Simon R. Mills is back with yet another hi-tec review of Doctor Who. Last week’s concept episode has been the subject of much press coverage, but what was the feeling as it was reviewed, live, b y the minute…?
We open this week with a song by some androgynous figure – is it a man? woman? alien? Jimmy Krankie? I think we’re in for waves of androgeny tonight. Get it? Waves of Androgeny…Caves of… Oh, never mind.
The Wee-Jimmy-Krankie-creature is ushered aside by some strange aliens talking at the camera in a strange language, obviously not English and obviously not being translated for us by the TARDIS. This week’s story seems to be some sort of pastiche of reality pop shows, along the same lines of Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways and how that story parodied Big Brother etc. There is a comical voiceover by someone with a gin-soaked Irish accent. This voice is definitely the most entertaining part of the story so far, especially when it talks about the "statutory three gyrating eejits"
No sign of the TARDIS crew yet.
Andy Abrahams, the singing dustman from The X Factor, makes a welcome cameo appearance with a stunningly up-tempo and excellently performed number called "Even If". And it definitely is a pointless cameo, for, despite it being an excellent song, we won’t hear anything of or about him again all evening. I think he was captured by the shouting aliens and "converted" into some sort of Euroclone. Actually, I think his song had a subtext along the lines of "Even if I sing the best song tonight no one will vote for me because I’m British… La-La-LA!"
During the course of the next three hours (wow… time dilation in effect) we are treated to a particularly scary hairy monster lady with birds in her hair accompanied by a starey-eyed psycho, some incredibly camp pirates with a surprisingly catchy song ("With a hey hey hi and a ho ho ho" or something – Jonny Depp must be quaking in his "Jack" boots. Yuk yuk yuk!
There is an occassional cutaway to what must be a new version of Doctor Who Confidential hosted by more aliens, this time trying to make themselves understood by SHOUTING UNINTELLIGIBLE GARBAGE at various groups of aliens and monsters backstage. They must have been watching lots of kids TV for them to think that you have to SHOUT LOUDLY to make yourself look "cool" to today’s "yoof culture". Anyway, they exchange alien witticisms with each other and noone understands what the heck’s going on. So, a normal day on set, then.
Still no sign of the Doctor, but we do get a fantastic song from Iceland with an Ibiza style beat and something about Angels and Demons. One song, has an old man in white shouting gibberish at various points. I think he’s possessed. Or possibly Croatian. As if this week’s episode wasn’t weird enough we now have some cyberpunk zombie androids from Georgia.
My head starts to swim with disco beats, flashing lights and shouty alien voices… NOOOOO! I won’t succumb! You won’t take me alive, you shouty foreign alien Euroclones!
The Irish narrator exhorts us to "cling to the wreckage! It’ll be over soon!" I think the cyberpunk zombie androids are in league with the shiny pirates and the scary hairy lady and they’re trying to drown him in kitsch.
I think what this story is trying to tell us is that Europe has been invaded by a clone species of talentless aliens determined to undermine the shaky relations between east and west and turn what was once a fun music competition into an exercise in political block voting. This way they seek to hasten the downfall of civilisation as we know it and turn us all into morons. It seems as though Eastern Europe has already fallen, judging by how the voting went…