Tuesday 3 March 2015

The Memorial Watch

This was a funny habit I first picked up in 1997. Credit where its due, it all started with Jackie Jenkins, a women who might or might not exist, who used to write a column in Doctor Who Magazine. Terry Nation had just died and she spent her column relating a conversation she and her friends Chas and Nigel had about trying to choose a Nation story to watch just after they heard the news.

So when an actor or a writer whose work I admire dies I watch something of theirs. Not just anything, something emblematic, special. I've always been a fan more of the wake than the funeral, as it happens and, well, if there's a better tribute to an artist's work than enjoying it I can't think of one. These aren't people I know so I can't mourn them in any proper sense so respect is all that's available to me.

Its mainly been Doctor Who actors, to be honest, as sort of befits the origin of this funny little tradition. For Lis Sladen it was The Brain Of Morbius, for Nicholas Courtney it was Downtime (a straight-to-video job I have unreasonable nostalgia for), for Mary Tamm it was The Ribos Operation and for Maggie Stables I re-listened to The Marian Conspiracy. For Nation himself, since I decided to give it a go there and then, it was Destiny of the Daleks and... look, we all make mistakes and I really, really liked that story when I was thirteen for some reason.

For Leonard Nimoy, what else could it be but The Wrath Of Khan?

I'm not personally onboard with the idea Khan is the best Star Trek movie (that's First Contact) but it is the best Original Series effort and Nimoy absolutely kills in the scene where he says goodbye to Kirk. Spock could have stayed dead and it would have been a perfect end to the character: just that his last words are to tell Jim that they were friends, the final vindication that Spock's human side was ever-present in their relationship. 

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