Monday, 24 December 2018
And people think comics only became capable of dealing with adult themes in the mid eighties. Harumph, now you can tell people different.
Bernard Cribbins has made humour and conversation a super power. Saving the world a little every time he makes some one smile.
I was kind of hoping Basil did a version of God Save The Queen by The Sex Pistols. Basil could channel Lydon if he so choose. Or Holidays In The Sun. Just the thought of Basil going over the Berlin Wall. Mind you we live in an era when the Berlin wall does not have the same cultural resonance...as it no longer exists, I suppose.
Thunder in the air and the sky turned grey."
Eddie Tenpole, Tenpole Tudor,
The Swords Of a Thousand Men.
Its The Doctor in a war story, off sorts. Fighting alongside, of all allies, Attila The Hun. They say war makes for strange bedfellows and Doctor Who has never been short of those. The year is 451 AD and the Gaul The Doctor and her chums find themselves in is nothing like the one Asterix and Obelix inhabited. Its a dangerous and very smelly place. Allies become enemies and vice versa in this quite epic tale by Steve Cole that rounds of the trilogy of books published by the BBC that celebrates the first season of Jodie Whitakers tenancy of The tardis.
Steve Cole absolutely channels the characters and this is amazing given that he surely had not seen a scene while he wrote this, probably working from a "show bible". It would have made a stand out episode and I do not think it is too much of a stretch to consider it one.
Wednesday, 5 December 2018
The two main characters are that most interesting of characters, flawed heroes despite themselves. One can see the dead and another has seen quite enough dead. Even created a few.
It is gripping atmospheric stuff. Pull up a chair, join hands, do not break the circle.
The dead are getting ready to speak.
Well there is not going to be one. The stand alone yuletide gift has been relocated to New Years Day. It is not gone, just moved. New Doc, New Day, I suppose. I am a little disapointed at the shift, although it is by no means the worst thing that could happen. It seems like such a small thing to the rest of the "real" world but every one of the Doctor Who specials have meant so much to me. Every one yeilding joy and special treasures on a day that always feels like a curates egg of mixed emotions. Family gatherings on this mid winter day can feel like a minefield with no truly safe roots past explosive emotional outbursts (Well, I am speaking as one who grew up in a Catholic household and every one elses Christmas experience might well be like a Tesco advertisment. Although they always look like what a Westworlds android might imagine a human christmas to be.)
I always found the Christmas specials to resonate with delightful Whoish goodwill. Watching them was never like an FA Cup final or some sporting event that requires Mexican waves, air pumping or screaming at the telly, just great tales illuminating the bleak midwinter.
Thirteen years was a great run. Not many television shows could have sustained that but like so many trends Doctor Who went whistling by, ploughing its own field.
And its welcome any day of the year....
Which is not to say the fact there is no Christmas special this year should suggest such a thing. in fact if the the scenes involving the Two doctors on the WW1 battlefield last year proved to be the last I can think of no nobler place to leave off...It was so heart breaking, so on the money,so joyful in the face of cruelty and madness so Whoish, Well, job done ladies and gentlemen.
In the meantime what an opportunity to revisit Peter Davison,s fantastic first season. Like The Tardis these days, The Doctor travels with three chums. Each very different but all bent on adventure and discovery. And boy do they find it. This series was so new, so different following seven years of Tom Baker striding across all of space and time ( It was unthinkable to have anyone else fly The Tardis.) you have to appreciate the courage and inventiveness on display, the enthusiasm dripping off their sleeves. Fantastic days...Time Crash away!
Tuesday, 27 November 2018
So much has been said, so many tributes lovingly paid, and it is a bitter sweet experience to read them. His vision and his talent illuminated and enriched so many lives, from the most average boy or girl on the street to the most extraordinarily privileged offspring of who knows what or where, the great and varied human aggregate, he somehow reached them all. Just like David Bowie I never imagined a world where Stan lee would not be around.
And just like Bowie, I suppose, in a way he will always be around in some shape or form.
He said it himself many times and with the greatest respect I would like to repeat;
Twenty Eighteen, the first time I have been involved in the celebrations for my favourite television show and oh boy I hope it is not the last. Got the chance to meet and hang out with some Doctor Who fans from all walks of life, uncynical, optimistic and full of the joys of the Whoniverse. The Good, the bad and the joyfully ridiculous, just like real life I suppose. A happy day.
Saturday, 24 November 2018
Reading this book I felt a nostalgic tug for a doctor Who novel I read as a boy. The Web Planet novelization by bill Strutton. It would be many years until I would see the actual story on video tape and then dvd so this book acted as my guide to that distant alien world Vortis where the only recognisably human figures were The Doctor and his companions. Molten Heart shares this delightful conceitI do hope some where there is a young reader picking up Molten Heart and going on a similar reading experience (Who knows perhaps one day this story will be re-enacted as a Big Finish audio adaption when the original cast of Jodie and chums are reunited, all old and grey but full of the joy of remembering these exciting times we share with them Now.)
Season Eleven may well be slightly shorter in number of episodes but these three BBC novels could well fill that shortfall. Did I say shortfall?
Its an embarrassment of riches...
Thursday, 22 November 2018
The Doctor and some of his companions have found themselves in similar dark straits before,
in America, in Salem, in a great book by steve Lyons. Its a first doctor tale and really well worth sourcing. The historicals were a source of palpable real world horrors and this episode looks set to explore that...
Tuesday, 20 November 2018
And this beautiful piece of artwork by Antrim Man Mark McKeown seems to say just that in a single thrilling image. Just look at it, you can hear and feel that pause, that inward draw of breath before the big plunge into the Time and space vortex as it does in the exciting reworking of the world's greatest intro theme by composer Segun Akinola.
"..THWOOOOOP,DADADA DUM,DADADA DUM,DADADA DUM.."
My gooses have gone all bumpy.
Saturday, 17 November 2018
This is the intro to the quite stunning new music video for the Rufus Wainwright song Sword Of Damocles. The video is directed by Andrew Ondrejcak and stars Rufus wainwright and an actor called David Criss (a man who has been given a severe whopping with the handsome stick. This is one good looking man. In his Vivienne Westwood clothes he has jumped to the top of my wish list for Christmas.I know how shallow that sounds but damn he is a honey.) The video (can one still call short music films "videos"?) is a warning to all those who seek to occupy the seat of power and the danger that constantly hangs over ones head.The lyrics are compelling, delivered with mournful gravitas by a fine voiced Rufus Wainwright. Quite beautiful and starkly threatening at times, switching from stroking damocles curly hair with affection to warning he may cut off his head. It is the sort of a thing a King may do. The love of Kings and Queens is a mercurial thing.
"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."
Shakespeare said that, or rather he put the words into the mouth of King Henry IV.
Possibly the title of a follow up single to this lovely thing.
It is quite a politically charged song with regard to the political and social situation America, and the rest of the world, is currently going through. In fact I would go as far to say you would have to be watching this and listening without benefit of a head not to pick up on it. I do think it also works on other levels as well, its just a beautiful song beautifully performed with a haunting and thought provoking video to accompany it. A brain worm so to speak...it gets right in there...
A small but tight group of performers and producers have produced a wee classic in a line that continues to shine brightly alongside its origin material. Gareth Pierce as Hywel Roberts more than holds his own during this nightmarish confrontation between innocence and calculated evil. Innocence being no defense in the face of a cruel plan that requires hosts to balance a Faustian deal. If you were looking for a place to jump on to this amazing series or just fancy a chilling stand alone ghost story to listen to on a winters evening then this is waiting for you.
"We've lived together for decades , Hindu, Muslim and Sikh. And now we are being told our differences are more important than what unites us." So says Prem, the young man Yaz's grandmother is about to marry. Prem is a thoughtful, hardworking, family orientated war veteran who has come back to his beautiful Punjab farm stead to wed and put down roots far from the battlefield. He is a lovely human being and a man who would be perfect as anyone's grandfather or husband. Only thing is; he is neither to Yaz. This man is not her grandfather. So who is he and how is his story related to the mysterious broken watch Yaz's grandmother has passed down to her as her most treasured heirloom?
The Doctor had taken her friend back in time against her better judgement. We have seen as recently as Father's Day that this does not end well. The Doctor once helped Rose be there for her dying father's last moments and reality came undone. She offers Yaz one hour, one hour to perhaps find a clue to the mystery of the family heirloom. And off course this is simply not time enough. What follows is one of the most beautifully shot episodes of Doctor Who. On a par with The Doctor And Vincent for sheer splendour of location and its use. The writing is simple,yet almost poetic by turns, the musical score haunting and gently thematic. The Demons are not the monsters they appear to be, something of a theme this season. The monsters in this story have not crossed the stars, they have crossed a few fields.
The movie is a "whodunnit" with the least telegraphed character being revealed as the killer., a murderous surgeon who pitilessly dispatches his victims, women of bad character according to insane view of the times he lives in. He blames them for the loss of his son, Matters theory suggested the son died of a venereal disease passed on to him during contact with one of these women, a woman named Mary Clarke. The movie goes for the equally depressing notion the son drowned himself upon learning the great love of his life was a lady of the night. Possibly also a more palatable reason for movie audiences of that era who moral qualms aside were comfortable enough seeing innocent women dispatched at knife point.
I must have seen this movie as a boy late one night on Etna drive. I remembered the ending with a degree of unease and suddenly knew now why I am always nervous in lifts.
Saturday, 10 November 2018
For those of you unfamiliar with the character wait til you meet Beep the Meep.
After that you will never judge a Meep by its cover...er,so to speak..
All credit to whoever managed to create such a compelling and endearing portrait.
"I'd rather be, all out at sea,
Sunk for the rest of me life.
I'd still feel better,
Down fifty feet wetter,
Than home with the kids and the wife."
These are the words of a sea-shanty sung in a waterfront pub that Ryan finds himself in while trying to find his way back to his companions after seperate adventures on this messed up planet. Its an amusing detail in a pleasantly created scene in a low waterfront dive. Lobos is a well imagined planet in that thanks to the richness of our collective imaginations as we are not limited by BBC budgets and Juno Dawson's writing is descriptive enough to visualise the various locales. its another world they are on and a lot of writers are cottoning on to the notion that other planets probably have more than one enviroment, with different regions, different weather systems and climates. Not so much a snow world, then a desert world etc. Also for the continuity buffs the current production team left room between broadcast adventures for stories set in other mediums. Providing nothing happens as radical as say Graham losing a foot or any other limb for that matter.
Its a nice read this one. Juno Dawson must have been given insights in advance as to how the different characters would approach their roles, as they are pretty bang on. Read it now while the aura of newness still hangs around the show.
The show made for children which adults adore.
Just open to the first page, see the words "previously" and tell me you were not intrigued..
Thursday, 25 October 2018
Its a holy relic.