Monthly Archives: February 2014

There’ll be spaceships over the White Cliffs of Dover

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I was lucky enough to get freshly pressed this week (all right, luck had nothing to do with it; it was all thanks to SJ, to whom I am incredibly grateful). The post in question was a retrospective of my grandparents as seen through the eyes of an adult revisiting childhood haunts. We took the boys down to the town I visited every summer, and showed them round the sights.

But you don’t want to read all about that, do you?

Let me explain. A couple of weeks ago, Thomas and Emily and I started on ‘The Mind of Evil’. It is wonderful vintage Who. There is a mad scientist (all right, it turns out to be the Master) channelling an alien intelligence through a machine that sucks the evil out of men’s minds. In an early sequence in the story it does this to Neil McCarthy (later to be seen in ‘The Power of Kroll’), reducing him to a childlike simpleton. There’s a nuclear missile and poor Jo gets captured and recaptured so often I lost count. There are wobbly steps, less-than-substantial doors and the Brigadier gets to have a lengthy (and really pretty violent) gun battle towards the end of the tale. It’s wonderful, despite some occasionally questionable acting and the fact that four cliffhangers out of five feature the machine about to scare someone to death. (One of those is by proxy, but it still counts.)

It’s also shot at Dover Castle, its walls and battlements serving as the exterior of the prison where the bulk of ‘Mind’ is set. As is traditional with Classic Who many of the entrances were used more than once, but the central square that surrounds the great tower was immediately familiar.

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The observant among you will recall that this is the place where the Brigadier spoke through a loudhailer and then turned to gun down a prisoner who’d climbed on the wall behind him, causing the deceased convict to take a spectacular western-style tumble.

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Of course, we couldn’t do that, so I had to improvise.

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We almost didn’t make it to Dover Castle. This has nothing to do with chronic tiredness from the lengthy journey down the day before, or the fact that no one could find their water bottles, or that we got lost on the Folkestone one way system. No, it was because in the B&B the boys were anxious to explore the room next door to ours.

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I had to explain that no, it didn’t contain a crack in the fabric of the universe, although they were having issues with the plumbing.

I’m sure there are other Doctor Who related places to visit in Kent. But I didn’t have time to scout locations near our planned route or actually watch the stories they filmed there. Kit Pedler is buried in Graveney, which was too far away to visit, and I’d have found it hard to resist the urge to leave a can of oil or something at his graveside. But discovering this fact did make me wonder about doing a tour of deceased Who veterans’ resting places to pay respects in some form or another. It also made me wonder what they all got up to once they left the show – those that disappeared from the public eye (or who were never in it). Do they wake up one morning in a mysterious village with their identity stripped and where a giant balloon chases them every time they try to leave to work on other science fiction programmes? Do they all write books as gossipy and vindictive as Matthew Waterhouse’s autobiography? Or do they simply get other jobs?

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Well, maybe.

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Categories: Classic Who, On Location | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tickled pink

Meet the new one.

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I know nothing about Samuel Anderson, but apparently he’s established and popular, and destined to be the subject of dozens of animated GIFs later in the year, Danny Pink, the Independent reports, will appear as “a recurring character”, which is BBC speak for “plot device”. Given that we have a competent, self-aware and relatively intelligent companion in Clara (even if she still can’t cook a soufflé or use iPlayer) it seems likely that Danny’s going to be the gormless sceptic whose role is to go all wide-eyed at trouble before eventually finding his inner strength (no doubt epitomised in a single thirty-second clip that will go viral on YouTube and prompt a thousand comments that mostly read “Best. Scene. EVER.”).

I first read about the news in Metro, in a sadly ill-thought out article from Dan Wilson (“Whovian, Blue Peter Badge winner, barfly, flaneur” – should we add ‘would be writer’?). Dan points out that “sometimes those three-hand stories with the Doctor could be a bit claggy”. Of course. That’ll be ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ then. And ‘The Ark In Space’. And ‘The Mind Robber’. And, oh, almost anything with Hartnell or Davison (or Troughton, come to that). I will give him ‘Day of the Moon’, which is rubbish, but other than that I wonder if Dan’s knowledge of Doctor Who extends further back than 2005, despite his passing reference to the Brigadier.

But I’m not here to bitch about professional bloggers who presumably get paid for doing something that I do for free, to an arguably higher standard. There are more important things to think about, such as the fact that we have come full circle (“and then,” said Gareth, “we could go and live in a marsh with George Baker!”). Hence all sorts of stories about the show getting back to its roots, as epitomised by Danny’s probable role as a science teacher (it’s that or P.E., but he’s wearing a tie). Now all we need is a slightly bolshy teenager, and we’ll be –

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Oh, god almighty.

Then there’s the fact that that the chairman of governors at Coal Hill is Mr I. Chesterton, leading to much internet speculation about a cameo from William Russell. If Moffat’s not actually filmed this yet he really doesn’t have long – Russell isn’t getting any younger, although Russell T. Davies might tell you otherwise. The problem, of course, is that most of what you see on screen is basically canon, which means that the Doctor really did admit to being half human (which doesn’t mean he is) and Peri really did marry Brian Blessed. You could almost see Moffat making story notes for ‘Future companion appearances?’ while watching ‘Death of the Doctor’.

Sarah Jane: There’s a woman called Tegan in Australia, fighting for Aboriginal rights. There’s Ben and Polly, in India, running an orphanage there. There was Harry. Oh, I loved Harry. He was a doctor, he did such good work with vaccines. He saved thousands of lives. There was a Dorothy something. She runs that company, A Charitable Earth. She’s…raised billions. And this couple in Cambridge. Both professors. Ian and Barbara Chesterton.

Moffat [half-watching, half-scribbling furiously]: Yes!

Sarah Jane: Rumour has it, they’ve never aged. Not since the sixties.

Moffat: Bollocks! [Throws his notebook at the screen]

“And Moffat has never been known to rewrite Old Who?” said Gareth. “Some twaddle like: ‘Oh, when the Time Lords gave the Doctor a new set of regenerations, it was done by draining his residual artron energy from his history. Ian and Barbara hadn’t aged thanks to an infusion of this artron energy during their time with the Doctor, and when Capaldi was created, they suddenly aged. The shock killed poor Barbara.’

Which basically works.

Anyway, I felt like some sort of commemoration is in order, so I have made one.

 

Let’s go to work.

Categories: New Who | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Clothes Maketh the Time Lord

Emily would like to know if the Twelfth Doctor’s boots are a temporal paradox.

(It took me a moment. Then I giggled.)

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Categories: New Who | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Baywatch, starring The Doctor

You will recall that I spent most of yesterday Photoshopping David Hasselhoff’s head onto the Doctor’s body, with mixed (but hopefully amusing) results.

When I showed it to Emily, she said “What want to see is the Doctor’s head, superimposed over David Hasselhoff’s body. You know, in scenes from Knight Rider and Baywatch.”

Well, it’s Valentine’s Day, so here we go. But be careful what you wish for.

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Doctor Who, starring David Hasselhoff

The faster you run, Doctor, the SLOWER YOU MOVE.

This evening’s post is for SJ. She knows why.

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What happened about the statues

Cambridge is in a bit of a tizzy. According to reports in the Cambridge News, there is much consternation about a proposed sculpture that would sit outside an office block in Hills Road. Said work, a commission by a Uruguyan sculptor named Pablo Atchugarry, has thrown up all sorts of arguments about whether it’s art, whether it’s acceptable for public viewing, whether anyone will actually see it, and whether it is in fact any worse than another local piece of art that visually resembles jelly beans.

You can read all about the public spat in the article I’ve linked to above, but here’s an image of the statue itself.

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The online friend who’d linked to this said “We were concerned the local children were not getting enough nightmares”. I mean, it’s pretty creepy. Never mind the end of ‘Blink’, in which we’re treated to a pointless and stupid montage of statues THAT LOOK NOTHING LIKE WEEPING ANGELS in a bid to frighten the wits out of any kids watching (it was a dismal failure as far as Josh was concerned). This really is the stuff of nightmares.

Anyway, the gleaming bronze / brass head got me thinking, and I thought we could improve it, like so:

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Or even like this –

I have probably mentioned before that Gareth lives in Cambridge. Perhaps they should do a statue of him. With jelly beans. Or perhaps jelly babies. At least that way we link back to ‘Shada’.

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The Doctor’s Facebook Film

Doctor Who turns fifty, Facebook turns ten. I feel old.

The Doctor probably doesn’t have a Facebook film. I don’t think he even has an account. But if he did, it might look a little bit like this.

Categories: Videos | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Badge for Mathematical Excellence

I mean, I’m not saying that Thomas is Adric. He’s far less irritating, for one thing, even at his worst moments. But one of the fun things about Thomas is the way he’s able to put a Whovian twist on his daily tasks.

I found these in his book bag. I have reproduced the dialogue for ease of reading. I make no apologies for his handwriting; he’s six years old, and it’s better than mine.

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“There were five doctors to save the world. Then seven more came to help them. How many are there together?”

The dedicated amongst you will realise that this is actually a shaky combination of ‘The Day of the Doctor’ and ‘The Light At The End‘. Thomas has seen the former and is aware of the latter, but if I’m going to get him as hooked on Big Finish as I am we’re going to start with ‘Cuddlesome‘, which is about dangerously psychotic teddy bears, and we’re going to do it just before bedtime.

Meanwhile, in Scooby Doo’s house:

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“There was [sic] 8 weeping angels and I blinked and 6 more came. How many weeping angels are there together? (Don’t blink!)”

 

“That drawing of the first five Doctors,” said Gareth. “It’s quite impressively accurate for Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee and Davison, but Tom Baker has come out a bit strange.”

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It’s a hat. I swear it’s a hat.

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