The Last Night of the Proms

Neatly bookending the hottest bit of the year, we have the camp Eurovision Song Contest (written about elsewhere on this blog) in May closing it we had yesterday’s finale to the Proms season.  Which was once again a rousing and magnificent triumph, as it is every year.  I love the celebration of culture and history that is always in evidence and I also love watching the orchestra play, a mighty machine working in perfect harmony to bring about stirring music that captures the imagination world-wide.

The BBC gets a lot of stick from the public and press and rightly so in some areas, the top-heavy approach to management, instead of using that money for programming which is evidenced by some of its pretty substandard output, not to mention the lack of live sport.  However, The coverage of the Proms is one of the corporations victories.

The vast Royal Albert Hall always looks beautiful on such a night, with its flag waving and panoramic camera angles showing off the enthusiasm of the public for such public artistic events.  Founded by Sir Henry Woods back in 1895, who wanted to bring classical music to everybody and his noble intentions are now a staple of our summertime. One thing we can do well on this Sceptred Isle is tradition, which is why our trains are still rubbish, we always expect rain and we are so out of our depth when not queueing. Continue reading “The Last Night of the Proms”

Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Wife

Here we finally are in my odyssey through time and a bit of space to the current incumbent to call himself the Doctor.  This is my seventh post today, so I appreciate you guys for putting up with me all over your news feed thingys and email accounts and also and most importantly for reading, but I digress:  Matt Smith, the latest incarnation is a great actor but I didn’t really gel with his Doctor for a  good while, perhaps it was the script writing or maybe I was just in a constant irritable mood but the high points from his Doctor came in fits and starts I thought.

He had some cracking episodes though, don’t get me wrong: Vincent and the Doctor, The Snowmen and The Curse of the Black Spot were my particular favourites but this one gets the metaphorical (and physical, just so you know) nod as it involves the longest serving companion and featured in a new guise to boot.

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Neil Gaiman – the writer of the magnificent Sandman series as well as stuff I haven’t read such as Stardust, Neverwhere, Coraline and many others – was the creator of this particular adventure and he chooses to deal with an often overlooked relationship hidden in plain sight but rarely addressed. Continue reading “Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Wife”

Only Whoman

The biggest Doctor Who fan I know is my cousin Cory, so what better subject to write upon for the penultimate post of my mammoth Whoxtraveganza than to showcase one of the people who keep the show alive and on form.  Here’s some of the many awesome photos he has supplied me with and also his words…

1392982_10152111674325555_665541172_nFor me, collecting Doctor Who merchandise is just an extension of watching the show. I have an obsessive personality, if I like something, I REALLY like it. It’s a great hobby, because even though there are bound to be disappointments along the way, when rare items slip through your fingers, it’s all part of the thrill of the chase!

1472131_10152111674320555_1168186533_nIt’s also great fun meeting the stars of the show, and even the ones I can’t get round to meeting, I write to…helping me build up an impressive autograph collection! Continue reading “Only Whoman”

Last of the Gaderene – Mark Gatiss

n52001Post Five in my Who Day extravaganza, I have decided to bill it is somewhat unsurprisingly a book.  I assure you normal service of non Who posts shall be resumed shortly.

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The aerodrome in Culverton has new owners, and they promise an era of prosperity for the idyllic village. But former Spitfire pilot Alex Whistler is suspicious – when black-shirted troops appear on the streets, he contacts his old friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart at U.N.I.T. The Third Doctor is sent to investigate – and soon uncovers a sinister plot to colonise the Earth. The Gaderene are on their way.

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Shamelessly piggy backing on topical news stories, if a bit belatedly, as this was tucked away in my drafts.  I decided to review something old and new, that is also blue and just to complete the traditional saying I borrowed a pen earlier.

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Mark Gatiss is the writer of such well crafted episodes as The Crimson Horror, The Unquiet Dead and Night Terrors amongst others, as well as various other Doctor Who bits and bobs including other Who books. This story is part of a set of fiftieth anniversary book set and it’s easy to see why this one was chosen above some other strong contenders for the third Doctor pick.

222 Continue reading “Last of the Gaderene – Mark Gatiss”

doctor Who – Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead

SilenceInTheLibrarySo for my fourth Who post of the day,  I had to pick this two parter featuring the tenth Doctor and probably most popular on an equal par with Tom Baker’s Doctor.  I had to pick this as it contains a library and this library is a whole planet, so how could I resist?

The Doctor and Donna land in the middle of the biggest library in the Universe one that covers an entire planet. Yet it also houses a sinister set of foes that quickly send shivers up the spine, and that prove it’s wise to, as advised, “count the shadows”.  Yet with the mysterious character of River Song, the equally intriguing Dr Moon and a small girl’s nightmares to consider, there’s plenty to unravel.

There is another reason for picking this episode and that is because it’s rare for the Doctor to be put off kilter for very long but when he encounters River Song a person (with spoilers) from his future, things are always going to take an interesting and dramatic turn and indeed story arc. Continue reading “doctor Who – Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead”

Doctor who – The End of the World

hp1x2_01The Doctor takes Rose on her first trip through time to the year five billion, where they join a group of alien delegates preparing to watch the Earth being consumed by the sun. But there’s a traitor on board who’s prepared to kill them all.

A new Doctor, a new production, a new face and companion and most of all a new feel. Same old Earth though, ‘just’ five billion years in the future. It’s a huge concept to open the show proper with and one that is pulled off wonderfully with the right amount of emotion and humour.

After the first introductory episode which introduced or (reintroduced) us to and explained who and what everything and everyone was, it is this second episode that really gets things going.  Aliens, future times, humour, feelings and the setting out of key character elements which will push the show on all coalesce to give a strong second episode. Continue reading “Doctor who – The End of the World”

Doctor who – The Return, 2005-Present

Continuing my catch up with Who and the second post of the day so far…say welcome back for Doctor’s 9,10,11 and 12…so far.

After much manic – and probably dangerous to people in a ten foot radius – bouncing around, my first thoughts of the new Who was that it was all over a bit to quickly, gone were the days of the cliff hanger episode endings to, instead we were ‘treated to’ inclusions of previews for the following episode.  the whole feel of the show was different and it worried and dare I say it disappointed me…for a while that is.

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After focussing on what seemed like a whole lot of negatives (although not deal breakers in any way) I started to re watch more closely and think more deeply, as is my way, about Who and the present generation of children with short attention spans and all those e-numbers rolling around their systems.  Time has moved on and so had my favourite sci-fi show.

Change always encounters opposition but thinking about how the original incarnation grew too familiar, this jolt became more pleasant as I witnessed of the new run.  Some episodes did and still do take time to grow on me but I have decided that the new format, whilst initially off-putting to me as a veteran of the old Who way of life,  became a richer experience as I began to look at the positives and then it all clicked for me and I welcomed the Doctor back. Continue reading “Doctor who – The Return, 2005-Present”

Doctor Who – The Hiatus

Doctor_Who_Weekly_1Apologies for belatedly getting in with more Who posts, my laptop battery unexpectedly gave up so over the rest of the weekend I will be getting the remaining six or seven posts out as and when, so apologies in advance for the apparent spamming of your  WP reader.

Today I shall be posting three Who posts as I am running out of time to get them all in before the 50th. This is the first and the other two shall be following sometime during the day at fairly even intervals;

The dark years of Who were not as dark for me as one would imagine.  To a teen like myself, at the time the loss was not felt quite as keenly with other things to distract me such as girls and football and then of course my burgeoning love for books.  Nevertheless Who continued in other forms and kept the polarity of the neutron flow reversed.

With series 27 cancelled, the show had ended its long run on an interesting and new direction, with so much promise but also on a quiet note.  With no discernible closure and the open-ended nature of the show there was always going to be a need for more.

The Doctor Who Magazine (DWM) carried on after the end of the series and still is going strong, thanks to some wonderful articles and of course the loyal fans, its thanks to the intelligent and well written perspectives of the articles that the depth of Doctor Who was revealed to me and inspired me to have a crack at some of my own writings about it. Continue reading “Doctor Who – The Hiatus”

Doctor Who – The Movie

51J2ZUPFuYLTransporting the remains of the Master, Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor is diverted to San Francisco in 1999. Regenerating in the form of Paul McGann, the Doctor gains a new companion in heart surgeon Dr Grace Holloway (Daphne Ashbrook) and must stop the Master from destroying the world.

Out of the ashes of the behemoth which was the institution we all loved came this certainly different version with its very Americanized feel to it.  I could spend this whole post moaning about the deficiencies of this film and for those of you that love to read a good whinge, you won’t be disappointed but there are some good points to be taken from this attempted TV pilot.

Any attempt to resurrect, or should I say regenerate (notice my razor-sharp punnery there?) this show was always going to be an admirable venture to undertake, no matter what the outcome.  The problem being that the changes were too much to fast.  The highly stylised production values disregarded all of the history, not to mention atmosphere of the show which the long term fans were comfortable with.

A higher budget can be a curse as much as it is a boon, the good news is that Eric ‘Best of the Best’ Roberts is cast to play a wonderfully hammy and a bit loony Master which of course helps bridge over to the new series in which John Simm plays a more manically unhinged adaptation.  Roberts complements Paul McGann’s Doctor wonderfully.

It’ s always great to see the Doctor returning to his roots and with the inclusion of Sylvester McCoy and also a return to the more traditional styling of outfit for the Doctor.  Being just regenerated we get the usual intense and quirky feeling to the character which is just one of the many points on which to speculate over how a new series would have gone had the viewing figures and critics given this the thumbs up. Continue reading “Doctor Who – The Movie”

Doctor Who – Ghost Light

ghostlightFinally we come to the last Doctor of the classic era and also coincidentally my Doctor, the first one I watched and will defend with an axe, if anyone says anything against him.

Not surprisingly I had many McCoy adventures to choose from, The Curse of Fenric and the Greatest Show in the Galaxy were strong choices before I rewatched Ghost Light.

London, 1983: an old house mysteriously burns to the ground. One hundred years earlier, the Doctor and Ace arrive at a sinister mansion in the rural hamlet of Perivale. Horrors old and new await the Doctor amongst the peculiar residents of Gabriel Chase, but it is Ace who must confront her own worst nightmares when she discovers that her past and the house’s future are inextricably linked.

McCoy’s era showcases stories that have a nice mixture of the dreamlike and the mysterious about them and this story is no different with its mix of science and religion, aliens and madness set in the Victorian age.

The Eerie and Gothic feeling of the setting and accompanying soundtrack, along with the whimsical and surreal characters makes for an enjoyably dark romp. It’s a bit barmy to be honest with a non linear storyline which slowly unfolds over three episodes, piecing together what’s going on is half the fun.

It’s got the feel of a horror story but is far to mad for that, so much so that I am having trouble nailing down what it is..schizophrenic is the best word that I can come up with.  The characters can be at one point sinister and at another totally bonkers…its great, it’s weird, it’s atmospheric and it’s just fun with a difference. Continue reading “Doctor Who – Ghost Light”