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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"They're a little bit Bison."
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April 15 2006

(SPOILER) Down on the farm with Tony Head. He talks about Somerset and his upcoming stint on Doctor Who as well (and yes he wouldn't have minded playing the 10th Doctor).

They're such chilled out and fun interviews to listen too.

Ahhh, small regional radio stations, sometimes they make fan podcasts look like works of icily detached professionalism. Not that I can blame the interviewer for geeking out, or would have done it any less...
Haha, I love his chuckle.
I woulda preferred ASH as the tenth doctor to his kid they got doing it now. I understand they want to update Dr. Who to the younger generation. However, when it started, the first guys they had playing the roles were old farts. Now the guy they got doesn't look like he knows how to shave. ASH woulda made an awesome Doctor.
I'm grateful he didn't become the new Doctor. I watched the first couple of episodes, and it struck exactly the wrong tone for me. Charmless, and not bad enough to be unintentional campy fun. Just bad enought to be dreadful. The nicest thing I can say is that it didn't seem to be Eccleston's fault. I'm glad I don't have to say that about ASH... I haven't tried the Tennant ones, but I think it's still the same folks behind the camera.

Of course, I was schooled on Tom Baker and still mourn Robert Holmes. :-o

P.S. I wrote this before I saw ZachsMind's post, but it seems more appropo now! It is interesting that Eccleston prepared for the role by watching Talons of Weng-Chiang, one of my favorite episodes and also written by Holmes.
AH: "Somerset has a wonderful wildness about it - it hasn't been tamed."

Ah yes...Somerset. Our very own Wild West. The big (top) country. Home to wild frontier folk like cattle rustlers, scrumpy drinkers and white van man.
I like that he has a big hairy scruffy horse, and not a sleek posh one (I'm a part time riding instructor, so I notice these things).

I quite like the new doctor, even in spite of the weakness of the episode last night.
I love the pic with ASH and the "laughing" horse. Cool photo.
...Now the guy they got doesn't look like he knows how to shave...

Well, David Tennant is 35, which is only five years younger than Tom Baker when he first took on the role in 1974. Peter Davison was 30 when he became Dr Who in 1981. Tennant is certainly younger than the "traditional" doctor but I'm not sure that I'd call him a kid. High School Buffy would probably consider him to be ancient!

It's early days yet but I like what David Tennat has done in the role so far, although I'm probably biased because I already liked him before he took this part.

I'm sure Tony Head would have made a great doctor, although the suggestion that he could have taken on the role of the Master probably appeals to me more.
I think DT was fine last night, I forgot he was actually the new doctor (until Cassandra pointed it out). I think the main story was poor (why exactly were they using clones to find cures, if they already had the cures), and body swaps are getting really old
I like Eccleston's Dr. Who. Something fun I can watch with my kid. (Of course, I'm also educating her with Tom Baker dvds...) I don't suppose there's any legal way to get the DT episodes in the US?
Eccleston's Doctor was great, but Tennant is much more traditional "Doctor"y, and he's doing a fantastic job so far.

When the show was first announced I thought Tony would be great for the job, but now that they've got a Doctor that works I'd much rather see him as the Master, and really hope April 29ths episode is open ended enough for that to still happen, I just reckon he'd be brilliant in the role.

And yes, last night's episode wasn't the best, but it was still great fun, and I reckon I'll enjoy it much more when it doesn't have the pressure of being the first new episode I've seen in 4 months, and the huge anticipation that came with that.

If you want to see more of Tony on the show theres a 3 minute preview if you press red on any digital BBC channel, (loads of "School Reunion" stuff). It's also on Youtube, and that bittorrenty thing.

RBB If you mean the first couple of episodes in the words proper meaning then you should definitely watch the 3rd, much more like a classic Doctor Who than the first two (which I still loved, but know aren't loved by everybody). If not then I guess the show isn't for you.

JCS, there's two ways, either live close enough to Canada to be able to receive CBC (though no air date yet), or import the R2 DVDs (the "vanilla" releases start in 2 weeks with "The Christmas Invasion" and "New Earth", the season will be released in 5 volumes to be followed by a features-packed box set in November). And there are, less legal ways, I had a copy on my computer less than 2 and a half hours after the episode finished last night (I will be buying the boxset when it comes out, but I'll want to rewatch it before then).
Always a pleasure to hear from Tony (thank you, Simon). I really can't make a comment of the new 'Docter Who' series since I've not been able to give it a watch. However, from the strong voices within this room, I will. I'm sure I won't be disappointed. Thanks again, people.
Really nice interview (if slightly 'local'). He sounded comfortable and content.

I liked Eccleston but I think Tennant is going to be even better. As Ghost Spike says, he's a more traditional Doctor and a great actor. I hope we still get to see the little bits of darkness that Eccleston brought to him though (the loneliness of being the last Timelord etc.).

Last night's wasn't brilliant (if you're going to do a body swap you really have to give it an original spin since it's been done so many times before) but he was good in it (and so was Billie Piper) and the trailer for the episode with ASH looks excellent (though I worry that they give away a bit too much in the 'Next week on...' segments, think i'll stop watching them).

I also didn't know ASH was on 'Howard's Way' and we'd watch it fairly religiously as a family since, at the time, we lived nearby on the south coast (i'd sometimes walk my dog past the boatyard that stood in for the Mermaid Yard and in later years went to pubs in the area).

And my parents have met David Tennant's Dad - he's a Minister in Scotland called Sandy McDonald, David had to change his surname for some Equity thing apparently - and the father of one of the Dr Who writers (Steven Moffat) was my old headmaster. Mere coincidence ? Or am I also a Timelord ? Possibly one who's had a mind-wipe in the process of saving the universe from the Koinci-bots of Delorean 5 ?


It's 'mere coincidence' isn't it ? Shit.
Should I be watching this Little Britain? I'm big with the Giles love, but I've never seen ASH in anything else. I read the description on Netflix, and it doesn't quite sound like my cup of tea (so to speak). And Netflix doesn't have Howard's Way. (Which I'm happy to realize is not that boring movie Howard's End, which is what I thought when I first saw the name. I was trying to remember Giles the insurance agent.)
Ghost Spike, thanks for the tip. I've been wanting to move further north...
jcs, Little Britain was very funny to start out with, and Tony's role was a great one, however it is essentially the same sketches with the same jokes in every episode, which gets old very fast. Tony's performance is indeed work watching, but as it's usually only one scene per episode, I don't think it's something I would go out of my way to see. Unfortunately the two guys who star in and write Little Britain have an inability to create a character who is worth more than one good sketch.

As for Doctor Who, I really can't make up my mind about it. I don't think it's anywhere near as powerful or intelligent as Joss' work, however when I mention that to anyone who likes it they say that it's not supposed to be, it's a fun, campy fantasy show but even on that level I don't find it completely fulfilling. I mean I've seen many children's shows that were much funnier for an adult audience, like The Muppets for example. I just don't see what the big attraction is, because no single part of the show really impresses me- the scripts, the performances, the action, story or effects are all mediocre at best, even for a children's TV show.
Have we broken yet another website? I'm getting error messages from Real Player when I try to listen to the interviews.
Razor, I'm absolutely in agreement with you concerning Doctor Who. I just don't get what anyone above the age of twelve sees in the show. Last night's episode was terrible. Almost unwatchable in parts.

I'm all for giving a new show a chance, which is why I actually bothered to record last night's episode. I hated the show whilst I was growing up (even then I thought it looked cheap and tacky) and seriously disliked it whilst Chris Eccleston was the Doctor but given the fact I'm a much bigger fan of David Tennant's work I thought I'd try it again. The result? Absolutely no difference, whatsoever.

I've come to the opinion that no matter who is taking on the part of the Doctor it won't change my opinion that the show should be scheduled during Childrens BBC, because that is the quality I see when I watch. For whatever reason, British television just does not know what it takes to create good science fiction that speaks to me in the same way that the shows from the States manage to do. I realise there is a tremendous difference in production budget (which would account for the Red Dwarf style effects and makeup I saw last night) but frankly I don't think that is an excuse for pantomime acting, predicatable plots and scripts that are trying so hard to be funny (and failing) that they make you cringe.

Nope, sorry all you Doctor Who fans but I'll have to pass from here on out. At least until the inevitable U.S. remake happens with ASH as the Doctor. Then I'll be more inclined to watch.
As for Doctor Who, I really can't make up my mind about it. I don't think it's anywhere near as powerful or intelligent as Joss' work, however when I mention that to anyone who likes it they say that it's not supposed to be, it's a fun, campy fantasy show but even on that level I don't find it completely fulfilling.

Personally, I think 'Dr Who' is as intelligent as Joss Whedon's work. Over the years there have been many interesting and powerful storylines and for me that continues to be the case with the Russell T Davies-led revival. It is also fantastically entertaining.

I just don't get what anyone above the age of twelve sees in the show. Last night's episode was terrible. Almost unwatchable in parts... ... it won't change my opinion that the show should be scheduled during Childrens BBC, because that is the quality I see when I watch.

Well, it's been many, many years since I was twelve years old! In fact, Jon Pertwee was just taking over the role of the doctor - that's how long ago it was. Maybe I simply have the mentality of a twelve-year-old but I thoroughly enjoyed last night's episode and I personally would not describe the performances of David Tennant and Billie Piper as "pantomime acting".

Each to their own.
Lioness, dunno which browser you're using but I couldn't get it to work in Firefox (on either Linux or Windows) though it worked first time in IE (and still does after just checking it).

jcs, that's maybe just as well. 'Howard's Way' would probably be painfully bad to watch now. It was a soapy family drama, very 80s. Kind of like a downmarket UK Dallas but with boats instead of oil and rather than South Fork it was Southampton.

The Immortal, gotta say I think to some extent some of the new Doctor Who episodes are riding a bit on nostalgia (actually mainly Davies' ones which I think feel pretty light and insubstantial and also, probably just because I notice it more due to being less immersed, the background music seems trite and intrusive in his episodes) though I think some have been genuinely excellent TV ('The Empty Child' two parter from last year springs to mind). That said, it always was aimed at a family audience so it's not really dark, ambiguous adult viewing. Though, personally, I was the stereotypical kid behind the sofa when I watched it as a youngster, the wobbly sets and terrible effects didn't become obvious until I was older and even now when I watch old episodes, it doesn't really feel like that's what it was all about (horses for courses though, obviously just IMO ;).

(and though it's borderline science fiction, i'm watching 'Life on Mars' at the moment and really enjoying it. It has the kind of earthy, understated quality that the best Brit sci-fi achieves where it feels more real and more fantastic at the same time because the setting feels 'true' - almost mundane - and whereas even the best US sci-fi e.g. Battlestar Galactica often ends up being about saving the species or the galaxy, LoM for one seems to be simply about the re-integration of a man's character and saving himself from becoming an emotionless shell, it's smaller in scope but no less affecting, as befits the land of its birth ;)
dashboardprophet, the twelve year old comment wasn't meant as an insult to you or any other fans of the show. It was simply an extension of my opinion that the show reminds me of the kind of thing that is produced for childrens drama.

The performances of Tennant and, probably more to the point, Piper were terrible though, in my opinion. The scene with Rose in the basement talking to the living trampoline was honestly like watching panto to me. I felt like shouting out "it's behind you" when she was backing into the mindswap or "way too convenient plot device (TM)" machine. Don't even get me started on the "disease zombies". The speech given by the Doctor towards the end about the enduring quality of the human race nearly made me going running for a bucket. Talk about corny, sentimental nonsense.

To be fair to David Tennant, I don't actually think it was an issue of his acting ability, which I know to be excellent. Even he couldn't make that script seem workable though. I know I'm in a massive minority here but I think the show stinks and is totally undeserving of the praise it gets.

Saje, I have to admit that I wasn't impressed with Life on Mars either. I just found it incredibly dull. I'll be the first to admit that I don't watch an awful lot of television drama produced in this country anyway. Okay, actually I watch zero television drama series produced in this country, to be quite truthful, but only because nothing has ever managed to grab me.

I should point out here that I'm not against British television, by any means. I'd absolutely love to find a show that we make here that can match the quality and enjoyment factor of the imports from the States that I do watch. That's why I continue to give the likes of Doctor Who and Life on Mars a chance to impress. However, so far nothing has grabbed me. Sad fact but true nevertheless.
This is all veering off topic. Further Dr Who discussion at our dedicated forum on
Saje, thanks. I tried both Firefox and Opera and it wouldn't work in either. Curses, BBC!
Very nice interview. I do love ASH and if I didn't love David Tennant so much I completley would have wanted ASH to be ten.

And sorry but YAY! Just joined. Dream come true. A small dream, but a dream.

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