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Doctor Who – The Ark (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

The Ark originally aired in 1966.

Yes, I bet it’ll take some time to get the whole of the population down here, so the sooner you get started, the better, I should think.

Don’t worry. It may not take as long as you think.

What do you mean? Are you up to something?

Em… no.

– Dodo (yes, Dodo) outwits a Monoid

The Ark is an interesting piece of Doctor Who, both in terms of structure and in terms of theme. It’s a very clever concept, with the four-parter effectively split into two halves as the Doctor and his companions join the same story at two different intervals. It’s a wonderful high concept, with the action jumping from across time while keeping a fixed location. However, The Ark is also notable because of its less-than-subtle political under-currents, one of the relatively rare times where Doctor Who has seemed reactionary, conservative and downright colonial in its attitudes.

The end of the world as we know it...

The end of the world as we know it…

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Non-Review Review: The Remains of the Day

It’s a sad truth that Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins are rarely handed roles that allow them to demonstrate their true abilities. The Remains of the Day is an absolutely stunning period drama from Merchant Ivory (which sounds far more impressive than any functional “combination of last names” really should). It’s a rather beautiful look at the classically romantic British character, but also an absolutely scathing attack upon it. It’s a brilliant examination of the inherent tragedy of the stereotypical British detachment, the capacity to maintain emotional distance in order to endure whatever life has to offer. Mister Stevens is the quintessential English butler, but he’s also one of the most tragic central characters I think I’ve seen in quite some time.

All that Remains...

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