We like to watch TV with dinner, usually a series on Netflix. Lately, that series as been Doctor Who (2005-). Flashback: When I first moved to California, Ms. Spenser (not yet married to myself), lived with her parents in Marin. I visited from Silicon Valley every weekend. Fri and Sat evenings usually found us in her bed watching Tom Baker as the Doctor on KQED. Well, she would watch them, and I would gently fall asleep. So my knowledge of the original series is a little fuzzy.
I could say a million things about the new series, all good, but will here confine myself to one topic - the strange impression I get that many of the roles are played by actors I recognize, although they aren't. For example, the tenth Doctor, David Tennant, seems to be "doing" Arnold Rimmer, played by Chris Barrie in Red Dwarf. He has the same accent, and the same way of wrinkling his nose and grimacing. I swear I heard him say "smeg" once.
But that's not all. Take for example, a brilliant stand-alone episode, "The Unicorn and the Wasp", taking place at a house party for Agatha Christie in the 1920s. First, the lady of the manor seemed to be played by Felicity Kendall, and indeed it was! Now, I have a little crush on Ms. Kendal, and she looks every bit as winsome here as she did in, for example, The Good Life, although a bit older.
But who is that playing Agatha Christie? Why, it's Kendal's co-star Penelope Keith! Also known to public TV viewers from her role as Audrey in To the Manor Born. Except that it isn't her, it is Fenella Woolgar, a much younger actress.
But never mind, look who's playing the Vicar: it's Peter Davison, the fifth Doctor! Brilliant, to bring him back like that, and he hasn't aged a bit since the 80s. Um, I guess because it isn't him, but one Tom Goodman-Hill, who bears only the slightest resemblance.
So, is it my imagination (or almost autistic inability to recognize faces), or are they doing this on purpose? "Get me a Penelope Keith type for Christie", or "Can you put a little more Peter Davison into it?" Yeah, probably my imagination.