Horror of Glam Rock

Posted in Audio by - August 16, 2017
Horror of Glam Rock

Released March 2007

Tonally, Paul Magrs is unquestionably one of the most unique Doctor Who writers, routinely using every minute of a production to imbue an incredible sense of atmosphere and distinctiveness to often whimsical but always poignant tales. With the shorter running time allotted to The Eighth Doctor Adventures, however, Magrs delivers a more traditional story with ‘Horror of Glam Rock,’ though one that very much manages to make the most of each of its characters and to cement this burgeoning range as a wholly worthwhile endeavour that perfectly blends the stylings and sentiments of the classic and modern eras of Doctor Who.

Perhaps unsurprising given the title’s homage to ‘Horror of Fang Rock,’ ‘Horror of Glam Rock’ sees a small group of individuals entrapped by predatory creatures, though the 1970s glitz and tack of the glam rock era give the roadside cafe a style all its own. The plot is not necessarily the most complex or challenging as the alien Only Ones hatch their invasion scheme through one half of the rising singing duo The Tomorrow Twins but eventually end up trapped as an mp3 file. Instead, ‘Horror of Glam Rock’ is highlighted by its truly stunning performances that lend a grounded foundation to a story that sometimes verges into more fanciful territory. The relationship between the Doctor and Lucie continues to mellow as they spend more time together and Lucie continues to get used to her new lifestyle, and the prospect of the Headhunter continuing her search through time for Lucie is a fascinating one that will undoubtedly pay dividends as this series reaches its end. McGann and Smith continue to impress both together and separately, and it’s nice to hear the Eighth Doctor return to his more natural and casual state following his grim determination in the opening two-parter. At the same time, Bernard Cribbins gives a mesmerizing performance as record manager Arnold Korns whose tale takes a surprisingly dramatic turn, and Stephen Gately and Clare Buckfield bring The Tomorrow Twins to life admirably.

It’s quite surprising to see this new series delve so directly into the past of new companion, Lucie Miller, so quickly with the introduction of her Auntie Pat in the past, but this is simply another element of the blending of eras that lends yet another level of dramatic weight to proceedings. Whether the discussion about Pat’s lonely future has repercussions later in the series or not as the Doctor and Lucie continue to try to get around the barrier to her home, Lynsey Hardwick is fantastic and helps give perspective to Lucie and her continuing travels. Of course, the unsung star of ‘Horror Glam Rock’ is the perfectly preposterous music that wonderfully channels the glam rock era and creates superb transitions between events without ever skipping a beat. With the production bolstered by strong sound design in general, the direction of Barnaby Edwards is also easily able to bring out the somewhat ironic tone of the story among the mixture of both humour and drama and heightens emotions as needed to drive each and every scene. So although ‘Horror of Glam Rock’ will not necessarily win over its audience because of creativity or novelty as so many Paul Magrs stories do, it is nonetheless supremely confident with its quirky traditionalism and further sets events boldly in motion for the future.

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