Monday, 1 July 2013

W Is For Wyngarde

Peter Wyngarde could have been Doctor Who, you know. He has presence, authority and eccentricity. He is obviously intelligent, and looks fantastic in Edwardian costume. I can imagine that he would have been acerbic, snappy, sometimes cruel - fond of eloquent speeches, merciless in his contempt for evil, camp as hell. That never came to pass, unfortunately, but in 1984 he did finally turn up in the programme as Timanov, the religious leader of a group of people called the Sarns who live on a volcanic 'Planet Of Fire'. i.e. Lanzarote.  

To be honest, 1984 is two years beyond my cut off date* for Doctor Who, so I only remember this story from seeing a bit with a young woman in a bikini (pervy fan fave Peri)and thinking 'well, she's a bit better looking than Adric'. Having watched it again in its entirety for this post, I have little to add to my earlier assessment.  Not a good or even coherent story, the tedium / confusion is relieved by Mr. Wyngarde, of course, who isn't onscreen much but still gives a typically assured performance, even though he has a load of rubbish to work with. The thing is that Peter is a proper actor, so it doesn't matter whether he's wearing a keffiyeh, a pirate hat or a gorilla suit - you're always going to get a performance out of him. He's a Genius.  

* I stopped watching the show in 1982 for several reasons, not least because the BBC had moved it to twice a week (on Tuesdays and Wednesday evenings) and I was doing other stuff (girls, riding my bike, riding my bike to girls) and I just lost track. My defection coincided with a particularly poor period for the show (although it would get much worse) and a new Doctor (Peter Davison) I didn't in any way dislike but just couldn't quite believe or get excited about. The passage of time has not changed my mind.  

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