You Were Expecting Someone Else 19 (Scream of the Shalka)

(46 comments)


The list of proper “alternate Doctors” is relatively small: you’ve got Cushing, of course - the alternate Doctor who has actually impacted culture in any meaningful sense. You’ve got the Curse of Fatal Death set of Doctors, but they were never actually meant to be taken as seriously as they are. And you’ve got Trevor Martin, but since he was in a 1974 stage play that nobody knew much about until 2008 when Big Finish did an audio adaptation, he’s pretty firmly purely a trivia answer.

It’s worth thinking a little bit about the nature of “alternate Doctors” in this regard. Our pool of three noteworthy interests contains exactly zero that were ever intended by anyone as a serious alternative to Doctor Who. Cushing’s Doctor existed only to provide a platform upon which Dalek thrills could be built. The Curse of Fatal Death was, as noted, a joke, though for all its quality it turned out to be not nearly as funny as fans taking it seriously as a plot to kill off Doctor Who by burning through the remaining regenerations, a viewpoint that is fascinating in its utter wrongness. And Trevor Martin was a disposable product to handle the fact that Jon Pertwee didn’t want to do the show. None of these are “alternate” Doctors, as that suggests some sort of fully functional alternate history in which they are Doctor Who, and none of them could possibly support that. They’re trivia answers.

Which brings us to Scream of the Shalka. On the one hand it’s clearly a trivia answer - the hardest answer to “name the three contexts in which Richard E Grant has appeared in Doctor Who.” On the other, we have to remember that this was a completely sincere attempt at rebooting Doctor Who, intended as such a big deal that Davies cited his guilt over killing off the project as part of why he hired Cornell to write Father’s Day. (That and Cornell being bloody good, of course.) Richard E Grant was announced as the official Ninth Doctor, and the plan was that this would spin off into a proper series of Doctor Who. It’s just that before it actually came out it got completely pre-empted by Russell T Davies, and so Grant became an alternate Doctor by default.

And so the first and most obvious question to ask about Scream of the Shalka is whether it ever could have worked. Is this in fact the first properly “alternate” Doctor - an alternate launching point into forty years of new adventures, as Cornell breathlessly hyped it before the bottom dropped out. Certainly much of the familiar scaffolding is there: we have a post-traumatic Doctor with a new status quo following some hazily defined event. The Master Robot ruefully seeking redemption is charming, not least because Derek Jacobi is a national treasure who’s having an absolute blast. The villain is solid, which is impressive, as there was an awful lot else to launch in this story and doing a mediocre villain that’s just a placeholder against which the Doctor gets to define himself is a pretty standard response to that problem. (We will, after all, almost certainly never see the Atraxi again, or, for that matter, another multiform.) The new companion is quite good, and Cornell makes the Davies-esque decision to commit to a multiethnic cast, getting to “first black companion” several years before Mickey or Martha.

There is, of course, an element of speculation here. We don’t know the whole arc, which means that this is a lot like judging everything up through The End of Time on the basis of “I should know, I was there. I fought in the war. It wasn't my fault. I couldn't save your world! I couldn't save any of them!” Which, I mean, you can see that there’s an arc of some sort, but the details of it are completely obscure and there’s no way to see how it could play out. Something has clearly happened that means the TARDIS is partially under the control of other forces and the Master is now a robot who works on the TARDIS and is ambiguously seeking redemption, and it’s clear the Doctor is a bit post-traumatic and wary of the idea of companions, but we don’t really know what.

There are also huge problems. The biggest is Richard E Grant, who Russell T Davies was absolutely correct to describe as lazily phoning it in and doing for the paycheck. He’s absolutely awful, with no interest whatsoever in putting any nuance into his line readings. It’s a pretty titanic problem, given that he’s the lead and that animation still collapses a lot of the character information to the audio track. Cornell is writing a Doctor who combines the impulsiveness of the Vampire Science-style Eighth Doctor with the sense of being haunted and worn out of many of the New Adventures, and what he gets is someone who just wants to scowl impassively through every line whether it’s meant to be comedy or drama.

It’s worst on the comedy, of course. Grant clearly thinks the idea of the Doctor every being silly is foolish and uninteresting. Cornell, even though he’s working in his “dramatic” mode here, loves nothing so much as bits of whimsy and silliness, and in fact goes out of his way in this story to define the Doctor by the fact that he is endlessly contradictory (the whole “I don’t like the military, but I have so many friends in it” speech that BerserkRL likes to quote so much). Grant, on the other hand, wants the most one-note interpretation of the Doctor imaginable, and it kills this stone dead, especially in the opening episode or two, where Grant is given that most thankless of tasks for a new Doctor, namely explaining the plot until the companion shows up. It’s a brutal acting task. Several otherwise solid actors have run aground at it.

But look, say what you want about Tom Baker mugging his way through the pre-Leela bits of The Face of Evil, he was at least trying to make it entertaining. Grant… isn’t. He’s not doing anything but reading the lines out loud with generically dramatic inflection. And so any hope that this could work evaporates. Because animation is unforgiving in this regard. I mean, I’m not knocking animation as a medium in the slightest, but it’s not a great one for subtle human emotions unless you’re a hell of a lot better at it than Cosgrove Hall are. I mean, they worked pretty well for The Invasion, but that’s a simpler story where everyone has simpler motivations and internal lives. And even there they don’t come anywhere close to capturing the continual shifts and nuances of Troughton’s performance.

But 1969 and 2003 are very, very different times and the program is very different. The Invasion doesn’t try to have one of its major plots be the transformation of the Doctor’s character as he opens himself up after a past trauma. It’s just got Patrick Troughton fighting aliens. And if Cosgrove Hall can’t quite keep up with the emotional registers of Troughton fighting aliens, they’re up a creek with Grant. Especially because Troughton, even when you take away his facial expressions, is still doing more with his performance than Grant is. With flat visuals and flat acting there’s just no hope of a script like Cornell’s working.

In a way it’s an odd and mixed refutation of Lawrence Miles’s predictions about Doctor Who, which was that it would come back, flop spectacularly, and then finally end up as an animated series where, in his view, you could do something interesting with it. Obviously he was wrong about it flopping spectacularly, mostly because he mistakenly assumed that any new take on Doctor Who would work basically like Babylon 5, but in many ways the more revealing fact is that he thought animation was a better medium for Doctor Who. When, in fact, what actually happened was that there was an animated Doctor Who that got pre-empted and overtaken by a massively successful television version.

But it’s also worth looking at how this happened. This is the fourth BBCi Doctor Who production, following the Paul McGann version of Shada, a Sixth Doctor audio produced by Big Finish, and, of course, the astonishingly awful Death Comes to Time. The basic logic of the webcast was, of course, that Doctor Who was hopelessly cancelled and a cult program that was never going to attain a mass audience. Tellingly, its BBC website was under the “cult” section, and the bbc.co.uk/cult/doctorwho url still redirects to the classic series website today (and you can still find the webcast of Scream of the Shalka there). The webcasts were reasonably popular, but nobody in 2003 seriously believed that Internet-based television series were ever going to reach mass acclaim. (Heck, in 2013 it’s easily argued that they still haven’t, although the wall is crumbling at least) This was firmly for a marginal audience of fans.

Why? I mean, Doctor Who was clearly a reasonably big property. The fact that it took nearly a decade to revive after the TV movie remains, in many ways, difficult to explain. So why was Doctor Who faffing abut in webcasts instead of coming back? After all, the BBC took a meeting with Russell T Davies around 2000 to explore bringing Doctor Who back. So what took so long?

In a practical sense the answer is that BBC Worldwide kept trying to make a movie out of it and thus declined to allow a television series. The logic here is strange in two regards. First, Doctor Who is terribly suited to film, as its occasional dalliances with Joseph Campbell by-numbers style storytelling have demonstrated. The rules of film say you have to start with an origin story, whereas Doctor Who seems to work only if you avoid the origin like the plague and do what the series is actually good at, namely continuing to explore things. The word “continuing” remains important as well - Doctor Who lends itself to serialization in a way films don’t.

Second, of course, is the fact that BBC Worldwide kept being obsessed with film despite never getting anywhere with it. Doctor Who film projects never really left the ground save for, obviously, the TV movie. This latter point seems, in most regards, a holdover from the John Birt approach to the BBC. Doctor Who was to be a film because Doctor Who was a big name sci-fi property, so should be sold to a private company that does those sorts of things. And it took a change in what the BBC did and the sense of “let’s create a new sense of national identity” that New Labour brought in to finally shift that. By 2003 the BBC was actually acting like Labour was in charge and the Tories were decisively out of power, and was willing to actually decide that they were good enough to produce their own program. And at the end of the day that change, more than anything that happened in the wilderness years, was what was key for Doctor Who.

But it leaves Scream of the Shalka in an odd artifact without era. While it’s probably not true that Paul Cornell could have brought Doctor Who back as effectively as Russell T Davies, the fact of the matter is that he gets it. He knows how to do this sort of story. He knows how to make Doctor Who work for a mass audience. And he clearly genuinely believes in Doctor Who as a mass-audience phenomenon. But he’s working in a model that doesn’t allow for mass audiences. So what we get is all of the ideas and concepts of the new series applied to the wilderness years ghetto of miniscule fandom. The result isn’t even some necessary step along the road of Doctor Who’s evolution. It’s just an oddity along the way.

Comments

David Anderson 3 years, 10 months ago

I think there's a slightly more comprehensible reason for Grant phoning in his performance. Cornell has written the Doctor as Withnail. I was going to say I'm surprised he doesn't have the Doctor go on about the finest wines known to humanity, but then I realised he does. Twice. (I'm not saying that the Doctor as Withnail doesn't work.) Grant, meanwhile, seems to be going, Withnail, never heard of it, completely against type.

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Josiah Rowe 3 years, 10 months ago

Damn it, this time I really was expecting somebody else! I completely forgot about Shalka. Which I suppose is fitting, really.

I even upped my Kickstarter donation so that Phil would be over the line for the Logopolis Choose Your Own Adventure by the time the Rose entry was up! Ah, well, it's for a good cause and all that.

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SpaceSquid 3 years, 10 months ago

And here I thought Grant's performance in the last Christmas Special was phoned-in...

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Stuart Ian Burns 3 years, 10 months ago

There's also, of course, David Banks in The Ultimate Adventure.

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AdamAttley 3 years, 10 months ago

Started watching Shalka around the time series two was airing. Still haven't quite finished it. Obvious quality in the script here, but the staid quality Phil notes in Grant is prevalent across the board as regards performances. Imagine 'The Second Coming' without any of the fun bits, and I do believe we have a tonal match.

The limited animation struggles to sell the character 'acting' and Thrilling Action Set-Pieces, for all that the art design dept have done good work.

I do love the bit where the Doctor empathises with an old homeless woman though, it works effectively against the classic series' slighlty upper middle-class rep and is one of my favourite Cornell Who moments.

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sleepyscholar 3 years, 10 months ago

Anyone think it might be slightly relevant that Grant, having grown up in Swaziland, hadn't seen Doctor Who, much less grown up with it? Even Eccleston knew it from his childhood (though he said he was out playing when it was on).

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Ross 3 years, 10 months ago

Because animation is unforgiving in this regard. I mean, I’m not knocking animation as a medium in the slightest, but it’s not a great one for subtle human emotions unless you’re a hell of a lot better at it than Cosgrove Hall are

Also, is it just me, or was Cosgrove Hall of this era sort of strangely disinterested in the visual language of animation? Shalka is better than the other two, but it, along with The Invasion and The Infinite Quest seem to have no sense of how you actually animate things, instead doing this weird sort of traced-paper-doll thing that I think is meant to look more photorealistic, but just looks hardcore Ralph Bakshi-style creepy, as if the whole thing was done by rotoscoping the taxidermied corpses of actors.

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Contumacy Singh 3 years, 10 months ago

I don't think Cosgrove Hall was disinterested in animating it more dynamically. They had to compromise between realistic likenesses and more naturalistic movement. They had to make it look like the actors, and on a budget. Otherwise they could have actually rotoscoped it and had it looking like A Scanner Darkly.

Have you seen the pre-production art recently released for an aborted animated Doctor Who? The characters were more typically designed to work in animation, but they looked horrible.

My issue with Shalka, and it's purely one of taste, but why was the Doctor made to look like a vampire?

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ferret 3 years, 10 months ago

The Master-as-robot plotline was interesting - the first time in a very long time anything actually interesting was done with the character. I wonder if Cornell had any long-term ideas or a series 'Bible' written, and if he'll ever tell?

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Contumacy Singh 3 years, 10 months ago

Check out the novelization by Cornell. He includes a large section on The Making Of... which details his plans. (Which I cannot recall at the moment.)

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Lewis Christian 3 years, 10 months ago

I haven't yet gotten around to seeing this. I'm just not inspired to view it.

It's interesting that the series effectively has three Ninth Doctors.

Is the Ninth the only Doctor to have more than one 'version'?

The First Doctor has Peter Cushing's First Doctor, but that's a debate because he isn't a Time Lord. Cushing is just "Dr Who", a human. Recasts don't count, either, as Hurndall played the First Doctor. So it's quite fun that we have three Ninth Doctors - Atkinson, Grant and Eccleston.

Which is best?

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Lewis Christian 3 years, 10 months ago

Also, gangers don't really count:

The Dalek 'Chase' Doctor was just a clone, intended to be a direct copy of Hartnell's First Doctor.

The 'Handy' Ten Doctor is just a spin-off from Ten, played by Tennant.

The 'Ganger' Eleventh Doctor is just a clone, and played by Smith.

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Jesse 3 years, 10 months ago

Are there any fan theories out there that attempt to retcon Withnail & I into a multi-Doctor story featuring amnesiac Doctors? If not, why the hell not?

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Andrew 3 years, 10 months ago

And also Nick Briggs as the '9th Doctor' in the Audio Visual stories.

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Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

Dunno about theories, but I've definitely read a few (albeit somewhat tongue-in-cheek) fanfiction crossovers revolving around this, or similar, premise.

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Ben 3 years, 10 months ago

Oddly no one's mentioned the Unbound Doctors like David Collings and Arabella Weir yet. Is that because they're canonically in different timelines?

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Spacewarp 3 years, 10 months ago

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Spacewarp 3 years, 10 months ago

Well if you're counting Atkinson as an alternate 9th Doctor then that automatically makes Richard E Grant both an alternate 10th and 9th, Jim Broadbent an alternative 11th, and Hugh Grant (so far) the only 12th Doctor.

Not forgetting the absolutely best Doctor there has ever been - Joanna Lumley as the 13th.

Edit: Had to redo the post as I got my Doctors mixed up. Gah!

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Theonlyspiral 3 years, 10 months ago

I disagree about those characters. They are stylized yes, but they look just fine. I would have watched the hell out of that show.

His clothing and hair are direct call-backs to Hartnell. He is a bit pale I'll admit...but that goes down to the process stylization you get in any medium.

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Ewa Woowa 3 years, 10 months ago

Well, going back to "The Gallifrey Chronicles" for a moment, one of the (many) delightful moments is when Marnal (the other timelord) is builds a "pertwee-esque time-visualiser" and attempts to trace the Doctors' timeline.
(I paraphrase):
Marnal threw up his hands in exasperation: "It's impossible, he seems to have at least three different ninth incarnations... How is that possible?!"

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Matthew Celestis 3 years, 10 months ago

I hope Phil covers Full Fathom 5 and the Collings Doctor at some point.

He came across as a fascinating Doctor, but the need for a story resolution made him look like an idiot.

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encyclops 3 years, 10 months ago

We will, after all, almost certainly never see the Atraxi again, or, for that matter, another multiform.

Let's not be too hasty...this is Moffat we're talking about. They or their underlying concepts will both be back sooner or later, under different names and with slight variations. ;)

I never watched Shalka, but I remember reading interviews with Grant at the time and he sounded distinctly embarrassed about being involved with the show in any way. I got a similar arms-length vibe from Eccleston later on and it really bums me out. Hearing that he phoned this in is in some ways a vindication, and I agree with SpaceSquid that he was pretty mediocre in The Snowmen as well. If he really has so little interest in the show, I wish they wouldn't keep casting him in it.

It's interesting to compare the energy he apparently put into this with the energy he put into the Spice Girls movie (which I must confess I enjoy every time I watch it). Doctor Who's not good enough for ya but the Spice Girls are, is that it?

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Adam Riggio 3 years, 10 months ago

I find Richard E Grant's relationship with the show to be very interesting. I remember hearing online some chatter about whether RTD was considering casting Grant (or should I call him REG?) before we heard of Eccleston's casting, and that Davies never considered it because he just generally didn't like Grant or his acting style, and didn't think it was suitable for his take on the show. I've seen Grant in several projects, and in each of them (even Spice World), he was very cerebral. Even his Withnail I find somewhat detached and staid. I wouldn't say it's a fault, but I would say it limits him.

Visually, I think he has the bearing of a Doctor, because of the kind of imagery we associate with the role. But I think if he were cast as the Doctor, he'd gravitate to a super-serious mode with a patrician bearing: Pertwee with even less of a sense of humour. And that just doesn't fit either the Davies of Moffat visions of the character, where different styles of humour are paramount. But Grant has a limited range, and that range is limited pretty much entirely to drama. Even his great comedy work, Withnail and I, I find the humour comes from the contrast of Withnail's self-seriousness and pretensions with his incompetence and self-absorption. He's a drama character whose personal desperation has made him comic. Doctor Who functions best when it's jumping quickly back and forth in dramatic and comedic modes. Grant can't really handle that.

As for Eccleston, the behind-the-scenes clusterfucks and conflicts of his season's production, I think, soured him more on Doctor Who than anything else. We discussed this several Doctors ago in the Eruditorum comments. Even in some recent comments about the show that have upset some fans, he doesn't really say anything offensive about the show. I saw a clip online where an interviewer for a sci-fi magazine asked him about the 50th anniversary, and he gave a non-committal answer without getting very excited. But to Eccleston, Doctor Who was one more job. It paid well, and it helped boost his profile to get him some of the bigger film roles he's gotten (and I think he'll be great in Thor 2, the sequel to a movie that used tropes from all across sci-fi and fantasy to build an operatic story with small scale roots). He knows he made some very good television, he's happy for the new audiences that were exposed to his work, but it's a little bittersweet because he had such a miserable time making it.

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Jesse 3 years, 10 months ago

Even his great comedy work, Withnail and I, I find the humour comes from the contrast of Withnail's self-seriousness and pretensions with his incompetence and self-absorption.

I remember him being rather funny in How to Get a Head in Advertising too, but it's been so long since I saw it that I can't remember how well it fits your analysis here. Anyone?

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Tiffany Korta 3 years, 10 months ago

If you're being kind you could say that he was struggling with the whole audio story style of acting. I gather that some people had trouble as, with acting with CGI creatures, it involves imagining everything else going on.

If not well it's a marginal recording of an almost (by the general public) forgotten cult show and he was just doing it for the money...

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Adam Riggio 3 years, 10 months ago

I no longer have anything to contribute to my analysis because How to Get Ahead in Advertising isn't one of the REG films I've seen. Those would be Withnail and I, Hudson Hawk, the 1992 Dracula, Spice World, Gosford Park, Bright Young Things, and his Doctor Who work. And even though he wasn't in Wah-Wah, I did see Wah-Wah.

In some of those, he was definitely funny, but he wasn't doing what I'd call comedic acting. It was more of a dramatic performance whose content (often being helped by its dissonance with its style) made it funny.

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Pen Name Pending 3 years, 10 months ago

I thought he was supposed to be Hartnell...

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Ross 3 years, 10 months ago

I have no content to add here, just an observation that the auto-generated title of your comment in the Blogger Comments RSS Feed is "I no longer have anything to contribute to my anal..."

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Pen Name Pending 3 years, 10 months ago

I feel really sorry for Eccleston. He really doesn't want to talk about it, but of course Doctor Who is always brought up in interviews in such.

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Grant, the Hipster Dad 3 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, but if you're naming somebody from a cartoon spinoff as the first black companion, then that should go to somebody from the Marvel comic strips. Sharon was there about fifteen years before this cartoon.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 10 months ago

Actually, if you want to go comics I believe there's a Pertwee example of a black companion as well, though I'd have to dig out About Time to refresh my memory.

But again, treating this as a cartoon spinoff isn't quite right. Cornell, in writing this, thought he was bringing back Doctor Who in a new official version. Sharon is, I think, materially different in that regard.

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Theonlyspiral 3 years, 10 months ago

Oh I was unclear. Sorry about that. This is what I get for railing off a comment without really thinking about it...

In the cartoon design it it meant to be a stylized version of Hartnell. I really liked the design.

My second paragraph is all about the look of the Shalka Doctor.

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encyclops 3 years, 10 months ago

It's a shame Eccleston can't bring himself to talk about it just once, because it might mean he could get it behind him. Without any details, it's so difficult for people to imagine what circumstances could possibly have been so traumatic for him. It's even more difficult to imagine that the Doctor Who production circumstances could really have been so much worse than whatever Hollywood shenanigans characterize the set of a GI Joe or Thor movie. But it sounds like you're privy to more of the details than I am.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 10 months ago

I doubt it's some great trauma. He's said there were some specific people he took issue with. I suspect that out of deference to the people he enjoyed working with and a desire not to be the sort of person who badmouths colleagues he's maintaining a polite silence. He's a professional. He doesn't work for the Sun, he works for people who make television and movies.

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T. Hartwell 3 years, 10 months ago

For a minute I thought we were talking about the Doctor Who 80s (?) animated series that never got off the ground, which I always thought looked rather cool.

But yeah, I'd have to chime in my dislike for the newer designs, though it's mostly just that they're done in a style I'm not at all fond of (McCoy and Pertwee looked rather good, though).

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T. Hartwell 3 years, 10 months ago

Of course, if those 50th rumours turn out to be true, that means we'll end up having *four* different Ninth Doctors.

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Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

Plus, when Eccleston has discussed "Doctor Who" while he might not exactly rave about it I've personally never gotten the impression that he particularly disdains the show either. It might not be one of his favourite roles ever and he might not have had a particularly happy time making it, but he's always seemed perfectly gracious towards the fans (and especially the kids) and the concept itself. He's never really struck me as dismissive; he might distance himself from it now, but I've never gotten the feeling that it was out of contempt or disdain for what he was doing.

And let's be honest; fans sometimes have a tendency to over-estimate precisely how precious their loves are (or should be) to the people who are making them. Like Adam says, "Doctor Who" was a job to Eccleston -- one he did well and gave his best to, one that people love, but at the end of the day just a job. I'm sure we've all had occupations that we've felt more or less neutral towards, it's just that in Eccleston's case it comes with a massively invested fan-base.

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Prole Hole 3 years, 10 months ago

It also doesn't help of course that he was immediately followed by Tennant, a self-confessed fan of the show and someone who absolutely threw himself at the role, the publicity, the fans and everything else, and seems to have had a whale of a time doing it. It makes the contrast all the sharper.

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Prole Hole 3 years, 10 months ago

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Iain Coleman 3 years, 10 months ago

Richard E Grant gives an utterly comedic performance alongside Arabella Weir in the splendid spoof cookery show "Posh Nosh". He also did a fine turn as Sir Andrew Aguecheek in "Twelfth Night". How much comedy does a chap have to do before we accept that he can do comedy?

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dm 8 months ago

This is very late reply. Posh Nosh is brilliantly scripted, and that saves it, but I personally find his readings too on-the-nose.

I think the problem is less that he can't do comedy, and more that, with a few very notable exceptions, he can't really do acting.

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ferret 3 years, 10 months ago

Also a DVD with some extras is coming out - hopefully some info in there too.

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Robert Lloyd 3 years, 10 months ago

I think you'd be thinking of Nick and Jed, who helped the Third Doctor out in at least one story.

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Robert Lloyd 3 years, 10 months ago

I've heard that "Seven Keys of Doomsday" opened with a video of Pertwee regenerating into Trevor Martin. If so, that could effectively make Martin an alternate 4th Doctor!

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GarrettCRW 3 years, 4 months ago

The problem with Shalka and The Invasion recons is that Cosgrove Hall was animating in Flash, which even in 2013 looks robotic and piecemeal. However, Flash is cheaper than even a stock-footage heavy system, and any Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan will tell you that having the Irish animate Shalka to save on labor costs would have been a disaster.

That's why Miles was wrong: animation may allow for a wider canvas than live action, but it's insanely labor intensive, unless you use something like Flash, and then it looks like crap on anything approaching a normal-size monitor.

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dm 8 months ago

This! When people talk about the unlimited budget of animation, or trash the efforts of Cosgrove Hall (Danger Mouse, The BFG) I start fuming. Animation with proper tweening takes time and work and a lot of people. These people must be paid for that time and work. Animation does not have an unlimited budget- something like a fully animated doctor who series would be bloody expensive.

I work in post production, and there's this mentality that "oh it's all on computers now right? so it's pretty much free" that goes into shrinking post budgets and some companies barely scraping by. I can only imagine what it's like in animation, where even production is "all done on computers" and therefore considered essentially free.

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