The latest issue of Private Eye sums up the BBC’s dread and rigidly enforced code of Omerta which has served Doctor Who so well over the years. As nearly all of this is already in the public domain (or at least the fan domain), there’ll be little opportunity for fans to flood the Private Eye switchboards again demanding a public retraction and apology.
Who the hell is this George Lucas rip-off merchant? For years I’ve heard people raving about his Star Wars movie as if it were the most original sci-fi concept ever.
So, I finally get around to watching it and what do you know? It turns out that the man has so few original ideas that it’s not long before he gives us that standard trope of the rip-off sci-fi genre. For “cantina scene”, read “meeting of the delegates” scene.
Admittedly, the 1960s genius of the Nation/Spooner/Camfield concept laid the ground for all copycat sci-fi that followed. But the minute that Lucas wants to convey the idea of a universe peopled by many species, he reaches for a roomful of different alien costumes as pioneered (and never bettered) in the meeting of the delegates scene in “The Dalek Master Plan”.
When will this transatlantic plagiarism of Doctor Who end? First Star Wars steals the “meeting of the delegates” idea so completely and shamelessly that the trope is now generally referred to as “a cantina scene”. Then Star Trek filches the Cybermen concept for the Borg. Then Sutekh’s whole background story gets copied for the “Pyramids of Mars” sequel series, Stargate. Don’t even get me started on the obvious similarities between Firefly’s so-called Western theme and “The Gunfighters”. I only hope that Joss Whedon has enough shame to give Lynda Baron and Tristram Cary a cut of the royalties from Firefly’s theme song.
These modern shows may look very glitzy and exciting but where would their enormous, penis-substitute starships be without Doctor Who’s visionary groundwork in the field of Colour Separation Overlay? I think we deserve an answer, George!
It’s so annoying to be stuck on this side of the Atlantic when increasingly many of the most exciting Doctor Who events are taking place in the USA.
For example, in New York this weekend, the BBC is auctioning off the surviving half of the full-scale Azal model used in “The Daemons”. I wish that I could have put in a bid myself. Looks like they finally managed to straighten out those wrinkles.
The eccentricity of Christopher Eccleston never ceases to astonish.
Offered the chance to reprise his most famous role, Eccleston has turned down the offer. Why can’t he show a bit of respect for the show? Surely if the man has a shred of conscience he would recognise that we fans have a right to expect some claim on his time in exchange for the loyalty we’ve given him.
It’s becoming ever clearer that he only took on the role in the first place as a way of reviving his flagging career. Now, having risen on the back of our favourite show, he’s happy to swan off over the horizon in search of more lucrative roles.
He can hardly claim to be turning us down because he’s a serious actor looking for serious roles. For example, look at how he was happy enough to rake in some cash by starring in BBC TV show Doctor Who for one season when it was being revived. So Eccleston will appear in cheesy BBC sci-fi but our franchise is beneath him? What a hypocrite!
Major Tom Spilsburgen III (USMC retd.), the editor of G.I. Joe Monthly, told our reporter: “Eccleston has become famous during Doctor Who press conferences for reacting angrily to being regularly asked if he has plans to return to the G.I. Joe franchise. However, he appeared to mellow when he recently replied smilingly to one of these questions “If I told you that, I’d have to destroy your family from a helicopter gunship.” This had led fans of the franchise to hope that plans were afoot for Eccleston to reprise his critically acclaimed performance in “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”. Fans everywhere will be devastated to learn that he has now declined to appear in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”.”
Fans posting on the G.I. Joe section of war movie message forum, Gallipoli Base, have speculated that Eccleston fears becoming typecast by appearing in too many movies inspired by comic books.
In other movie news, Christopher Eccleston has now completed filming in this summer’s blockbuster release, Thor 2: The Dark World.
If only the Witch Queen of ‘Ang ‘Em had still been around to savour the moment. Looks like the exquisite timing (too late for Mrs Whitehouse, just in time for the 50th anniversary) of Richard Marson’s book on JNT is starting to attract media attention. There have been reviews of it here in The Guardian and here in The Mail and another in Private Eye this week (see below). Both concentrating on the book’s more salacious chapters.
I see that we’re being spun the line that it’s typically shallow and cynical of the media to concentrate on what comprises only a single chapter of the book. Maybe if the author had wanted his work to be reviewed as an artistic whole rather than in part, it was unwise of him to give it the title “J.N-T: The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner”. If you’re going to try to manipulate sales by drawing attention in the very title to the book’s more salacious chapters, you can hardly cry foul if that’s what media reviews concentrate on. How about calling it “J.N-T: The Life and Times of a Doctor Who Producer”?
A slightly different take on Caroline Skinner’s departure appears in the latest edition of Private Eye (a.k.a. The Satanic Bible for all fans of a Panglossian disposition).
On the one hand, Private Eye has printed enough sentimental niceness (see here) about Doctor Who over the years to escape the charge of having a grudge against the show. On the other hand, if this story were true, surely Moffat would have been bellowing “you are deleted from Doctor Who”.