The Day of the Clown

The confirmation announcement of the long-rumoured casting of Bradley Walsh in Series Eleven reminded me of The Day of the Clown, the Sarah Jane Adventures story he appeared in way back in Series 2. And once I’d gone back to look at the story again, I thought I might as well fan edit the thing while I was at it. So I did.

But first, let’s look again at the photograph below. Imagine it’s the first you’ve heard or seen about the main cast for Series Eleven of Doctor Who, and who’s taking over from Capaldi.

Flanked either side by the two compulsory diversity castings, are an actor and actress. But who’s playing Who?

If you didn’t know what we all already know, you would automatically assume that Bradley Walsh is the Thirteenth Doctor but, as we all know, he isn’t the Doctor. The blonde Broadchurch bint is. Which, for Whoflix, has got wrong written all over it.

The Doctor and the Companion have basically done a job swap, with the actor who would normally be playing the Doctor playing the companion, and the actor who would normally be playing the companion pretending to be the Doctor instead. If this is Chris Chibnall’s idea of how Doctor Who should be then he’s already shaping up to be the new John Nathan Turner, and we all know how well that one went down….

For 54 years Doctor Who used to be, and for Whoflix always should be, an older man accompanied by a younger woman. But now, in the 2018 brave new Lefty Gender Politics future of the Chibster, it’s going to be a young woman accompanied by an older man. Sorry but WTAF? Can you imagine the Series coming back in 2005 with Chris Eccleston as the companion to Billie Piper’s Doctor? Nuts! Let’s hope there’s a bodyswap storyline in S11 so in at least one ep out of the ten they’ll be playing the right roles…

Walsh is best known today for hosting game show The Chase, and we all know where they nicked the title from, but he gets to show his sinister side in this story, where he plays Oddbob The Clown, the SJA equivalent of Stephen King’s Pennywise from It. Turns out Sarah Jane Smith doesn’t like clown any more than Ace does…

I reckon the reason some people find clowns creepy is that the face paint gives them the appearance  of a mask coming to life, and we all know how effective inanimate objects becoming animated can be in the scare stakes. Clowns, and the whiteface clown in particular can be traced via Commedia Dell’Arte all the way back to open air Greek Theatre. The whiteface makeup actually helps exaggerate the features and expressions of the performer rather than mask them which, depending on the expression, can make them quite creepy, as the picture below shows…

As well as Bradley Walsh, this ep of the SJA is important for being the one that introduces Rani Chandra, replacement for Maria, who’s buggered off to Washington with her Dad. Anjli Mohindra is a much better actor than Yasmin Paige who she’s replacing, having a far greater range that makes her much more interesting to watch. As a result Rani is a lot less irritating than Maria since she’s a proper 15-year old teenager instead of 13-year old child who’s just become one.

The hardest part of the edit was getting from Part One to Part Two, but I managed to find a crossover point fairly easily, with the usual zoom in on the picture to removes the credits on the second ep. The Opening and Closing credits were replaced with the clean version and then all I had to do was make some cuts…

As ever, these were restricted by the fact that the eps are in stereo and not 5.1, meaning the music cues give the game away. So there’s some material left in the edit that would otherwise have got the chop, but the story’s plot is quite consequential so it was mostly a case of trimming things where there was no music.

There’s an obvious repeat shot of Spelman turning around when Clyde spots the Pied Piper picture, so I got rid of that by slowing down the slow zoom in on the painting. Repeat shots are a giveaway that the Director didn’t get all the coverage he needed during the shoot, and audiences are so telly-savvy nowadays that they’re more easily spotted than they used to be before the days of VHS & DVD, which allow for repeated viewing. And repeated viewing is one thing I certainly won’t be doing with Series Eleven…

Having seen him in this again, I reckon Bradley Walsh would make a much better Doctor than that Broadchurch bint ever will. And am I the only one who thinks it’s a shame Clyde and Rani never made a proper trip in the TARDIS?



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