Tue, 06 Mar 2007

An Odd O.O.O.D

Colin from O.O.O.D's latest DJ set, which was podcast on Chaishop recently, starts off with a funny little sample of somebody rambling on about a telepathic race called "the Ood". It's a great set, full of unreleased killaaah mixes of the sort OOOD do so well. Go have a listen if you like trouser-shivering acid trance.

Anyway, I seemed to recognise the voices in the sample, and having chatted to the esteemed Colin O.O.O.D. a few times at The Awakening (website now offline), I assumed he sampled himself or someone else I knew, speaking whimsically about their band's own name.

But no ! Due to the <sarcasm> high quality and innovative programming </sarcasm> we get on our 30+ digital telly channels these days we were reduced to watching repeats of Doctor Who one evening last week. Though for me it wasn't a complete reduction, as I missed all but one of the so-called “second series” (actually something like the 28th season, and I saw almost every episode of seasons 1 to 23 as they were first broadcast). I think Billie Piper is a great Doctor's Companion and I will be sorry to see her go. Her character is well up with the best-written of the short-skirted low-cut lassies from the 1970s and she's a good actress to boot. The Doctor has had intelligent and capable companions before, but I think only Stone Age apparelled companion Leela was given as independent a personality as Rose Tyler. But the big question is, has Rose actually done a proper full-on Doctor's Companion stylee scream yet ?

I was pleasantly suprised to find, after my 20 year gap in watching the programme, that I really enjoyed Christopher Eccleston's single season as the ninth Doctor. A Doctor who (sorry...) was believable for adults and kids alike. I'm starting to accept David Tennant as the Doctor now, provided I don't have to watch him for too long. Even with a good character it always takes me a couple of stories to get "into" a new Doctor. After the first Doctor's regeneration, the seven-year-old me thought Patrick Troughton and his penny-whistle were far scarier than the monsters he vanquished. In his first serial the second Doctor definitely had me hiding behind the sofa !

Now the character written for the tenth Doctor, apparently drawn from a composite of Ant+Dec and Richard Hammond, just irritates the hell out of me. Great entertainers of course, all of them, and I love the Hamm-ster on Top Gear as he regularly punctures Clarkson's inflated self-importance. But all characters lacking in the gravitas and other-worldliness which should deepen our renegade Time Lord's quirky irreverence. I mean, the Doctor getting slushy ? Never happened even with his old Time Lord flame Romana. That's just a cheap fallback by directors and scriptwriters who lack the imagination to show an alien character, genuinely adapting to the human emotions he's been exposed to for so long (see authors such as Ursula Leguin, C.J.Cherryh, etc.)

Russell Davies please note, suspension of disbelief will stop when you break the spell. If you're going to take characters in a new direction, it does actually matter that it's compatible with their previous behaviour. We don't need no steenking Personality Transplant Fairy, let alone alien abductions.

But I digress ...

The episode we watched, or at least watched part of until Tennant's antics irritated me once more, was The Impossible Planet [plot spoilers] from last summer. You could have knocked me down with a sonic screwdriver when the bloke in the mining base, the Doctor and Rose started quoting that deadpan sample about the odd Ood. For a minute I thought the script writer was into psy-trance too. I'm always cheered up whenever I spot the origin of a sample I know well. Apart from increasing your enjoyment of the tune by sharing the composer's sense of humour, you can bore people for ages afterwards telling them where it comes from and then rambling on about Doctor Who ;-)