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Doctor Who VII.4: Inferno

January 30th, 2009 (01:51 am)

Irreverence first: there must be footage in Inferno which can be edited to create a tale of the Brigadier's moustache deserting him to breed, with the baby moustaches rapidly growing to maturity on the exposed flesh of hapless technicians and UNIT men. (There is no chance of the winsome Petra Williams turning into a Primord, and she is practically the only woman in the place, bar Liz.) The early visual shorthand for Section Leader Shaw is a lingering shot of the backs of her knees, though perhaps the tops of her leather boots were meant to be in focus.

For all the determined, measured pace and the care which is taken over depicting the parallel world and its links to that to which the Doctor is exiled, Inferno still has the air of an end of season story. Despite the extremely cautious husbanding of the series' resources which characterise season seven, the fight sequences do little to advance the plot (unlike, for example, in The Invasion) and come across as space fillers. There is a happy balance struck, though, between the competing demands of episodic drama; falls from high gantries can be repeated because the Doctor experiences so many of the key points twice.

I'm reading Room at the Top by John Braine at the moment and that's given me a hook I hadn't realised existed for Greg Sutton (whom I keep nearly calling Greg Preston...) - the parallel world version calls his opponents in the totalitarian bureaucracy 'zombies', which is Joe Lampton's term for the apparatchiks of local government and the provincial professions in the post-war Butskellite world which he inhabits. While there is no room for the development of Greg's inner life his initially clumsy flirting with Petra is also reminiscent of Lampton. (ETA: So Sutton is intended as an 'angry young man' in more than his demeanour.)

One sock-knitting attendee at the Inferno viewing pointed out that the Brigade Leader's scar is of course a duelling scar, which is perhaps shorthand for German or central European influence in the Republican Security Force. It's implied that the republic was established during the Second World War, though the Republic is not explicitly a Nazi dictatorship, and there are at least two suggestions that it is not. The Brigade Leader's scar might suggest a more aristocratic ethos than the Nazi state possessed (though to some extent it did co-opt it). Furthermore, the Republic also has a Sir Keith Gold, even though he is newly dead when the Doctor arrives there. Both Sir Keith's name and the casting of Christopher Benjamin suggest that Sir Keith is Jewish. If the Brigade Leader and Section Leader Shaw had professed ignorance of any Sir Keith Gold, then it would have given an unambiguous indication as to the nature and heritage of the state to which the Doctor had been transported. Instead, the prevailing imagery is probably that of 1984, with the face of (IIRC) Jack Kine on walls above the motto 'Unity is Strength'.

Comments

Posted by: Alice Dryden (huskyteer)
Posted at: January 30th, 2009 10:12 am (UTC)
Tale of the Brigadier's Moustache
Brigadier

That's wrong and weird and I demand that you do it!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 30th, 2009 11:12 am (UTC)
Re: Tale of the Brigadier's Moustache
Pertwee

When I have time and have taught myself video editing, then yes..!

Posted by: Alice Dryden (huskyteer)
Posted at: January 30th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Tale of the Brigadier's Moustache
Muskehound

Rather like me and my Muskehounds music videos, then.