Telethon Crash

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Yes, the joys of redundancy and indefinite unemployment have kept me busy with a variety of exciting/geeky projects, such as ripping the isolated scores off the Doctor Who DVDs for my iPod and archiving the 25-odd VHS tapes of music videos I recorded in the mid-90s. Oh, and the rather important task of trying to find another job…

And now finally, back to the blog. I’ve been meaning to write on here for a while, but nothing quite moved me enough to stimulate the old muse. Particularly with the recurring hangover problem. But now, TV has finally offered up another slice of good old-fashioned Doctor Who!

Yes, in the name of charity (Children in Need, anyway), the reliably talented Steve Moffat served up another slice of genius last Friday. OK, there was only seven minutes of it, but just feel the quality! First, though, we had to sit the usual telethon tat, hosted by the impressively endowed Terry Wogan. Far from flashing the goods this time, he merely exhorted the viewers to give, give, give! Backstage, Fearne Cotton was chatting to a troupe of idiots from Strictly Come Dancing. “Tell me about the atmosphere,” she trilled, moronically. A shame Patrick Moore wasn’t on hand. Back to Terry, who announced a rare TV appearance by the ever-reclusive John Barrowman. Belting out Elton John standard Your Song, John, accompanied by Hearsay hasbeen Myleene Klass, strove to provide the gayest few minutes of the evening.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to sit through much of this before Terry and John announced the item we’d actually wanted to see. Flashing back to the penultimate bit of season three, we once again saw Martha promise to see the Doctor again. But what’s this? Rather than cutting to the Titanic inexplicably crashing into the console room, a few minutes of TARDIS shaking provided the surprising reappearance of Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor! Cue the titles, and I got all emotional seeing David Tennant’s name followed by Peter’s (thankfully spelled correctly, as Totally Doctor Who seem unable to do).

The so-called “plot” of this little scene was something to do with Doctor Ten having failed to put up the TARDIS shields, thus accidentally crashing into Doctor Five’s TARDIS and causing a potential time embolism “the exact size of Belgium… that’s not very dramatic, is it?” Hence the title, Time Crash. As Steve Moffat put it in this month’s Doctor Who Magazine, “because it’s about a crash. In time. Do you see?” But plot wasn’t what this was about, not really. With only one scene to play with, Mr Moffat used this McGuffin to give us a sparkling clash between Doctors past and present, giving them a chemistry instantly reminiscent of that between Troughton and Pertwee in their multi-Doctor stories. The dialogue, as usual, was peppered with acid wit, and laugh out loud moments. “I’m really rather busy,” fumed the Fifth Doctor, “and the last thing I need is some skinny idiot ranting in my face about every little thing in front of him!” Hit the nail on the head there, I thought, Tennant really was on “annoying mode” for this one. “Oh yes, the celery,” Doctor Ten riposted. “Fair play, it’s not every man who can carry off a decorative vegetable.”

The jokes were somewhat fan-heavy. Frying the TARDIS Zeiton crystals, talking about Tegan and the Mara, LINDA (“You’re not one of them, are you?” asked the Fifth Doctor in a thinly veiled “gay fan” reference). But I didn’t care. I am a fan, and I absolutely loved it. True, Peter didn’t seem quite the way he used to be as the Fifth Doctor, probably due to age changing his mannerisms. Perhaps it had something to do with the time differential that greyed his hair and widened his midriff.

That age-old fan argument about multi-Doctor stories – how is it that the newer Doctors don’t just remember all the events from the memories of their older selves? – is certain to rear its head again as Doctor Ten fixed the problem based on Doctor Five’s memory of having seen him do it! And the perennial “gay agenda” debate will get a shot in the arm from the aforementioned LINDA gag, not to mention the clever gag about the Master -“No beard this time. Well, a wife.” (“Beard” in this sense referring to the old gay slang about a poof using a wife to make himself seem more masculine). Still, as Mr Moffat once reminded us, “I’m the straight one. There has to be one.”

Even Murray Gold got in on the fanboy nostalgia act. His usual semi-orchestral music cues were this time peppered with deliberate retro synth sounds, as though he worked for the Radiophonic Workshop. It was like having good old Paddy Kingsland back again! Or maybe Gary Numan…

Still, David Tennant changed mood in an instant to be a channel for the inner fanboy of himself and Steve Moffat. Gazing at Peter Davison with something akin to love, he gushed, “I love being you… You were my Doctor.” And geeky though it is, a little tear welled up in my eye…

I believe there was more Children in Need following this, but I really didn’t need to see any more. It’s not the telethon it used to be. Thank goodness. Anyway, as per usual, I promise to write on here a bit more often. There’s other stuff to talk about, you know. The Sarah Jane Adventures, new Top Gear, historical shagfest The Tudors… I’ll try to cover them all. But for now, I’m just wondering if Peter Davison can be persuaded to come back for this year’s Tennant-lite episode!