Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Dr Who... how long is it since fish custard ?

The crack in your wall... is ... a... crack.

It hasn't taken me four viewings of Matt Smith's first outing as Doctor Who to form an opinion about the return of everyone's favourite Doctor on April 3rd.

I'd barely got halfway through the first viewing when I had formed two very deep opinions about it.

1 That I don't like the new intro music. It's not loud, or beaty enough.

2 I love, love, love, love, Matt's interpretation of the Doctor.

The casting of him is an absolutely brilliant stroke of genius. The energy, quirkyness and well.. sheer madness and otherworldly quality he brings to the role are just.. er... what the Doctor ordered. David Tennant's first outing didn't actually involve him all that much, he spent most of 'The Christmas Invasion' recovering from his regeneration in Rose's bed. (a place lesser mortals have dreamt of being). It was essentially more of the same, but with someone younger, and sexier (sorry Chris) at the controls in the Tardis.

He just has SOMETHING about him that makes him the Doctor. Even his voice has different cadences to it that give an impression of youth, and wisdom, and age at the same time. The outfit does SO work for him. Having seen it in the pictures and the trailers, and thinking...'ooooookay.... going for the Cushing look are we...'.. and it is, a more 'mad professor, geeky genius' kind of look. But it suits the role. Work it work it !

You watch sales of braces and bow ties go through the roof now.

Steven Moffat's script is scorchingly brilliant. So tight, you couldn't get a sheet of paper between the pages. So many iconic lines from it. 'it's not my fault you can't give me any decent food, you're Scottish, fry something'.... 'I'm the Doctor, I'm worse than everyone's Aunt.. and that is not how I'm introducing myself'.... I could go on.. it's packed with beautifully crafted dialogue.

Wondered if we hadn't thrown a bit of Douglas Adams into the mix, with the Atraxi, and their great big eyes, and very, very deep voices telling us they are going to incinerate the planet. (not, as it seems for a hyperspace express-way). Nobody really does monsters like Moffat. He's a bloody genius. How can one man be so good at witty dialogue, sassy characterisations AND be good at coming up with new, but simple and ancient ways to scare the hell out of kids ? It's just not fair.

When I watched it for the 4th time with my friend Helen, I did spot two errors in the editing.. I'm not going to ruin it by telling you... but if it took me 4 viewings to pick them up... I would agree with her assessment that the camera work was entirely different and the show had a crisper feel, much, much more cinematic. (the words she used were 'last series looked amateur... this looks professional - ouch !)

I've seen it four times in three days, and I'm not tired of it. I was tempted to watch it again, and can't wait for this Saturday.

So there is life after David ? Yes, but I guess that's the point with such a wonderful plot device like regeneration... there always is life after... and it's always different from what came before.

I think in a very short space of time we'll be asking ourselves 'David who ?'. Poor Matt Smith though, go from being greeted with 'who is Matt Smith' from the press when it was announced that he had the role, to 'Matt Smith is the best Doctor we've ever had'... I mean, don't make it easy for the guy !

The key test, was that when I changed the poster over on the door to Chloe's room, from showing a picture of David Tennant, to the one of Matt Smith, she didn't say a word. When I suggested it a couple of months ago the response was 'no, don't turn it over.. he's weird'. We all know that weird is not a bad thing in this house.

I am surprised that the Daily Mail hasn't lead a campaign to assault the BBC for encouraging lonely orphaned girls to invite strange men into their bedrooms to help them with the strange cracks in their walls.... would it be too much to ask that they have realised that parents, and children do have the sense to know what's real and what's fantasy ? God no, they probably just figured that they'd be seen for the party poopers they are.

'There's one thing you should understand Amelia Pond, because one day your very life may depend upon it, I am most definitely a mad man with a box'.

And actually, yoghurt is just 'stuff with bits in' and I'm rather tempted by the idea of fish fingers in custard. A quick trip to Iceland in the morning will sort that...

Friday, 2 April 2010

The Writing's on the Wall

This post was originally written in the early hours of Tuesday March 30th. Due to internet skulduggery it didn't get posted.  

Helen came round last night, and rather than do some more filming, we got started thrashing out more of our story for scriptfrenzy. As the near 100 post-it notes testify, we came up with more than we thought we would. We were both suitably impressed that we had achieved so much from what looked at the outset like it would be such a waste of an evening. Once the pizza was ordered, and Helen started on the vodka, I would have predicted a slow decline into near slumber. Me, I was on the tea all night. Just didn't fancy the vodka.

Anyways. We took the original ideas, of about 20 items or comments on single sheets of pocket note paper, and expanded them.. evolved them, and the story along with it. What's resulted has both impressed and shocked both of us. The story seems to be headed into territory that was neither asked nor desired of it. But like a child that you nurture, watch develop and grow into someone who does things you would never even have considered doing.. so does the script. This did seem to happen with each of the plays that we've written. Interestingly though, it doesn't seem to happen so much with any of the scripts I've written for The Adventures Of Stephen Brown, or Doorstops.

What had begun life as a visual comedy piece about the over reliance of technology and lack of human contact in society, to something that sits rather uncomfortably with the horror of the collapse of a society so far up it's own backside that it could brush it's own teeth from behind.

Not quite sure what my landlord would think of the post-it notes on the chimney-breast though. They do come off. Honest.

It's been SSSSSSOOOOOO long (that's a very long time indeed) since Helen and I got so wound up about a project. Not since What On Earth Is Happening (performed December 2006) have we had the energy, inclination and er... idea to put into a stage show. What we've come up with, could probably fill a stage show to brimming, perhaps even a film or book(s) or 6 part serial. There are plenty of works that have explored what happens to a post apocalyptic society. Some old, some new. I haven't come across any that explore it in the way that we want to though.

How can I talk about this, without giving away SPOILERS ???? Oooh it's hard to say. Do I need to worry that if I give anything away it will spoil it for anyone ? Is anyone really THAT interested ? Isn't it just me that keeps coming to the page and notching up another number on the visitor counter anyway ?

The idea is going well. We're going to write it as if we didn't have to think about the practicalities of putting it on in a place like St Peter's Theatre. This will give us free creative reign as we 'lash out' setting up our newly created world.  Itching to get started on April 1st. April fools' day. Just how appropriate vs ironic that works out to be, I guess only time will tell. Helen wanted to cheat, and start writing the script ahead of time, because no one would know. We would know. What's the point of joining in on something for the sake of doing it to gain the feeling of achievement, and then kidding yourself you did it, when you didn't.  You're only cheating yourself, the teachers would tell us.

Anyway. I need sleepy-byes. Simples. Nights to all.