a brush, my girlfriend loved the way the adults driving the cars were pretty much oblivious to what was going on around them, but the kids in the back were cheering and jumping for you when she finally jumped from the moving taxi into the TARDIS.

Now since when has the TARDIS doors been allowed to open while the ship is in flight? I am sure that I have never seen that before, but I am sure someone will correct me on this at some point.

What the hell was Sarah Parish thinking of when she was playing the part, had Richard Briers taken her to one side (oo-er!) and told her to overact like she had never overacted before. I don’t know about you but that has to be the hammiest performance in the entire 43-year history of Doctor Who. Step aside Joseph Furst, Graham Crowden, Paul Darrow, Brian Blessed and Richard Briers; there is a new girl in town.

I also liked the way the song Love Don’t Roam, fitted seamlessly into the story. I did wonder after listening to it on the concert, how in the hell they were going to fit that into the story without it sticking out like a sore thumb, but they managed it, it is the sort of cheesy sounding song that you would expect to hear at a wedding ceremony. I wonder if I can persuade the missus to let me play that at our wedding next year?

If I’m being honest I would say that the best thing about The Runaway Bride was Catherine Tate. Now I am not a big fan of her comedy but she was really rather good in this episode, and I was cheering when her name appeared on the credits and I am sure that about a hundred disgusted posts were up on Outpost Gallifrey at that very moment. In a way I am quite sad that she didn’t go back into the TARDIS at the end of the episode, because it would certainly have made for an interesting dynamic for series three.

I still have a problem with David Tennant’s take on the Doctor, its not because he is bad, because he isn’t, its just that I am not 8 years old anymore. I do believe that if David Tennant had been the Doctor in the early 80’s then he would probably be up there amongst my favourite Doctor’s, but I just don’t buy his take on the Doctor at the moment. He is perfectly watchable enough and he is definitely the most active Doctor of all, I mean you get dizzy watching him running around the TARDIS at times, but he is a Doctor for the current crop of kids who are loving the series and not for a jaded grumpy old git like myself.

I think I need to watch this new series through the eyes of an 8 year old, and then I will probably love it. I am still looking forward to series 3 though. Of course I am, I look forward to all Doctor Who related stuff, I am a fan when all is said and done, or why on earth would I be posting on this blog?

Comments

The TARDIS doors opened up in the vortex during Planet of Giants, IIRC, and shrunk everyone. However, opening up in space itself doesn't seem to have any adverse effects- There's that scene in a Davison (Can't narrow it down any further but I'm sure someone else'll know the one) where he opens the TARDIS door from space in order to get back in.

There's also the bit in the Doctor Dances with Jack's ship, and Eccleston seeming fairly unconcerned about the prospect of being surrounded by outer space... Flippancy in the face of peril? Maybe; or maybe the TARDIS has a weak forcefield around it for that kind of thing- Not enough to stop the Daleks from blowing it up without an extrapolator, but enough to stop Catherine Tate from being sucked out into space and exploding... Now that's a pity.

"Now since when has the TARDIS doors been allowed to open while the ship is in flight? I am sure that I have never seen that before, but I am sure someone will correct me on this at some point"

I only recall one instance, and the mere opening of the doors caused them all to be shrunk to less than half an inch tall (Planet of Giants).

Unfortunately, the writers seem to expect everyone to see it as a children's show, and we shouldn't have to take it as that. The Robert Holmes never took us for mugs in the same way, nor did Terry Nation or Douglas Adams.

Yes, but wasn't it established in Parting of the Ways that the Tardis has a forcefield now -- and couldn't it work like the atmospheric shielding the TNG Enterprise?

The TARDIS has had a forcefield around it as far back as The Three Doctors.

Pete: That was in Four To Doomsday, just after the cricket ball in space.

"Now since when has the TARDIS doors been allowed to open while the ship is in flight?"

After Planet of The Giants, off the top of my head:

Horns of Nimon where the stationary TARDIS extends the door defences to reach the airlock of the Skonnos ship.

Diificult one canon wise where The Doctor violates his way into the TARDIS from the vortex, after inching his way along a beam\lifeline projected from Salyavin's TARDIS.

Warriors Gate where Biroc enters the TARDIS in flight & the time winds flowing through the open doors causes burns to The Doctors hands & fries chips, not so much a picnic lunch as they were (presumably) silicon & inside K9 at the time.

PS If the gap between universes count as "in flight" after Jo time rams The Masters TARDIS into The Doctors in The Time Monster.

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