Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The Claws of Axos is director Michael Ferguson's last Doctor Who story, which is a great shame. Few directors on Who have displayed the visual verve that Ferguson's work had in spades, especially given the era in which his stories were made. Ferguson made great use of dramatic zooms and tight cuts in a time when such techniques were a novelty. Note how many quick little scenes there are in this story. Such things were almost impossible to do with videotape as recently as two years before Axos; Ferguson makes such things his bread and butter.
Bill Filer is an interesting character whose dynamic hairstyle and husky American accent has made him a heartthrob for years since this story originally aired. Jo certainly seemed to think so, as she seems quite upset to learn that he's possibly dead despite only having met him before their first scene in Episode One (the outtakes on the Axos DVD show this meeting). Such is the power of Filer, I guess. Speaking of hair, his distinctive coiffure won't be the only hairdo worth writing about this season...
Kudos, as well, to the set design of the Axos ship - a truly unique stab at an organic, living spaceship. The added presence of various overlays of gels and stencil patterns serve to further distort the viewer's expectations of what a "normal" ship would look like. Add to that a couple of brilliant looking glass shots to represent the size and scale of the Nuton power complex, and you have a visually stimulating serial that makes full (and I do mean full) use of the fact that Doctor Who was now shot in colour.
Posted by Steven at 2:29 PM