Monday, February 1, 2010

10th Doctor - Human Nature (ii)

Book(s)/Other Related -
The Watch With The Doctor’s Mojo In It
Tompkinson’s Schooldays
Something to Crow About: Jack Straws in Science Fiction

Fluffs - David Tennant seemed humane in this story.

For some unaccountable reason, the weird voices in the watches consist of the cast of Black Books:

Bernard: Space and time... Eternity and infinity within the Vortex. The secret lies within, I’m trapped, I’m caged inside the cold and the metal and the dark, but waiting, always waiting. Contained, encircled, enclosed, the never-ending circle goes round and round and round. Awaiting release. The power within, the power of a Time Lord, such a precious prize, protect me. I will return. I am returning, even now. And the Human will fall.
Fran: The Family is coming, the Family has picked up the scent, the time is not right... Timothy. Timothy? Hide us, hide me, hide it from harm. You have been chosen, boy. You stand as protector, against the dark and the cold, reach out, boy, reach out with your mind...
Manny: Gallifrey, in the constellation of Kasterborous, galactic coordinates ten zero eleven zero-zero by zero two from galactic zero centre. There stood the Citadel, before the fall, before the Last Great War of Time itself, home of the mighty Panopticon. All gone now, all fallen into dust. Atoms on the solar winds...
Bernard: Time Lord. You are not alone.
Fran: Shine with the light and the power and the majesty, the light of time and space and infinite fire, burn with the light, burn and turn, accept its wisdom!
Manny: The children of Fargo and cybernetic men made manifest, the blood and fire of the Aracanon Empire, slaughtered in the Great Purge of the Fledgeling Wars, flesh and bone of the Sycophantic clan...
Bernard: Keep me hidden, keep me away from the false and empty man, the danger is coming, the danger is so close, hold me tight, keep me close and quiet and safe...
Fran: Darkness is coming, darkness is so close, they walk upon the Earth with the faces of men and women and children but their hearts are so old, so cold...
Manny: This is the last of Gallifrey, the last of the Time Lords, the last of that wise and ancient race...
Timothy: Will you lot JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR A MINUTE?!?

"I carried this watch, up my arse, for five years..."

Goofs -
Both "The Doctor" and "John Smith" are credited as being played by "Doris Winterbottom & Calumn Kinporis" for some reason.
How does using the Chameleon Arch stop the Doctor’s natural rhythm from changing as well?
The fob watch contains the Doctor’s very essence, his mind and his soul combined, and is the only way to return him to normal. So why does Martha leave it around for anyone to nick? Does she not want the Doctor to return to normal? Oh, wait. I get it.
The notices on the walls of the TARDIS prop reads "FUCK CANON!!" rather than the usual "POLICE BOX".
John Smith laughs at the idea that drinking a tank of petrol a day gives you eternal life was unproven but most of the details of the theory put forward over gasoline-induced immortality has actually been disproven completely what with all the dead folk with petroleum foam moustaches. In fact, not only does drinking a gallon of petrol a day kill you rather than making you immortal, it’s lead to the fuel shortage in the Western World. So yeah. Drinking petrol is bad, mmkay?
There may or may not be all sorts of minor historical errors that no one was anal enough to spot, but I’m pretty sure the arms race between England and Germany didn’t involve "weapons of mass destruction in Iraq". But, you know, I could be wrong.
Smith gets the Lord's Prayer wrong, missing 'lead us not into temptation' and introducing a verse about 'bros before hos'.

Fashion Victims -
John Smith’s tie with the naked-man-and-the-lava-lamp design.

Technobbable -
The Doctor reverses the polarity of the molecular re-distributor communications coil. "Mind you a cup of coffee on a keyboard could cause pretty much the same effect in the long-run," he reveals.

Dialogue Disasters -

Constance: Do you know, I was hoping to go cruising before I came out.
Martha: Isn’t that rather the wrong way round?
Constance: I suppose so. My mother was going to come out too.
Martha: Really?
Constance: Yes, she's very gay.
Martha: My god, the fans were right! There IS an agenda!

John Smith: You’re insane! A megalomaniac!
Father of Mine: Don’t knock it, it’s something to do!

Richard: I believe in dialectical materialism, the force of history, and the revolution. Two ideas collide, form a new idea, a synthesis, and that idea is naturally revolutionary.
Son of Mine: Revolutionize THIS, you smug bastard!
(SOM blows Richard’s brains out with a laser gun)

Baines’ worthy but unsuccessful attempts to sweet-talk the family:
"I, for one, welcome our new evil Satanist homosexual necrophiliac gas monster overlords..."

Joan: Maybe it's just me, Mr. Smith, but that girl you drew bears a striking resemblance to...
John Smith: Yes, you're right! Martha, what are you doing in my dreams?
Martha: Not bloody enough.

Dialogue Triumphs -

Martha: This adventure was going to require some serious sex appeal. I know, I’ll dress up as a French maid, that’s BOUND to break him!

Hutchinson: Adultery is never justified.
John Smith: What about you sleeping with your father’s mistress?
Hutchinson: That was different.
John Smith: In what way?
Hutchinson: I wasn’t on top.

Doctor Smith: 'There's no soldiers here. Nothing special about the town at all, except for the rock -'
Serif: 'Ah yes, the radioactive granite, so conducive to mutation.'
Doctor Smith: 'No, the rock with "Greetings from Aberdeen" written through it.'

John Smith: Anywhere that pianos still fall, one can show off one’s cricketing skills without having to worry about LBW.

The Doctor’s heartfelt promise to the Rani:
"One day, I’ll learn to do a Cockney accent convincingly, too."

Headmaster: Do I take it that you have been unsuccessful in your attempt to seduce Mister Smith.
Martha: Yeah. Happens to me every fucking week.

John Smith: Do you prefer me as a man or a Time Lord?
Joan Redfern: Do you do amphibians?

Young Fan: What’s "retcon the NAs" mean?
RTD: It means kill most of the online fanbase and let the survivors apologize to you for not agreeing with your personal canon preferences at the very start.

John Smith: What would the Doctor do?
Matha: He'd find a way to turn this around. He'd make the villains fall into their own traps, and trick the monsters, and outwit the men with guns. He'd save everybody's lives and find a way to win. And somehow manage to NOT have sex with me while he was at it!

Joan as Son of Mine ties her to a railway track:
"Isn’t it odd how close masculinity is to melodrama?"

John Smith: You my know me as mild-mannered John Smith, history teacher, but secretly I’m the Doctor, universal righter of wrongs and molester of cats. No, wait, that’s Cat Molester Jones. I’m always getting those two mixed up for some strange and unaccountable reason.

Timothy: We’re old enough to be shot at, but not to hear naughty words!
Martha: Shut the fuck up and keep firing your gun! Happy now, Tim?
Timothy: Yes, miss!

August: We’re all things when it comes to war. Mostly moving targets.

Father of Mine: We grab her, interrogate her, find out where the Doctor is, and we're home before first light. What’s your problem?
Mother of Mine: No, we must do this in a subtle way.
Father of Mine: You don’t fancy her, do you?
Mother of Mine: ...well, she HAS got a nice shape. For a humanoid.
Father of Mine: I don’t believe it, Wife of Mine. If it’s got a corporeal form, you’ll fuck its brains out.
Mother of Mine: If I didn’t, we’d never have got together, would we?
Father of Mine: Point.

Doctor: I dived in and messed it up. Threw away the manual, ignored the notes and laughed in the face of Balloon Help!

UnQuotable Quote -

Banes: Bingle bongle, dingle dangle! Yikkity doo! Yikkity dah! Ping pong! Lippy tappy doo dah!

Links and References -
John Smith claims, "My father was Sydney, my mother was Verity, my auntie Sarah Jane and my uncle Harry, my other uncles, Terrance and Barry, and then there was my sister, Radiophonic Workshop and my cousin, Shawcraft Models of Uxbridge, and that dodgy friend of the family RTD and his life partner JST..."

The Doctor apparently learned how to trap people in mirrors from a wild night out with a Tharil, a Witch and a faceless entity that lives in the dimension of photographs.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The New Adventures, pretty much. But it may not stay that way.

Groovy DVD Extras -
An amazing Making Of documentary made in the style of Alan Bennet’s Talking Heads, with Paul Carnall ranting directly to the camera that
"in a just universe I would be reclining comfortably in a chair made from Adam Rickitt’s skeleton!"

The Spite of Sparacus -
"There are several major differences in plot between the TV episodes and Paul Cornell’s novel which are to the detriment of the story and it is all clearly RTD’s fault. And if it isn’t, Paul has spoiled his own story! The plot of the novel is superior and this shows a complete lack of understanding of the Doctor’s character – which was defined by Jon Pertwee for five years! Improving that perfection is impossible, and the sooner society realizes that only the Pertwee era was a success and every other story subpar, the better! And this story was a lost opportunity to bring back the Bygones, which makes rubbish like The Shakespeare of Evil seem all the worse. The Doctor tweaks a few knobs on the alien spaceship and the alien ship blows up and all is resolved? Lazy writing! Just like in the Pertwee era! All it needed was for Ben Chatham to have been the one tweaking knobs and all would have been PERFECT! I spontaneously ejaculated at the very thought! But I did not cry at the ending. They were not tears. I was vomiting through my eyes."

Viewer Quotes -

"Quite simply spellbinding... screaming pure quality from every second of its precious celluloid. The book was much better, though."
- no idea, but SOMEONE must have said this!

"Horror amongst the French verb text books! Harry Lloyd looks just like me when I was possessed and grinned psychotically as my eyes glinted with evil, don’t you think?" - John Barrowman on drugs (2008)

"Shock and awe, this is another adaptation for TV from a popular off-TV era work of Who. So many of the best new series stories are pilfered from the recent great works of fandom. Interesting, huh? You wait. To Catch A Thief will hit the screens one day, and we’ll see who’s the mad one around here..." - Jared "Load Flintlock" Hashish Addict (2009)

"It is in a remake 10th Doctor era, that skipped a canon 9th Doctor era, which does not exist, seeing as the canon 8th Doctor era never regenerated into the canon 9th Doctor era, which I already said, there is no canon 9th Doctor era, and also the remake 10th doctor admits he either can not count right when he and Sarah Jane last meant or it was meant to be a remake, which it is the latter, a remake. I'm sure if I stare at that description long enough, it might start to make some kind of sense. I hope." - Katy January (2008)

"Typical! As ever, bereft of ideas, the generation of scum known as New Adventures writers are raping and pillaging their own ideas and trying to pass them off as the latest and greatest ideas while cunningly ADMITTING IT IN PUBLIC! The only creatures that might have enjoyed this typical NA Carnall trash were under 12 in years and IQ points who DON’T UNDERSTAND PROPER DOCTOR WHO!! This made me vomit all night! I bet the next story will reveal the TARDIS is really the Doctor’s mother and his next companion encourages them to go to a relationship counselor in order to straighten out their relationship. I FUCKING HATE EVERYTHING!"
- Ron "Open-Minded" Mallet (2008)

"Oh, this immature and undignified series can be cancelled for all I care! Humanity needs important, liberal television and Doctor Who hasn’t been that since Romana left! I actually didn’t watch this story because I was too busy playing Jenga, but I can easily critique this obscene and vacuous pettiness passed off as entertainment! WHERE IS THE QUALITY CONTROL?! I refuse to watch another episode until RTD is knifed to death by Moffat! And why do vindictive, self-involved, downright punchable people keep mistaking me for the brutish, obtuse, curmudgeonly mean-spirited Ron Mallet! I’m not like him at all! I’m all about good and evil and how everything post 1979 should be erased from history all together, not celebrated! We couldn’t be more different! I genuinely hope Lawrence Miles gets hit by a bus for disagreeing with me! I FUCKING HATE EVERYTHING!" - Thomas "Same Old Bollocks" Cookson (2008)

"This just proves that refusing to read the novels can pay off! This is an iconic piece of storytelling – or at least it will be when people wake up and realize I’m right! David Tennant is a John Gielgud for this generation! What you mean, you don’t know who John Gielgud is, peasant?! The only problem was the wood panels in the study were too broad and brash in the brush strokes. I can enjoy anything with poorly-grained walls, can you?" - (2007)

"Is this canon? Is it real? School’s Out contradicts the books, but Human Nature is now an episode. Oh, how can you explain this without sinking to ridiculous levels, like the histrionic housewife who turns a blind eye to their husband's indiscretions, creating outlandish explanations? "Oh, he's working late!", or "He's just friends with her" or "Oh, the Doctor became human on 2 separate occasions, and just happened to fall in love with a woman with the same name both times, in roughly the same time zone, with roughly the same events. He's such a hard worker!" HOW CAN THIS MAKE SENSE, DAMN YOU?!"
- The dude who runs the Canon-Keeper’s Guide To Dr Who (pre-breakdown)

"It may be only me, but I prefer the Doctor as John Smith, than as the usual irritating plimsole-wearing buffoon arse. The costume is what I would order Tennant at gunpoint to wear, and Smith’s complete lack of humor mirrors my own. Yes, Smith is patronizing, uncaring, racist and cruel, just like me, and we both make better Doctors than Tennant. Or McCoy. God, the Graham Williams era was rubbish! How dare those meat puppets get rights when we all know less freedom leads to a toned-down gravitas? I’m not an actor, but do I go round flapping and rolling my eyes like a cretin? DAVID TENNANT MUST GO! I AM THE NEW DOCTOR!!"
- Jym de Natale (2007)

"The location filming and production design absolutely reek of time and period. You can almost smell the carbolic soap and old textbooks, you can almost feel the cold baths and taste the 'cod liver oil' administered by matron. Dear God, it’s DISGUSTING!!"
- Synaesthesia Monthly (2007)

"I must vocalize my utter disgust of this truly awful episode. The rest of you fans... WHAT ARE YOU BLIND!!!! The build up of the family of blood went out like a popcorn fart. Rubbish! I know David Tennant is a gigolo, but why must he score with a broad every week? I DON’T GET TO HAVE SEX THAT OFTEN! IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!!! I’m sorry, but it wouldn’t have been magnanimous of me to hide the searing light of my superior awareness onto something the rest of you mere mortals obviously missed..." - Nigel Verkoff’s call to the Samaritans (2007)

David Tennant Speaks!
"Playing the same character every week in a long-running series is great and very inspiring and exciting but BY GOD it can get dull! I don’t remember much of this story, as I blitzed out of my head on drugs. And not fashionable drugs, either. Day Nurse, First Defense, you name it, anything that could fix that flu I came down with. I didn’t look or sound as sane as I felt, which is great in terms of sympathy but crap for the show. I really should have laid in bed for a couple of days but everything grinds to a halt if I’m not there for these scenes... which didn’t come out as they should have, since, you know, I was certifiably insane due all the mixing of medication. I think that was where the whole idea of the Doctor and John Smith’s personalities clashing came from, when I was so wasted I kept switching characters in a single take. Hah. Old Rusty never deletes a scene if he can completely rewrite the plot to make it make sense and become a crucial part of the narrative."

Freema Agyeman Speaks!
"I think the whole show is really good at focussing on morality, tolerance, learning and alternate ways of thinking. Each episode offers some kind of message and as far as I’m concerned, is written to make my life as difficult as possible. This time it’s a black person sent back in time to suffer racial hatred. And scarecrows. Those scarecrows were terrifying. When they case you, it’s pretty easy to act scared shitless. I’ve always been scared of scarecrows. I should never have mentioned that to Russell, because he instantly gathered everyone around, shouted at the top of his voice, and commissioned a story where I’m chased by scarecrows in the night without the Doctor to help me. I really wonder why people have it in for me."

Jessica Stevens Speaks!
"Um, actually it’s Jessica HYNES, now."

Whatever. Jessica Hynes Speaks!
"Yes, well, my pal Simon Pegg played the Bastard in 2005 and he kept texting me, in tears, that he was stuck playing a cliched bearded villain rather than Billie Piper’s father, which we all know was a life long dream for him. I cheered him up and said that if they ever brought back the Bastard’s Wife, I’d play her. Of course, by the time they DO bring her back, Simon’s off filming Run Fatboy Run and Giles from Buffy is playing the Bastard and he’s not even in the same story! Of course, the Doctor and Rani have had this complex relationship right back into the seventies. Anyone else remember that Dustbin story that started with her shagging him to death and he got covered in frost? Well. I HOPE it was FROST he was covered in. Might have been something else."

Russell T Davies Speaks!
"God, those scarecrow masks are disturbing. Not as disturbing as Harry Lloyd though. If they decide to sell Harry Lloyd Stroke Victim masks at Christmas, the streets are gonna look horrific. I’m staying indoors! Yes, Human Nature was a tough shoot coz of the weather at the time of year we were filming – Welsh summertime, they’re infamous. Not that I ever left my desk by the fireside with catamites peeling grapes while everyone else had to suffer in a wet field, but SOMEONE has to sit, exuding Yoda-esque wisdom, patiently waiting for Paul Carnell to realize that a schizophrenic leading man in a 1900s period school drama was exactly the excuse needed to adapt Paul’s New Adventure, Human Nature, which was all about a schizophrenic leading man in a 1900s period school drama. I mean, the ebook’s up on the official website, so you think he might have noticed right away. Of course, I’ve been quickly nicking stuff from that ever since 2004, but the fact remains that I loved those New Adventures and Human Nature is genius – it deserves to be seen by everyone in a complete different manner to how the author intended!"

Trivia -
Fans with too much times on their hands calculated that by the beginning of Human Nature’s first episode, the Tenth Doctor’s total on-screen duration overtook the Sixth Doctor’s, and overtook the Seventh Doctor some ten minutes later and by the end of the story the Tenth Doctor officially became the longest-running Doctor since the fifth. Unfortunately, none of it was canonical. Tough break there, David.

Rumors & Facts -

While the BBC did absolutely fuck all for Doctor Who in the 1990s, Virgin Books published the Doctor Who: The New Adventures range from 1991 to 1997, encompassing sixty-one pretentious titles. Of these, arguably the least crap and likely to drown you in diseased fanwank was Paul Carnall’s fifth novel Human Nature, released in May 1995 to the excitement of precisely no-one.

This was voted the all-time best of the New Adventures according to Doctor Who Magazine balloting in 1998, maintained the pole position in the Usenet Doctor Who Rankings survey through to the final edition in 2006, and indeed was so damn popular that the Second Doctor and Jamie were seen reading a copy in 1966’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder of the Dustbins, some 29 years before it was actually written, leading to the famous scene in episode five:

Doctor: I am not a student of Human Nature. I am a professor of a much wider academy of which Human Nature is merely a part!
Jamie: Oh so you like *all* the NAs then?

Although Human Nature was plotted with the help of fellow New Adventures author Kate Orman and several other Australian fans during a stay in Sydney, we didn’t get to see a SINGLE RED CENT while Carnall shot to even further heights of fame and glory while the rest of us were left in the dirt. Did WE get to write for the new series? No! But that bastard did and not only that, he does an adaptation of the book that WE helped him write in the first place.


Ahem. For those who could not be arsed to read the BBC website ebook or bid three cows and their firstborn to buy a copy off eBay, the book featured the Seventh Doctor and Bernice "Benny" Summerfield (yes, the same sitcom drunk Carnall had created specifically for the New Adventures in 1992 and has been making sickeningly unfunny wisecracks about her so-called soap opera life ever since).

It was inspired by the iconic Superman II film where the man of steel caves in to parental peer pressure and turns himself into a wussy little cry baby just so he can allowed to get jiggy with Lois Lane – typically at the exact same time THREE badass Krypton super villains arrive to conquer the Earth, forcing Superman to turn himself back to normal for a big punch up scene so the status quo is restored for the next film in the franchise.

Carnell was particularly interested in apotheosis where hero gives up everything in order to gain enlightenment... and immediately uses this enlightenment to beat the shit out of his enemies to such an extent any children they may later have will be born bruised. That just didn’t happen in Doctor Who enough, in his opinion.

In the original book, Benny had experienced the death of her lover in the previous New Adventures novel... well, maybe. He just rather stupidly ran into a battlefield and wasn’t seen again so, rather than actually bother to check, Benny had a nervous breakdown in part caused by the incredible lack of alcohol to be found in medieval France.

The dark, manipulative, all-knowing and god-like Seventh Doctor tried to cheer up Benny by giving her ice cream, crushing beer cans against his forehead, doing impressions of his previous incarnation and/or Ace, and then finally, for a laugh, transformed himself into a human – ostensibly in order to comprehend the grief his companion was going through but also because this meant he was legally dead. For tax reasons. Tax reasons from the DAWN OF TIME!!!!!

With the Doctor now believing himself to be Aberdeen native "Dr S. McCoy", he and Bernice (posing as his drunken lout of a mistress... well, maybe not 'posing'...) settle at the Hulton Academy for Boys in the spring of 1914, where the Doctor falls in love with widowed science teacher Joan Redfern who is shaped like an hourglass and could make a Carmelite nun sweat with desire. From this point on the plot pretty much dissolves into a runaround when three super villains from Krypton arrive and seek out the ultimate treasure: the Doctor’s cricket ball.

I myself am STILL not entirely sure what the hell that was all about.

Anyway, Human Nature had always been of Russell T Davies, who mused "declaring all the New Adventures, BBC Books and Target Novelizations non-canonical was only slightly marred by losing Human Nature" before abruptly changing the subject and promising everyone that Christopher Eccleston would be the longest-running Doctor in human history.

Soon after the completion of the emo-tear-jerking-paradox-fetish that was Death Day (Carnall’s first televised Doctor Who script) the executive producer ordered him to adapt Human nature into a two-part television story, so it could survive the collapse of printed canonicity itself. Carnall spent over a year doing this, which was lucky coz otherwise it would have been made during 2006 and turned out crap.

One of the toughest decisions made was to replace Benny with Martha Jones – finally decided on the grounds that the audience would wonder what in the name of God’s Ass was going on when a drunken unfunny gun-wielding Emma Thompson in huge shoulder pads and gold earrings was doing in the story moping about some French dude who may or may not have died four hundred and eleven years previously. It would have been insane to go this way, even if they let Freema Agyeman play Benny.

Other changes include:

- Martha being a maid rather than a live-in lover

- the human Doctor be "Mr J Smith" rather than "Dr S McCoy" as not only would this ensure no characters referred to him as "the Doctor", it got rid of the truly awful "real McCoy" puns throughout

- the human Doctor’s birthplace was given as Nottingham to allow David Tennant’s desire to use an English accent for once as opposed to the one he’d used previously... mind you, I’m rubbish at accents, so maybe it was English all along. Who knows? Who cares?

- the pocket watch Chameleon Arch and its amazing English actor potential was written in so the later-in-the-season reveal that the Bastard had turned himself into Derek Jacobi was even VAGUELY credible

- the setting was now the Fiona Barrington Hot Compost Memorial School for Sexually Underdeveloped Boys in the summer of 1914, then the winter of 1913, then to the autumn of 1956 and then to a week last Tuesday as the writers struggled to work out where the story fell in relation to the start of World War I

- a subplot doomed suffragette named Constance was eliminated from the novel, which unfortunately meant the main plot only took up 45 seconds of screentime and thus required a different approach

- rather than the human Doctor give the names of his parents as Annakin Skywalker and Leela of the Sevateem, this was amended Sydney and Verity, in honour of Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert. What suck-ups, huh?

- the villains were no longer a gang of incarnations of the same evil Time Lord able to sneeze Krynoid pods from their respective nostrils, breathe fire and have mutagenic venom in their dorsal fins

Carnall feared... well, not "feared" so much as "occasionally thought that" a straight adaptation of Human Nature would be too old-fashioned for Doctor Who’s modern storytelling sensibilities, and tried to make it all hardcore, radical, Rob-Shearman-style blow-your-brains-out-amazing. However, after kicking off the pre-credit sequence with the Doctor and Joan Redfern’s steamy honeymoon, Carnall totally ran out of ideas and RTD smacked him like a bitch and told him to "hew more closely" to his novel.

No one knew what the "hew" RTD was talking about, and ended up with the conclusion it meant that for budget reasons, Human Nature could not afford any special effects. Which rather made the sequences of the rabid face-eating red balloon rather extraneous.

After considering making Human Nature the fourth story of the season, it was decided to make it eighth, swapping with Moffat’s next BAFTA winner. Why? Because it did, that’s why! How dare you question the causal nexus of BBC Wales! Damn you!

The director would be Charles Palmer, who had just finished helming Smith And Jones and The Shakepeare of Evil and was intending to stage a palace coup and depose Phil Collinson. Alas, his former ally Susie Liggat (who had already annexed The Sarah Jane Misadventures), stabbed him in the back. Quite literally. Collinson would ultimately receive an executive producer credit on Cornell’s scripts, while he was left to rot in a basement somewhere. Luckily, a passing janitor freed Collinson and Liggat’s dastardly scheme was foiled at the last minute with lashings of ginger beer to spare!

Recording for Human Nature began on November 27th, a mere 16 days late as they’d wanted to record them on the day the story was set. Give or take a hundred years, anyroads. Trouble began as the cast and crew were regularly thrown out of the locations used to represent the Fiona Barrington Hot Compost Memorial School for Sexually Underdeveloped Boys, and thus several different locales were used: Llandaff Cathedral on the 28th (turfed out for alcohol smuggling); Treberfydd House in Brecon on November 29th to December 5th (omitting only the 3rd when they were chucked out for corrupting minors with mind-altering orange sherbert); Tredegar House in Newport on the 6th (on the grounds that the production team were not Primeval). The "flash-forward" shot of John Smith and Joan with their first child was also recorded there – until the mother of said child and the police turned up to investigate the kidnapping (or "borrowing the kid for a few close-ups" as Liggat described it).

The next three days were spent at Upper Boat, feeling sorry for themselves and waiting for the bail guarantors to turn up. There was much wailing, gnashing of teeth, and some quite respectable hangovers all round. Artist Kellyanne Walker prepared a bit of tie-in merchandise she wanted to sell through Doctor Who, the Doctor’s scandalous 900-year diary, full of obscene sketches and hyperbolic innuendo. This was hastily altered to become John Smith’s "A Journal Of Very, Very Improbable Things" which contained sketches of various monsters and the nine previous Doctors. This was the first visual reference in the revived programme to any of the actors who had played the Doctor before Christopher Eccleston. Apart from all the other times when Paul McGann and Tom Baker repeatedly gatecrashed recording, anyway...

More school scenes were filmed at Tredegar House on December 11th for some unfathomable reason. They didn’t have to be, they just were, and so stuff like John Smith’s death in 1963 (ascending to heaven on the same day as JFK, CS Lewis and a mime) and Daughter of Mine getting trapped in a mirror had to be hastily written into the plot. It’s a testament to the sheer skill of the production that absolutely no viewer threw a brick through their TV at this scene and demand to know why the fuck, if the Doctor can just trap his enemies in mirrors, he NEVER EVER EVER does this when it could be useful!?

Following the Christmas break when they were all busy sitting at home watching The Michaelmas Werewolf and copping off under werewolf-proof mistletoe, cast and crew eventually got their smeg together to finally get back to the Upper Boast on January 3rd, 2007, and start filming even VAGUELY relevant material for the story. The team then returned to St Fagans on the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th as they kept leaving their wallets behind and had to go back for them; on the latter day, time was also spent at Cwm Ifor Farm in Caerphilly for David Tennant to indulge in his new found hobby of cattle rustling for fun and profit.

Upper Boat was once again the venue on January 9th and 10th, when Tennant hid from the police and desperately tried to eat the evidence before the armed response unit could arrive. This temporarily gave Tennant mad cow disease, which explains the quality of acting in Blank. Yeah, now you know, you can see the bow and arrow stuff for the unscripted insanity it is! Moffat’s genius? Do me a favor...

Nevertheless to cut a long story short, they finished filming it, transmitted it and lived happily ever after.

Of course, there are those amongst the media who hate Human Nature with a fiery passion, finding the sight of Dr Who blubbering on like a pussy for 90 minutes a freaking pathetic excuse to reintroduce the Bastard in two episodes time and that the whole thing could have been an exciting, action-packed thrill-o-rama. But no.

But even THESE nay-sayers have to admit that David Tennant, continuing his baffling desire to sing in every episode, really outdid himself in the final confrontation when the Time Lord formally known as John Smith meets the Time Lady formally known as Joan Redfern...

"Identity Crisis" by John Smith and the Common Law Family of Blood

Poor John Smith is gone for good?
Now I’m back here as I should!

I’d ask you, baby, why you’re sad?
I’ve been out all night, you know I’ve been bad
I won’t tell you different, you’d know it’s a lie
I kinda killed your boyfriend to defeat the bad guy

Why must you hurt me? Do what you do?
Listen here, girl, see I can’t love you!
I’m making an effort, trying to be true
I’ll be honest, give you a clue!

Poor Miss Redfern left all alone?
No happy ending for poor Joan!

I could keep on telling you those lies
Easier than watching you sit and cry
There’ll come a day it all makes sense
You’ll come to accept my defense!

When that day comes, give me a bell...
Hey, you’ve got a pocket watch, what the hell?
You’re a Time Lady in disguise
And an ancient enemy I despise?

John and Joan, doomed from the start?
The Doctor and the Rani now must part!

No comments: