Visit the official Doctor Who website

Visit the official Doctor Who website
Look to the future

Asylum seekers...

Asylum seekers...
Refuge of the Daleks

Doctor Who picture resource

Doctor Who picture resource
Roam the space lanes!

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website
Step back in time

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood
Armed and extremely dangerous

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures
Fearless in the face of adversity

Call on Dani’s House

Call on Dani’s House
Harmer’s a charmer

Intercept the UFO fabsite

Intercept the UFO fabsite
Defending the Earth against alien invaders!

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse
Programmable agent Echo exposed!

Hell’s belles

Hell’s belles
Naughty but nice

Love Exposure

Love Exposure
Flash photography!

Primeval portal

Primeval portal
Dressed to kill or damsels in distress?

Charmed, to be sure!

Charmed, to be sure!
The witches of San Francisco

Take on t.A.T.u.

Take on t.A.T.u.
All the way from Moscow

Proceed to the Luther website

Proceed to the Luther website
John and Jenny discuss their next move

DCI Banks is on the case

DCI Banks is on the case
You can bet on it!

On The Grid with Spooks

On The Grid with Spooks
Secret agents of Section D

Bridge to Hustle

Bridge to Hustle
Shady characters

Life on Ashes To Ashes

Life on Ashes To Ashes
Coppers with a chequered past

Claire’s no Exile

Claire’s no Exile
Goose steps

Vexed is back on the beat!

Vexed is back on the beat!
Mismatched DI Armstrong and bright fast-tracker Georgina Dixon

Medium, both super and natural

Medium, both super and natural
Open the door to your dreams

Who’s that girl? (350-picture Slideshow)

Monday, 14 August 2006

Time to Order



It might seem hard to believe now but there was a time, back in the early Nineties, when I thought Russell T Davies would be good for “Doctor Who”! Following on from the excellent children’s serial “Moondial”, he was commissioned to write his first television drama “Dark Season”. Essentially two three-part serials, comprising 25-minute episodes, the lead character Marcie, played by Victoria Lambert, became thought of as a kind of female teenage Fourth Doctor figure with a slight nod to Sophie Aldred’s Ace. Some have said since that this serial inspired Joss Whedon’s “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” in that there is a school, where much of the action takes place, under which is a Behemoth, brought to life in the second story by none other than Servalan herself, Jacqueline Pearce. For Behemoth read Hellmouth. The serial is also notable in featuring an early performance by a young Kate Winslet.

“Dark Season”, like “Moondial” before it, was directed by Colin Cant and lucky enough to have a music score by David Ferguson. David is probably best known for sending shivers up the spine in the second season of “Cracker” as well as having the same effect in the BBC adaptations of several Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell) mysteries (“A Fatal Inversion”, “Gallowglass”, “A Dark Adapted Eye”), again in the early Nineties. Trained as a composer myself, it’s inevitable I’ll regard incidental music of the utmost importance in a drama’s success. I believe one of the reasons Graeme Harper’s two “Doctor Who” serials of the mid Eighties (“The Caves of Androzani” and “Revelation of the Daleks”) were so successful was because of the Roger Limb scores. Anyway, together with RTD, this talented triumvirate went on to produce a further six-part children’s serial, a couple of years later, in the much more adult themed “Century Falls”. Again centring around the activities of three teenagers, the story concerns the inability of the women in a village to conceive, and the possibly paranormal reasons as to why they should remain barren. Sterility being quite a heady subject for teatime possibly explains why this serial has never been repeated. A small point of interest is the inclusion of sisters with the surname Harkness, seemingly popular with RTD and no doubt distant relatives of a certain space-faring Captain.

In the light of the two recent only-moderately-successful (for me at least) seasons of “Doctor Who”, I wonder if I will enjoy “Dark Season” and “Century Falls” quite as much when rewatching them, now that they have become available on DVD? I actually viewed “Century Falls” just before “Doctor Who” returned to our screens last year, from a Beta tape made at the time of transmission, to help get in the right frame of mind for the new series! I hadn’t actually seen any of RTD’s other work since these two productions, not even the most notorious and best known of them “Queer as Folk”, simply because the subject matter didn’t particularly appeal. I do regret still not having seen “The Second Coming” however. “Dark Season” I remember as fun but lightweight with much more meat on the bones of “Century Falls”. I was disappointed RTD didn’t continue to write for this genre and now I’m disappointed that he has! Had he shown us his version of the Time Lord before the advent of “Buffy” I believe his “Doctor Who” would’ve been a completely different proposition. It might’ve been partly directed by Colin Cant with music by David Ferguson! Ironically, if Davies hadn’t influenced Whedon, with his most “Doctor Who”-like serial, who in turn influenced him to create “Rosie, the Alien Ex-Terminator”, we might have actually got a new series of “Doctor Who”!

2 comments:

Paul Greaves said...

Funny how he seems to have lost the knack isn't it? Dark Season was the ultimate fanboy homage to Doctor Who - encapsulating everything he loved about the show, while Century Falls showed he could come up with a dark, brooding, menacing storyline.

And then, ten years later, getting his hands on the real thing seems almost like the bad reaction to a child let loose in a sweet shop who eats everything and suffers a bizarre sugar rush. The restraint is gone and he produces something arguably less intelligent than either of his kids shows and something definitely less scary.

TimeWarden said...

It's also a shame, and a little unfair, that some of the criticism of the recent season of "Doctor Who" seems to have fallen at the feet of director Graeme Harper. I'm not saying he's perfect but, for example, what do you do when your argument for holding back the initial appearance of the Cybermen, for as long as possible in "Rise", is rejected by the Executive Producer?!! Graeme obviously wants more work so he's going to do as he's told and artistic integrity is going to take a back seat (along with his Master).