Monday, August 04, 2008

Judge me by my sighs, do you?

A poster on the DoctorWhoforum has been asking about Doggles - a character I created for the Bernice Summerfield adventure Something Changed.
A young Cahlian scratched at his armpit as he stared back at Bernice.

She looked quickly away. The man came towards her. Humanoid, with fiery coloured skin, Cahlians were often immaculate. This one, though, could have slept in his clothes. There were stains down the front of his shirt where he'd spilled several meals. He needed a shave, and to brush his hair, and to wash on a more regular basis. She looked anywhere but in his direction. Still he kept coming.

'Professor Summerfield?' he said. His smile was disarming, radiant. Without wanting to, Bernice smiled back.

'Benny,' she said. 'Mr Dog-less?'

'Doggles is better,' he said. 'Like "goggles".'

'I'm sorry,' she said, cursing Braxiatel. He'd set her up for this. He could at least have got the man's name right. Though he might have done this on purpose, to break the ice between them. Damn him. It was the last thing she needed.'"

Er, me, in "Inappropriate Laughter", Something Changed, p. 7.

(There's a PDF of all of Inappropriate Laughter on the Big Finish website.)

I then brought the character back in my audio play Summer of Love. And Steven Wickham's glorious performance so tickled me and director Edward Salt that Doggles then featured in pretty much all of the next year's Benny. But, as the forum poster said, the audio plays never actually told us what he looked like.

(There are some people who dip in and out of Benny's adventures, there are people who only do the audios, there are people getting through the stuff in no particular order, and people who follow every possible installment with intimidating interest.)

Oddly, as I said on the forum in reply, it's tricky having people on audio tell you what somebody looks like. With lumbering alien Hass and floating football Joseph, you can have sound effects as they talk and move about, and you mention things like their pincers or sense fields to help the listener build up a picture. But Doggles is a red-skinned Cahlian devil, and Benny's so right-on and colourblind that sort of thing probably doesn't even occur to her. I did try to shoehorn a description into the dialogue but it never sat quite right. And all you really need to know is that he's humanoid (with, we presume from Summer of Love, all the appropriate physical accessories) and a bit of an oaf.

It occurs to me now what a lovely, leftie utopia the audio medium is. No one's defined by what they look like, only by what they say and do.

3 comments:

jonathan said...

"It occurs to me now what a lovely, leftie utopia the audio medium is. No one's defined by what they look like, only by what they say and do."

But they are invisible unless observed and audibly noticed by the chattering classes! Revolution!

0tralala said...

Big Finish. Trotsky. They are the same thing.

Le Mc said...

Physical description *is* really hard in audio. Said the expert, ha.