Saturday, 27 August 2011

Doctor Who and the Lost Summer

Tonight saw begin the second half of Matt Smith’s second series as the star role in Doctor Who, after a surprise summer break.

The last episode of the series’ first half involved a war featuring various of the present Doctor’s contacts that, given the astronomical special-effects budget, was hardly the most climactic of fictional conflicts before introducing that last resort of the burnt-out soap screenwriter, a lost child returning as an adult. This episode was entitled Let’s Kill Hitler and featured the unfortunately all too non-fictional dictator in a bit-part before he sat out the rest of the action in a cupboard.

The real Hitler and the Nazis are hardly off the screens right now, to the extent that it becomes difficult to separate serious history from prurience. One wonders whether the goal isn’t to keep Germans "in their place" by reminding them of the madness that went out from their country a lifetime ago. Are media manipulators trying to distract us from the fact that every major European country has had its turn making other populations' lives a misery, with the latest post-holder being Greece?

The reason for the break was ostensibly so that a cornfield required in the script could grow – but a tale whispered from the studios, that may of may not be apocryphal, could provide an alternative explanation.

rock 'em sock 'em? REad more about davies v Moffatt at Heroic Times
It speaks of the rivalry between former Who executive producer Russell T Davies and his lieutentant Steven Moffat growing so toxic that when Davies got the top job the rivalry leaked into the script in the form of winding back Davis’ innovations. Two of Davies’ characters, assistants Rose Tyler and Martha Jones, appear briefly in this episode. If that’s a sign that the break was used for knocking senior production heads together, then the hiatus was spent productively.

Joe Daniels
300 words

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