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Mel's Belles - A bit of love for Mel

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Author Topic: Mel's Belles - A bit of love for Mel  (Read 149 times)
Vampyros Adric
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« on: October 21, 2010, 10:12:32 pm »

Time for a small confession. I adore Bonnie Langford. I liked her when she was on Dancing on Ice, I liked her in West End Shows and I liked her in Doctor Who. This, I am willing to accept is a minority view but when I saw a Mel-Dislike thread I thought it could not go unanswered so I set up this little place where those of us with a like mind can share our dirty little secret - Mel never got a fair crack of the whip and when she did, she did a lovely little turn. There, I've said it!

I have in my mind a specific story, Terror of the Vervoids. Its a brilliant little tale which would have graced any season of the Doctor and I think all of the lead characters rip chunks out the script. Mel facilitates that story beautifully - which is, after all the job of the companion - and she provides a real sparkle to her role. She looks like she is actually enjoying it and has the perfect relationship with Baker's Doctor (by this time Colin Baker was turning into a truly brilliant Doctor almost unnoticed by anyone - including, at the time, me). Perhaps Time and the Rani was the stake through the heart of her character from which she could never recover (although a re-watch of that has shown that it is not the monstrosity of my memory).

I will say, I get why Mel could be annoying. Bonnie L brings a very idiosyncratic characterisation to Mel and I think that whole era of DW suffered from poor writing and a half hearted commitment by the BBC to the show. But I really enjoyed Mel's tenure and in happier times, I think she might have fared better - or perhaps she simply suffers from being Bonnie Langford. Whatever the reason, I like Bonnie (a lovely person and from all accounts a true pro) and I like what she did with Mel.

Don't tell anyone I said this alright....
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2010, 10:18:08 pm »

I have to say, although not quite swimming in the same pond as Chris, I am willing to dip my toe in. I dont hate Mel and there are lots of times when I think she is rather awesome, but as stated above, she was too often written as a whiny tit. She suffered terribly from JNT's mission to give every fan everything they wanted and managed to deliver a companion which almost no one wanted. She could have been a lot greater and with more development and better writing could have been a lot more fondly remembered.

She is by no means anywhere near one of my favourites, but I dont hold that against her or Bonnie as I think she didnt really get a fair chance.
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2010, 10:25:12 pm »

She could have been a lot greater and with more development and better writing could have been a lot more fondly remembered.

She is by no means anywhere near one of my favourites, but I dont hold that against her or Bonnie as I think she didnt really get a fair chance.

As usual, the Doc says in 2 sentences what I have been grasping around for in three, verbose, flabby paragraphs. She is not my favourite simply because she wasn't given the chance to be my favourite. She was thrown in at the time when JNT's enthusiasm for DW was at zero and she had virtually no character development. We were given a hyper-Bonnie Langford and told to like it or lump it. I wish Rusty had written for her - she'd have been given the same reception as Cribbins!
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2010, 10:30:27 pm »

I was saying in the other thread how I remember JNT saying in an interview how he regrets creating her so badly and that she was one of his biggest regrets. She really wasnt given a fair go and I think she could have been better. Her acting wasnt the greatest, but on the other hand she didnt really get much to act with.

Surprisingly, despite the amount of fans who say they dont like her, when the Radio Times ran that article after The Eleventh Hour comparing Matt and Karen to Mel and Seven saying how nobody can be as bad as those two, the amount of people who jumped to her defense was brilliant to see
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2010, 10:42:11 pm »

I think you are right (as usual) Peri - having seen some of the extra material on the DVDs it is clear that BL wasn't given any real steer on how to be there and there wasn't any real rational for her character appearing other than Nicola Bryant had gone and they needed a new companion. Perhaps I would say she was the right companion for Colin Baker just at the wrong time for both of them. Give Colin Baker and BL Remembrance of the Daleks and I bet they'd have done a great job of it.
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2010, 10:47:49 pm »

Her taking the place of Peri didnt sit well with me as a kid I must admit. I didnt understand why Peri couldnt just always be in it. Her being there made bitter that Peri wasnt lol. I am a bit more rational now. Not much, but a bit Tongue
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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2010, 10:53:43 pm »

Her taking the place of Peri didnt sit well with me as a kid I must admit. I didnt understand why Peri couldnt just always be in it. Her being there made bitter that Peri wasnt lol. I am a bit more rational now. Not much, but a bit Tongue

Do you know why Nicola Bryant left? Did she fall or was she pushed? (I appreciate this is slightly off topic but I think it speaks to the main issue - apologies for sounding all Lawyer like there lol)
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2010, 10:56:54 pm »

Ive never read anything to suggest she was pushed or asked to leave. From the little I have read I think it had something to do with her husband, who is American, needing to go back to the US and her having to go with him.
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2010, 11:00:19 pm »

Ive never read anything to suggest she was pushed or asked to leave. From the little I have read I think it had something to do with her husband, who is American, needing to go back to the US and her having to go with him.

That would make sense. And I think Peri leaving (and the manner of her leaving) did leave a slightly unsettled feeling which didn't help integrate Mel within the show. You had Peri suffering some horrid experiment and then .. Wallop! Next week Bonnie Langford is skipping around the show - with no real explanation. A proper story to give her background and texture would have really helped.
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2010, 11:14:09 pm »

I'm still very bitter about Peri's exit. Was totally disrespectful to the character, actress and fans if you ask me, which you didn't, but now you know Tongue
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2013, 10:57:42 am »

I've had my first real proper look at Mel this week thanks to a load of new DVDs for Christmas and I think she is great. One story perhaps isn't enough to make a judgement on when every other could be poor, but I am going to stand in defence of her. She's a screamer, that's for sure, and it can be a bit irritating, but she seemed a really nice character and I think that she was played well too. I don't understand the dislike. At least not yet.
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« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2013, 08:43:10 pm »

Just to add to this a cool story. After watching Mel last week I decided to have a look at what she had done since leaving the show. I came across Bonnie Langfords website which had an email address on it. I figured since she has had a lot of stick over the years I would be nice and send an email saying I had watched and thought Mel was great. I thought nothing more of it, but then this week I got a reply from her saying thank you and wishing me a happy new year etc. She signed it off from 'Bonnie' so assume she replied personally. It also said 'sent from my iPad' which I thought was funny. I just imagined her sitting at home at Langford Towers and emailing me while watching Eastenders, which probably isn't what happened, but still, it was nice of her to reply all the same.
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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2013, 02:44:26 pm »

That's really cool. And really nice of her too.
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« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2013, 02:05:45 am »

Oh wow, that's awesome. Positivity goes a long way and it's always nice to be nice. She probably appreciated that you took the time.

I like Mel. It's not really popular to say as much, but I think she was actually a pretty cool companion. She screamed more than anyone ever should, and I can see why people think she was annoying as a result of that, but I always thought she was acted well. I think her biggest problem is that she was just sweet, and nobody really wants just sweet. There was nothing more too her, and I don't mean that as a negative, but there really was nothing more to explore with her because she was very WYSIWYG.
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