S3E12: The Sound Of Drums

There have been references to a powerful man called Saxon throughout this series of Doctor Who. See, the villain from last week escaped back in time to before the first episode and it's been him all along! He heh. I'm mightily impressed, especially with this concept of effects coming before their causes being "seeded" in earlier stories (cf. Queen Elizabeth's grudge in The Shakespeare Code) so the mainstream audience's collective brain doesn't implode during the finale.

The hypnotic drumming central to the plot is from the bloomin' theme tune! Metatextual, man. What am I supposed to drink for that?

Sarah-Jane's counterpart at The Sunday Mirror is wily too.

Trophy Wife and Chan'tho are to The Master as The Doctor's faithful companions are to Him. The youth, the energy, the humour... has everybody got the message that hero and villain are equals? P.S. Thank heaven for no beard!

"'The man who makes people better.' How sanctimonious is that?"
I'd like to see Her blame for Him develop but I doubt a kids' show will dwell on such stuff. (And on the seventh day, God created fan fiction.)

Methinks the script was finalised after the rumour about The Master being The Doctor's brother went around the internet, since dialogue here outright mocks the idea. Did they change their minds or did they manufacture the leak in the first place? Whichever, it's a good decision.

Karma pays out for Bitch Mother From Hell.

In 1971, The Master watched The Clangers in prison; these days, he watches Teletubbies from 10 Downing Street. How times have changed.

Nick Fury is gonna sue when he sees our aircraft carrier.

He said "decimate" then killed a tenth of the population. Yay for oft-misused words being used correctly!

I've no idea who the Toclafane are but there are several references to them being children. The Archangel Network sounds like a planet-wide Chameleon Arch to me. It would be nice if the unresolved rocket ship plot from last week was tied up but it feels like there's too much else to do now. Whatever happens, they've got a Paradox Machine so they can undo it all again by plugging it in or unplugging it or reversing its polarity.


Top Five Glastonbury-On-T.V. Moments

The rain beat on my skylights on and off all weekend. I went out once per day for groceries. A friend and colleague from more rural parts reports bridges out and houses flooded down her way. I'm so glad I didn't go to the festival! People were mud wrestling for fun.

The B.B.C's Glastonbury mini-site has content galore (though it might not be accessible overseas). Just beware of rude, egotistical presenters like Colin Murray. Not even they could mar my enjoyment of:

5. The Mutoid Waste Co.
Not a band but a green concern that makes animated sculptures from electronic and machine waste.
4. Amy Winehouse
Played twice on different stages. What legs!
3. Lily Allen and some of The Specials
Performing Gansters.
2. The Arctic Monkeys
They played so precisely and were polite to the audience. Covering Diamonds Are Forever in tribute to Shirley Bassey, who played on Sunday, finally converted me. Alex Turner has a better voice than I knew.

1. C.S.S.
I fast-forwarded a lot of drab music this weekend so hooray for Cansei de Ser Sexy bringing the disco rock party to my living room. I danced to the kettle and back. Singer Lovefoxxx stripped off her multi-coloured catsuit to reveal a yellow one underneath and went crowd-surfing. (I read that she doesn't always bother with the second layer of clothing.)

Honourable mentions: a topless Iggy Pop falling down and staying there; Beth Ditto's bits dancing independently from the rest of her; Rufus Wainright being straight out of Will & Grace.



It's on the underside of my right index finger between the knuckle and the first joint. I got it taking down a sheet from my window in the dark and forgetting about the cactus on the sill. It's the tip of a spike. I've sucked it and squeezed it and now I'm going to ignore it.

There's a patch of blood on the sheet at the foot end of my bed today. I haven't bled though. It could be chocolate pretending to be blood...

I have no travelling to do this weekend, praise be. Three people might call round at various times for tea and sympathy. If it weren't for food I might not need the outside world all weekend! Greetings from my sofa.



Glastonbury Festival Of Contemporary Performing Arts is set to be a mudbath this weekend, according to the Met Office. I went four times in the Nineties and, luckily, only got muddy the once.

Apparently there's a new drainage system on-site this year that feeds back into the sea at Burnham - most impressive for the erstwhile "Pilton Pop Festival"! But, unless cutting-edge sewage is your thing, you should save yourself the £150 entry fee and watch it for free on the telly. You can switch between stages instantly using the red button, which sure beats ambling half-cut through a crowded throughfare with only a baguette stall and lasers in the sky as landmarks.

There aren't many essentials on the bill this year... or is that my inner thirty-something talking? Bloc Party, Arcade Fire, The Stooges and The New Pornographers would be my must-sees. I think I'd like The Killers, The Editors and The Klaxons if I heard them. For 2008, I think I'll investigate Glastonbudget: the tribute festival for tribute bands!


S3E11: Utopia

Captain Jack's back and, to prove it's no cameo, the titles have been re-timed to squeeze John Barrowman's name in.

It's Claudius In Space! Sir Derek Jacobi says he's longed to be in two popular programmes for most of his career: this one and Coronation Street. There's no accounting for taste.

I do believe this is our first adventure on the surface of an alien planet in three years of the revived series. (New Earth doesn't count.)

I oughtn't find the feral Futurekind female crush-worthy but she's like a biker chick and a goth chick combined. Somebody knows my Achilles' Heel...

What's with Blue Insect Girl's speech pattern? The Ship translates all foreign speech into forms we recognise so why not hers? It's over-cute and irrelevant, just like the ten-year-old Scots girl put to work in a base full of a thousand adults. (Welcome to the writing of Russell T Davies. As producer, he's been the most enthusiastic spokesman for the show that we could have wished for but he writes in big blockbusting sweeps that often leave me wanting for detail and structure.)

I like the over-layed "tunnel effect" that they always use on flashbacks - until now. Boo to production inconsistencies.

"You built this system out of food and string and staples."
I suppose The Face Of Boe could have chosen his words to reference Professor Yana in a kind of Nostrodamian Hister/Hitler-like prediction, but as a pre-packaged important revelation it stinks of parmigiano. If Ol' Rubber Mouth really wanted to help, he could have said more. One thing in fiction that really annoys me is a crisis that's prolonged (or even created) by characters on the same team withholding information from one other. I knew The X-Files was bollocks when Mulder and Scully only talked about the big conspiracy in sweeps week.

Reminiscing about Rose was nice but let's hope that closes that particular book. Poor, second-tier Martha.

The Futurekind are not merry men when their lunch flies away.

He can't get into the T.A.R.D.I.S. using his Yale key because The Master has flipped the catch on the other side! Who needs technobabble?

"I know that voice!"
This episode works as pay-off to what's gone before and set-up to the finale much more than a beginning, middle and end on its own terms. Will the rocket reach Utopia and is it even real? I doubt we're supposed to care about the first thirty minutes any more now another classic villain has been dusted off. Somehow I think it won't be followed up.

I like that Jack's story ties up without needing to see Torchwood. In fact, it makes more sense if you ignore it. Shouldn't be hard.

Kudos to the Beeb for not billing this as Part 1 of 3 cos the fans knew The Master was coming back - Gene Genie from Life On Mars let slip that his co-star had been cast in the part - but we assumed the grand finale wouldn't start until next week. I can't be harsh about an episode full of cool stuff when there's another 90 minutes of story on the way.

P.S. Which incarnation of the Master was Jacobi? Was it #13 again, grown old in yet another stolen body? Why did he hide as a human? How did he know he would regenerate? Does the loss of Gallifrey mean the rules are broken? Is this how we'll get round ending the series after Doctor #13? Does the Blinovitch Limitation Effect still work? My brain hurts. Nurse!


We'll Always Have Paris

So, the Hilton sister I love to hate actually went to jail. Then she got out and then she went back in again. She's doing the Hokey Cokey! So mature. Can we call her Paris Days Inn yet?

In case anybody is in any doubt why I don't want my as-yet-not-even-conceived daughter growing up with people for role models who had Paris Hilton for their role model, this page from the same site goes some way to summing the lady's talents up. Probably further than you want it to. (The linked page has blurred-out nudity and rude words, so it's safe for most offices. I'm not responsible for what you click from there.)

Update 2007-06-15: Stan Lee is producing an animated series for Paris to star in. Somebody please make a joke about her acting like a cartoon character all her life anyway. Thanks.


S3E10: Blink

I don't have enough info to understand how adding a Christmas Special to the production roster means two regular episodes have to be filmed simultaneously - or why that means one episode needs to be "Doctor-lite" instead of making two episodes where He's in it half of his normal screen time or three where He's only missing a third - but it does.

Should Kathy's grandson have been able to ring the bell that summoned Sally to the door and left Kathy alone with an angel when being alone with the angel is a fundamental event in the creation of the grandson in the past? The forums at Outpost Gallifrey are usually alive with debate about what's ontologically possible in a show about a man who travels in a box that's bigger on the inside than the outside. Get some perspective!

For copyright reasons, the D.V.D. shop has films no-one has ever heard of. That can't be good for business.

Monster Voices Man makes a cameo as a policeman. I am the geek.

"This is my timey-wimey detector. Goes ding when there's stuff. Also, it can boil an egg at thirty paces - whether you want it to or not, actually, so I've learned to stay away from hens. It's not pretty when they blow."
I'm fairly certain He wouldn't take Her to the moon landing four times because it would mean crossing His own time stream. I've no idea what that means or why it's bad but it's been cited as a reason not to use the T.A.R.D.I.S. loads lately.

Making the mundane terrifying (scarecrows, statues, etc.) is one thing the show excels at. The final sequence served no purpose whatsoever except to scare the bejesus out of little people and I heartily approve!

"Got to dash. Things happening. Well, four things. Well, four things and a lizard."
Stephen Moffat is my favourite scriptwriter not least because his endings never resort to blowing things up: tonight He won with a chess move. Moffat is also the brain behind Jekyll. I hear the Fan Plan is to make that an unmitigated ratings success so the B.B.C. take him seriously when it's time to replace Russell as producer on Who. Sounds good to me.

Have we been on a roll since the break for Eurovision or what? Next time: the return of Captain Jack AND Sir Derek Jacobi!

Black Dog Day

I have to tell you about last Wednesday - one of those days when, if it can go wrong, it bloody well will.

I awoke with a headache but that was nobody's fault by mine. I took milk, juice, eggs and whatever else a person needs to get going in the mornings. I showered then answered the door to a bailiff, come to take away my possessions in lieu of taxes. He left with a cheque for $900 instead which I now need to claim back in this mess o' red tape. (They can't fine you more than you owe and I am certain that I owe zero - I was either working abroad or back here on P.A.Y.E. for the year in question.)

I tried to go to Holland for a meeting. I'd begged to fly from Bristol Airport because it's ten miles from my house. Roadworks cost me thirty minutes and I waited nineteen more for the every-twenty-minutes bus from the car park to the terminal. When I got there, there was still twenty minutes til take-off but the flight was boarding and I couldn't check-in.

I was booked on the next available flight at no extra cost, which makes me suspect the first one was over quota. But I wasn't about to argue. You make your own luck to a degree: if you start shouting at people because you're having a bad time, you're probably going to make things worse for yourself. I smiled and whistled Black Dog by Led Zeppelin. The (same) bus driver said I looked upbeat for a man who just missed a flight.

I went home for a cuppa. I called Alice to laugh at my luck so far. I called my doctor to be told my repeat prescription had been ready for four days. The drugs are good but they don't make me psychic! I'd been 'clean' for ten days by then, which is like Winalot Prime to a black dog. So I took my 'smack' and made my flight on time the second time.


Overheard In (And Near) Meetings

"Expansion is only exciting if you get a thrill out of the work in the first place. If you don't then it's just a bunch more shit you've got to do."

"Have you been to Ireland before?"
"Of course. My father is from Aberdeen."

"I see a chicken and I want it painted black."

"Every time someone goes into the toilet, the lights go out in here."

"We're doing some new activities in Butlin's holiday camps. If you're not familiar with Butlin's in England, the people that go there are the same ones you see throwing up at Schipol airport. On the way in."

"Don't give me that 'meandering river' shit!"

That last one had airquotes and a hand gesture for the river. JH, HB and I kept catching each other's eyes and we were all on the verge of busting up laughing at inappropriate times.


S3E09: The Family Of Blood

Baines is an instant-classic villain and he's a schoolboy. I prefer a villain that you can look in the eyes so it's a good thing that bodysnatching aliens are also very easy on the F/X budget.

The tears on the schoolboys' faces as they machine-gunned the advancing enemy put a lump in my throat and Daughter Of Mine (a little girl with a red balloon) daring them to shoot her was sinfully good!

David Tennant will look like Bill Nighy when he's older.

Five epilogue scenes?! The Return Of The King has a lot to answer for.

"He still visits my sister once a year, every year. I wonder if one day he might forgive her. But there she is - can you see? He trapped her inside a mirror. Every mirror. If ever you look at your reflection and see something move behind you, just for a second, that's her. That's always her."
So it wasn't The Doctor's usual ingenuity that saved the day but the sacrifice of a human, John Smith. We saw the fulfilled life that He wasn't going to get to live any more and how much He didn't want to let it go. The Doctor dished out vengeful punishments like the lord of time and space that He really is - not the man that ran and hid at the beginning of the story because it was the most compassionate solution for all concerned. I was speechless - if you don't count saying "this is so good!" every two minutes - and Alice needed a tissue. That was great television.


S3E08: Human Nature

Last Sunday I fiddled with the Mod's video recorder until it recognised Freeview and my reward was taping the re-run of Doctor Who when we went out. Phew! I wouldn't have missed this story for all the tea in China.

The teaser scenes get better and better: this time, we're under attack from an enemy that can follow us anywhere in space and time AND the Doctor's adventures as we know them are only dreams. Beat that, other shows!

"Tell me, Jones... with hands like those, how can you tell when something's clean?"
Life imitates art somewhat with this episode's love interest, Jessica Hynes from Spaced, who recently changed her stage name to her married name. I guess she finally decided he was a keeper. I find that very romantic.

The metaphor of dancing for carnal relations continues. Drink an aphrodisiac (and put your rubber dancing boots on).

John Smith's Journal Of Impossible Things is the prop that every fanboy wants for Christmas. How warmed were the cockles of my heart to see the face of the forgotten Doctor, Paul McGann, in the middle of the page?

Invisible spaceships are easy on the F/X budget.

The ship has a chameleon circuit and a chameleon "arch"? You can teach an old dog new mythology!

"The Doctor has an eye for the ladies. A girl in every fireplace."
5. The fifth rule of T.A.R.D.I.S. Club is never talk about T.A.R.D.I.S. Club.
6. Don't feed me after midnight.
7. Wake me up when I'm Peter Davison.

The new series is now long enough in the tooth to do a Best Monsters flashback.

Machine guns at school seem odd, even in 1913 with a war brewing. If it ain't a set-up for shooting some aliens later then I'll eat my hat.

There were too many great lines this week. You'll just have to watch it. Martha is so capable compared to her predecessor (Her "sardines and jam" scene, for instance). Rose was lovely but they simply didn't give Billie Piper this kind of meat to work with. And The Amazing Tennant got to play a brand new character, albeit quite a Doctor-ish one. Here's hoping Part Two tonight doesn't cock it all up.