Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Movellan Grave.

Oh dear, archaeological digs in the doctor who universe usually do not have happy endings. Actually that is slightly off, they normally end well thanks to The Doctor but the road to that end is generally a rocky road paved with human debris. This particular dig uncovers a Movellan spaceship, long buried in the ground, but still viable, which is to say about to become active once more. Bloomin' typical is it not, you do not see a Movellan for more than three decades and suddenly they are all over the place. well, a blink and you would miss it appearrence in the recent Doctor Who episode The Pilot and now a Big Finish Doctor Who fourth Doctor Season Six Story. Hardly all over the place, I know.
             The Movellans being a robotic race are not only long lived but they are also capable of shutting down and sleeping even longer. Perhaps a skill realised in their conflict with their nemesis creator Davros. According to Who lore the Movellans are the enemy of The Daleks. But then again who is'nt. The enemies of The Daleks; that is one long list. The daleks are not discriminating about who chooses to call them enemies. They hate just about everyone. No, scratch that. They hate everyone. At some undetermined point in their mutual combat they find themselves in something of a stalemate. Two evenly capable opponents with shields locked. the doctor suggests this is because of the Movellans and The Daleks shared robotic nature. I think this is something of a mis-statement on his part. The Daleks are not robots. They may chose to make their homes inside retro-Kaledian travel machines but that is more an alien aesthetic choice. Daleks are actually squirming balls of living hate. Which are in fact the words Dalek mothers use to stitch into the name tags of their off-springs gym shorts.
               Oddly, or perhaps not-so, The Doctor first encountered the Movellans during another dig, that one taking place on the planet Skaro and what they found there would have been best left in the dark and forgotten about; Davros himself. I have fond memories of that story. with The Tardis landing in that chalky canyon, the ominous rumbling and thumping from beneath the ground, with Lalla Ward every inch The Time Lady years before Jodie Whittaker was a twinkle in Chris Chibnalls eye. ( You see, it does work!)I remember how exotic and snooty The Movellan's came across. I never considired them a worthy adversary for the Daleks, unless it was in a dance off. It was as though Hot Gossip off The Kenny Everett show were to take on the Nazis. I was constantly expecting them to bust a few erotic dance moves in the sand dunes of Skaro. I also thought the corn rows were not as cool as full on dreads, I much prefer the scruffy knotty kind, like old frayed rope. I thought them more Sister Sledge than bad ass droids.I apologise for that. The expression "bad ass " feels entirely forced and unnatural to me.
               Its a great adventure this one, with archaeologists on the hoof being pursued by a huge killer Movellan who does come across as a suitable opponent for the killers from Skaro. A pursuit done in an eighties British stylee. Very Doctor Who of that period.
               Which is more than we can really hope for.

Alien Artifacts.






                                                               (From my sketchbook.)

Hey Morty I,m A Pickle!


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Subteranea.

Going Underground..as The Jam once sang, long ago, in a tube station far,far away. The Doctor and Romanna find themselves in a subterranean steam punk Dickensian world of giant drills and dodgy dealers. It is territory that lends itself well to this period of Doctor Who history.The moving communities housed within the steam punk moles move beneath the soil of a ravaged world, its like Mad Max Fury Road only with more dirt and seventies working class sensibilities . The drill towns are populated with characters with great names such as Jericho Wigg or Arabella Wagstaff and are running from the monstrous Silex who are pursuing them to the point of extinction.
               Subterranea is a well written piece by Jonathan Morris  that not only brings to mind the atmosphere of the television show of that era but also the early Pat Mills/Dave Gibbons comic strips that used to appear in the old Doctor Who Weekly. In that the characters have a quirky seventies working class speech patterns and yet are also strong characters in their own way. And just look at that cover. There is an almost lost art to album sleeves although it is not one lost on the good people at Big Finish. The look of the era is mirrored by the sound of a very clever atmospheric soundtrack., very synth of that period (Human League "Travelogue" anyone?One of my favourite album covers.)
               During the story, no spoiler here, The Doctor and Romanna are apart for a time.which allows both of them to behave as the Children Of Gallifrey they are, possessed of an almost enfant terrible like ability to adapt to the circumstances they find themselves in. I found myself picturing the wonderful Lalla as she was in what I have seen of the cobbled together recorded pieces of that lost Tom Baker story Shada. She really is on top of her game in this one. When I listen to these stories I sometimes see the shadow of Warriors Gate loom and think how the mirror to another universe awaits. But that moment is not now, not today. Not yet.
                There are a few more stories to go...A big two parter by all accounts..Hurrah!

Pride And Joy.

                                                                      Happy Days!
                                                            Belfast Gay Pride day 2017.

Coppernicus Magilacuddy.

                                                  The story Of A Boy And His Alchemist
                                                              (From my sketchbook)

The Doctor's New Companion.

                                              "The names Humongous..Basil Humongous,
                                                                  How'd you do?"