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Archive for the Category "Doctor Who"

Edinburgh: Day 23 Aug 30

The end of last week was rather busy so it’s taken me until now to write about Thursday. Oops.

After the horror of yesterday’s croaky show, I determined to do everything I could to make my voice function. I spent much of the morning gargling salt water, which certainly helped, but the best solution, it turned out, was tea.

I had soup for lunch and when I told the man in the sandwich shop that it was for my voice, he suggested lemon and ginger tea. I fell immediately for his cunning point of sale marketing and went away with two cups of liquid.

The tea worked a charm and my voice, while still a bit croaky, became much more serviceable. The pub we were performing in served hot drinks too so just before the show I got them to make me a pot of tea with a slice of lemon. Milk is not good for the vocal chords so, for the first time in my life, I drank it without. I even took the cup on stage with me, leaving the audience in no doubt that I was the spiritual successor to Bill Hicks.

It was a brilliant show. We were full to capacity and the audience went with every single joke from all three of us. It wasn’t just a relief after yesterday; it was the best gig of the run.

I celebrated with a trip to see Holly Walsh’s The Hollycopter. I’d been meaning to go for weeks and with her nomination for best newcomer in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, I made sure I snapped up a ticket before they sold out. A very enjoyable show, it was also the second I saw that week to feature Guildford. True fact.

Social butterfly that I am, I happened upon the So You Think You’re Funny party in the evening. It was full of bright young things and initially full of free booze. Not so much by the time I left for the last Comedy Countdown of the Fringe.

With Danny Pensive back in dictionary corner, the theme tune used for the clock and Blink‘s Ray Peacock playing the game, the show was full of Doctor Who references – which is just how I like it (and, indeed, anything). I am not a natural heckler and rarely shout out anything, let alone “Sontarans”, but time makes fools of all of us.

I’m told that after I worked out the last numbers game, my bouncing in my chair could be felt at least two seats along. The combination of a TV quiz, a letters game answer of KALEDS and a few free Mojitos had perhaps left me a little over-excited. I ended up shouting the solution across the room so croakily that the brilliant host Dan Atkinson promised me free Strepsils for life as a prize.

I made it to four Comedy Countdowns in the end and they were definitely one of the highlights of the Fringe.

After that, I retired to Brooke’s and ended up talking about cult TV until the early hours. Tom Neenan from the old GOL sidled sheepishly across the room and with mock obsequiousness asked me to sign his copy of the new Doctor Who Magazine. I borrowed it and had a quick flick through, as my copy was awaiting me in London, but when I returned it the poor man insisted he was serious, having “always wanted to get someone’s autograph in Brooke’s”. He slinked away the proud owner of the only autograph I have ever given, my name scrawled across a photograph of me with Haemovore hands.

The Edinburgh Fringe is a strange place.

What I learnt today: Tea is a panacea.

The Saturday List: My Doctor Who firsts Apr 03

What with the new series starting IN LESS THAN AN HOUR I thought I should write something Doctor Who themed today. Bit stream of consciousness this list:

  • First new TV story I saw: possibly Time and the Rani (I think can remember the giant brain) but if not then certainly something from season 25
  • First novelisation I read: The Daemons
  • First VHS I saw: probably Death to the Daleks (with Pyramids of Mars and Spearhead from Space around the same time)
  • First new TV story I saw as a self-defined fan: Dimensions in Time. Ho hum.
  • First novelisation I read: The Daemons by Barry Letts
  • First New Adventure I read: Nightshade by Mark Gatiss
  • First issue of Doctor Who Magazine I bought: don’t know the number but was probably around 1993 and had Sylvester McCoy in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy on the cover. I bought it from a small newsagent at the edge of the pedestrianised shopping precinct in Tunbridge Wells.
  • First VHS I bought: The Keeper of Traken, at the end of 1992. Also bought in Tunbridge Wells, in the WH Smith in the Victoria centre. What useless things we remember.
  • First convention I went to: Blue Box III in Southampton in 1994.
  • First Doctor who’s younger than me: Matt Smith.
The Saturday List: TV PMs Mar 27

As I’ve been working my way through the House of Cards trilogy recently (what better way to get in the mood for a General Election?), this week’s list is fictional British Prime Ministers from off of the telly. Minor spoilers for old dramas follow.

  • From House of Cards:
    • Charles Henry Collingridge – Margaret Thatcher’s successor, who makes the mistake of leaving Francis Urquhart unpromoted
    • Francis Urquhart – F.U. himself, a ruthless right-wing PM brought brilliantly to life by Ian Richardson
  • Maureen Graty – the British PM who appears briefly in the sixth season of The West Wing, played by Pamela Salem – and as far as I know, fact fans, she’s the only actor from either Doctor Who or Blake’s 7 to have appeared in The West Wing
  • Michael Phillips – Robert Bathurst’s occupant of Number 10 in the BBC sitcom My Dad’s the Prime Minister
  • Tom Davis – second PM (and the first named) in The Thick of It, although he’s not seen on screen
  • From the Doctor Who universe:
    • “Jeremy” – the PM during The Green Death – assumed to be former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe
    • “Madam” – there’s a female PM on the phone in Terror of the Zygonspossibly Shirley Williams
    • Joseph Green – MP for Hartley Dale and acting PM in World War Three, although he’s actually Jocrassa Fel Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen in disguise
    • Harriet Jones – Penelope Wilton’s MP for Flydale North, she is Prime Minister in The Christmas Invasion
    • Harold Saxon – John Simm as the Master, perhaps having benefited from the Doctor’s quiet overthrowing of Harriet Jones
    • Brian Green – played by Nicholas Farrell (also of To Play the King), he was PM during Torchwood: Children of Earth
  • Kevin Pork – in Whoops Apocalypse, portrayed by Peter Jones
  • Ros Pritchard – Jane Horrocks’s eponymous character in The Amazing Mrs Pritchard (which prompted a lot of discussion on Lib Dem Voice)
  • From The Pallisers:
    • Joshua Monk – Liberal PM in Trollope’s The Duke’s Children, played by Bryan Pringle
    • The Duke of Omnium – from Trollope’s The Prime Minster, played by Philip Latham
  • Michael Stevens – Anthony Head’s PM in Little Britain
  • Harry Perkins – the star of A Very British Coup, Ray McAnally’s socialist PM is almost the diametrical opposite of Francis Urquhart (the book was by Chris Mullin, subsequently a Labour MP himself but standing down this year)
  • Jim Hacker – last but by no means least, Paul Eddington takes the title role in Yes, Prime Minister, one of the best sitcoms ever made

And here’s a fact I stumbled across while checking the information in this list – the replica House of Commons often seen in TV dramas since the 1980s was built for the ITV adaptation of First Among Equals and is now owned by TV writer Paul Abbott.

Barry Letts Oct 10

I was sad to hear yesterday that Barry Letts, erstwhile producer of 70s Doctor Who, has died at the age of 84. I met him once, at a convention in 1994, when he appeared on stage with Terence Dicks, the other half of their regular double act. He seemed a lovely man and was a great ambassador for the show. R.I.P., Barry – this song’s for you. I’m sorry it’s out of focus but I recorded it as live.

You can also watch it on YouTube and read the lyrics online here. You’ll notice I forgot to mention Sarah Jane Smith. Barry Letts was producer when she became the Doctor’s companion – without him, there would be no Sarah Jane Adventures.