The City of Death
Wow, what a corker. Having just watched The Visitation I went straight on to this – and who knew what
a difference good writing, companions who can act, decent direction, well written supporting characters who can also act (or
perhaps in this case it should be ‘not overact’ too much) and a cameo from John Cleese can make?
my first question was regarding the title: What normally comes to your mind when you think of Paris – the Eiffel Tower,
bagettes, Allo Allo, death? Spot the odd one out.
Yes that is right – Allo Allo was set in a small country town
(and what a nice show it was too).
Most people think of ‘gay Pari - the ‘city of love’, rather than
the ‘city of death’ (or else there is something I have totally missed about Paris).
Oh no you say –
there was death stuff happening. All right I admit there was, but does one green one eyed alien in a white lounge suit really
justify tarring the entire city with this ‘death’ label. I mean sure he has got some pretty ‘death related’
designs on the human race, but it’s not as if he is asking the whole of Paris to join in or that it is specifically
Paris related – being a green one eyed monster with taste, style and distinction he just happens to live there.
then again, wot with all the craziness going on at Doctor Who at the time, you get the feeling that the title was probably
decided by Doug and Tom over a liquid lunch down the pub, and very possibly could have been ‘the city of reasonable
comfort and some lovely little outdoor cafes’.
[Someone actually came up with a theory in regard to titles: If it has ‘death’ in the title it will
be a classic, but if it has ‘time’ in the title it will be a complete dog. Not sure where this theory puts Death
Comes To Time?]
Filming in ‘gay Pari’ (aka ‘city of death')
‘Hey Terry, I got this great idea.
We all go on holiday to France and charge it to the BBC and call it art.’ Well it is nice work if you can get it, and
considering the story was set in Paris it did make sense.
The upshot of this was the running scenes. They certainly
did get their money out of that city. They were always running somewhere. Sometimes they ran towards the Arc de Triumph, sometimes
they ran away from the Arc de Triumph and sometimes they ran around the Arc de Triumph (both clockwise and anti clockwise).
I think that arch should have been listed in the credits as an extra.
Lack of decently dressed villains.
I despair of those grotty little Doctor Who villains who attempt badly dressed word domination. Is it so hard to put on a
tie? If a Bond villain can do it luv so can you. Bond villains are the standard every megalomaniacal super villain should
aspire too. Not only do they tend to dress in very well ironed quasi Mao type outfits, they also dress their hench people
in natty little uniforms with the villain’s logo embroidered on the front pocket. Now that to me screams ‘this
is a man who has his own hollowed out volcano’. And if you look at it the best Doctor Who villains have always taken
a bit of pride in their appearance. The Master always dresses for the occasion and I love Davros’ little black leather
That is why I was so impressed with Scaroth. He may have been a one eyed green tenticly monster, but
he wore a lovely tailored suit (and a white one – not easy to keep clean when you are wandering around prehistoric Earth
trying to destroy the human race).
Now that shows class – you don’t see the Cybermen wearing safari suits.
Perhaps if they had they had things might have been different.
Just how did Romana’s
hat stay on her head? And what a stupid way to wear a hat. Although I think Lalla might be one of the few people able to get
away with it. By the end of the story I was becoming totally obsessed with the physics of Lalla’s hat and so I have
absolutely no idea as to the plot. Let’s just say it was a darn good excuse for a holiday in Paris, er sorry, a darn