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June 06, 2008

Improper Dave

It's nice to see the media keeping us scared of, well, everything. As if our night terrors weren't bad enough there's always plenty in the real world to make life seem like an unending procession of perilous Indiana Jones set pieces. Thanks to 24 hour rolling news every single minor occurrence is played up into a cataclysmic event of apocalyptic proportions. Currently everything is made of knives: the car you drive, the panini you bought for lunch, that little old lady you've just passed - it was a knife in a cardigan and a hat. They'd have us believe that even the little pleasures in life, like stopping to tickle a neighbourhood tabby, usually end in a stabbing. Take an aerial shot of the British Isles at the moment and it'd look like a meat cleaver. Thanks to modern media, you're never more than 15 minutes away from fresh, unrelenting, primal terror.

Kids, of course, usually don't tune into things like News24. Their bedroom walls aren't often papered in copies of the Daily Mail. So, to prepare them for the adult world of unrelenting horror, it's down to Steven Moffat.

Doctor Who: Silence in the Library

OverdueIn the adult world there are any number of daily events, each of which are enough to trigger a lifetime in therapy (depending upon how messed up your outlook on life is to begin with). In even the most innocuous of situations, terror lurks. Take dinner parties, for example. Fumbling around in social darkness attempting to connect with someone who you a) don't know, b) quite possibly don't like and c) will never, ever see again can be a terrifying prospect. Much worse than a recurring nightmare where a roadside Bavarian dentist attempts to feed spam to a turtle.

I'm driving a 1.8 litre Vashta Nerada.

Few of us, if any have the bottle to say what we really mean in these situations and instead proceed to Peep Show a torrent of internal abuse whilst externally we come out with all time classics like "So, how do you know Jeff?" and "What line are you in?". The air becomes so thick with pointless inanity from the mundane end of the Universe. And then it's not long before weapons grade level small talk is mobilised and comes out with the classic "What are you driving these days?".

And I'd not be very surprised if the answer to that was, "I'm driving a 1.8 litre Vashta Nerada."

It does, doesn't it? It's a car. Not that I know a vast amount about them but it's the sort of thing I think I could see Jeremy Clarkson in speeding past any number of roadside Bavarian dentists. It's either a small and sporty number from an eastern European country that doesn't exist any more or a people carrier, the sort of vast pantechnicon that young mothers use to transport their single offspring the 20 yards down the road to the school gates (the car, that is, not Jeremy Clarkson). The size of vehicle that - every time the ignition key is turned - another 17 acres of rain forest sighs and withers. Takes longer to climb into and out again that it would take to walk to the school gates. But mummy thinks it's safer driving her little darling to school in her upholstered tank, despite the fact that it straddles pavements on opposite sides of the road and is actually classed as a combat-ready vehicle by the US Army. All the while Little Johnny clings on for dear life to a small area of the billowing expanse of tanned leather, trying desperately not fall into the crevasse at the base of the seat back.

A bleak Battlestar Galactica style reimagining of Minipops.

Spookydo This, if nothing else, could be exploited as a new childhood terror. Just imaging if you made them scared of sitting on a vast back seat of a car because it might rear up and eat you whole. Using a device like this in Doctor Who, Moffat could probably finish off the country's obesity epidemic and make drastic inroads into stopping global warming in one fell swoop.

Cos at the rate he's going through them Moffat's going to have to start inventing brand new ways of terrifying children. And it's either that or a bleak Battlestar Galactica style reimagining of Minipops to set the next generation off on the right path.

And for the sake of the future of mankind, I know which one I'd go for...


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