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May 16, 2008

Yes! It's Phwoarrrrrr.

As recently reported in the mainstream media (first discussed here some days ago), the BBC has started a crackdown on the knitted replication of Doctor Who characters. Striking whilst the irony is hot, here we have a Doctor Who story that starts with the automatic character replication. Perhaps with the addition of a knitting module to Stephen Greenhorn's latest "sci-fi life-fiddling cabinet" TM means that the characters come out fully clothed. More's the pity.

Doctor Who: The Doctor's Daughter

The Guardian Guide's Phelim O'Neill described this story as being "not such a landmark episode as the title would suggest". He was, of course, right. How on earth could you begin to start ascribing notions of parentage to something that had basically grown off the back of your hand? Unless you're the sort of person who can't bear to pull the chain until you've named all your little deposits. Even the script seemed compelled to apologise for its own short comings. With lines like "They stole a genetic sample at gun point and processed it... not what I'd call natural parenting" and "You can't extrapolate a relationship from a biological accident". So say we all. The writer might as well have scripted a scene in which he runs naked across the screen with only an illuminated board reading "I was only following orders". There's also a line in the first episode of season three of Nebulous (you can listen again on the iPlayer - a marvelous tool to aid bloggers everywhere, apparently) where Gatiss' character states "Why the sheer amount of paranormal activity in the Cardiff area alone is starting to threaten the Earth's plausibility shield." Probably a direct dig at the Torchwood Hell Mouth, but I'd like to think it was a sly jab at the increasingly ludicrous editions of look-at-me television that's masquerading under the Doctor Who brand these days.

And to think when I first watched this I actually liked it!

If that wasn't bad enough, she starts flirting with Ian Beale.

Jenny There was something a tad disturbing about just how much I enjoyed a certain aspect of the episode. Well, two aspects. Well, two aspects, some fluttering eyelashes and an arse. But her being the daughter of a previous Time Lord actor felt so wrong. It was as if I needed to get her dad's permission before I was able to watch. Difficult to explain, perhaps it's just me, but it was like watching returning soap opera child stars who've grown up. Like Nigel's daughter, Clare. And then if that wasn't bad enough, she starts flirting with Ian Beale... But I'm drifting. If you start thinking about things too hard they begin to fall apart in your hands. Like this story and, as Nebulous might say, like Octember squid on Boxing Day.

The futuristic equivalent of photocopying your arse.

Arseface These progenation machines for starters. Surely they're like photocopiers? After however many years in transit perhaps what passed for recreation on board the colonists' ship was either The Sound of Music for the 300th time or to fool around on the office equipment and replicate bits of your anatomy. The futuristic equivalent of photocopying your arse. But after planet fall, and after thousands of generations produced, you'd surely be copying a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a.... What you'd start getting out of these machines would be grey mushy people-shaped stains capable of nothing more taxing than conversing with a foetus or worse (if you fed back in some of those grainy arse-scans).

And what, precisely, was so paradoxical about the story? The hand took them to somewhere too early before something happened which would never have happened if the hand hadn't taken them there in the first place. Have I gotten that right? Christ, from now on everything I do in the future I can explain away on being paradox - something that might not have happened if I hadn't made it happen. What a brilliant excuse for getting drunk. Sorry, love, it was that damnable paradox again. Unless, at some point in the future, the hand is interfered with by Jenny who forces it to make the trip through time and space in the first place. And that makes just about as much sense as having Martha along for the ride...

Like a dog returning to a lump of old sick it did.

Martha Why do they feel compelled to involve the character when she's given virtually nothing to do. Why do I feel it's a bit like they don't want to admit that they got something wrong and just move on? It's like a dog returning to a lump of old sick it did under the sideboard. Nothing productive is gained, it just can't help itself. I actually enjoy the aspect of modern day television dramas, the way familiar characters come and go, but for godsake give her something to do, instead of just watching a fish drown.

Is it any wonder they've taken to cracking down on the production of wooly, ill-defined, Doctor Who characters? That is, after all, their job.


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