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Doctor who analysis

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  • 1. Tara Caple 12S7Doctor Who (episode „Tooth & Claw‟) – 1000 word essayBritish TV Drama analysisRepresentation: gender, power, class & statusThe opening scene is an extreme long shot of mountain grassland to show its remoteness with dark figuresmoving in the background; the scene is then cut to a long shot so the audience can identify the peoplemoving from the background to the foreground.The setup of the camera is then changed to a close up pan along the horse and hooded man from right toleft; this creates an enigma for the viewer, as they do not know who that person is and what they are doing.The scene is then cut to a large stone house and you hear the diegetic sound of animals quacking andgrunting; this alludes that this episode is set in a past era where animals lived within the grounds of thehouse.In this scene the camera is positioned by the director so there is an over the shoulder shot of the lower classworking servant and the head monk; this was done to demonstrate the representation of class and status,also to show the friction in their relationship because they do not get along. What the head monk iswearing is a very traditional outfit of a brown cloak and a wooden staff, this was organised so it createsauthenticity and the audience can recognise him as a man of God.All the character that the audience has seen so far have a Scottish accent and this highlights the location ofthe scene and the dialogue they use suggests what early era they are in; though we find out later they are inthe year 1879. When the discussion heats up into an argument the director moves the camera into anextreme close up of the head monks face, as he says “fist of man”; this is to show his aggression and toemphasise his serious nature. After the line is spoken the editing speeds up, with fast cuts in between theaction, because the monk attacks the other man. To highlight the act of violence, the audience can heardiegetic sounds of grunts of pain and exclaiming as the man is in shock at being hit.
  • 2. While the fighting breaks out amongst the other monks and house workers non-diegetic music plays and itsounds very primal, to emphasise the violence and carnage. When the fighting gets more intense and allthe people present get in the fight the low primal percussion music gets louder and faster; this couldreplicate the fast beat of the people‟s hearts, the monks with adrenaline and the house workers with fear.The head monk is shown to be dominant as the camera is positioned to focus on him when he is moving hisstaff in a skilful way and there is non-diegtic sound effects of the staff moving in the air. Before the monkswhen into fight they took off their brown cloaks to reveal red tunics and this symbolises their violence,power and blood they are about to shed; this bright colour also connotates danger, because they are willingto be violent to get their way.There is fast paced editing when monks and the workers start getting into the fight sequence and there arelots of grunts and yells, with moving noises when the monks are using their staffs and showing their skill;which therefore is their dominance over the situation. To emphasise this even more there was slow motionas the monks flew into the air while doing a somersault and all this shows their control, dominance and therepresentation of power; this sequence also builds tension for the viewer as they want to know what theywill do next.A diegetic cracking sound is used when the camera is not on that action, to inform the audience thatsomeone has fell on a wooden crate during fighting; this creates an image of chaos everywhere. Theaudience can also hear bubbling noises and screaming as someone is held underwater; this makes theviewer feel sympathy for the characters because they are getting hurt for no reason.
  • 3. Again there is fast paced editing when the monks invade the house, this is to symbolise the quick andefficient take over of the land and this in turn demonstrates the monks power. When inside the house younotice the house maids and they are wearing the traditional black and white, with bonnets, to signify whatera they are in and what class as well; the colours are also dull which emphasises their low status in thehouse hold.To create tension as the monks swarmed the house, a birds eye view shot was used to capture the monksrunning up the stairs. The chanting primal music is still being played and the drums in the non-diegeticsound is gaining volume when the monks are covering more and more ground in the house. A gong is hitto signify the end of the tribal song and that they have found who they wanted: the head of the household,who they hit with their staff.When the canvas is lifted from the cage to show the horror which lies within, a chorus of screams break outto emphasise their fear and terror. The camera is moved by the director to zoom into the lady of the houses‟face to symbolise everybody‟s emotions. The audience then hears the famous theme tune of „Doctor Who‟,which has a mixture of fast paced editing showing the TARDIS in motion, then it is in slow motion so theviewer can have a good look at the TARDIS.When the camera is in the TARDIS, it is panned down to the Doctor, because he is the main character andof great importance to every plot line. The first sound the viewer will hear is the straining sound of theTARDIS, this creates familiarity with the object and reference to the show „Doctor Who‟.