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I don't get it…

I don't get it…

While watching Doctor Who: The Unquiet Dead (check out the Locations Guide!), the Doctor made a pun along the lines of “I love a happy medium”… and I just don’t get it.

It has all the makings of a joke. It sounds like it should be funny. It’s constructed like it should be funny. Everyone around him reacts like it’s a god-awful pun. But I just don’t get it. And I’ve made a few really terrible puns in my time. Can someone please explain it to me?

Otherwise a nicely put-together episode that alas really didn’t do much for me. Probably because I just couldn’t get away from the thought that – speaking as someone who hears Welsh accents all the time, obviously living as I do in Wales – there is something about the Welsh accent that really doesn’t lend itself to Doctor Who. Put simply, it sounds like you’re taking the piss – rather like the comedy Welsh milkman in Bottle Boys who just exclaimed Abergavenny!

Between the Welsh accents, the Doctor’s Northern accent, Rose’s Laaaannndahhnn accent and Simon Callow’s ridiculously posh theatrical tones, it was an accent car crash just waiting to happen.

However, I will eat my hat if this episode isn’t repeated at Christmas – or forms the Christmas special. It’s written so well to be a Christmas special with all the trappings of a winter’s tale without being too moralistic (importance of family, the Christmas Carol allegory) that it’d be perfect for Christmas Eve. Shame they showed it in April!

One small spoiler ahead:

– The Time War. In Capitals for Extra Importance. This sounds good – almost as good as Enterprise’s Temporal Cold War.


  • Sheff

    It's a very old joke as well as being a crap pun. It was probably in "1001 more jokes for kids" or a similar 70s compendium along these lines:

    "Maggie goes to have her palm read and within mnutes the clairvoyant begins to smile and laugh at which Maggie stands up and slaps her hard across the face. "Ouch!" exclaims the palm-reader "What was that for?!". "Well" replies Maggie, my mother always told me I should strike a happy medium"

    Not big and not clever. I thought apart from that indiscretion this was an enjoyable enough episode, though not brilliant. Probably a good point to place it in the series after sucking people in with 2 strong episodes to start with, this one's a bit weaker but from the "taster" trailer at the end next week's looks like a stonker so as far as most viewers are concerned they will not be turned off.

  • The serving girl is a medium i.e. someone able to channel messages from the Other Side. A happy medium means reaching agreement in the middle ground. So having reached a middle ground to put the servant at ease…you get a happy medium.

    It's a terrible pun, as Rose points out.

  • razorhead

    ug, I thought this episode was particularly weak and not just for simon callow. It just didn't hang together well at all.

  • Mags is right.

    The bit that didn't quite scan for me was why flooding the room with gas would draw the gaseous creatures out. I didn't do well in A-Level chemistry, but I didn't think gas works like that.

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