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In which the Daily Telegraph grinds my gears Dec 22

Warning: this post contains pedantry. Normally I’m very forgiving of the odd typo here and there, even in the “professional press”. We all hit the wrong button sometimes. Not everyone has a solid education in the classics (I sure don’t). There are probably typos in this very post. But the story I’m about to blog about is so rubbish that I’m afraid I’m going to pick out a couple number of examples that should have been subbed away to reinforce what a poor article it is.

I should also warn you that this post, unlikely almost every other post in the four-and-a-half years I’ve been writing this blog, contains a bit of swearing at the end.

David Tennant could star in Doctor Who musical version cried the Telegraph on Thursday. No idea whether this story reached the hallowed pages of the dead tree version, but there it is on the website, screaming out its headline. Ah, “could”.

Will Howells could climb Mount Everest

Paracetomol could make monkeys dance

I’ll not labour the point. So it’s an article speculating wildly about the unlikely possibility of one of the remaining Tennant specials being given over to a Buffy-style musical episode (not that the obvious Buffy parallel is ever drawn).

Tennant , who will next be seen in a BBC Christmas Day special, is due to leave the show in 2010.

Extra space after Tennant. The most minor error in the article.

Dr Who mastermind Russell T Davies, who is a fan of classic Hollywood musicals, especially Doris Day’s Calamity Jane, wants to bow out with show stopper, it is understood.

“It is understood”? Hello, old friend. No named source then? Oh, and that’ll be a show stopper you mean. On second reading, there are far more typos than I remember.

Tennant is currently recovering after a back operation which forced him to pull out of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet in London, said in a radio interview he would not be tied down for a long run.

There’s either a missing “who” there or two sentences run together.

However a musical episode could see the return of Billy Piper, a former 90s popstar, and even Kylie Minogue.

OK, now we’re getting to the juicy stuff. First off, she’s not Billy, she’s Billie. But, more importantly, here we are again with the “could”. What evidence is there for this? Bugger all. Our hack has noticed that two actresses from the new series have had pop careers and chooses to include this in the article via the entirely spurious – but at the same time undeniable – claim that both “could” return. Christopher Bloody Eccleston could return, supported by Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford and the entire Berlin Philharmonic but it’s not very likely.

Tennant, who has played the 10th doctor since 2005, has only one other project announced for next year. A film version of Stephen Poliakoff’s 1939, in which he plays Hector.

I mean, were the subs all out at a Christmas party the day this piece got through?

And mischievously he has been tipping his friend, and former Cold Feet actor James Nesbitt.

What, he’s been tipping two people? Or perhaps Tennant has only been tipping his friend, and former Cold Feet actor, James Nesbitt.

“It’s Jimmy Nesbitt who will be taking over. Jimmy Nesbitt got into touch to say ‘please tell them it’s not me. I spend all my day going round saying its not me, I couldn’t take over from David.’ “I would urge the public of Britain that if they see Jimmy Nesbitt in the street to go up and congratulate him.”

Extraneous double quotation mark there.

Russell T Davies, who revived Dr Who said in a recent interview that a female Dr Who might be a strong possibility.

More comma abuse. I should send a link to Simon Heffer in the hope that he explodes.

But whoever wrote this appallingly put together travesty of an article has saved the best for last.

Joanna Lumley was once tipped to take over from Tom Baker,

As far as I know, this is bollocks. I don’t know whether this is true or not. Jo-Jo Lum-Lum has many times over the years been suggested as a female Doctor (indeed she played the role in 1999 in The Curse of Fatal Death) but I’m not aware that she was mentioned as early as 1980.

I’m prepared, though, to be generous and consider that someone from the newspaper has done some research and turned up this fact. Or I would be were the sentence not concluded thus:

but Colin Baker got the job.

For fuck’s sake.

6 Responses

  1. 1

    That can’t possibly have been subbed. I suspect a Christmas party nobbled the editing chain, as you suggest!

  2. So that’s what a geek tantrum looks like 😉

  3. I wish I’d spotted this. It could have gone here. Instead of which, a link to you will, if you can stand the exposure?

  4. 4
    Joe Bua 

    I just thought I’d add how much I enjoy the Family Guy reference in the headline.

  5. 5

    It’s because the Telegraph has sacked all its subs and is now outsourcing the proof reading to Australia. Where they spell upside down.

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