We don’t normally watch Doctors, due to actually having things to do during the day, even if we don’t do them. However, we did see an episode on UK Gold on Monday night, as research for the following day’s episode. So you can rest easy in the knowledge that our opinions are informed.
The reason we wanted to watch Tuesday’s episode is that it was written by Andrew Ellard, who has various Red Dwarf connections. He is a former editor of Better Than Life, the Website Co-ordinator for www.reddwarf.co.uk, Associate Producer of the DVDs, writer of the Collector’s Booklets, Script Editor on the Movie, etc. Not only that, Ian met him at Dimension Jump and bought him many drinks.
We were alerted to the episode by a news item on the official site, that reported there would be “one little Dwarfy reference in there”. Well, we found four, but to be honest, some of them are tenuous at best. Firstly, in the opening shot Duncan (Ray Panthaki) jumps out at his sort-of-dad/boss Arthur (Robert Austin) whilst wearing a pair of vampire teeth. This could be a reference to The Cat, but frankly, it’s unlikely.
Secondly, and the most tenuously of all, Duncan says of gay people not being able to give blood: “It’s a lazy stereotype from the Dark Ages.” Perhaps this is a reference to the one-dimensional characters in Rob Grant’s sit-com Dark Ages Or perhaps not.
Thirdly, there is Ben’s line “That was a close one.” Maybe in Andrew’s first draft this is “Bloody hell, that was a close one,” which is a Holly line from Future Echoes. However, this is clearly complete bollocks.
The only definite Red Dwarf reference we found was this exchange between Jude and Graham:
GRAHAM: It’s A Wonderful Life? It’s a wonderful film! Jimmy Stewart running through the streets shouting at buildings. I mean, what’s not to love?
JUDE: Yeah, I like the bit where everyone clubs together at the end to give him the money.
GRAHAM: The money? Yeah, awesome.
It’s A Wonderful Life is Rob and Doug’s favourite film, and is also the film that Lister worships in Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers. As Andrew has a Masters degree in Film Studies, we’re not surprised he wanted to include a section of dialogue that alludes to both Red Dwarf and a classic film.
Maybe Andrew wrote more Dwarfy bits that got cut out by the script editor. It would have been easier for us to spot if Arthur had called Duncan as “smelly arsed smeghead”, or if when Ben ordered his meal, he said “I’d prefer chicken”. But then, Andrew presumably wants to cling onto his career as a scriptwriter. Selfish bastard.
As for the actual episode itself, there were a couple of good, if a little cheesy, jokes. For example, when Jude interrupted Ben’s date by pretending to be his wife:
JUDE: You leave me at home, cleaning your house, caring for your children, and all the time you’re out wining and dining some floozy?
MICHAELA: Actually, I didn’t order wine.
Also, Ben’s excellent and resigned “Cheque please”, whilst covered in wine, which could be a Goodness Gracious Me reference, but is funny even if it isn’t. However, we can only hope that the following remark, made to Arthur (who had just given blood), was added by an overenthusiastic script editor.
DUNCAN: You can’t have more than a lemonade, because you’ve already stopped for a pint.
Unless Andrew is being very subversive and trying to get the worst joke possible into a daytime soap. Andrew’s first episode of Doctors was entertaining and amusing, and we hope that we’ll be seeing his name in many more credit sequences in the future. All in all, a fair job.
I wonder if he’ll get our Red Dwarf reference…