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June 14, 2008

Moon River

Inferno The Sock Gap... The Giggle Loop... The Nudity Buffer... Even The Melty Man, for godsake. I've been spending a little too much time in close proximity to a sofa of an entirely different construction. Going through The Grand Moff's back catalogue of greatest hits, in a vague attempt to get a handle on how Who might evolve from 2010. Of course, if you start and end with Coupling then you'll probably come away with the impression that Who might be heading for it's most squelchy period to date. But at least we would be entering an era where when we're told a three word episode title will remain hidden because it just gives too goddam much away we'd not end up with The Stolen Earth, which I'm sure is the episodic title equivalent of trying to light a piss-soaked Catherine Wheel.

No. The very least you can expect something a little more incendiary than that, probably along the lines of Lesbian Spank Inferno...

Doctor Who: Forest of the Dead

This entry into The Moff's canon, a mighty weapon in its own right, has more than a whiff of a retrospective of his own past Who works about it. Even if after a scant few stories, strewn over the past four years, it feels more like a greatest hits album spunked out by a machine tooled boy band after a recording career spanning 14 nanoseconds. You know the sort, it's usually issued in time for the lucrative Christmas market and rammed with a couple of new tracks which a) seems a tad apologetic because of the lack of existing 'hits' means they can't even pull together a full 'best of' compilation and b) seems a tad presumptuous of them because if these new tracks don't attain the high standard set by the previous outpourings then we, the general public, will be held responsible and more than likely prosecuted by some sort of secret state police - a musical branch of the Gestapo - wielding conductor's batons and firing jazz cannons into a confused and largely impotent crowd.

I doubt whether even Lawrence Miles has equated Doctor Who to Nazi propaganda.

In fact, instead of another soundtrack album, why not put out an entire CD of the simple, repeated messages, that have been such a hallmark of his Who oeuvre (or Whoeuvre) to date. All your favourites are here, "Are You My Mummy?", "She Is Not Yet Complete", "Don't Blink" - including the all new tracks "Class, Dismissed" and the deeply haunting circus refrain "Beware The Painted Clowns". A friend of mine was always keen to point out that simple phrases, repeated frequently to reinforce the message, has been used time and time again throughout history (usually in the communication of propaganda) by people as diverse as Status Quo and the Third Reich. And I doubt whether even Lawrence Miles has equated Doctor Who to Nazi propaganda!

Jumpers for goal posts, fists for sink plungers.

Bonehead Of course, to make a Who monster really, really stick in the psyche of a generation you need to make it easy enough to replicate in the playground. The grating rasp of "Exterminate", coupled with an outstretched arm and hey presto you're a Dalek (or a slightly hoarse Nazi, take your pick). It's a little bit like football in that respect, all you need is a ball and it's game on - no complicated set up, no fancy equipment, and you're away. Jumpers for goal posts, fists for sink plungers. You don't even have to climb into a dustbin, although that might certainly help, it's all in the stiffness of the arm and the rasp of the voice. Only the inmates at the Little Lord Fauntleroy School of Soft Knocks have the wherewithal, not to mention the resident makeup artists, to pull off even a remotely convincing Clockwork Robot. This also means that playtime is reduced to a mere 30 seconds by the time they all get out of makeup. And aside from increasing terror threat from chemical vectors delivered via dirty bomb there's no way gas masks will become standard issue again - so apart from Daily Mail readers the rest of us aren't currently petrified enough to be found wandering around with a gas mask readily to hand (and most of them are probably just thinking that the Germans might try for the hat-trick).

Donna Getting back to Coupling, you can tell that The Moff delights in showing us the same situations from different perspectives. This happens in both parts of this story. It wouldn't be at all hard to imagine that when time comes for the 2010 series Doctor-lite story you could have a situation where the two episodes that are double-banked are in fact the same story, told from the separate perspectives of the Doctor and the companion with both episodes playing out in the same time frame but not necessarily in the same time and place. With one affecting the path the other story takes. I actually thought that with Midnight being Donna-lite and Turn Left being Doctor-lite they might have attempted something similar. But once again I'm wrong.

So instead of jabbering aimlessly about the second coming of Hinchcliffe, perhaps we should be looking a little further to see what Moffat shaped Who might take...

Perhaps... Perhaps... Perhaps.

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