SFX Issue 56

October 1999

SFX historical note: It’s The Ale Talking was a short-lived replacement for Couch Potato, which was brought back after howls of protest

It’s The Ale Talking

The rumours are confirmed – a new Doctor Who movie’s in the works. But what do our resident pub bores think of this latest revival?

Tom: I think Doctor Who is cool.
Guy: It’s shite.
Dave: I think that’s simplifying matters far too much.
Nick: So what do we need from big-screen Doctor Who , then? There’s 30 years of continuity. That feels like a dead weight to me.
Steve: I think we need it to be Year Zero. They need to redefine the concept. Re-introduce everything as if it’s the very first time.
Dave: Yeah, start it in a junkyard again.
Guy: It’s like when they reinvent Batman every 20 years and scrunch up his continuity and rewrite it all so it’s more in tune with the times.
Paul: There was a piece in a trade weekly that said “ Doctor Who is a Time Lord, he’s from the planet Gallifrey and he fights enemies like…” and listed the Daleks, Davros and the Master. So there seems to be a whole wodge of continuity in place already.
Nick: Are you sure that was for this movie – or was it for the Michael Sheard “starrer”?
Guy: He’ll bring ’em in! “Get me Michael Sheard! I don’t care how much it costs!”
Paul: But how do we feel about American blockbuster script values being applied to Doctor Who ?
Mark: I never believed Doctor Who ’s charm came from its naffness.
Guy: Neither did I. I think Doctor Who is generally crap, but it’s got one of the best SF concepts ever committed to film, along with some of the worst acting, worst direction, worst special effects, worst moralising…
Tom: Doctor Who never moralised.
Nick: Oh, it did. Usually about maggots.
Guy: The only thing about Doctor Who that’s any good is that it’s quintessentially English.
Nick: British…
Guy: Alright, Nick. British, in a non-exclusively Celtic sense.
Nick: The Doctor’s obviously a Celt.
Guy: Shut up. If you take the Britishness out of it all, then it’s just shit, isn’t it?
Paul: Notting Hill . Very English movie. Doing rather well in America.
Nick: But the Avengers movie attempted to capture that sense of Englishness, and that was disastrous.
Guy: It’ll be an English movie only in the sense that it’ll be England as the Americans see us.
Nick: And Doctor Who should be the universe as the English see it.
Paul: What I like most about the Tom Baker stories is that they do seem to take place in the same universe as Terry Wogan…
Mark: Yeah, Swap Shop is happening there.
Guy: I’d quite happily get rid of that.
Steve: I wouldn’t like to think that this Doctor Who is happening in the same universe as Stargate SG-1 .
Nick: Yes, it’s far more frightening if the giant spiders are menacing the same cosmos that contains Maggie Philbin and Isla St Clair.
Dave: Perhaps something horrible could sit on Vanessa Feltz?
Nick: She could be a living planet.
Guy: With twin moons. It’d take them until the end of episode two just to work out that they were her tits.
Nick: Can you imagine Tom Baker’s eyes boggling as he realises?
Guy: I don’t think it’s possible for Vanessa Feltz to be bigger on the inside than the outside.
Dave: I’m actually quite looking forward to this movie. I think it’s going to be a brilliant disaster. If it does happen it’s going to be a spectacularly fun, rubbish film.
Paul: Mortal Kombat . Event Horizon .
Tom: Yeah, I’m not sure Paul Anderson is such a good choice to direct a Doctor Who movie.
Steve: If it was done by an American, I’d like to see it done by one of the indie left-field directors, someone like Jim Jarmusch or the Coen Brothers.
Nick: Woody Allen.
Guy: Why can’t we do it as a British-based SF film franchise?
Paul: I think the BBC are too frightened of doing cheap science fiction. They’re afraid they’re going to be laughed at.
Guy: The BBC are too frightened to do expensive science fiction shows, which would sell well.
Dave: One thing the movie must have is at least two different time zones – unlike the Paul McGann TV movie. This is a time-travel machine! They could remake “City of Death”. That would be a wonderful big budget movie.
Tom: And monsters…
Dave: A CGI Bonnie Langford.
Guy: They’d be very foolish not to do a Dalek movie. Just imagine all the cool things you could do with the Daleks now. They could fly around on those airborne platforms of theirs.
Nick: Big question – who’s going to be the Doctor? Is it going to be an American actor? Is it going to be a black American actor?
Steve: Will there be a tie-in single? “Wiggy-wiggy- Doctor Who ”?
Guy: I don’t see a problem with a black guy playing the Doctor. Don Warrington from Rising Damp would be fantastic, but an American Doctor would be utter shite. We don’t want to turn him into some square-jawed hero who punches everybody out.
Nick: But Ted Danson was surprisingly fantastic in Gulliver’s Travels and would have made a wonderful Doctor.
Dave: British eccentrics have worldwide appeal. American eccentrics go around shooting rifles. They’re all in the NRA.
Nick: Charlton Heston for the Doctor, then.
Mark: So long as they cast the right person, the nationality shouldn’t matter.
Nick: Don’t you think that the spirit of Doctor Who is founded on big risks and big changes, so a black American Doctor is true to the spirit of the series…
Guy: But it’ll be a square jawed hero…
Steve: No, someone like Sidney Poitier, someone who transcends all these race and class distinctions.
Dave: Morgan Freeman would be great.
Steve: Ice-T!
Nick: Mister T! Or the Doctor as a Shaft type figure, the Shaft of the cosmos. “Talkin’ ’bout Doctor Who !”
Steve: Shut yer mouth!
Dave: Hold on, has anybody actually said it’s going to be a black male actor?
Nick: So if it’s going to be black and female, does that mean that they’re casting God as the Doctor?
Tom: That’d be cool.