Behold: courtesy of my friend in New Zealand, I give you pointless Hobbit cameo appearance #37: Sylvester McCoy, who plays Radagast, who’s not in the book. There are plenty of shots of him in costume, but here he is at the premiere.
Apparently Victoria asked to shake his hand and he signed it instead, which was probably a Chinese whisper, understandable when you’re trying to make yourself heard in a screeching crowd clamouring for a view of Elijah Wood (who plays a character who’s not in the book) or Cate Blanchett (who plays a character who’s not in the book) or Orlando Bloom (who – oh, forget it).
Anyway: the jacket is truly amazing, and I said so. “It did make me stop and wonder,” responded Victoria, “whether his Doctor Who outfit was provided by the BBC costume department or his own wardrobe…”
Significantly, Doctor Who turned 49 yesterday, the 23rd November. I didn’t really make a big deal out of this because next year’s going to be overkill, so I’m preparing.
Of course, many people have pointed out the visual similarity between our youngest child and Charlie Bucket, as portrayed by Peter Ostrum.
So that first photo is really Charlie Bucket with a bucket on his head.
Charlie Bucket is, of course, the protagonist of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one of Roald Dahl’s most famous works. Dahl died on 23 November 1990, which – as I just mentioned – is also the day that Doctor Who was first screened.
If anyone is interested in seeing what Ostrum looks like now (or at least seven years ago), here he is:
He’s a vet now, which would account for the outfit. Either that or he’s on his way to a Nintendo convention.
Mario’s been in the news, actually, because Nintendo have just launched their red 3DS, bundled with a pre-installed Super Mario 3D Land. This was launched yesterday, the 23rd November, which was coincidentally the 49th birthday of Doctor Who.
Most of my day has been spent in an appraisal and development workshop. Among the tasks we had to perform were the assessment of objectives and the formulation of development plans for two managers in a fictitious company – an underachieving market research chap named Mark, and a high-flying (but ice cold) sales manager named Rani.
Sadly, I was the only person in the room to understand why this was funny.
“Please, just don’t make me watch The Twin Dilemma again.”
You kind of have to know your British soaps to appreciate this one. I was on the BBC website the other day, specifically on the Doctor Who pages, and this came up at the bottom. You can see why it amused me.
Those of you on the other side of the pond may not be aware that Colin Baker – Mr Underrated, Much-Better-In-Big-Finish Carrot Juice-Quaffing Regenerated-When-He-Fell-Off-A-Stool Sixth Doctor himself – is one of the entrants in this year’s edition of My Career Is Over, Feed Me Bugs* I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!.
Baker has complained, apparently, that while the careers of McCoy and Davison don’t seem to have particularly suffered post-Who, he hardly gets any work, apart from Big Finish. Which is a shame, for sure, but perhaps not surprising. For one thing, he will always be the Doctor that many casual viewers of the show (at least the ones I talk to) dismiss as brash and unpleasant, when the truth is he was far closer to Hartnell’s arrogant demeanour – and therefore more classically Doctor – than any of the others. Plus the BBC really weren’t very nice to him (or to the show in general) during his run, which is one of the reasons why the reign of the Sixth Doctor is seldom viewed under the warm and fuzzy lamp of nostalgia, despite some strong stories.
For another, have you seen the size of him lately? I mean, it doesn’t matter to me. It really doesn’t. It would be the monolith calling the kettle black. But show business is an overwhelmingly superficial beast and these things count, apparently. It’s a shame, because I’d imagine he’d be splendid in something like Pickwick (he’s no Harry Secombe, but he can hold a tune, that’s for sure). Sadly, the addition of a few extra pounds is always an excuse for a sea of paparazzi shots and headlines like “Looks like Baker’s been visiting his namesake a little too much!” in the gossip columns, with comments like “Former star looked old and tired”. One day we may get beyond this obsession with image, but I don’t think it’s going to happen in my lifetime.
You may remember that about this time yesterday I was whinging about the appalling sub-editing (or complete lack thereof) in a Daily Mail article about the Christmas special. The Mail is a despicable rag but it does at least have reasonable coverage of the events in the jungle, and while I have never watched the show (I gather it didn’t last beyond two seasons in the US, so perhaps I’m not alone in my disdain) I do try and keep up with what’s been going on, if only because it makes for interesting conversation in the office. Besides, there are few places you can see Colin Baker falling out of a canoe.
Then, of course (thanks Gareth) there’s this.
It’s curious how over the years he and Eric Bristow appear to have traded waistlines, but all credit to the man for mucking in and having a go. It would be nice to see him in the 50th anniversary lineup somewhere.
*I would dearly love to take credit for the bugs line. I would. But for the sake of scholarly integrity I will admit here that I pinched it. Still funny, though.
WARNING: I wouldn’t call them spoilers, but the screen grabs below have plot components and also details of returning characters, so if you want to go in totally cold, stay out of the way. And yes, I ‘m a vindictive pedant. But THIS STUFF MATTERS.
Two posts in almost as many hours? Must be Friday.
You have my friend Rachel to thank for this – she’s spotted what she calls “the most hilarious photo I’ve seen all week. Is Mr Desperate-For-An-Autograph in the centre the best bit, or the middle-aged Crazy-Eyes on the far right?”.
To which I’d respond well, yes, but what the hell is Noel Clarke doing there?!?
All right. Question one: who in the hell is watching this?
Let me give you a little deconstruction of my Youtube viewing figures. About six weeks ago I uploaded a Flight of the Navigator / Portal 2 mashup which took an entire summer and of which I am really quite proud. It’s got about eighty hits since I stuck it online – some for the full length edit, some for the four minute highlights. This isn’t very much at all, and while I know you can hardly breathe for new uploads on YouTube, it frustrates me that I apparently can’t increase its exposure without spamming people and generally being a pest, neither of which I will do unless my life happens to depend on it.
Perhaps more damningly, back in April I produced a mashup of Willo the Wisp and The Silence. It’s got about three hundred and fifty hits. That’s about fifty a month. And about two hundred of those were in a single day when I referred to it in a Guardian discussion. (I was also rather depressed at the number of people who hit the dislike button, because I really thought I’d made something fun, until Emily pointed out that referring to a video that mocked the Silence in an article that basically revered them was hardly going to win me any fans.)
But this one? Put together in one evening more or less as a joke? Over nine hundred hits in a month. Yes, it’s no Double Rainbow. It’s not even chicken feed. It’s barely even amoeba feed. Still, by my standards it’s practically viral – or as close to viral as I ever get unless someone dies. The same happened with the Numberjacks / Prisoner thing, which as I write this is at 142,000 and rising. The YouTube traffic sources indicate that it’s predominantly people searching for Numberjacks episodes online, presumably to watch with your children, but this doesn’t explain why you’d then want to watch a video that openly sells itself as a mashup. My friend Laura is convinced that it’s probably drunk students at three in the morning, and she’s probably right.
Anyway. This one was basically made for Gareth. We’ve all been fans of Yoho Ahoy! for years, long before Em and I had children, in my case purely because of its offbeat quirkiness. In the same manner as Shaun the Sheep, it’s one of those shows that seems to transcend cultures and communication barriers, largely owing to the fact that there are only two words of dialogue (the titular ‘Yoho!’ and ‘Ahoy!’), delivered in any number of ways by the inhabitants of the Rubber Duck. It’s always clear what’s going on, each episode is brief but eventful, and everyone has their favourite characters (I think mine is probably Bilge, the crazy-haired captain, but honourable mentions must go to Grog, the ship’s cybernetically enhanced cook, who features heavily in this episode and who apparently lost his hands in a fondue accident before the series began).
Then, of course, there was the day I went shopping and found this.
They’re cute and cuddly and THEY MAKE NOISES! Em and I have been trying very hard to cull our soft toy collection rather than buying new ones, but I made an exception here.
There are nearly forty episodes of Yoho Ahoy!, and ‘Fish With Grog’ is the episode that we usually show to people who never seen the show – Gareth informs me that he does the same – and as it’s a popular one with Thomas (who will happily watch it on a loop), it seemed right to honour it here. The idea of redubbing all the dialogue with cries of ‘Exterminate!’ and ‘Delete!’ stems partly from the fact that if you ask a casual fan of the show to impersonate a Dalek or a Cyberman, that’s probably what they’ll do – but really, you need to look at this.
You see what I mean, right? I know the Daleks have a history with cries of ‘Exterminate!’, but if you examine the classic series the Cybermen really don’t say ‘Delete’ very much at all pre-2006. Never mind the fact that in ‘Doomsday’ the so-called seminal scene in which the Daleks and Cybermen try and talk to each other is about as interesting as watching a computer play Scrabble with itself: the whole episode is basically a fanboy’s wet dream, and not a very good one at that.
Anyway. The biggest challenge I had with this was finding instances of ‘Delete’ that weren’t surrounded by other stuff. There are plenty of ‘Exterminates’. (Not to mention the fact that someone had helpfully put every single one of them into a YouTube compilation that I used for reference.) But finding an audible ‘Delete’ that didn’t have guns or Murray Gold’s intrusive score in the background was harder than I thought. In the end I could only locate one, and it’s not a very good one, but at this point I really didn’t want to switch exclusively to ‘Exterminate’. So it’s in there, and I added a couple of K-9 clips for good measure. This dilutes the effect even further, but at least it keeps you on your toes.
It was hard to finish: this was a tinkering video. I said before that I did it in one evening, but the problem was knowing when to stop, because I kept coming up with new ideas. The use of the TARDIS noise is one such example; so too is the collection of effects I stuck in towards the end of the episode when they’re throwing stuff out of the window. Basically the whole thing is very silly. And it could probably have been much better, or at least more polished. But the boys all enjoyed it. And in this instance, that was actually all I cared about. Yoho!