Joe Ahearne, Doctor Who and the Secret of Crickley Bottom
The Abandoned Mr. Blobby Theme Park
Last night we started to watch The Mystery of Crinkly Bottom on catch up television. Obviously I was shocked and saddened that Mr Blobby’s ghost did not haunt the cavernous mysteriously (it’s a mystery drama) dank hall that the plot swiftly nay judderingly relocated to. Not even a tidy beard was in sight but the husband character (a rather bohemian engineer who didn’t do a lot of engineering) had a nice coating of designer stubble (the eighties is back). Once this Blobby free game changer had been absorbed (is there nothing I can’t point CBT at and come away a better human being? Well!!?) A veneer of credibility seemed to have been removed and I found myself thinking that The Mystery of Crinkly Hall or MOCH as they no doubt called it in the development meetings looked what I can only describe as, now this is tough, shoddy. Shoddy like the panelled walls might wobble at an unexpected moment as the mystery guest lurks in the wings. That kind of, how do you say? ITV shoddy. There I’ve said it. I now find myself wondering if indeed the whole thing was not a hastily assembled allegorical mea culpa for the sins of the Saville era. This at least would make sense of the bordering on explotational use of child tragedy. At the time however I had other ideas. These notions like most of my ideas concerning other people’s creative outputs involved giving the benefit of the doubt. After all they don’t call me Mike the giver of the benefit of the doubt. My middle name might be GOBOD for all I know but perhaps not everyone knows me as well as myself nor do they set such store in the sense of order that a good acronym brings to life. And so it was as the self middle named Giver of the Benefit of the Doubt that I went outside and dragged the tarpaulin off my wife’s rather expensive vintage looking bicycle with the intention of pedalling off to the local library to see if they had any reference material that might point my enquiring mind in the direction of recent works by the director of this mystery unfolding. Perhaps in the children’s section. After all it had a feel of Lizzy Dripping to it I reasoned. I was just cushioning the swing of the front gate to stop it slamming behind me when I remembered Google. Google for those of you who weren’t here before is a memory devise or extension of our central nervous system that sits outside of the body thus creating the illusion that it is not really part of the user. Or is separate. If life was an exam (yeah right as if!?) then Google would be the equivalent of the little red LED calculator that your best friend had at school which you coveted every time he got it out but which he was not allowed to take into exams because the exam-board had not yet become that lax. Yes Google would be that if life were an exam. The reason for all this intended research was that I, in my GOBOD mode, believed that there might be an explanation in the past work of the director (if indeed this mysterious drama had been directed at all). After all Mulholland Drive would almost certainly appear to be shoddy if you didn’t know that David Lynch was a genius. Don’t get me wrong I would never deprive the great Lynch of my GOBODness for I am a true believer. It’s just that I could never watch one of his films with my wife. Again. That is.
At this point we pause the catch-up player and switch on a real life happening-now-but-on-the-other-side-of-the-world programme. No not the rolling news of the seige of Gaza but I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Never before has the illusion of other side of the world ness been so apparent. Were we finally witnessing the overdue birth of the Global Village after a long and painful labour!? Do you remember how Nadine something or other a celebrated politician due to her decision to become a celebrity on IACGMOH went into the Australian jungle to highlight big political issues. Yeah go Nadine. The other night I sat stunned as she was ordered by public democratic vote to leave the jungle. As she traversed the swinging hopefully not to shoddy rope bridge one rapidly developed a sense of destiny and historic things coalescing. This moment would be replayed in slow motion in reviews of the early 21st century by future life forms. She sat down with Ant and Dec glass of Australian sparkling wine in hand resisting the temptation to grasp one last chance to win the public over with a reprisal of the Apprentice advert for English Sparkling wine and we knew that now was the time for her to turn the whole political shebang on its head. I felt sick with nerves.
“I’ve had some big discussions in there” she began. Whoa so big political discussions had been had in the jungle camp but ITV had chosen in their undemocratic public depriving arrogance to edit them out! This was too much. “ Politicians need to go where the public are,” she continued, powering ahead leaving me reeling as I tried to take in the magnitude. She means the public are all in the Jungle. This is profound. Had she swallowed McLuhan whole? We are all in the urban forest and everything is once more simultaneous she went on. But no she had not said this. There was no holistic metaphor she just meant that politics really ought to be even more patronising. Yeah go Nadine! Go! You have been democratically voted out of the jungle. Meanwhile last night back in the real time happening right now jungle real politics was being discussed. We’re talking going beyond the interface style politics to real how we live our lives politics. Not what fucking form the political system should be but what politics could be. So there we have Hugo, star of Made in Chelsea, wrapped in a hammock contemplating what I can only describe as Marxism. I can’t be sure due to real time subtitling errors but he may well have said “If the thing is useless, so is the labour contained in it; the labour does not count as labour, and therefore creates no value.” I know for sure that he was saying that he has learnt that we don’t need so much stuff and that it was a relief to be away from all the electronic exoskeleton that we allow to ourselves to be seduced by, little knowing that we are falling in love with ourselves. All right I may have misremembered but the gist was there. We don’t need so much stuff. Shit if only Nadine had been there we may have seen the birth of tory existential Marxism as Nadine poured some Feuerbach on the camp’s new found Promethean fire "In the consciousness of the infinite, the conscious subject has for his object the infinity of his own nature” but this discussion of not needing so much stuff was on the other side of the world and back in the real world we need stuff so we can keep track of the tragedies unfolding on the other side of the world. right!?
Okay so much so Adorno let’s find out if the director of MOCH really is deserving of our GOBODness. Okay I’m back from Google-land. First thing right is that its called The Secret of Crickley Hall so that’s SOCH? Thanks to the power of Google and an indepth online interview in The Sun I am almost instantaneously able to report that Suranne Jones who plays the down-right negligent mother who gets the BOD due to being tired or summat has been to a spiritualist church once and also she worked as a barmaid where there was a woman who read palms and she thinks she may have had hers read but can’t quite remember. And she calls herself a celebrity? Back in the day my palm was the back page of a pop magazine the name of which escapes even my Google enhanced memory. And get this folks, the story is by James Herbert. He wrote Dune I think. This is all too much because my friend who had the red LED calculator was a big fan of that book. But that’s not where the spookiness ends. Oh no. It was directed by Joe Ahearne who also directed Apparitions, which was a genuinely creepy and affecting drama not least because large sections of it were filmed in the now closed catholic boarding school my father attended. He and my mother went back to visit it on a recent trip to Liverpool and the film crew allowed them to wander the hallowed halls. My father retrieved a billiard ball from one of the tables in the common room and it now sits on the mantelpiece at home. None of this explains my GOBODness but perhaps Joe's Dr. Who writing credentials do. After all I did feel I could allow my twelve-year-old son to sit up and watch it. He is sitting here now and informs me that I need to use paragraphs to attain a level five so I have gone back and added some. he also asked me if blog's had names in and i realised that without google there would be no names in my blog at all.