Monday, August 15, 2005


The concept of Toobworld is a fluid one; it has to be. Shows will come along in the future which will cause necessary rewrites to the TV Universe backstory already in place. New characters added into historical situations, alterations to the personal histories of various characters (this especially happens in soap operas), and recasting of characters - these are some of the more prevalent reasons we have to go back and change a previously held position.

And then there are the times when we just plain get it wrong.

With the very first crossover article I wrote about the new 'Doctor Who' series, starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, I tried to make the argument that it could be connected to 'Queer As Folk', the UK version. I thought it would be a cool way to mark the two shows produced by Russell T. Davies. If I remember correctly, I used as one reason the fact that the Doctor had a "Northern" accent, as in from Manchester, the locale of "QAF".

I know. Pretty weak.

But even better, one of the main characters was named Vince Tyler, and I proposed that he was cousins with the character of "Rose".

There would have been one glitch, however. Vince was described as being a total 'Doctor Who' nut. Not having seen the show, I thought one way to avoid this Zonk! would be to argue that he was obsessed with the online web-site about the Doctor which was run by Clive, as seen in that first episode.

Well.... Now I've seen the first two parts of the UK version of 'Queer As Folk'.

And that Zonk! has sunk me.

In the first installment, Vince got set up on a date with a girl from work who fancied him, never realizing he was gay. And even though she was not about to make him change teams, he was having a good time talking to her. And it all began with a conversation about how 'Coronation Street' ending up going head-to-head in the TV skeds against 'Doctor Who'.

To make matters worse, one of the guys in their party acted out the part of a Dalek: "Exterminate! Exterminate!"

The Internet is popular and getting more so all the time, but you don't see that type of acknowledgement of its content as popular culture. It's got a long way to go before its references are considered as widely accepted as those from TV and the movies.

I would like to keep that family tree connection for the Tylers. And just throwing out the first idea to pop into my head, I'm wondering if it's feasible to think that maybe there was a TV show in the TV Universe which was based on the "real life" exploits of the Doctor.

After all, he was known on Earth (although not in a general sense). And even though UNIT might have tried to keep his involvement with them a secret, we know from Deep Throat & Watergate and the Downing Street Memo that nothing remains secret for long.

Somebody, some screen-writing version of Carl Kolchak, might have nabbed a copy of the "X-Files" from UNIT which dealt with the Doctor and found them to be so fantastic that they based a TV series on him. And what do we know of that series (at least so far in my viewing) but that his enemies included the Daleks. I don't think any appearance/invasion by the Daleks on Earth Prime-Time could be that completely covered up that ordinary people had no knowledge of it.

Otherwise, there's always my backup plan: ditch 'Queer As Folk' altogether and go with a different show to connect with the episode "Rose".

And the show I have in mind? 'Grace & Favour', the sequel to 'Are You Being Served?'.

Here's how it works - between the two "comedies" (I've seen them; the quotation marks are deserved!), Young Mr. Grace died in a scuba accident. The Grace Brothers Department Store went out of business by 1991, and the staff left to run a manor house hotel in the country.

So between 1991 and 2005, the building which previously housed Grace Brothers was sold to the department store company Henrik's. And this was the company Rose Tyler was working for when she was attacked by the Autons and where she first met the Doctor.

It can't be proven, and even better, it can't be disproved.

And you know what I could do.... Based on the spoiler photos that have been coming out for the Christmas episode, "The Christmas Invasion", there will be some key scenes taking place at Henrik's Department Store. So if I can't find something better, I'll keep 'Grace & Favour' on stand-by in case of emergency.

It's always nice to have a backup.



Adric R'Bourne said...

I think he mentions a couple of episodes by name as well. Not that it should throw water on your idea - title may still be the same as episodes over here, but who's to say what the episode is about?

And even iff'n Vince did describe an actual plotline from the series - I got your counterpoint for ya: obviously the story was well-known to the general public.

Adric R'Bourne

Hugh D. said...

Okay, first off, I like the original _Are You Being Served?_, even though
_Grace & Favour_ was weak, so let's hold off slamming both, okay? ;)

Your idea that "Doctor Who" is a show on its own isn't hard to imagine. Just
as X-Files and Men in Black in the states were shows produced because of
popular lore suggesting such agency types existed, then the idea that the
Doctor's exploits are turned into a series isn't hard at all to fathom. If
nothing else, it would help explain what you would consider zonks in many
shows, as DW holds the British public consciousness the way Star Trek does
here. Just as plenty of American shows make references to Star Trek ("Beam
me up" jokes and the like), many British shows do the same with the time
traveller. I know, for example, that _My Hero_ has referred to Daleks and
Gallifrey, and even the Muppet Show (American, yes, but filmed in England)
made a joke about Doctor Who (in a Veterinarian's Hospital sketch from the
episode with Andy Williams, Nurse Janice says to Doctor Bob, "Who Doctor?",
to which he says, "No, that's Doctor Who, and that's another show

In fact, I know of two times on the original AYBS? that they make DW jokes.
In one, a new pay machine speaks in a metallic voice, and they remark it's
been taken over by a Dalek. In the other, Mr. Lucas gives a long involved
yarn about why he's late; having gotten out of trouble with Peacock, he asks
Humphries, "how'd it sound?" and Humphries tells him he "makes Doctor Who's
adventures seem normal." Of course, neither truly referred to Doctor Who as
a tv show, but this might explain people making casual comments. There's
also the fact many shows call him Doctor Who, not "The Doctor," as he
actually is named. Perhaps in the show-within-Toobworld, the character is
called by the double name.

In the Remembrance of the Daleks episode (part of the 25th anniversary
season), the Doctor lands at Coal Hill School in 1963, apparently moments
after the first incarnation ever left it in the first televised story. As
Ace is leaving a flat, we hear an announcer on a black and white set say,
"Coming up next, the brand new adventures of Doctor ----," and she shuts the
door. Something airs in England that's at least similar.

By the way, according to Wikipedia, there's a show called Chelmsford 123
with a link to DW. It's set in Chelmsford, England, but in the year 123
(during Roman rule--it's apparently more of a standard sitcom set in ancient
times than something like Blackadder). According to Wiki, in the first
episode, a character goes outside, and there's a familiar blue police box.
That character goes indoors and then back out again, and the box has
disappeared. A quick and simple joke, but a link nonetheless.


Jaia said...

Ever think UNIT might have had a hand in actually producing the "Doctor Who" TV show - at least the version that's in your TV Land?

Make people believe it's fiction and you can hide the Truth from them in plain sight.

Little something I picked up from the Deep Throat as seen on "The X-Files".