Wednesday 17 October 2012

694 Ghost Light Part Three

"This place is like a madhouse "

EPISODE: Ghost Light Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 18 October 1989
WRITER: Marc Platt
DIRECTOR: Alan Wareing
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who : Ghost Light

Light explains to the Doctor how he came to Earth to catalogue all the species there but when he finished he discovered everything changed and he had to start again. During this survey Nimrod was taken as a specimen. Josiah was his "survey agent" sent out into the world and Control the control element for the investigation. Josiah rebeled against Light, imprisoning him and Control in their spaceship beneath the house. Josiah now plans to ascend the evoloutionary ladder by coming the top person in the land by assasinating Queen Victoria at a garden party that Redvers Fenn-Cooper has been invited to. Control now desires what Josiah has achieved and wishes to be transformed into a lady. Redvers elects to take her to the party instead of Josiah thwarting his plan. Light discovers that everything has changed again during his hibernation and decides to destroy all life on Earth. Control subdugates Josiah and retreats to the ship with him, Nimrod & Redvers to commence a new survey. Light overloads and dissipates into the house, the presence that Ace felt when she set fire to the house in her teens. When the Doctor asks her if she has any regrets she says she wished she'd blown it up instead.

I watched that and my mind just went WHAT ????? On screen it doesn't appear to make any sense at all and what's written above is a combination of what I can remember and what I read at The Tardis Wiki. The "Control wanting to be ladylike" stuff has just thrown me before until I realised this time that it's to do with her wanting to evolve like Josiah has. In case you wondering where the rest of the human cast got to Gwendolyne & her mother Mrs Pritchard got turned to stone by Light and Inspector Mackenzie, the cream of Scotland Yard, was turned into primordial soup by Josiah.

"Who was it who said Earthmen never invite their ancestors around for dinner?" asks the Doctor at the dinner table: Douglas Adams in the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy of course.

There's an element of Control that was inspired by Marc Platt's day job cataloguing radio programs for the BBC archive, a task that was never finished die to more being produced all the time.

The two new members of the cast are Sharon Duce as Control, in real life the partner of Dominic Guard (Olvir in Terminus) and John Hallam as Light who you can spot in the background of Flash Gordon as Luro, one of the Hawkman.

So Ghost Light: looks superb but makes no sense whatsoever! Forgive me but I like to feel like I have some clue what's going on when I watch Television. Script editor Andrew Cartmel feels that Ghost Light is the closest thing on screen to what was written in his entire time as Doctor Who script editor. I'd say that it's symbolic of his time as script editor: lots of big ideas, too many probably, I suspect he'd not got a real grasp of how to structure a piece of television drama that people can watch. At this stage he was telling people to write what they wanted and they were cutting it down, usually by about 20 minutes per story, in the edit. Compare this approach to Terrance Dicks or Bob Holmes....

Ghost Light marks an important moment in our journey: it was the last story filmed in the original run of Doctor Who. Two stories filmed before it, Curse of Fenric & Survival, were shown after it was.

Marc Platt went on to write for the Virgin New Adventures book range after adapting Ghost Light as a novel released in September 1990. It was released on video in May 1994 and on DVD on 20th September 2004.

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