Monday, 27 October 2014

City of Death: Art, Humour and Death in Paris!

City of Death is one of the most highly regarded stories in the history of Doctor Who and there are some pretty good reasons for that, one of which was the fact that one of the two writers of the story, Douglas Adams (the other was series producer Graham Williams) first love was comedy, and City of Death sees Doctor Who at its comedic high-point. City of Death is also filled with wit and intelligence as has been pointed out in other reviews of the story on other websites. a first that City of Death can boast is that it was Doctor Who's first ever major over seas filming, thanks to the shows Production Unit Manager John Nathan-Turner. The sequences that were shot in Paris give a grand feel to the story, and all the famous location landmarks are included, The Eiffel Tower and The Louvre being the main two. The score that Dudley Simpson scored for City of Death, has to be another of the memorable parts of City of Death, there is not a single piece of music in City of Death that doesn't feel wrong or out of place, the music score for City of Death has to definitely rank among the best of the music scores in the shows history. One of City of Death's most celebrated scenes is the guest appearance from comedic actor John Cleese and actress Eleanor Born. It was Douglas Adams who suggested to John Cleese that he might like to appear in Doctor Who, the scene features two art critics discussing the wonderful functionalism of a police box being in a modern art gallery. City of Death got some of the highest ratings ever for Doctor Who, at a time when ITV were on strike, and the only alternative was a blank screen. But part 4 of this story holds the record for one of the highest viewing figures that the series has ever achieved at 16.1 million viewers. City of Death explores ideas of how we value art and authenticity. Some of the characters in City of Death simply look at art in purely pragmatic terms, as simply a means to an end, while one character in the story simply looks at art as a badge of status. It's down to the Doctor to Point out the moral of the story. Art is valuable not because of what its worth but because of the human achievement that it represents. But more than anything else this story is loved for its humour. One of if not the funniest scenes in City of Death has got to be when the Doctor first meets the villain of the story and is flung in to the room and walks around on his knees, and complains about the Louis Quinze chair. You honestly have to see that scene to appreciate why its just so funny. And watch out for the cliffhanger at the end of part-one its really good, in fact pretty much all of the cliffhangers in City of Death are excellent. I've left out talking about  the plot of this story and talking about the villain of this story because I don't want to give anything away about the finer points of this story for anyone who hasn't seen it before. And if you haven't its definitely worth watching. City of Death is definitely one of the top Doctor Who stories of the last fifty-one years.

Sorry about the lateness of this post I was in the middle of Tafe assessments when I did the last one and its just taken me a little to get this one in a state I like. next Post will be about "The Creature from the Pit" which was the next story I saw after City of Death when I was first getting into Doctor Who.

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