Book(s)/Other Related –
Robin Hood 4127: Burn, Baby, Burn!
Doctor Who - Disco Inferno, Toaster Strudel!!
Dr Who Versus The Evil Welder Darth Vader Cyclops Wannabes!
Fluffs - David Tennant seemed to be suffering sunstroke in this story.
"Ah, the Peony System! Hang on, Peony System?! Sounds like Penis System! That filthy Touchwood bastard bringing in his sassenach smut into Doctor Who! How very dare he?!"
"I knew it! You’re a fucking narcotics agent, aren’t you?!"
"Ohh! Mrs Ethnicstereotype has exploded! She was my best friend."
"Oh, Mother, don’t be so sentimental. Things explode every day."
Exactly WHY did the possessed people need welding masks? Is that ever actually explained?
Some people ask "Why are the controls to remagnetise the escape pod on the outside of the ship?" That isn’t a goof, the goof is that they are such moronic mouth-breathers they weren’t paying attention enough to work out the answer themselves. Idiots.
I am reliably informed that if all the oxygen in a human body was replaced with hydrogen said body would fall apart at a molecular level. It would also require colossal amounts of energy to achieve such nuclear fission and turn them into a neutronic fireball – but I don’t know HOW my sources actually confirmed this, and it’s probably best not to ask.
The fusion drive engines of the Icarus are very obviously two cement mixers with some disco rope lighting around them.
Why does the Doctor casually turn Martha’s phone into an Interociter thingamajig with the sonic screwdriver when, in Restaurant at the End of the World, he went on at length that Rose’s superphone’s was affront to all the laws of relativity? Was the Ninth Doctor just needing an excuse to smash Rose’s mobile, or was he just being a twat?
Why does the screen for the escape pod jump from "Jettison Reactivated" to "Kiss Your Ass Goodbye, Puny Humans"? Is this some kind of side effect of the possessed chap using big welding gloves on the number keypad and pressing THREE KEYS AT A TIME. No WAY was he properly typing numbers, which is probably why he won that code-type-off with Robin Hood. The cheater. Not Robin, the zombie dude. We like Robin.
When the Doctor is looking at the medical records, the captain snatches it off him, tears it up, throws it into a bin and throws it down the waste disposal chute... and then he has it back in the next frame! Is this transmigration of an object, the ancient Time Lord sleight-of-hand? Or just the director fouled up?
When Martha slams the magnet against the main hatch, it wobbles quite a lot. Normally I wouldn’t complain, but the fact is the hatch just wobbles while the rest of the set completely collapses, revealing the Hub from Touchwood and the Attic from The Sarah Jane Misadventures, not to mention John Barrowman having it off with two Cybermen.
Now, I’m STILL not entirely sure whether bodies ejected into the vacuum should explode in gore or not, but I’m PRETTY certain being spat out onto the surface of the sun should have at LEAST got them singed.
Eddie the computer seemed to be announcing time to impact in Esperanto at conveniently irregular intervals. Also, the time it took for the cast to move around the ship seemed to vary considerably between conveniently quickly or conveniently slowly according to plot requirements. It's like, I dunno, this is a FICTIONAL TELEVISION PROGRAMME or something!!
Apparently, since stars don’t have a solid surface, you can’t actually "crash" into one. I’m sure such pedantry is really at the forefront of everyone’s minds when you’re trapped into a ship hurtling towards the burning heart of a sun. A clue: no.
Fashion Triumphs -
Trapped in the roasting escape pod, Martha follows in the footsteps of Sigourney Weaver and takes off all her clothes. Awesome.
Any number which reduces to one when you take the sum of the square of its digits and you continue iterating until it yields one is a happy number. Any number that doesn’t, isn’t. A happy prime is a number which is both happy and prime.
You’ll need to know this one day.
Dialogue Disasters -
Martha: You called this ship the Icarus? You really should have been on the lookout for something like this!
Allan: Oh, and what are you? Perfect!
Doctor: This is a disaster area! Oh, what would Hotblack Desiato do in this situation? Probably knock back a few pan-galactic gargle blasters, doodle some lyrics, have violent sex with a groupie and go on tour. Hmmm. Not actually that helpful now I come to think of it.
Doctor: Yaaargh! I’m possessed!
Martha: Oh no!
Doctor: Can.. only... hold on... for... ten seconds...
Martha: What do you mean?
Doctor: Need... you to freeze me...
Martha: But... But... What? How?
Doctor: Just push the button next to your hand. Argh!
Martha: Wait, wait, wait: let’s all calm down and think this through.
Doctor: Push the button!
Martha: Well... Ok...
Allan: I’m not being funny, right, but you can’t push that button! It’ll kill him!
Martha: No it won't. He's not human.
Allan: Not human? Fair enough then.
Doctor: Argh! I'm scared, Martha! Push the button!
Martha: I won’t let you down Doctor!
Doctor: Yeah. Thanks. Push the button!
Martha: I will! Because I won’t let you down!
Doctor: I appreciate that, Martha, NOW PUSH THE BUTTON!!
Martha: You can rely on me, Doctor!
Doctor: I can’t hang on for much longer...
Martha: Don't worry – I’ll push the button!
Martha: ...which button do you want me to press again?
Doctor: The one next to your hand.
Martha: This one?
Martha: Ok, I will push this button next to my hand. Right now.
Allan: Are you SURE this is a good idea?
Martha: I trust the Doctor!
Robin: Need any help?
Martha: I can do this alone!
Doctor: FOR GOD’S SAKE, PUSH THE FUCKING BUTTON!!
Martha: I will, Doctor, because you can rely on me!
Robin: I can’t let you do this.
Doctor: You’re wasting your breath, coz you’re not gonna stop me.
Robin: You wanna open an airlock in flight on a ship spinning into a sun? No-one can survive that! This close to the sun, the shields will barely protect you... You open that airlock, it’s suicide.
Doctor: It’s a good day to die.
Little John: Oi! That’s my catchphrase, that is?
Much: I hate sayings.
Vasey: Fun, fun, fun, in the sun, sun, sun!!
Dialogue Triumphs –
Much: Kate, I don’t suppose you could come down here and help?
Kate: [vo] Whatever you say, boss. Go there. Come back. Fetch this. Carry these. Make drinks. Sweep up! Please, kill me now... ARGH! NO! KEEP BACK! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGHHHHH!
Much: Try and be helpful and what do I get? Abuse. [hangs up] Lovely!
Tuck: If it could be, it would be, and if it were, it would be, but as it isn’t, it is not. That’s logic – is it not??
Guisborne: Don’t look at me, skippy, I just work here.
Martha: It’s at times like this, trapped in an airlock, about to sucked out into space, I really wished I listened to what my mother said to me when I was little.
Much: Oh, what was it?
Martha: Dunno. Let’s ring and ask her.
Little John: This your ship?
Doctor: Compact, eh! And another good word: robust! Barely a scorch mark on her. It’s way better than the piece of crap YOU have to travel in, huh?
Little John: You, I do not like.
Vasey: Sun, sun, sun, here it comes!
Doctor: When I’m about to die, something happens!
Doctor: Well, I shit myself with terror, basically.
UnQuotable Quote -
Martha: SET THE CONTROLS FOR THE HEART OF THE SUN!!!
Links and References -
The Doctor once had a brief but intense love affair with the original Robin Hood until "that minger Evelyn stuffed it all up", which occurred in the Sixth Doctor extravaganza "The Maid Marian Conspiracy".
Untelevised Misadventures –
Sheriff Vasey’s attempts to turn the tourists of the planet Kur-Hu into slave labor to mine the very mineral lakes they went there specifically to ice-skate on was foiled by the Kusk army and the Eighth Doctor. But I could be making that up. It’s been a long day. Gimme a break
Groovy DVD Extras -
The entire cast of Robin Hood sing "I Fought The Law And The Law Won!" for Comic Relief 2007, while David Tennant and Freema Agyeman translate the whole song into sign language for deaf viewers at home.
The Spite of Sparacus -
"Was 47 inspired by James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis? Or was it just a coincidence that was intriguing and carried an important ecological undercurrent? In any case, this episode is clearly a rip off of Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Booby Prize". What makes "Booby Prize" such a great episode as well as its seriousness of tone is the general inventiveness of its solution and the dilemma of whether to turn over the ship completely to computer control. The pacing was far superior in Star Trek rather than too fast and the emotional aspects were soundbite-sized interludes which annoyed unlike Star Trek. It’s perfectly natural to compare long-running sci fi series like Star Trek and Doctor Who, which is why I’m doing it NOW for the first time ever because Classic Who didn’t do any stories that were enough like 47 for me to compare to it unfavorably! 47 only appeals to those with low attention span and a limited brain... which seems to be quite a lot of people, actually... Oh, how I hate Doctor Who and everything in it. Especially chavs! All chavs must die. All chavs will burn! BURN WITH ME, CHAVS!!! BURN WITH ME!!!"
Viewer Quotes -
"Oh why couldn’t Robin snoggy Hood become a companion, like Adam from the Eccleston error. Except, you know, not turn evil and be immediately abandoned. Why couldn’t he had hopped on board at the end? I still REEL from the hotness of Robin, why couldn’t he hop aboard the TARDIS and be hot and sweaty in every story, he was just looooovely, and so sweet, bless him... I can’t believe we’re stuck with Martha instead."
- a psychotic Rose fan deep undercover (2007)
"Does anyone else feel that this episode is a perfect example of the new Doctor Who being very geared and edited towards low attention spans? I feel as if I just watched 45 minutes of screaming, running, incoherent babbling and general dementedness. Are they scared that if the audience’s pulse is for one second less than heart-stopping they will lose interest and turn over? Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly expect anymore of David Tennant screaming, along came the trailer for the next episode! It’s ironic that the story requires a desperate and histrionic race against just over 40 minutes time to achieve a goal, which is exactly what the episode length requires of the stories! HAHAHAHAHAHA! I am so lonely." - hardcore Primeval fan (2007)
"This may shock you, but the idea of the sun being sentient is a madcap and scientifically irresponsible notion. A sentient being would mean that it thinks and bases its actions on those thoughts accordingly. What’s the inheritance mechanism to allow evolution? A living entity exhibits movement, excretion, reproduction, respiration, irritability, nutrition and growth. Do suns do that? A clue: no. To your basic grasp of things, a sun is just a huge ball of nuclear fission and will just keep on creating nuclear fusion until its fuel has run out."
- www.stargazerslounge.co.uk (No Sense of Humor Dept.)
"Chibnall’s on fire with this story – and I don't mean the kind you refuse to piss on to put out!" - Dave Restal (2007)
"They asked Chris Chin-Balls to write for Doctor Who instead of Rob Shearman?! A man who, against some very stiff competition, wrote the WORST episodes of Touchwood? And they give him spot on acting, outstanding design, brilliant direction, perfect sets, wonderful SFX, great music and superb writing JUST to prove what a crap writer he is! The worst example of Chin-Ball’s shortcomings came from the fact that the button/ever to override the escape pod was located OUTSIDE THE SHIP! WHY?!?!?! I DEMAND AN ANSWER! What purpose could that POSSIBLY serve? Why??????? The answer is – there isn’t one, it was simply a plot hole, used for padding. This is why we should stop watching Doctor Who and watch Summer Heights High instead, written by the BRILLIANT genius Chris Lilley who impressed even the morons of the ABC which will starts on Wed, 5th September at 9:30pm (after the return of the Chaser)! IT WILL BE FANTASTIC!" - Chris Lilley bigging himself up on OG (2007)
"peter davison, he was ten times better than tennant at least he could pull off being weak and clumsy tennant just can't perform as the doctor right, he just performs a lot of face pulling which is very irritating to watch and that false english accent is appauling!."
- another Primeval fan (2007)
"Talk about dropping the ball, man! Am I professionally detached or callously indifferent? 47 isn’t worth my attention, that’s for sure. I’d have switched off except I’m not prepared to waste my £135 per annum TV License!" - the incredible cheapskates at eyeofsaurus.com (2007)
"One could be nice and note that this is a classic base under siege story homaging countless sci-fi flicks. But I’m NOT nice. I am a total fucking asshole. And I say that it’s unoriginal! And if it wasn’t for the fact the other prisoners like the quality of the direction and CGI, I wouldn’t watch it! I HATE DOCTOR WHO!"
- Ron Mallet (see, incarceration DOES rehabilitate people!)
"You know that film Sunshine? Yeah, the Trainspotting and 28 Days Later guy, him. Well, it’s like 2001 but punchy. Anyway, they’re doing it on Doctor Who tomorrow. But in real-time. Like 24. With Cindy off EastEnders. As Ripley. From Alien. And if you really didn’t like that one last year, with the evil Santa Claus slaughtering Touchwood one by one and the possessed alien slaves with a deep voice, then you should probably give it a miss and stick to Vernon Kay’s Gameshow Marathon, ok?" - Official BBC Press Statement for '47' (2007)
"Wait a mo! Well cover me with eggs and flour and boil me for 40 minutes! Stars are huge balls of hydrogen and helium that burn for several billion years. They don’t come alive, don’t possess people, don’t have a tantrum when someone uses a few gallons of their fuel and don’t go round frying people or sucking people into suns! This just proves that Owen from 'Touchwood' is really the Meddling Monk! Did I mention how much I hate sci-fi? I'm fairly sure I did, but what bothers me is how OFTEN I have to say it. You’re all petty, insular, self-obsessed tedium-engines! How dare you nerd-scum acquire a media-voice of your own! Only **I** have intelligent opinions of some description! Love & Pizzas was brilliant, wasn’t it? It was dull and bewildering for children, but who CARES about those still-unspeakable horrors! You think that the cast of Robin Hood and a 24-style ticking clock somehow stops the whole thing looking like a third-rate Aliens knock-off? HOW DARE YOU SAH!!! This is the first episode of Doctor Who which doesn’t make ANY sense at all unless you’re a smug, media-aware adult who’s seen the specific source material! STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT!"
- Mad Larry the Pirate King (2007)
David Tennant Speaks!
"I got a lot of flak during the making of this story. Like when we were recording the space-walk scenes, a lot of the crew kept screaming 'JESUS WINDSURFING CHRIST, AREN’T YOU THIN?' at me and shouting 'EAT, DAMN YOU!' between takes. And, apparently, I also run like a girl. According to Freema. And she’d know. Probably."
Freema Agyeman Speaks!
"We were freezing to death in that big paper mill and we had totally visible breath coming out of our mouths, while pretending to boil! Did they do anything clever like change the script so we were falling into an ice world or something? No, they just made us suck ice cubes! Does that sound enjoyable? Cause it bloody well isn’t!"
Russell T Davies Speaks!
"As a writer, and I mean just a writer, I love Chris’ skill in inter-cutting plots. It’s amazing how different it is from that trash he regurgitated in Touchwood, isn’t it? He doesn’t have his main characters orally raping each other with shotguns at ANY point. At ALL! And no matter what, we did NOT secretly carry out brain surgery on him as he slept. It wasn’t me, guv, honest. He just tumbled down some stairs and hit his head and changed his entire personality, so instead of an episode of gunfire, forced bissexual intercourse and lame one-liners, we get one of the country’s most handsome men, Richard Armitage and then cover his face with a sci-fi welding mask for the entire episode! Oh, entire Doctor Who departments GRIEVED over that. And some women too."
Just as production on 47 was about to begin, Danny Boyle’s sci-fi epic Sunshine was released, featuring a team of astronauts heading for the sun in a spaceship that just happened to be called the Icarus. RTD briefly considered a massive rewrite to differentiate a Doctor Who episode from a pretentious and incomprehensible blockbuster film and then decided that on a deep, fundamental level, he didn’t give a shit and no changes of any kind were made.
Rumors & Facts -
Why waste screen minutes reinventing the wheel? Future scenarios can be just as predictable as historical ones or UNIT-defends-the-Earth-from-the-Bastard-and-his-alien-bitches ones. There’s no point in originality and all that matters is telling a story well, even if that story is so old it can be carbon dated.
Well. That’s MY excuse for being derivative, anyway.
Chris Chin-Balls, however, had no such justification for the utter crap he’d been spewing out. A psycho-fan rivaling even Ian Levine during the 1980s, Chin-Balls had managed to somehow become a key figure in the development of Touchwood by virtue of simply being so utterly revolting to be around no one was willing to try and stop his mad lust for power.
Using his incredible lack of social skills and personal hygiene, Chin-Balls took on the role of head writer and penning four episodes for its first season. You know damn well which ones – the really awful ones, like the psychotic valley girl raping fit young men to death in CGI orgasms, or the Touchwood team EATING the corpses of their enemies, or that complete shit about a giant stone demon living under Mermaid Bay. Worst of all is an episode so repugnant, so morally decadent, its name lives in infamy – The Trouble With Lisa Is That She’s A Cyber-Woman.
In July 2006, halfway through Chin-Ball’s Touchwood "scripting" duties, Doctor Who and Touchwood executive producer Russell T Davies, O Lord of Enigma, approached him with a very heavy polo mallet and beat Chin-Ball near to death for the Buffy-wank travesty he had made of RTD’s XXX-Caliber project.
It was decided that Chin-Ball would suffer a new and unusual punishment rather than simply be buried in Steven Moffat’s back garden: he would be placed in Mike Tucker’s newly-designed Chameleon Arch and have every cell of his body rewritten until his DNA actually resembled a writer worthy to use that word as a job description. The process was a long, drawn-out orgy of suffering and torment but the end result was a truly bitching, Morpheous-like dude now known as...
With the malodorous masturbater kept safely in a novelty wrist watch, Chibnall was offered the chance an adventure for Doctor Who.
Instead of the expected story of a lesbian whipped-cream orgy of ex-companions before they were all raped and machine-gunned to death by Captain Jack, Chibnall had a GENUINELY mature and adult plot involving the Nazi medical experiments in the Treblinka concentration camp where it was revealed that the camp doctor and his fit nurse (who injected Jewish children with lethal injections to test this new morphine stuff the troops were into, used stop-watches to see how long they’d take to die and which organs pack up first) looked JUST like the Tenth Doctor and Rose, and were hounded by a wheelchair-bound octogenarian called Solomon for revenge as the torments he experienced. But was this all some hallucination in Solomon’s brain or did the Doctor and Rose really go back in time and experiment on him for a laugh.
RTD thanked Chibnall for this newfound maturity, and then asked for a story which, in his words, "wasn’t so fucking dark and disturbing this time, please?"
Irritated at the populist cowardice of the production team, Chibnall decided not to waste his newfound genius. He came up with a story about a stupid tabloid constantly spoiling TV plot twists, but everyone took one look at the title ("Dr Who Versus The Sun") and assumed it was some outer-space-opera shenanigans and RTD loved the idea and wanted nothing else. Moffat would eventually do a story about spoiling plot twists, much to the shame and depression of all concerned.
The revised storyline involved around an orbiting space research facility studying a sentient sun for generations and indeed was terrifyingly similar to an episode of Star Cops. This was because Chibnall assumed that veteran Star Cops director Graeme Garden would find it easier to work with, however Garden was – like most people – disgusted at the very concept of admitting Star Cops existed and told Chibnall to get stuffed.
In retaliation, Chibnall came up with a story involving hoardes of Otter People to be played by trained otters (apparently the BBC props department had been training otters since 2005 and the news of Christopher Eccleston’s departure – Eccleston, of course, being thoroughly allergic to otters and preventing a Ninth Doctor otter story). The Otter People, Chibnall believed, would communicate in mime (in the style of David Bowie) rather than wasting time and effort giving them realistic dialogue.
The story concerned the King of the Otter People (voice: Brian Blessed, body: Jonathon Ross) would declare war on a spaceship captained by Graham Norton and his army of slightly camp males aged between 17-23. The Doctor (now sporting a Mexican moustache) would arrive when his attempts to get the TARDIS’s chameleon circuit working (jumping up and down on top of it screaming "WORK, YOU BASTARD!!") turns the time machine into a CGI Otter Person who later has a lesbian dominatrix scene with Martha Jones (in suspenders and stilettos) when they are both stuck in a malfunctioning ventilation shaft. They are eventually freed (in more ways than one) by Captain Jack Sparrow with a jar of alien axle grease while the Doctor would explain the UNIT dating controversy and the entirety of Goth Night in a single throwaway line of dialogue before starting a totally gratuitous flashback sequence which, in the days before youtube, might have been kind of cool. These include gratuitous references to the Sugababes, Shane Ritchie, Nesquik, Heat magazine, Gaz Top, and the Third Doctor (played by RTD) appearing and shouting that the whole story is "essentially being about repressed puberty or something" before having an orgy with Lytton, Mike Yates and some Mermen.
The day is ultimately saved when Martha’s pet budgerigar teams up with Dustbin Raph when they discover Lavros (Joe Pasquale) himself is the power behind the Otter King’s throne – only for Raph to betray the budgie and exterminate it. To death. As Lavros sings a musical number with suitable gravitas. Only for the dead budgie to regenerate forty-seven times, finally turning into the Bastard.
While the tap-dancing Doctor was forced to play Deal Or No Deal to win back the tutu-wearing Martha, the Time Lord foolishly ignores making a deal with Ace (Mollie Sugden) and instead gets Mel (the Doctor didn’t feel retro enough to give up Martha, who discovers he has somehow marriaged a peanut smuggler called Michelle Collins Über Slut Murderess who he was forced to first throw down some stairs and then divorce). The rest of the plot pretty much fulfilled the Doctor’s plea, "Martha, you’re going to have to jelly wrestle Michelle Collins and that bird who was in Hollyoaks as it's the only way to distract the otters enough for me to be able to mime my way past their defenses and disconnect Adam-Lavros-Bastard-Ice-Cream-Vendor-Bandril-Bonnie Langford-White Kids-Rani-Giant-Green-Maggot from the Matrix and prevent the secrets of the Sisterhood of Korn being taken by the long-lost son of the Wank Chief, who is actually my granddaughter in male drag impersonating the Brigadier, I AM SORRY I AM SO FUCKING SORRY!!!" while he and Martha were busy pot-holing. Naked.
The Bastard meanwhile finally reveals that he had been fooling Dustbin Raph into thinking he was really Lavros and that there are Tellytubbies living in the cliffs on Mars as part of a non-aggression pact with the Macra and the Vervoids. The evil Time Lord then summons the mighty alliance of the backing singers of the Ice Cream Vendors and the Quirks to deal with the Otter People once and for all.
Captain Jack himself leads the Jitterbug of Peace to prevent an all out massacre, but unfortunately ends up getting married to the King of the Otter People, and immediately legalizes Gay Otter Marriage. The homophobic Lavros leaves the Otter People in disgust for their tolerant ways and changes his name to "Alan B’Stard" for tax reasons, all the while quoting dialogue from On The Busses.
Returning to the TARDIS with some god called Joey who farts a lot, the Doctor and Martha discover a hologram message from Rose who gives a tear-jerking speech about her love for the Doctor... which makes Martha flick Rose the V-sign, blow a raspberry and yell "HE’S MINE NOW, BITCH!!" before having full-frontal sex with the startled Doctor live on British television ending with "the biggest bang in history" involving the disgusting misuse sonic screwdriver, incorrect Otter DNA synthesis, the TARDIS folding in half to make a perfect triangle and a CGI William Hartnell trying to cut off the Doctor’s earlobes.
The episode would end with a colourized version of the Patrick Troughton title sequence played backwards to the tune of Dominic Glynn’s Washer Board version of the theme tune – guaranteed to rape the childhood of any fans watching while simultaneously exploring, in some depth, the consequences of treating otters too lightly.
This script was completely rejected and burnt by RTD, but an echo of them can be found in the finished episode, in particular the scene where Martha asks Robin Hood, "Girlfriend? Boyfriend? Otter?"
Ultimately, a group of fans with too much time on their hands blackmailed Cosgrove Hall into animating this "lost" episode in 2012, which received rave reviews and the quality of writing in "the best piece of television all year" got Chibnall a knighthood. The fast-paced finger-puppet action scenes, the soft-core pornography, the cameo of Peter Davison’s frozen body in a homage to both Return of the Jedi and Encino Man, the slightly camp musical numbers... all combined to make an episode the public liked WAY better than anything featuring Matt Smith.
ANYWAY, back to 2007 and the production of the episode we ultimately got. RTD finally noticed his stultifying lack of imagination meant there was a plethora of stories set on space stations and needed something slightly more original. Dryly, Chibnall suggested they set the story entirely on a spaceship for some REAL variety in the show. RTD completely missed the sarcasm and demanded appropriate amendments to the script, and gave the writer 47 minutes to do so.
Annoyed, Chibnall used his newfound writing skills to satirize the entire situation and have the episode proceed in real time like a certain American drama adventure with Jack Brauer as the central character suffering the events of a single day (with commercials). Thus, Chibnall’s script would have the events ACTUALLY OCCUR over PRECISELY its 47-minute runtime and, for the sheer hell of it, called the episode very simply "47".
The intense 24-parody totally went over RTD’s head as he was so busy checking the script for totally unrealistic tentacle rape scenes or the Doctor going apeshit with a shotgun whenever things got boring – the sort of scrutiny which, if it had been given the first season of Touchwood, might just have stopped it turning out complete shit.
Chibnall decided to call the spaceship at the centre of the story the SS Icarus, after the Greek myth about a boy who could fly using an invention of his father’s, but who perished when he soared too close to the sun... just in case you didn’t get the fucking message already.
A major set piece involved the Doctor scaling the exterior of the Icarus, until fears were raised about the expense it would incur, having to get the Welsh branch of NASA involved to fly cast and crew into orbit around the sun – until some bright spark suggested taking the American approach and faking it all in a TV studio. It turned out even THIS was too much so it had to be simplified to the Doctor leaning out a doorway and pulling a lever we never see. At one point it was considered simply MENTIONING this in passing rather than wasting time, effort and footage to film it, but that lead to the inescapable conclusion it’d be a lot cheaper to just have David Tennant, or maybe just Freema Agyeman, recording the whole episode as an Alan Bennett Talking Head monologue.
47 was paired with Dystopia to form the seventh production block of Doctor Who’s 2007 season, directed by Graeme Gardn, who the criminal court had deemed guilty of Silver Finish and Dustbin –vs- Cyberman! the previous year before. For a time, it was thought that Dystopia would actually be filmed before 47, but this plan was scuppered when its principal guest stars, props, sets, and finished script proved unavailable. Indeed, had they tried to film it in such a state, it would have consisted solely of RTD bouncing up and down saying, "The Bastard is returning! BE AMAZED!"
So, for the very good reasons outlined above, the story was recording within three days at the Upper Boat Studios, spanning January 15th to 17th, 2007 and it goes without saying there was filming on the 16th as well. True, this meant the designers and set builders having worked feverishly to meet the new production dates, but hell, it’s what they’re PAID for, for crying out loud. By now, David Tennant had recovered from the voice issues which had plagued him during the making of Blank and Human Nature during the past month, and could now speak in a convincing Scottish accent for more than forty-four seconds at a time.
Ultimately, 47 kicks off the second half of the season with a grand epic from the opening moments to seeing the Tenth Doctor – you know, the one who tastes Goablin sweat, has been sterilized with radiation, has had his arm cut off and other assorted things that would either explode, kill, or otherwise leave us pathetic humans crying for mommy as our heads turn to gasmasks... get left screaming and wailing in agony. This HAS to be hardcore.
Of course, none of this prevented the whole of fandom – still with third-degree burns after Touchwood – from decrying the episode and its author as complete and utter crap in arguments SO compelling, intellectual weight SO unarguable, rhetoric SO powerful, that the conviction and rigor of their deeply moving and utterly compelling complaints transcended their own meanings and were elevated INTO ART!
It is quite, quite beautiful, with imagery evocative of Wilfred Owen and the horror of war conjured into our minds with scant description, "No doubt we’ll be shot down in flames by the blinkered PC brigade for this, but 47 was utter fucking shit!" Indeed, Anthem for Doomed Youth begins in much the same way with "What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle. Touchwood is rubbish!"
One rumor often trotted out is that Eastenders’ star Michelle Collins was asked to play a moon astronaut in this episode. This is total crap and the truth is originally this episode was story about MICHAEL Collins, the forgotten moon astronaut. Jings, see what we have to deal with on the forums?!?
Meanwhile, David Tennant continued his baffling desire to sing in every episode, performing an up-tempo rock serenade as he was possessed by a sentient sun and went totally batshit insane...
"Sunshine at a Distance" by Pentallion Spiderbait
Sunshine a distance makes me happy like an outlaw
OUTSIDE! ALL AROUND ME! STELLAR FURY! IT POSSESSES ME!
DON’T TELL ME YOU CAN’T SEE! YOU’LL ALL BURN WITH ME! BURN WITH--
Meanwhile in the moonlight, merry men are forgiven
OUTLAWS, YES THAT MAY BE! VERY PEACHY! IT POSSESSES ME!
DON’T TELL ME YOU CAN’T SEE! YOU’LL ALL BURN WITH ME! BURN WITH ME!
ROBBING FROM THE RICH FOLK! BEYOND A JOKE! SO FOR BROKE!
DON’T TELL ME YOU CAN’T SEE! YOU’LL ALL BURN WITH ME! BURN WITH ME!
LEAVE ME BE! CAN’T YOU SEE SEE? YOU’LL ALL BURN WITH ME!
BURN WITH MEEEE!