Fan film reviews: Hark! The Harrold Doctor Trilogy!

Graham Quince and Paul Vought are a pair of independent film makers, or perhaps amateur film makers. They seem to have almost no presence in the Internet Movie Database. But if you look them up in youtube, you’ll find they’ve produced an impressive number of films under various banners – Bikini Zombies from the Moon, an Australian Vampire in London, a set of James Bond Fan Films, and so forth. They’ve also produced between 1995 and 2008, six Doctor Who fan films which break loosely into two trilogies. The Harrold films are the second trilogy.

So what about A.F. Harrold. Well, basically, he’s one of these ginger bastards, who likes to show off with facial hair. Born 1975, to apparently sensible parents, he went on to become a poet, a novelist, a children’s entertainer and many other things in that vein. His biography on bloomsbury notes “He writes and performs for adults and children, in cabaret and in schools, in bars and in basements, in fields and indoors. He was Glastonbury Festival Website’s Poet-In-Residence in 2008, and Poet-In-Residence at Cheltenham Literature Festival in 2010. He won the Cheltenham All Stars Slam Championship in 2007 and has had his work on BBC Radio 4, Radio 3 and BBC7. He is active in schools work, running workshops and slams and doing performances at ungodly hours of the morning, and has published several collections of poetry. He is the owner of many books, a handful of hats, a few good ideas and one beard.”

I think he may have written that himself.

He’s also got a number of his own youtube videos up, should you go looking for them. I don’t see a lot of acting on his resume, but he’s got an extensive background in performance, and he knows evolved his own style of delivery, which he brings to his version of the Doctor. Bottom line, this is an interesting, and likely quite likeable guy.

I have no idea how he ended up becoming the Doctor in the Vought/Quince productions. Truthfully, I have no idea how he feels about his turn as Doctor Who. Proud? Chagrined? Frustrated? Embarrassed? I emailed him, but I never heard back. So I’m hoping that it’s a fond memory.

His take on the Doctor is interesting, and at first I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. He’s got such a peculiar low key delivery. The only thing I can really compare it to is the sort of calm, unhurried monologue you might find on a cooking show, as they walk you through the recipe. Confident but not arrogant, in control, measured, knows exactly what he’s doing. There’s an almost weightless quality to it.

He conveys no sense of importance or gravity, the Tardis is tumbling out of control, an alien ship is crashlanding on Earth, the fate of the planet is at stake… and to him, it’s basically small talk. Informed and informative, calm, chatty. It’s odd, and kind of interesting. And it makes a sort of sense. I mean for us, the end of the universe is a big deal, for the Doctor… it’s Tuesday.

Of course, we’re used to bombastic over the top Doctors. Starting with Tom Baker, through Colin Baker, and then with Tenant, Smith and Capaldi, each has gone bigger and bigger to the point where Capaldi’s really somewhere between the stratosphere and low earth orbit.

We’ve had only a few relatively low key Doctors, mainly Davison and Ecclestone. Harrold is low key to the point of somnolence. When two of the Doctor’s associates meet up unpleasantly in Flight of the Daleks, he’s almost washed out of the room.

And yet, as a Doctor, he’s entirely competent, he knows what he’s doing, and more importantly, he knows what to do. He’s just not pushy or boisterous about it. He’s the smartest guy in the room, but very careful to not make a big deal out of it or to allow anyone to feel badly about it. He’s never less than unfailingly polite, but he also never shows a drop of fear.





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