Tag Archives: BBC

“Who” 50th Anniversary Special – 3D timey-wimey frenzy!


“A 50″ LED TV costs HOW much?!”


The Doctor is celebrating his fiftieth anniversary this very year and the isn’t being shy and retiring about giving the Galloping Gallifreyan his due.

"It also plays 'Words With Friends'..."

“It also plays ‘Words With Friends’…”

Cue an monster-stuffed, action-packed anniversary special blow-out of an episode which is now to be broadcast – to those with suitable televisions from the space year 3000 – in 3D.  So, yay?

Word reaches us via The Guardian – as yet unconfirmed officially by those cards-close-to-the-chest BBC folks – that this special will also be shown in cinemas, though there’s no word yet as to the extent of the release, or whether this is a 2D-to-3D conversion or your actual, native 3D experience.  The prospect of cinematic “Who” goodness is quite enticing, though, isn’t it?

Your obligatory, contractually-stipulated Jenna-Louise pic.

Your obligatory, contractually stipulated Jenna-Louise pic.

Matt Smith‘s be-quiffed visage looming large and in three dimensions?  Souffle Girl winking at you from the stalls?  Classic “Who” Monsters running amok?

I have a love-hate relationship with 3D – on one end, the Cameron/Paul W.S. Anderson/”How To Train Your Dragon” end of the scale, on the other, goofy conversions which bring nothing to the party.  But – this?  This is something that I want to be good, and that I would love to see on the biggest screen possible.  Make it happen, cash-strapped, politically on the ropes, brilliant BBC!


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“Doctor Who” – Snowy Spoilers?

If you want to witness the new Tardis interior for yourself, without resorting to vaguely spoilerific images released by the BBC, you definitely shouldn’t click on this link to the SFX story on said topic.

There’s only five days to go, after all, and we’re largely patient adults more than capable of not spoiling our seasonal surprises, are we not?

Oh, Jingle Bells to it!

“The Doctor and Clara/Sitting in a tree…”

Have a look at the Doctor (Matt Smith) and new companion/Dalek hybrid/pan-dimensional woman of mystery Clara (Jenna Louise Coleman) giving it major lip-lockage in the name of audience-baiting, out-of-continuity shenanigans for a turkey-stuffed festive audience.

See you on Christmas Day, Doctor, terrifying snowmen and all…


12/19/2012 · 5:34 pm

“Asylum of the Daleks” – Spoiler-laced review of explodey-wodey awesome

Definitely scary, huge in scale, a surprise around every corner – “Asylum of the Daleks” is a brilliant “Who” adventure.

I don’t know how to begin to review “Asylum of the Daleks”, the first episode of season seven of Doctor Who”.  The ‘Too Long/Didn’t Read’ version is ‘awesome ep/big reveals/cool story bro’.

If you divulge too many of the events which transpired in the story, you run the risk of really spoiling some fairly major surprises for the very fans who will most affected by learning them ahead of time.  If you don’t say enough about the episode, you may as well just skim the BBC press release and talk in generalities, which satisfies nobody.  A quandary, then, and one which I intend to tackle by stating for the record – herein be BIG HONKING SPOILERS.  Approach at your peril.

Spoiler-averse U.S. Whovians look away…now!

So, remember how we were going to meet the Doctor’s new companion, apparently named Clara, in the Christmas special?  There was this whole intricate plan about how she was going to be introduced?

Aren’t you showing up a bit early, Jenna? I mean, it’s only September…

Yeah, so that didn’t happen – Moffat pulled one of the bigger surprises of recent years by introducing actress Jenna Louise Coleman in this opening episode and somehow, in the era of constant internet spoilers and social media leak campaigns, managed to keep that humdinger of a storytelling gambit completely under wraps.

Mrs Rolling Eyeballs and I were genuinely surprised by the reveal, but it was but one surprise in an episode full of “Wait now – what?!” moments.  We had been told ahead of time by Moffat to expect a seventh series which was the stuff of blockbuster cinema, with a larger canvas and more self-contained storytelling which didn’t rely as heavily on the ongoing continuity which has been a staple of the Moffat era of “Who”.  

I think what we got was a mix of old and new – continuity was there, but not to such an extent that it would have put off a viewer who was only casually familiar with the show.  Spectacle was there but didn’t swamp the story and characters and the scale of the episode was compellingly different – this really isn’t the studio-bound “Who” of yore, where budgetary and technical constraints conspired to hobble what could be achieved by the show and gave it an unfair reputation of being a kiddie, kitschy kids’s show and certainly not one to be taken seriously by adults.

I’m not sure how much I should spoil of the story – Skaro! – but I found it really compelling and oddly reminiscent of some of the John Carpenter directed 1980’s genre movies which I grew up watching, with the likes of “Escape from New York“, “The Thing”, and even the tense horror of “Halloween” woven into the fabric of the episode.

Mysterious Dalek asylum, crashed spacecraft, weird signals, strange survivors – fun for all the family…

This was a ‘men on a mission’-type tale, with the Doctor, Amy and Rory tasked with teleporting onto a Dalek asylum/prison planet and switching off a force-field guarding the world, so that the Galaxy’s most genocidal pepper-pot warrior race could destroy the facility which housed the most deranged of their kind.   And woven into that framework, we saw that Amy & Rory’s relationship had suffered  a little fall-out in the wake of the events on Demon’s Run last season.  As in, the Doctor’s favourite young marrieds being separated and signing divorce papers.

It was this latter aspect of plot which was the most gripping element of “Asylum of the Daleks” – more so than the sci-fi adventure A-plot or the introduction of Jenna Louise Coleman.  Seeing Rory and Amy sniping at one another in the manner of all torn-asunder couples was really distressing and high point of the episode  – more so than the locations, big effects sequences and high concept sequences, the scene where Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill confronted each other over the fall-out from their relationship was utterly riveting TV and a nice riposte to those who might dismiss “Who” as that nerdy thing that kiddies and families watch on a Saturday night.

Obviously, that family friendly promise is something which “Doctor Who” should have – there’s no sense at all in turning this much-beloved fantasy drama into “Boardwalk Empire” just to please chin-stroking TV critics and self-appointed taste makers, but the way that Moffat can sprinkle moments of simple, real world drama amidst the explosions, Dalek attacks and grotesque thriller tropes elsewhere in the story is quite something.  Focussing on the married companion’s relationship for a few minutes doesn’t draw attention away from the main plot – it, in fact, integrates beautifully into the whole and makes the experience that bit richer than it might otherwise be.

The final reveal – of who Jenna Louise Coleman’s character is and what that means for the series as it continues – was brilliantly done, wrong-footing me entirely and leaving with it a raft of as-yet unanswered questions which hopefully the keen Moffat mind will resolve in a timely and satisfying fashion.  What we’re left with now is the knowledge that Coleman is a sparky, delightful counterpoint to Smith, carrying herself in a manner which is so confident, quick-witted and full of minor-key eccentricity that she somehow manages t0 make the Eleventh Doctor look like a buttoned-down, low-key wallflower.

Whether she continues to play that kind of character, or a derivation thereof, is a question which will be answered when we know a little more about who Clara is – because Clara isn’t the protagonist of the episode we saw yesterday, if I read things correctly (and after a good few hours interrogating forums, Twitter and blogs on Saturday evening, I’d like to think that I’ve derived the appropriate conclusion).  Of course, as Mrs Rolling Eyeballs has pointed out to me, perspective and residual self-image are devious things at the best of times and how Jenna Louise Coleman’s character saw herself is quite different to how she was eventually revealed to us when the Doctor eventually met her/it.

Confusing?  Count on it – it’s a Moffat story.

Watching this first episode – and the trailer for next week’s gloriously titled “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” – I was reminded of how confidently and expertly the current architect of “Who” has steered the series after Russell T. Davies‘ undervalued tenure on the show.  Not everybody loves what he’s doing – and the Internet community frequently isn’t happy unless it can find something to whine about in over-entitled fashion – but I find his stories never less than exciting, his use of incidental detail and throwaway asides a delight and his wit without peer.

“Asylum of the Daleks” was fantastic telly, brilliantly performed, expertly staged and great entertainment from beginning to end.


Filed under Films, Geekery, TV

“Asylum of the Daleks” airdate – sooner than you think…


I know what I’ll be doing on September 1st 2012 at 7:20pm…

Now that I’ve been Freshly Pressed – Thanks, nice WordPress editors – I get a hint of what it’s like to write for a blog like Kotaku or The Mary Sue.   People are reading me!   Quick – look busy!

In that spirit, I’m delighted by news from dear old Auntie Beeb today, which has confirmed that “Doctor Who” will be back on September 1st for viewers in the UK and US, with the first tranche of episodes finishing on September 29th.   The season picks up again in Spring 2013 – after the Christmas special, which introduces new companion Clara, played by Jenna Louise Coleman.


So, new “Who” quite soon, then not so much for a while, with seasonal “Who” filling the void until we’ve seen off the Winter and it’s time to start geeking out again in the spring.  I can get with that schedule and eagerly await what else will be shown next year to mark the good Gallifreyan’s special anniversary…



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“Doctor Who” wallpaper is Dalek-mungous!

My, what a lot of Daleks you have there, Doctor.

Following hot on the heels of that crazily exciting BBC America trailer for the new season of “Who” (Dinosaurs! Chastising Mechs! DalekCon 2012!), comes this nifty wallpaper with Matt Smith cradling some ginger lass whilst an assortment of homicidal pepper mills look on askance.

At least, I guess that’s what happening.  It’s Thursday – you shouldn’t expect any coherence out of me this late in the week.

Still no news on when the awesome will be descending on television channels in your corner of the globe to help you get your geek on – if the Great and Wise Moffat has any clue, I’m sure he’ll be letting us know.








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Run To The Hills!


Tired of Olympic hype?  Try living in the UK.  Your humble (and normally quite reasonable) blogger has had it up to his Musketeer-style chin beard with all things sporting after a year or so of relentless build-up to London 2012 and would happily go into suspended animation until the whole thing is over.

Go Jess!

As a dyed-in-the-wool, adopted Sheffielder, I obviously wish Jessica Ennis well in her heptathlon campaign but I really would rather ignore the vast majority of the Olympics – a feat made quite challenging by the approximately 906 channels being devoted by the BBC to the imminent hostilities  glorious sporting spectacle about to unfurl.

To distract those of you who can’t get that excited by athletes doing things slightly more quickly than they did them previously, take in the joyful image above of Iron Maiden‘s mascot Eddie, as originally found on the Metal Hammer website.

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He’s NOT the UN Peace Keeper you’re looking for…

I know that times are tough for us all, but surely the BBC can afford to employ people who call the difference between the UN and some made-up dudes from “Halo”?

BBC News mistakes Halo UNSC logo for UN • News • Xbox 360 • Eurogamer.net.


Video game icon Master Chief, from the “Halo” series.  Not presently working for the UN.

Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous. Does not have own, multi-million-selling FPS franchise.

I’m thinking that the difference between those gentlemen is wholly apparent, even to those zany funsters at the BBC.  Isn’t it great to know that your license fee money in the UK goes towards employing folks who know what they’re doing?

Give me five minutes and Google Image search and I’m pretty sure that I could find the proper logo.  Call me unduly competent if you must…

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First footage of “Elementary” online…


I’ve written previously about CBS’ upcoming contemporary Sherlock Holmes update “Elementary”, chiefly in reference to Steven Moffat‘s misgivings about it.

By all accounts, approaches were made to Moffat and the team making the BBC update about working on a similar project with American backing.  That iteration never happened for one reason or another and as soon as the Moffat update was a great success, remarkably CBS suddenly find a contemporized take on Holmes down the back of their sofa and it’s accordingly on the 2012/13 TV schedule.  The plot? Thickening quite nicely.

All purely coincidental of course – great minds thinking alike.

And, snark aside, Holmes is a character ripe for reinvention, as the successful Robert Downey Jnr./Jude Law/Guy Ritchie version has proven to be a success running in parallel to the Moffat/Mark Gatiss take – multiple takes on the same source material need not be a terrible thing.

Make up your own mind with this preview of the new “Elementary”, with Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson.  It looks perfectly fine, to be honest.  Lacking perhaps something of the cold intelligence and perversity of the British version, but then it would do, wouldn’t it?  CBS are not known for being the most cutting-edge TV network and this updated police procedural with name recognition and familiar stories is going to be totally in their comfort zone.

It looks pretty much as you might have expected it to – which is not a bad thing, just an indication that the makers of this show are working to an established formula, which with the amount of money which tends to ride on a show like this is probably to be expected.

If the audience don’t expect you to reinvent the wheel, why should you try?

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“Doctor Who” – 50 years of change…

Hats are cool. I wear hats now.

Industrious YouTubist Babel Colour has updated their 2008 video and now includes clips from every (available) “Who” story from 1963 to the present day.   Enjoy 9 minutes and 26 seconds of awesome Time Lord adventures with questionable effects, curiously insubstantial scenery and more imagination than you thought possible.

Also, Jon Pertwee is super cool, but you knew that…

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BBC’s ‘Women of the Year’ list – WTF?

Meet the twelfth most significant woman of 2011...

It’s enough to make you wonder if the BBC are engaging in license fee funded trolling.

Not content with presiding over the recent Sports Personality of the Year debacle, which saw a grand total of no women being deemed worthy of nomination for the award, the dear old Beeb have now presented us with a list of the twelve most significant women of the 2011, which somehow includes Tian Tian, a giant Panda.

As I said, trolling.

If we’re now nominating female animals for this award, how about nominating fictional characters, too?  Kelly from “Misfits” – she’s a great role model for young women  (she’s a bloody rocket scientist, after all).

Okay, let’s not go with fictional women – and give the BBC ideas for next year’s list.  If we’re going to talk about young British women succeeding on the global stage, why not talk about the likes of Jessie J.?  I can personally take or leave her music, but she’s doing big things, writing and producing her own music, and somehow become a fashion icon into the bargain.

The Guardian are predictably pissed off at this apparent face-palm moment on the BBC’s website but there seems to be some question as to who actually signed off on this list – a writer is credited but denies responsibility for the content of the list, stating that he merely wrote up the selections of editors.

It just seems like the kind of avoidable, faintly stupid idea that should have been culled long before it ever saw publication – is everybody at the BBC’s web editorial department hibernating at the moment?

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