Snakes on a TARDIS

TV Since my university is one of the best in the country, this afternoon I was actually able to attended a course screening double-bill of the opening episode of An Unearthly Child and The TV Movie on a big lecture theatre screen. The idea was for a compare and contrast -- different intentions for different audiences of the same material. Seeing both on a large screen for the first time I was impressed with how neither felt 'blown up' -- each had a certain quality and depth that didn't seem out of place.

The rest of the audience was made up of first year undergraduates who laughed at some of the unintentionally funny bits -- Bill Russell's swervy falling over as the TARDIS falls out of control in one, the really cheesy piano soundtrack which greets Grace waking up in the morning after the operation in the other. I think the reaction was generally positive, although there was rather some bermusement. Since it's not a course I'm attending, I'm going to miss the seminar discussions which I think will be really interesting, particularly amongst the students for whom this may be their only exposure to the show, what with having other things to do on Saturday nights...

What struck me, seeing these two next to each other is how the latest production team somehow managed to take elements from both of them, throw some Spearhead From Space in the mix and produce Rose. The bit when Rose walks into the ship for the first time, dashes out, runs around it and runs back in again, is almost a direct steal from the TV Movie in a scene which still annoys me. It's the Master and not the Doctor who introduces the interior to the faux-companion and so the audience -- very wrong. But in a film whose plot is basically about a man getting the engine to his vehicle repaired I shouldn't be too surprised.

Also, has anyone else noticed how the sparkly time-vortex gas from The Christmas Invasion and Pudsey Cutaway looks almost exactly like the material that brings Grace and Lee from death at the end of the TV movie. All that was missing was Murray Gold offering accompanyment to President Flavia.

If the TV movie had gone to series, assuming it lasted this long, the series might have been in its tenth season now -- would the Doctor have regenerated? What else might have happened -- how much of the mythology would have been explored? If fate had gone a different way we might never have had the delights of Boomtown or School Reunion. But then the Big Finish audios would not have begun in their present form either, which would have been a shame.

Which links nicely to, as promised last week, my top ten non-tv stories. This is of course a hell of a lot harder because there's even more ancillary narrative to cope with than television material and everyone's list is going to be really different because not everyone has read/seen/heard everything. I mean I haven't gotten around to Marc Platt's Big Finish Spare Parts even though I've heard it's a classic . But here we go anyway, and I'm already regretting the idea ... in no particular order ...

Neverland (Big Finish)
The Witch Hunters (BBC Books)
Freedom (BBC Short Trip Audio)
Full Fathom Five (Unbound)
The Dying Days (Virgin)
Father Time (BBC Books)
Invaders From Mars (Big Finish)
Scherzo (Big Finish)
Alien Bodies (BBC Books)
Transit (Virgin)

I seem have picked lots of Eighth Doctor stories. Perhaps I should have done one for him, then one for everything else. Oh well. Next week, Doctor-less spin-offs. Now, which Gallifrey play will it be?

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