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)

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Bleak to Blink


“Blink” is the second “Doctor Who” story in a row based on a previously existing tale. It makes you wonder if they’re short of ideas! Whereas the two-part adventure written by Paul Cornell is based on the novel of the same name, but with added scarecrows, the latest episode originated as a short story in the “2006 Doctor Who Annual” and was called ““What I Did on My Christmas Holidays” by Sally Sparrow”. Sally, in the original, is but twelve years old and conscious of having to wear braces! She has a younger brother called Tim which seems to be a popular name in “Doctor Who” these days!! Not a bad name, by any means!!! The short story is simpler, aimed at a younger audience, and much more interested in the time paradox than its TV equivalent with added statues. It was originally a ninth Doctor story without Rose. Writer Steven Moffat captures his character well, as in “The Empty Child”. It’s implied, at the end, that Sally becomes the Doctor’s travelling companion for a while and isn’t left behind like the older character in the updated version, as played to quiet perfection by Carey Mulligan.


I first came across Carey when she played Ada Clare in Andrew Davies’ 2005 adaptation of Dickens’ finest novel “Bleak House”. RTD has employed a fair number of actors from this production in “Doctor Who”, and its spin-off “Torchwood”, over the last few years. Anna Maxwell Martin, in “The Long Game”, appeared in “Doctor Who” before she was seen as Esther Summerson in the Dickens’ classic whereas Burn Gorman was cast as Owen Harper in “Torchwood” after Russell had seen him as Guppy in “Bleak House”. Catherine Tate, Donna in “The Runaway Bride”, had a (thankfully) minor role as Mrs. Chadband in the Dickens’ production while Anne Reid, Florence Finnegan in “Smith and Jones”, played Mrs. Rouncewell. Which brings us up-to-date with Ms Mulligan. Her big break was as Kitty Bennet in the film version of Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice”, alongside Keira Knightley, Brenda Blethyn and Donald Sutherland no less! And, since “Bleak House”, Carey has returned to Austen, in the same season of films in which Billie Piper also appeared, in an ITV1 adaptation of “Northanger Abbey” as Isabella Thorpe.

The usual new age “Doctor Who” philosophy was as implicit in the latest episode as in all the others, despite the virtual absence of the lead characters, that in order to form a meaningful relationship with another human being one must first let go of obsessions. In other words, older “Doctor Who” fans… grow up! Hand your DVDs and transcripts back to the Doctor, stop searching for “Easter Eggs”, in order that you may free yourselves of the encumbrance of an old TV show to hold hands with your lover!! Bit patronising, really, don’t you think, Steven? Aren’t the writers biting the hands that feed? Don’t they want us long-in-the-tooth fans to watch in case we’re a little over-critical of the series’ oh-so-many shortcomings?!! I might just take their advice and switch off! As understatedly beautiful as Carey undoubtedly was as Sally, though, she was upstaged in just one scene. Louis Mahoney, as Old Billy Shipton, stole the show, for me, as he talked of the Doctor and of time travel with his tongue firmly in his cheek but with the added pathos that it was on his last day on this Earth.

8 comments:

Old Cheeser said...

I enjoyed "Blink" on the whole although I think I need a second viewing to fully gather my critical faculties! It was quite an "odd" tale. Like you I thought Carey Mulligan was pretty good (although her character seemed to "get over" the loss of her friend and potential lover rather too quickly...) The weeping angels looked brilliant although for me the scary quotient only really kicked in in the last 15 minutes or so!

That's an interesting interpretation of the DVD-transcript thing - never thought of it that way. Do you really think that was the writer's intention though - surely Sally and the guy needed the DVD and transcript in order to save the day! Although they did end up giving the transcript to the Dr...

Steve said...

I greatly enjoyed the episode and it is one of the few that has actually genuinely terrified our boy... that's surely a good litmus test if anything. Personally I like Moffat's writing (I was sad enough to love Press Gang in the eighties) and thought the statue / scary angel thing was a good thing to tap into. I usually find the Doctorless episode a bit of a drag but thought this one was strong enough to cope without Tennant's constant presence.

Like Old Cheeser I'm not it was Moffat's intention to denigrate old DW fans but it is an interesting take on things... maybe something that Moffat himself wasn't fully aware of?

TimeWarden said...

I didn't think "Blink" was particularly scary and was disappointed in that respect. "Doctor Who"'s roots are essentially in the horror tradition rather than science fiction and it would be nice if there were a few more scares!

I do think Moffat's subtext was intended. The same idea ran through the previous story. Only if you give up all this interest in gallivanting round the galaxy (although, in actuality, the Doctor hasn't exactly been very far!) will you form a meaningful relationship, be it Smith and Joan, Sally and Larry, Simon and Gustavo, Steve and Karen, Me and whoever...

I used to admire Moffat, Steve, until I saw him on "Confidential", last year, when he was derogatory towards older fans who dare to criticise RTD's monster! I watched "Press Gang" too, and "Coupling", and will be watching his take on "Jekyll", this Saturday, if only to see if he pushes the same theme as he has in all his "Doctor Who" stories.

Karen said...

I very much enjoyed this episode. That surprised me since there was so very few scenes with the Doctor himself. I also thought Carey Mulligan was a great choice for the role of Sally Sparrow. Although I agree with old cheeser, she did get over her friend a little too quickly.

I didn't find the story scary. As a child I would have. The whole idea of things moving when you aren't looking would have kept me awake for hours, peering into the dark to make sure nothing was coming to get me. Add to that those faces and I would have been terrified. When I was little that was always a sign of a good Dr Who story.

Steve said...

Ah - I don't think I saw that particular episode of Confidential so what you say is quite interesting. It would suggest that Moffat is coming from a... let's be polite and say an unusual DW position... maybe he thinks he's trying to subvert the DW genre (if it can be described as a genre in itself) by his hidden subtexts?

Karen and I are very much looking forward to Jekyl though... I think James Nesbit is an excellent choice.

Old Cheeser said...

Tim - yes, the actual "method" that the Angels used to dispose of people wasn't actually that frightening when you think about it i.e. sending them into another time period. Therefore when the Dr said "Blink and you're dead", technically speaking he was wrong! However I suppose you could look upon each human as being "killed" in that their contemporary existence/s ceased once they were sent back in time, and had to start their life all over again so in that respect it was traumatic. But whilst this idea was used quite cleverly within the general story, I wanted the Angels' method of destruction to be something much more grisly and horrible!

But I do agree with Karen's point about things moving when you're not looking being a scary idea and the sort of thing that would terrify you as a kid - and the Angels' faces were totally nasty!

Okay I see what you mean now about the relationship thing. And Simon and Gustavo? Who are they? You and whoever, eh Tim? Keeping mum about a significant other? (!) Perhaps that's cos you're a time traveller already and couldn't possibly make the TIME for a mundane relationship...

A bit disappointed to hear that Mr Moffatt was derogatory towards fans, then again he is very much part of the new RTD regime so I guess he has to support him to a certain extent. Still you shouldn't diss the original "Who", it's where it all started!

Karen said...

You're right. Being transported back in time isn't exactly the grisly end you would expect given the Doctors warning. I had assumed though that although others were transported in time Sally was about to meet a much more horrible end as she was keeping them from the TARDIS.

TimeWarden said...

It could be argued that, for Kathy, being sent back to 1920 was the making of her, quite the opposite of death in fact! She might well have been living a “dead” life until she met that farmer from Hull!! He seemed more like the fella from Hell to me, though, stalking the poor girl across the fields!!!

Simon, I am indeed a traveller in the fourth dimension! But, aren’t we all? The only problem is we can only go forward one day at a time!! You’re no doubt familiar with the Meddling Monk? Well, I’m known simply as… the Wandering Warden!!!