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From The Crimson Petal to The Crimson Horror

January 3rd, 2013 (12:01 pm)

I'd noticed how recent publicity for the new series of Doctor Who has emphasised its historical settings, with leaks from the set over the last few months revealing that the nineteenth century seems to be visited several times. Just as Doctor Who in 2005 had borrowed imagery and themes from the contemporary aspirational working-class drama genre, in 2012/13 it was borrowing the clothes of the new strand of historical series. Now the blog of The Journal of Victorian Culture, no less, has weighed in with a look at The Snowmen as an item of current neo-Victorianism. Definitely worth a look.

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/569219.html.


Posted by: Lady Summerisle (strange_complex)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2013 01:30 pm (UTC)
One walking

Thanks for this. It was interesting, but I found it a tad disappointing as well. I'm half-way through writing my LJ review of The Snowmen, which has its own section on Victorian values, so I read this with an eye to whether there might be new material in it that I could refer to when making my own points. But actually, there's nothing in it which I haven't already covered in my own discussion. Given that I am by no means a Victorian specialist, I would have liked to feel that this post could take me a little further than I could already get to on my own.

That said, I did like the line, "Indeed, as I watched Doctor Who I felt that if I scratched at the surface I wasn’t going to uncover the ‘past’, but rather the heart of Doctor Who mythology itself." I think this is a very telling articulation of the essence of Doctor Who's use of the past, and the fact that it so readily strikes someone who doesn't consider herself a massive Whovian reinforces my view of this as a central tenet.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2013 03:09 pm (UTC)

I mainly linked to it as an example of a historian coming to Doctor Who and experiencing insights which she didn't expect to have. There's certainly a lot more which she could have said. Her connecting The Snowmen to The Crimson Petal and the White brought out a thought I'd not written down, though I'd add there is more than a touch of Oliver! (and I'd Do Anything, though that's nearly five years old now) about the depiction of London, at least in the opening scene; to pick on one specific design point, I don't think there were very many timber frames left in 1890s London, as the previous fifty years of development had swept many away.

Posted by: Lady Summerisle (strange_complex)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2013 03:34 pm (UTC)
Girlsex Russian postcard

Vastra and Jenny in particular, but also Clara's pub scenes, made me think more of television adaptations of Sarah Waters stories like Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith, but then again I haven't seen The Crimson Petal and the White, so it's no surprise I couldn't see that connection! Doubtless they are all influencing each other, anyway.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2013 04:50 pm (UTC)

I think that with Vastra and Jenny, Sarah Waters connections must always be assumed... but definitely Fingersmith. More chocolate box-like than Ripper Street, though more varied and arguably more real than the Chatham Dockyard-as-Poplar of Call the Midwife.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2013 01:39 pm (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

I had a comment which grew out of control, so I posted it on my blog.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2013 03:14 pm (UTC)

Rightly so!