Friday, September 11, 2009
Poor Rick James. I'd like to think he's a better actor than he is. I'd like to think he's an actor, period, but having seen him in one another thing (Blake's 7), I can't even think that with the greatest of confidence. But every time I watch this story, I can't help but hope James (not the character he is supposedly playing, Cotton, but Rick James himself) comes out of it okay because it really looks like he's the winner of a write-in contest to be in Doctor Who. Did Blue Peter hold such a contest at that time? For adults? Or for kids, and Rick James won, anyway?
Apologists claim that James was dealt a bad hand from the start because the part of Cotton was originally written with a white, Cockney actor in mind. Nice try. No matter what the dialogue, James merely recites it, line by line, as if he's reading it off the same cue cards Jon Pertwee would have loved to rely on. In fact, James never actually forgets or fluffs his lines, so I'd be willing to bet that he is reading them. It's patently obvious that he's never rehearsed the scenes. Look at the way he awkwardly manhandles Katy Manning and Garrick Hagon as he helps them up the ladder in the refueling station. Surely someone would have objected to this in a proper rehearsal, no? Or, going back to my earlier point, was everyone too polite to upset the Blue Peter contest winner?
I could go on about James, and the silly conclusion to the Episode Four cliffhanger (our heroes wriggle about on the floor a bit, then get up and walk out of the room), but why bother? At least there's only one episode left...
Posted by Steven at 1:43 PM