Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Saturday nights are cool again...

It's back!! Unbelievably, last night I wasn't able to sit down and watch DW when it was actually on (we had friends round) so me and my hubbie caught up with it on BBC iPlayer instead. What a marvellous invention it is.

Well, I really enjoyed it.

A few Cheeser criticisms out of the way first though. Like Steve, I thought the Adipose plotline was kind of daft and ultimately they weren't really the "sinister" threat that the pre-programme publicity made them out to be - ultimately just a load of baby aliens waiting to be born and then depart Earth to return to their home world. The Adipose themselves were more cuddly and cute than scary, and reminded me of something out of Ghostbusters, with their Pilsbury Dough Boy/Marshmallow man appearance, baby/giggly noises and waddling - hardly a worldwide menace. Definitely one for the kiddie audience. Consequently the tone of the episode did sometimes veer towards the silly rather than serious. On reflection though it was probably a deliberate ploy on the part of the writers to start off with a fairly lightweight story, in order to focus on the reintroduction of Ms Donna Noble and the dynamics of her relationship with the Dr.

And, whilst on the subject of Ms Catherine Tate/Donna...

I thought... ... she was actually pretty good!

OMG!! Yes, after numerous posts slagging off RTD et al for deciding to resurrect the character of Donna, I may well have to go and munch on some humble pie. For this was a far more "reigned in" Donna that we got to see, some time after the events of Runaway Bride - and generally a much more restrained and reflective lady after the fishwife performance of her debut story. A lot of the screeching and moaning of yore had vanished. Okay, there were still some "comedy" CT moments but on the whole these slotted in quite well with everything else.
For instance, the scene with the Dr and Donna silently mouthing at each other through glass. Dr: "Donna?" Donna: "Oh-my-GOD!"Dr: "How?"Donna: "It's me!" Etc... Odd, cos when viewed in the original Season Four trailer, Donna's "Doctaaaaaaaaaaaar!" bit seemed awful (prompting me to do a "What's Donna saying?" post) but here it was very funny (the p*ss-take "tense" orchestral score in the background was a nice counterpoint too).

It was also good to see Donna getting more backstory - having to put up with her nagging, continually whinging mum (now we know where the fishwife characteristics originated) her scene with her Grandpa (a lovely cameo from Bernard Cribbins) where she talks about the Dr (nicely acted/done) and the bit at the end with Donna and the Doc waving to Gramps from the airborn TARDIS was actually rather touching and sweet!

Another positive aspect of Donna is the fact that, unlike Rose and Martha, she's a stronger and older character who is NOT romantically fixated on the Dr. Actually that's rather inaccurate as Ms Tyler and Ms Jones DID have their "strengths" as well, but the fancying the Doc thing at times seriously undermined their respective personas. It was established pretty much early on in "Partners" that Donna didn't like the Dr "in that way", Donna's amusing lines "Mad Martha that one...blind Martha...charity Martha..." firmly establishing her p.o.v. on that subject. And I liked the clever bit of dialogue with the Dr stating: "I just want a mate" which Donna mistook to mean "I just wanna mate" (!) leading to her response: "You're not mating with me, sunshine!" Again, in the original Season Four trailer, the latter Donna declaration had sounded pretty cringeworthy, but here worked much better when viewed in the context of the whole scene. And now that one's under their belts the Dr and Donna can embark on a more mature relationship. Here's hoping...

I was pleasantly surprised by Catherine Tate overall. One thing I will say is that unlike Freema Agymen, she is an accomplished character actress (having played a variety of roles in her own comedy show to perfection) and she's also got depth, range and excellent comic timing. There were several times during "Partners in Crime" when her facial expressions and line delivery were spot-on and this bodes well for the future.

What else? Having the Dr and Noble both investigating Adipose industries at the same time was a definite coincidence but a way of bringing them back together. The way in which they kept missing each other by a hair's breadth until their eventual "reunion" - e.g. the popping up and down between the cubicles - was a bit farcial and far-fetched though...

The "Close Encounters" style spaceship looked impressive (and funny when Gramps, watching out for alien lifeforms, totally misses it).

Sarah Lancashire as the villainous Miss Foster was excellent, a far cry from the days of Raquel Woltenshulme - icy, efficient, businesslike and humorous albeit in a controlled fashion. Even if the Adipose plot wasn't up to much, she helped to carry the whole thing. I couldn't help feeling sorry for her when she twigged that the Adipose had just used her and she plunged to her death. But what was she doing with a sonic device? Early rumour had it that she was Time Lord, even the Rani, but this was not the case...

David Tennant, now entering into his third season as the Doc, has really hit his stride in the role. His sometimes annoying tics and mannerisms were far less evident on this occasion. A good thing too. We got some of his "wide eyed acting" but on the whole he was good and his scenes with CT worked well.

And finally! Totally out of the blue we got a ... cameo from Rose Tyler!! Looking very moody and serious. How did she get back from the other side of the void? Why was she there? It was a great and genuinely surprising addition to the episode (even if she was only onscreen 10-15 seconds) and added nicely to the sense of anticipation re: the "proper" return of Rose later this season.

So, an entertaining start to the new series. Roll on the rest of Season Four!

PS I am intending to finish off my Torchwood reviews of Season Two... but as you know DW always take precedence for moi. Nah nah nah!

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  • At 7:14 am , Blogger matty said...


    ...but, even tho I've not seen it -- I have to remind you that Catherine Tate is always awesome!



  • At 7:40 am , Blogger Steve said...

    Yes, yes, yes (I'll have what he's having...) I totally agree. Spot on. I actually think it would be nice if Tate proved all of her critics wrong - me inlcuded - and put in a belter of a performance. She's already well on her way. As you say her impeccable timing is a real asset and I suspect this has helped Tennant's performance too - it frees him up to develop a more serious, considered side to his Doctor. I think Phil Davies in the guest actor next week - he'll be a hard act to follow!

  • At 4:28 am , Blogger TimeWarden said...

    Catherine Tate certainly is awesome, Matty! She spent most of her time, in the opening episode, in one toilet or another, over nine hours in fact, but that was the fault of the writer. He's obsessed with bodily functions. Everyone has to spend a penny in his "Doctor Who", doesn't matter if you're Slitheen or Adipose... it's all the same.

    Rose popped up to tell Donna that, if she travels with the Doctor, she will wind up dead, 'cos nobody's allowed to go with skinny boy except her! But, RT fails to warn her successor and so, as Tate has already indicated, she will definitely only be staying for one season, 'cos her predecessor's jealous! Thank God!!

  • At 5:30 am , Blogger Deemer said...

    Those creatures are so cute! I love them!

    Hey I wanted to thank you for the nice comment you left on my blog--but please don't keep things crossed too long, i don't want to see you hurt yourself. ( :

    Anyway, I appreciate it!

  • At 9:12 am , Blogger The Sagittarian said...

    Well, as I am writing this we are having a repeat of Dr Who on the TV - it is so quiet cos the kids are engrossed. Luxury.

  • At 12:32 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Hi all

    Sorry for the slow reply...

    Matty - Yes, she is pretty good, and as a comedian I love some ofher stuff! It's just that within the confines of Dr who the character she was playing had the capacity to be rather, limited, shall we say. At least that's how she seemed in "Runaway Bride". But let's see how she shapes up in the new series - there is potential for a lot of development and of course you don't always find out much about a character in just one story...

    Steve - Glad you agree! You could be right; maybe we will see DT calm down a bit. Good to see Phil Davies will be in this Saturday's instalment - he is a good actor, in fact there looks to be a wealth of decent guest stars due to appear!

    Tim - Something tells me you're being every so slightly sarcastic?! I take it you weren't that impressed...?!

    Deemer - The Adipose are kind of cuddly, for sure. Okay as a one-off but too much cute in DW is a bit of a no-no. But nice to have on one's bed along with one's teddy bears I guess!

    You're welcome about the comment, hope the test is going well and you pass with flying colours! I shall "uncross" now before I do any permanent damage.

    Amanda - Indeed, DW is definitely one way to keep the kids occupied. Which story were they watching?

  • At 11:36 pm , Blogger The Sagittarian said...

    It was the one where Christopher turned into David T. Not too bad an episode I thought, and we so have it on DVD but my 10 year old could spend all day watching Dr Who (as long as it has either DT in it or Christopher). I can't wait until we get the new series, which will still make us behind the times but at least some things will fall into place for my wee brain!

  • At 6:22 am , Blogger TimeWarden said...

    I wasn't impressed with "Pilchards in Brine", it's true, apart from Bernard Cribbins and that's despite his failure to tell Donna he'd, also, already met the Doctor!

    But, looking ahead to the season finale, I genuinely believe Donna will die. Before HIS time is up, I'm sure RTD is looking to create a new "Doctor Who" version of Eighties' Adric magic!

  • At 4:45 pm , Blogger Andrew Glazebrook said...

    I did like the UFO in this episode !!


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