Sunday, April 06, 2008

Belly's Gonna Get Yer

Catherine Tate's lovely bapsThe fourth series of RTD's Doctor Who hit our TV screens last night with something of a greasy splat... little blobby creatures made from the excess body fat of the clinically obese were running amuck in London. Well. Not running exactly. More like waddling very slowly and occasionally hyperventilating when they passed a chip shop.

The evil Miss Foster - deliciously played by Sarah Lancashire - had come up with the ultimate diet pill that literally made your fat "just walk away". So what's the problem, I hear you ask? Well. To maximise productivity of these little creatures - Adipose, as they were called (such a stupid name, they sound like a brand of trainers) - the unfortunate dieters were being reduced to nothing but a pile of oversized clothes. Britain's burgeoning obesity problems solved in one fell swoop you might think but no... by a marvellous script coincidence both the good Doctor and Donna Noble were attempting to put a stop to it.

Ta da! Welcome to the wacky world of the BBC's Doctor Who.

Actually, it was fairly entertaining stuff and although it didn't say anything intelligent about the UK's obesity problems and the worldwide obsession with quick-fix dieting I suppose the story could be seen as mildly satirical. It just didn't go anywhere with it. The Adipose themselves were a bit of a disappointment too. Way too cutesy by half. Little blocks of lard with arms and legs and, rather bizarrely, a single solitary tooth in their little Mr Men mouths. If the Pillsbury Dough-boy and the Michelin Man ever spent a night together in unholy bodily union, the Adipose would be the end result.

But at the end of the day the Adipose were a sideshow. The real focus of last night's episode was Donna Noble's promotion to Doctor Who's travelling companion number twenty-whatever...

So, how did she do? Was she a harridan? Was she a travesty?

I'm possibly going to break ranks with a great number of people when I say that no, I don't think she was. The girl did good. Sure there was the occasional nod to the "Catherine Tate comedy persona" - mouthing "Oh my God" through the window at the Doctor for example - but other than that she was reigned in by the script and her character was given more character and less caricature. And it worked. All at once she was less annoying than her Christmas special debut and became more of a sympathetic, well rounded, likeable character. And a strong character too.

It'll actually be nice to have a foil for the doctor who isn't mooning over him and sighing over his every twitch with the sonic screwdriver. Martha's moo-cow eyes last series were seriously starting to grate on my nellies. In fact as was said on Doctor Who Confidential afterwards: Donna Noble is a "grown up" whereas Rose and Martha were lovelorn teens / twenty-somethings. The Doctor has at last got an older woman on board the Tardis and it might just do him some good.

So dare I say it? A promising start to the fourth series! And Bernard Cribbins as Donna's grandfather played a blinder too.

Well phat.

21 comments:

Tenon_Saw said...

It was a strange episode in some ways, slow in parts and with none of the terror of the 'Weeping Angels'. I can't watch CT without thinking of her comedy characters and the lapses into 'common' accent [what a snob I am!] grated a little.
If there is to be any improvement to Dr Who, the script writers need to think of ways in which he can do things without the sonic screwdriver - that thing could have a show of its own!

Tenon_Saw said...

BTW - how do you get the nice little frame (thin green line) round the photo?

Steve said...

Yeah, I do think RTD relies too much on the Doctor's little thin friend (the screwdriver)... it's like it has it's own contract and has to make at least one appearance per episode! As for the green border - the blogger template does that automatically: nothing I can take personal credit for alas!

Old Cheeser said...

Well, I really enjoyed it. Like you I thought the Adipose plotline was kind of silly and ultimately they weren't really the "threat" they were made out to be - just a load of baby aliens waiting to be born (although yes Sarah L made a great villainess). It was probably a deliberate ploy on the part of the writers though 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...

I thought she was actually pretty good! OMG!! I totally agree with what you say about her being "reigned" in Steve - this was a much more restrained and thoughtful Donna we saw after the fishwife performance of Runaway Bride. Yes there were still the comedy moments but on the whole these slotted in quite well with everything else. The waving to Gramps bit at the end was actually rather touching and sweet!

And I agree, it's good to have a strong and older character who is NOT romantically fixated on the Dr.

Roll on the rest of Season Four.

Steve said...

Thanks OC - it was a very positive start. Let's hope ol' RTD hasn't shot his bolt too early though, eh? I think the dynamics between the Doctor and Noble could be interesting. Certainly the relationship has far more scope than that which they lumbered poor Martha with - she was very much a one trick pony in the end which was a great shame. I think some of Donna's prosaic fire may even reign in some of Tenannt's excesses too - his doctor needs someone who will challenge him. Hmm. Series 4 may even end up being the best of the bunch but it's early days yet! But I await next Saturday with far more excitement than I felt for the one just gone!

per.pri said...

I have to say I'm not a fan of Doc Who...

Just wanted to comment on the fact that although 'Adipose' may sound like a brand of trainers, it is in fact a scientifically correct term to describe certain tissue made up of fat cells.

Methinks the writers were trying to be clever...!

:D

Steve said...

Wow! Russell T Davis in proper scientific research shock! Thanks for that per.pri, the mystery is now solved... though why aliens would want to use our medical lexicon is perhaps a mystery that will persist until the end of time. Or at least until the end of the current series... ;-)

Old Cheeser said...

Yes Donna's relationship with the Doc does look set to be different. Thank the lord. You know one thing struck me whilst I was re-watching the episode earlier - maybe the Dr will fall for the companion instead! Erm...maybe not. But it would be an interesting twist. Probably better overall that they don't bring any romantic stuff into the programme for a while though.

Glad you're feeling excited about the rest of the season. Some of the proceeding stories do look very promising...

And I couldn't help noticing that Catherine T is looking remarkably BAPILICIOUS in that photo! Did you choose it deliberately, Steve? What a humungous pair of bejuvlies!

Annie said...

Mmmmm.... not sure what to make of the opening episode. It depends on your expectations.

The Doctor Whos of old that set your heart racing from fear and excitement? NO!
A slick comedy? YES!!
I love Bernard Cribbins - he was the highlight :-)

Steve said...

OC, I must admit Catherine's baptitiousness has long impinged upon my psyche - God knows how she keeps them taped down for her "Am I Bovvered" character. Thank Heavens the Tardis is bigger on the inside than the outside, eh? I have read interviews where Ms Tate has admitted that running causes her a few problems... the chase sequences this series could be very interesting...! ;-)

Good point, Annie - one constant complaint about this new generation of Dr Whos' is that the scare factor is very often hugely diminished - if even there at all. I'm hoping Steven Moffat will pull another scary rabbit out of the hat again this season...!

Rol said...

Hmm. I remain unconvinced.

Bernard Cribbins though, can do no wrong.

TimeWarden said...

"The Adipose were a sideshow. The real focus of last night's episode was Donna Noble"... and that's what's wrong with new "Doctor Who"... It used to be about the monster and now it's about whether or not there's any paper and ink in the printer!

As Annie says, it's not going to set your heart racing from fear and excitement, and the problem, for me, is that what she describes is exactly the kind of "Doctor Who" I hanker after! So, obviously, the opening episode left me more than a little dissatisfied.

Steve said...

True Rol. Even Right Said Fred is a masterpiece.

Hi TimeWarden, I've been musing on Annie's comment since she made it and do wonder if Doctor Who has lost some of its inherent fear factor because as a race we no longer automatically fear aliens. Years ago they were the epitome of the unknown and were automatically sinister - think of the awful aftermath of Orson Welles practical joke on the US: some people committed suicide. Now though, in the wake of Star Trek and Star Wars, etc, aliens have become an exotic concept - a lot f the essential fear has been removed. Having said that, writer's like Steven Moffat are still capable of producing the odd chill so maybe (as I'm sure you'll agree) it's merely down to the writer...

-eve- said...

I've never seen Dr. Who, but that is a GOOD picture.... ! Va va voom! :-)

Steve said...

In spades, Eve, in spades... she's a big girl and no mistake! ;-0

The Sagittarian said...

Crikey,, those puppies could have a storyline of their own!@!

Steve said...

Too right Amanda, I can see it now... the Doctor fighting for breath as he is slowly smothered... only he isn't fighting too hard for some strange reason...

The Poet Laura-eate said...

I suspected liposuction led to unspeakable consequences, now I know!

Steve said...

Too right, Laura, and God knows what would happen if you had a coffee enema...!

MOTHER OF MANY said...

I did enjoy the episode and as a constant dieter I will definitely be buying an Adipose Baby when Dr Who's
merchandising team almost certainly produces them as the must-have toy for Christmas 2008!

Steve said...

I'd be tempted to buy one and then pose it hanging out of my shirt to give my work colleagues a scare. Actually, I doubt they'd take the blindest bit of notice... as long as I don't dribble on my keyboard nobody bothers me! ;-)