March 4, 2020 · 6:43 pm
THE STRANGER – Given the current uproar over the disastrous Chibnall retcon, Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at the “brief shining moment” when Colin Baker was starring in what is often called a bootleg Doctor Who series. Less antagonistic interpretations call the BBV series a pastiche or a knowing “homage” to Doctor Who.
When The Stranger series of stories first came out it was a few years after the original run of Doctor Who was over. For the many Colin Baker fans who felt he got robbed of an opportunity to shine as the Doctor for reasons beyond his control, these episodes were basically just barely-concealed stories featuring Colin’s regeneration of the timelord from Gallifrey.
*** Colin Baker went from playing an enigmatic traveler in time and space known only as the Doctor to playing an enigmatic traveler in time and space known only as the Stranger.
*** The most popular companion of Baker’s Doctor was Peri Brown, played by Nicola Bryant. The Stranger’s companion was “Miss Brown,” played by Nicola Bryant.
*** The Doctor and his companions traveled in a time/space vehicle called the Tardis. The Stranger and his companions traveled in a never-seen vehicle coyly referred to as their “mode of transportation.” Continue reading →
December 20, 2019 · 4:16 pm
Balladeer’s Blog’s TENTH Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues with this review!
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2015) – This 59 minute rendition of the Dickens Yuletide classic is often referred to as “the Colin Baker version.” Too bad Baker can’t sue somebody over that, since he had nothing to do with this laughable production beyond portraying Charles Dickens and narrating the story.
CHARLES WHO? – Colin “Doctor Who” Baker plays an elderly Charles Dickens serving as the story’s narrator … and misquoting much of his own work since this is one of those versions where the filmmakers feel they can “improve” on what Dickens wrote.
It’s one thing to try to colloquialize the Victorian prose which some viewers find challenging but it’s something else again to insert bland nothings in place of the original dialogue. Dickens’ exchanges often flow smoothly, with one character’s line perfectly setting up another character’s response. Here we have conversations as boring and unmemorable as those in real life. (That’s not a compliment.)
Baker is introduced in a clever (I’m being charitable) bit of business in which his image is as fuzzy as an old silent movie and he sounds tinny, like in Thomas Edison’s oldest recordings. I guess it’s done to capture an “old-timey” feel but the novel came in 1843, long before even such primitive recording equipment was available.
Soon the image improves to conventional standards (well, sort of) and the sound improves to 1950s television levels. Unfortunately, this is a 2015 production, not a 1950s presentation, and the weak, amateurish sound work will plague this Carol the rest of the way.
Colin Baker is the best part of this production and his effortless charm and captivating delivery make it clear how badly the other players lack the acting ability and the strong voices needed to be effective in their roles.
ANTHONY D.P. MANN – Mann IS Tim Conway’s Mr Tudbole as Ebenezer Scrooge! Well, without the moustache. Mann has a history of placing himself in the starring roles of his productions and never fails to put me in mind of Conway. Continue reading →