Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Doctoring a good tale

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2011-08-26 Daily Express.jpg


FILM fans will have detected a touch of The Godfather and Once Upon A Time In America in last night's TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY (BBC1). Freed from its Cardiff setting, this sci-fi puzzler has certainly become more playful, setting the bulk of the seventh episode in Prohibition era New York.

At Ellis Island, the processing centre for immigrants, a not particularly 1920s-looking Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) apprehended a man who'd stolen his visa. Jack and Angelo (Daniele Favilli) soon became firm friends.

In fact they became rather more than that and set up a scheme peddling communion wine to the thirsty population of Little Italy.

This brought them to the attention of a local mobster who instead of putting a horse's head in their bed hired them to break into a warehouse.

Unfortunately for Jack, in the course of the break-in the cops shot him dead.

Being immortal, he had sufficiently recovered from this to be able to meet Angelo when he got out of the clink. Angelo, rather than being delighted, decided Jack must be the devil. We shuttled forward a century or so at the end to find the modern Jack facing a very big gun in a classic Torchwood "My leader wants to see you" type scene. The name of the sinister leader, who will stop at nothing to have Jack delivered into his hands? Why Angelo of course.

At times, quite a lot of times, this show feels like straight-off-the-shelf sci-fi. Jumps in time, men in dark glasses, witty lines, clever references to films and novels, it has all the classic markers.

At other times it feels like an elaborate and very deliberate experiment. It's as if a group of people sat round a table and asked what would happen if they made a late-night version of Doctor Who.

They then set about doing it in what often feels like a very clunky and obvious way. Sex scenes and innuendo are crowbarred into the action not because the action really requires it but because the people making it want to see what they can get away with.

They can in fact get away with everything, which only makes them try twice as hard to get a reaction.

Here is mine. This show feels a little like a school play in which every actor is competing to see who can drop the most rude words into a speech or get away with the most on-stage smoking and drinking without getting detention. Far from being grown-up, it's childish.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Baylis, Matt (2011-08-26). Doctoring a good tale. Daily Express p. 59.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Baylis, Matt. "Doctoring a good tale." Daily Express [add city] 2011-08-26, 59. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Baylis, Matt. "Doctoring a good tale." Daily Express, edition, sec., 2011-08-26
  • Turabian: Baylis, Matt. "Doctoring a good tale." Daily Express, 2011-08-26, section, 59 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Doctoring a good tale | url= | work=Daily Express | pages=59 | date=2011-08-26 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 May 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Doctoring a good tale | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 May 2024}}</ref>