Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Vorgenson: ”And still no word from the Doctor.”

Not since Sir Laurence Olivier’s Akash in Time has there been a stage show which depended so heavily upon a star whose part had been entirely pre-filmed.

Doctor Who Live toured the UK in autumn last year, featuring all the best-known monsters from the series, some of them to music.

I would even have gone to see it myself, but I knew that would be setting myself up to go see every other Who theatre production in the future, and it’s really the TV episodes that I like.

After all, just where does a live performance fit into the actual Doctor Who canon? Every night is different, so which one is the official version? Do the public – who form a part of events – actually laugh when the Diet Cybermen threaten to upgrade them, and if so why? Maybe some nights they didn’t laugh. Which was it? Heck, what does the true audience look like? For that matter, which seating layout is the real one?

All credit to Matt Smith then, for presumably shooting each of his scenes 30-odd times for each individual performance, and I gather repeating all his lines absolutely identically on every single take. Imagine how long that must have taken. “Sorry Mr Smith, but when you said cool that time, you blinked only slightly. And your hair’s growing again.”

As you know, you can’t copyright a live performance (because it’s not copyable), which is probably why they asked everyone not to film it. (because video files are copyable) But then, despite the name, this event wasn’t purely live anyway.

As well as Smith’s component, the whole night proved to be a huge clips-show of the series – a few excerpts making it in twice. Consistent with so many episodes of the most recent season, this even enables the appearance of William Hartnell in the title role, despite the minor handicap of his having been dead for 35 years. Disappointingly, neither Jon Pertwee's nor Colin Baker’s flashbacks are taken from the 1989 tour of The Ultimate Adventure. Aside from the limited amount of footage from that show available, maybe they just couldn’t decide which version was the theatrically canonical one.

The enormous applause that Tom Baker's clips got was eclipsed only by the even bigger one that Christopher Eccleston garnered, which was itself then drowned out by the shots of David Tennant. The subsequent montage of Matt Smith, uh, sustained the volume. Everybody loves Matt Smith. Well, nobody dislikes him.

McCoy got booed. :( Well. That’s just rude.

Quite how collector Vorgenson had managed to acquire these moving historical images in the first place wasn’t really covered in the version that I saw. Maybe there was a line in there about his Minimiser also boasting a Space-Time Visualiser app, however the audience’s appreciation of this sequence made sure that I didn’t ask any questions. (had I done so, I would have expected Steven Moffat's input to ensure that I immediately received some answers)

Anyway, for a show that required actual lead actor Nigel Planer to spend 90 minutes not playing any incarnation of the Doctor, it looks like they all did a pretty effective job.

When the final scene features the Doctor confronting the Daleks on stage in front of the video screen, it’s clear that the writers have thankfully sat down and tried to do this the difficult way. That and the extended length of the Doctor’s appearances make this one piece of conjuring that surely worked its magic on audiences.

Doctor: "You’re having a party – a very big party. Why wasn’t I invited, or am I already there? I’m not dancing am I?"

Still, I’m disappointed that no-one has released this on DVD yet, or I would be getting it. Goodness knows there were enough cameras present to film it, not just shooting live feed for the stage's giant video-screen, but the audience's many cameras too. And I should know because, as mentioned above, I wasn’t there.

Doctor Who Live was a somewhat accurate title, given that Doctor Who is not the name of the character, but the TV show, from which so much of this had been recorded earlier. Had they entitled it The Doctor Live then a lot of parents might have justifiably asked for their money back.

It is a tad inevitable however that Doctor Who Live now denotes a story which can only be seen on YouTube.

Well, there are enough missing episodes of Doctor Who already, without adding yet another one to the pile.

Available... oh.

(with thanks to... oh, so many enterprising strangers)

Labels: , ,

2 comment(s):

At 6:08 pm, Blogger Maurice Mitchell said...

That sounds pretty awesome.

At 6:14 pm, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Alas, the version(s) I saw 'sounded' pretty awful! ;) I guess there's no substitute for being there. :)


Post a Comment

<< Back to Steve's home page

** Click here for preceding post(s) **

** Click here for following post(s) **