Saturday, 24 May 2008

Whorovision: It's really no contest...

Look, keep quiet at the back, will you. Yes, it’s a more than a bit annoying that the Eurovision Song Contest (all 38 hours of it) has nudged the Doctor off into Dark Space 8 for a week, but let’s be honest: the two shows do have what might be considered a shared constituency - last week’s writer Gareth Roberts co-penned a nice DW/ESC spoof called Bang-Bang-A-Boom! a few years back - so there will be some Audiential Carry-Acrossput, as we say in digital media circles.

Simply put, many of you will be happy enough.

Not the Watcher, though. As far as we’re concerned the contest hasn’t been the same since sixth-Doctor-lookalike Michael Ball was stitched up back in ’92 (or was it ’91? Pain clouds the memory).

The cherubic nans’ favourite bounded down the old stairs, like an overfriendly tiger promised a couple of steaks for his trouble, and simply roared into a killer - kill-er - versh of One Step At A Time. ‘One step out of time/ One reason to put this love on the line again/ Can’t believe that it’s true/ Now I’m one step out of time…’ it went. Er, probably.

Anyway, fast-forward to the end of a very sorry saga: The Ball was second. Or third. Not top, anyway. The winner was - and I can still ‘tsk’ about this, when memory catches me unawares - Melinda, a handsome-enough Belgian with a ’tauche, and her thoughtful take on the old why-can’t-we-live-together? business, End The Crazy Madness (This Nuclear War In My Heart). Impossible to dance to, need I add.

And - not to put too fine a point on it - I had money on Ball. ‘Can’t believe that it’s true’! You said it, Mikey. Talk to my landlady.

Anyway: has the ESC ever been the same since the participants and organisers twigged the camp thing? It was just more fun in old days, when someone who looked like Lordi - but without the make-up - might just have won it. Never shall we see their like again.

So at Watcher Acres it’ll be the new, old routine: pizza, a crate of Strongbow and a Curse of Peladon/End of The World double-bill, two prime slices of Who with a spiritual kinship to the old Euro V, in which disparate casts of aliens (variously, a woman who looks likes a trampoline; a desiccated skull in a bubblegum machine; a five-foot hermaphrodite cucumber in a shower curtain; and a warthog dressed like an ageing Teddy Boy) all come together on strange ground to forge Galactic Peace Through Song.

Or something like that. Well, in the 1972 story, the godlike Jon Pertwee croons a Venusian lullaby, while the 2005 episode does have Tainted Love and Toxic in it; people, you know what I’m talking about. And with the sound down and ESC coverage on the wireless you wouldn’t know the difference, honestly, especially when the ‘apple champagne’ kicks in…

Some parting thoughts:
Sandie Shaw: The companion we never had!
Lulu: The other companion we never had!
Lynsey de Paul: Likewise!
Abba: Stylists to the Cybermen!