Monday, 10 May 2010

THE VENETIAN AFFAIR

Doctor Who - The Vampires of Venice (Series Five, Episode Six): The Doctor (Matt Smith) takes Amy (Karen Gillan) and her fiancé Rory (Arthur Darvill) to a trip in 16th century Venice as a wedding present.

But why is a boat builder named Guido (Lucian Msamati) so anxious to remove her daughter Isabella from the prestigious school for girls headed by Signora Rosanna Calvierri (Helen McCrory) and her strange son Francesco (Alex Price)?


« I like the bit when someone says it's bigger on the inside. I was looking forward to that. »

The last time the Doctor Who cast and crew went abroad was to shoot in Dubai what will remain as one of the weakest episodes of the whole modern Who era. In those days of BBC budget cuts The Vampires of Venice not only had to worth the trip to the beautiful Croatian town of Trogir, but also to be a great 48-minute piece of Entertainment.

And it is. The episode, penned by Toby Whithouse (Being Human), is a cascade of comedic heights ("Cake-crashing", the Doctor discovers the vampire girls, etc), fun one-liners (Francesco's « Did you say something about mummy? ») and nods to the Doctor Who mythology (the library card). But also a clever use of the magnificent Croatian locations.

Filmed by director Jonny Campbell, Trogir marvelously doubles as Venice in 1580 and becomes the perfect place for adventure and a little faux Hammer movie fright with a "fishy" alien menace. Actually Croatia is used twice this year, because another episode set in Provence was filmed there to optimize the investment.

According to Broadcast, The two-episode block costs £400,000 more than a two-episode studio shoot - but was anyway less expensive than shooting in Venice and France (http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/news/broadcasters/bbc-rapped-over-smiths-venice-trip/5013432.article). Broadcast also reported that the decision to fly Toby Whithouse and Matt Smith to Venice for Doctor Who Confidential, the companion show to Doctor Who, angered some unnamed industry sources of the website.

« Doctor Who Confidential is highly successful and is fantastic value for money, » answered the Corporation. Chris Davids, of Kasterborous, offered far better arguments: « So, the BBC producers of Doctor Who Confidential spent around up to £2000 to send its stars and a small crew to Venice for a day or two to film them on location – meanwhile nearly 18 months ago the then Doctor Who production team spent at least 10x this amount to film a bit of sand in Dubai » (http://www.kasterborous.com/2010/05/07/venice-or-bust/).

« You should be in a museum. Or a mausoleum. »

All things considered, the most problematic in this episode was the recycling of story elements or ideas from previous episodes like The Shakespeare Code or School Reunion (this one was written by Whithouse).

Next week: Turn Left?

See also:

http://cathoderaytube.blogspot.com/2010/05/doctor-who-series-5-vampires-of-venice.html

2 comments:

Sunjin said...

looool avec le next week! Concis mais très efficace!

Guillaume Gete said...

Oui, y'a un peu de Turn Left, c'est vrai… :-)

D'un autre côté, ça a l'air bien mieux que l'épisode de cette semaine, qui est sûrement le moins bon jusqu'à maintenant de la S5.