Tag Archives: matt smith

I praise the dialogue

I’m still going on about Doctor Who, if you’ll forgive me. This could continue for some time…

So. The new Matt Smith Doctor has just crash-landed in the garden of Amelia Pond (7, Scottish) then insisted that she feed him until he finds food he likes (“It’s like eating after you brush your teeth; everything tastes different”).

He finally settles for fish fingers dipped in custard. So you really need to read this dialogue in the context of a glorious madman eating fish fingers and custard at the kitchen table of a tough little kid, who looks on with dawning adoration.

Doctor: So your aunt, where is she?

Amelia Pond: She’s out.

D: And she left you all alone?

AP: I’m not scared.

D: Course you’re not. You’re not scared of anything. Box falls out of the sky, man falls out of a box, man eats fish custard and look at you. Just sitting there. So you know what I think?

AP: What?

D: Must be hell of a scary crack in your wall.

Argh, the brilliance. I read a sequence like that and I know I will write forever and never be as good as I want to be.

Why I think it’s so good:

Firstly, his triplet about the box, the man and the fish custard is hilarious. It sums up the whole scene so far, it sums up his character and it puts he and Amelia on a particular footing. It heightens the fairy-tale feel of the new-era Doctor Who. It emphasises the alien-ness of the Doctor and the ballsy spirit of Amelia Pond. It makes you laugh.

Secondly – and I cannot emphasise enough how good this is – the light-hearted chat has been working all that time on another level, that pays off with the line “Must be hell of a scary crack in your wall”. See, the Doctor could have just said that straight off. He could have gone on about how bad and terrible the crack is, what it is, why it’s scary. Instead, he has already established beyond doubt that Amelia Pond is no ordinary girl, that she doesn’t scare easily. Then leaves it up to the audience to imagine how bad it would have to be, to scare her.

The old “what you can imagine is worse than what I can show you” chestnut.

It doesn’t only work on that level, either. It shows you how clever he is – how not only the dialogue, but also the Doctor, is working on more than one level all the time. He’s befriending Amelia, putting her at her ease, finding out information he needs to know, and at the same time he’s looking for this – for signs of how serious the situation actually is, beyond what can be said directly about it. It creates complexity and depth of character.

Lastly (probably not lastly, really. This dialogue is infinitely good) all the questions in this dialogue are vitally important for the overarching plot of the season. There’s something that’s not quite right about Amelia Pond, and it’s all here in this dialogue. You realise only in the last episode of the season that the Doctor was working on a third level in this dialogue the whole time, asking apparently harmless questions and drawing conclusions from their answers far beyond what we hear.

Add to this Matt Smith eating custard off a fish finger, and you have a scene so good it makes me fizz.

“I don’t want to go”

The Doctor is such a great character – he has enough internal angst to keep a show going, and beloved, over 31 seasons. Pretty epic personal angst.

(For those of you who haven’t spent the last week sick in bed watching Doctor Who, he is the last of the Time Lords – and was pretty much responsible for his whole race, and home planet, being wiped out. This doesn’t only make him an orphan, it also makes him one of the only people as smart as himself in the universe.)

One of the many things I love about the show is how they keep him neutral. Most of the time, of course, he’s saving the day and looking pretty fantastic. But it’s a fine line he walks, and evil, all-powerful genius lies just on the other side.

They’re not afraid to use the darkness in him as a kind of spice in the dish of good.

A great example of this is the very last scene with David Tennant as the Doctor. You would assume, in farewelling the most popular doctor ever from a hugely popular family tv show, that the BBC would attempt to make it ok that he’s effectively dying. Not so.

Tennant looks right ahead, and his face kind of falls apart with feeling, and he says, “I don’t want to go.”

And then he goes. Regenerates. Becomes a different man.

The new Matt Smith Doctor is my favourite, but even so, even knowing who Tennant Doctor was making way for by dying, that one line made it very hard to see him go.

I applaud the bravery of it. It preserves the deeply flawed nature of the Doctor – the essence that keeps us watching.

who framed Doctor Who?

I did!

Our most recent class assignment for Desktop Publishing was to create a 4-page magazine of our favourite tv show. It may not entirely surprise you that I chose Doctor Who. The text didn’t have to be original, so most of it’s just ripped off the BBC website, and a Guardian article (I bastardised the interviewer’s name for the sake of space…Sorry Mr Hattenstone!). So the text doesn’t make much contextual sense. I’m pretty pleased with the pictures and layout, though! I love doing this stuff:

the little Daleks by the page numbers came from this font

and I got the headings and footer font here. There are a few versions of this font floating around, but I recommend the one I’ve linked to, as it’s got numerals and some symbols as well.

don’t meet your heroes

One very hot evening in 2007, special k and I went to a free concert on the banks of the Hudson River, just up from Ground Zero.

We saw some people play who were not too shabby, and then Martha Wainwright played a solo set, just she and her guitar. It was magical.

Then I decided to go up to the stage and join the smallish crowd waiting to meet her.

Bad move.

She wasn’t very nice, or communicative – and in her defence, she had just flown direct from a particularly muddy Glastonbury festival. I don’t even care that she wasn’t nice, it really has nothing to do with me.

I just took this from it, as I had three years earlier when i met Sime Nugent: Don’t Meet Your Heroes!!!

I recently had the opportunity to see Terry Pratchett speak. I have read almost every book he’s ever written, and I think he’s absolutely phenomenal; there is so much to learn from reading him, about writing. But this is how I thought it through:

It’s his books I love, not him. I can keep loving them, and getting everything I get, without ever coming into contact with him.¬†Ditto Martha. It’s her music I love, and who she is doesn’t enter into that.

The desire to know everything about these people is insidious though. (Er, yes. See the entire tabloid industry.) As I said yesterday, I’ve fallen in love with Matt Smith’s Doctor Who.

Not to be confused with falling in love with Matt Smith.

Because as soon as I see photos of him, the man, the actor, it diminishes who he is on screen. It adds another layer to it, that has nothing to do with it. He isn’t written, in real life.

So next time you feel that need to know more, which is so easily fed by google and the like, just pause for a moment to consider what you really love.

doctor fever

I have officially caught it: I love Doctor Who. Or rather, I love Matt Smith’s Doctor Who.

He’s an odd hero. The only superpower he seems to possess is his brain – and the centuries of info that have gone into it. Oh, and he has a sonic screwdriver. (I can’t decide whether this is brilliant or silly. It’s a small instrument that seemingly does everything.)

That’s what makes him, though, I think. He talks and thinks his way out of everything and anything. He lives with a kind of infectious enthusiasm.

As Rory says to him, “You make people a danger to themselves.” It’s his volatility and his brilliance that make him a dangerous person to be around, more so than the time-travelling thing.

There’s a big win for character, if ever I saw it.