December 19th, 2006

doctor who

Doctor Who: Series One

We've been re-watching last year's Doctor Who, and finished on Sunday night with Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways. I've also meantime been watching the last of the Seventh Doctor's stories, and so far have seen Battlefield (awful) and Ghost Light (Fascinating), and was pondering a deep and meaningful comparison of the two sets of stories. Maybe I will still do that, but meantime here's my renewed take on the Ninth Doctor:

Overall: Ecclestone is one of the great Doctors. The only other two to convincingly portray the character as an alien were Hartnell and Tom Baker, and oddly enough I feel that there are similarities in style between their respective successors, Troughton, Davison and Tennant, all going for a more human, more cuddly version of the Doctor, more devoted to his human companions; which is fine, but it's not quite the same thing; none of them ever felt dangerous. Ecclestone manages to do serious, funny, even afraid, and you can't take your eyes off him.

The stories: To my surprise I found that I liked several of them much more on re-watching than I had first time round. This goes in particular for Boom Town, the second Slitheen story, set in Cardiff, where Annette Badland as the baddy gets her head and neck movements just exactly right, and she and the Doctor viciously expose each others' ethics; and yet it's still very funny when it's meant to be.

But I saw new merits also in Father's Day - perhaps because I feel I know more about Rose's father now, after this year - and Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways. The World War II two-parter, The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances, is still the best, though I still dislike the Doctor's patriotic speech - he's pro-human, sure, but McCoy had a much better line about the British Empire in Ghost Light. The first Slitheen story, Aliens of London / World War Three, is still rubbish.

Anyway, more thoughts on new vs old Who when I finish watching the last of the old.
belgium

The Belgian debate

The famous spoof broadcast last week is still stirring up trouble here. There has been a fascinating exchange of open letters between the chief editors of two leading Belgian papers, Le Soir for the Francophones, De Standaard for the Flemings. I may rise to the occasion of doing a translation into English (including pointing out where the respective translators have not done their job accurately), but meantime here are both originals and translations, originals (Le Soir's letter in French, and De Standaard's letter in Dutch) on the left, translations on the right.

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I think De Standaard wins on points.