Saturday, June 14, 2008


Midnight – Tonight!

Whatever you do, tune in to BBC1 at 7.10 tonight for Midnight (a planet, and a title, not a time). The latest Doctor Who episode is the first I’ve ever seen before transmission*, and the first new Doctor Who on the telly since 1989 that I’ve seen for the first time without Richard. So while this little piece has no spoilers (just the odd cryptic hint, so you can read safely) I’ve not even told Richard that… I think it’s terrific. It’s a fantastic script, David Tennant is superb, and my prediction is: kids will either be bored or petrified. Probably the latter, going by my favourite feature on the BBC’s Doctor Who site – the Fear Forecasters are a family of four kids who give a commentary and marks out of five for scariness for every story. Usually, the youngest kid gives the highest mark, the oldest slightly lower; because of the nature of the horror here, I would have guessed that the scores might slant the other way this time. I was wrong… All of them have given it five out of five.

So what is it that makes it so scary? I’m not going to tell you yet, unlike this week’s Radio Times feature, which gives away a key twist. The ‘Next Week…’ and the trailers rather cleverly show you some of the old-fashioned scary bits you might expect to see, but nothing of the most striking element. One of the things that’s brilliant about it is that the idea at the centre, and even most of the deceptively simple production (though apparently it needed such careful rehearsal that it took as long to shoot as any other episode), could have worked at any period of Doctor Who, from the Sixties to the Noughties. It recalls the New Adventures Birthright and Iceberg; it has some of the terror of the mid-Seventies, when I started watching, with some of the characters displaying traits not seen so vividly since The Robots of Death; but most of all, and appropriately for a story whose very strong cast includes David Troughton, the claustrophobic drama here is easy to imagine in the Sixties.
“’Cause this is what you decide. You decide what you are.”
Ten Things I’ll Tell You:


*Unless you count the one that Richard and I queued for at, appropriately, midnight.

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"Enjoy" is the wrong word to describe my feelings about this episode - it's very very good, I'm really glad I saw it but I don't think I want to watch it again!
Can I get a refund on my TV licence due to now having had Rafaella Carra's "Do it again" going around in my head for the last two days?
Oh, I enjoyed it very much, Chris – not least because I’m sure that had it been shown in the mid-to-late ’70s when I started, it’d have been one of the ones I’d have watched, terrified, from the crack of door. But I’d have loved it for that.

And Paul, I think you should probably be careful in opening that line of reasoning; after all, the BBC only showed a tiny clip of the song on Saturday, but you’re showing the whole thing on your blog (as your kindly link below illustrates). So if you have a case for recouping your £139.50, everyone who visits you would have a case to demand several multiples of £139.50 from you in return ;-)
Ah! Good point. Oh, to hell with it. I give in. It's a great song!
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