Adams was right

Anyone who’s come to this blog expecting me to be endorsing the views of the Sinn Féin leader (as if!), I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

No, the heading actually refers to the late Douglas Adams, author of the best-selling book, TV series, radio series and posthumously released film The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as well as a number of other less well-known works, including a brief stint as a script writer on Doctor Who in the late 1970s – when thanks to an ingenious piece of casting (take a bow Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks) the Doctor was a tall thin wide-eye, toothy-grinned maverick with a crazy mop of curly hair and a long scarf – not the floppy haired 16-year old indie boy twat that he is today.

In the light of the current financial crisis affecting Ireland (or more specifically the 26 counties of it lying south and west of the border) and a number of other small eurozone countries the following extract form THHGTTG carries a great deal of currency (pun intended), especially the section I’ve italicised.

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this, at a distance of roughly ninety million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet, whose ape descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

[Remember this was the late ‘70s when digital watches were at the cutting edge of technology and modern style in much the same way as the i-pad is today].

This planet has, or had, a problem, which was this. Most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small, green pieces of paper, which is odd, because on the whole, it wasn’t the small, green pieces of paper which were unhappy. And so the problem remained, and lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches. Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake coming down from the trees in the first place, and some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no-one should ever have left the oceans. And then one day, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl, sitting on her own in a small cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realised what it was that had been going wrong all this time and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no-one would have to get nailed to anything. Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone, the Earth was unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and so the idea was lost forever.”

Classic stuff.

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14 comments

  1. Well put it this way, BWT, if the earth really did get destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass we’d have nothing more to worry about any more.

  2. Exhibit A:
    “I’ll probably never forgive chief Doctor Who scriptwriter Stephen Moffatt for turning the show’s eponymous time lord hero into an irritating floppy-haired indie boy twat by casting Matt Smith in the role”.

    Exhibit B:
    “not the floppy haired 16-year old indie boy twat that he is today”

    My response – Blasphemy!
    What absolute blasphemy!!! I love Matt Smith as the Doctor – I think he brings a real other-worldlyness to the character and brings out an energetic frenetic wacky humourous side to the role which I love. I hadn’t heard of him before he was cast as the Doctor so had no particular preconceptions about him but I have to say that I think he is one of the best Doctors ever and the role could have been made for him. So your continued denigration of him is WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!

  3. Raks, I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree here. Personally i think the boy Smith was a terrible choice to play the Doctor, but it seems like I’m in a minority here. He faced the incredibly difficult task of filling Tennant’s shoes and unfortunately for me, it loks like he’s succeeded.

    As for “he brings a real other-worldlyness to the character and brings out an energetic frenetic wacky humourous side to the role” –
    you could say exactly the same about Tom Baker – and few people had heard of him before he took on the role – and as you say “the role could have been made for him”.
    For me Tom Baker is and always will be THE Doctor!

  4. I agree to disagree!!!

    At the end of the day, you are the Dr Who aficionado whereas I am just an itenarant viewer who pops in to the show from time to time. Just stop calling Matt Smith a twat!!!

  5. Something has just occurred to me about Matt Smith’s youth and relative lack of experience. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, is a mere 39 years old, a child in terms of political career and experience. So perhaps it is appropriate that Smith is playing Dr Who!

  6. Indeed Phil.

    Vince Cable would probably have made a much better chancellor than the boy Osborne, but I’m not sure if he’d make a good Dr Who. And it’s probably no coincidence either that the previous prime minister and the previous Dr Who were both sons of Church of Scotland ministers.

    In a previous blog post I suggested a number of actors who would have made a much better Doctor than the boy Smith (Robert Downey Jr being a front runner – that is if the BBC could ever afford him!), so something to bear in mind in a year or two (fingers very much crossed!) when the floppy-haired one decides to hang up his sonic screwdriver – hopefully sooner rather than later. Or maybe it’s just that I’m bitter and twisted because Dr Who is now younger than me.

    But with famine, disease, war, poverty and injustice happening all around the world, is it really worth getting worked up about who’s playing the lead role in a rather overrated TV sci-fi series?

    1. Robert Downey Jr as Dr Who? No thanks!!! And no way would he be in any remote way better than Matt Smith!!!

      As it happens, there was a lot of talk on the web about Benedict Cumberbatch being offered the role of the Doctor but apparently he decided against it as he didn’t fancy having his face on kids lunchboxes!!!

      As it happens, I think it all turned out for the best as both Benedict as Sherlock and Matt as the Doctor are – in my humble opinion – perfect casting. And, given Sherlock’s global success, and the Beeb’s marketing machine, I think Benedict may well end up with his face on lunchboxes anyway!!!

      As for famine, disease, war, poverty and injustice – I tend to think that there is not much that we can do about that but with today’s interactive facebook/twitter/social networking concerted campaigns can affect the casting of TV shows!!! Also, lets face it – people are much keener to vote in Strictly and X Factor (and I personally get more satisfaction from doing so) than they are in political elections.

  7. Raks
    Downey Jr made an excellent Sherlock, and given the similarity of the two characters – it is even said that the Dr Who character was partially based on Holmes – I can naturally see him as a potentially excellent Doctor.

    To date there have been 2 actors who have played both Who and Holmes – Tom Baker and (if you count the Dr Who dalek films of the 1960s which weren’t connected with the TV series) Peter Cushing.

    I heard a rumour back in the late 1980s (don’t know if it’s true or not) that Jeremy Brett was auditioned for Dr Who. But they gave the part to Sylvester McCoy instead, thereby sentencing the show to a slow painful death and the most excruciatingly embarrassing period in its history.

    Assuming that RDJ is unlikely to be cast as Dr Who any time soon, there are other actors worthy of filling the role – Paterson Joseph, David Morrisey, David Mitchell, Martin Freeman, Richard E. Grant, Ian Hart and Paddy Considine to name but a few.
    Or, given the fact that he never got a chance to take Who to his full potential – why not bring back Paul McGann?

  8. Good choice Raks. However I should point out that if Paterson did land the role he wouldn’t – contrary to popular belief – be the first black Dr Who – as this link demonstrates:

  9. Yes, there have been many comedy sketches, cartoons, etc over the years sending up Dr Who, but this has to be far and away the best. The sketch’s depiction of 2010 (this was made 25 years ago) wasn’t too far from the truth!

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