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Archive for the Category "Doctor Who Reviews"

Every day is like Survival Jun 23

It was one of the ironies of the end of the original run of Doctor Who in 1989 that the final serial should be called Survival. Watching the first couple of episodes this evening, I couldn’t help reading into it similarities with the new series that began 16 years on.

Survival has that very down-to-earth feeling that the current series pursues, trying to ground adventures in the real world. Ace returning to visit her friends in Perivale has strong parallels with Rose’s trips home. Sergeant Patterson even mentions that Ace’s mum reported her missing – just like Jackie Tyler in Aliens of London.

Superificial similarities between the Cheetah People and the Cat Nun Nurses in New Earth aside, there’s also a more refined portrayal of Anthony Ainley’s Master, who finds himself at one point in a London council flat: very Russell T. Davies, and very New Who.

Like all Doctor Who stories, it has its weaknesses, but the script is so strong that these are easily overlooked, resulting in probably the best story of Sylvester McCoy’s run. As is often noted – because it’s true – Survival is the pacifist antithesis of the “stand up and fight” message of the second Doctor Who serial (which introduced the Daleks), and as such can warm the cockles of wishy-washy liberals everywhere.

Scratch Jun 04

Inspired by Nick, I’ve had a go at making a Doctor Who scratch video. The soundtrack is ABBA’s Happy New Year; most of the footage comes from the 1996 Paul McGann TV movie – now, gosh, ten years old. You can see it (on broadband only, I suspect) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2lqivhz9gE.

And wasn’t The Impossible Planet great? I’m not blogging reviews of this series of Doctor Who, but I can’t not say how good it was. Properly suspenseful, well made, “base-under siege” adventure. Fingers crossed that the second part lives up to the first.

Kill Rill Mar 02

I’ve been listening to the audio recording of Doctor Who: Galaxy 4 narrated by Peter Purves. It’s been many years since I read the script book so, hearing the actors and sound effects for the first time, the story was almost new to me.

There isn’t really 100 minutes of story to fill the four episodes, but the concept is at least intelligent and worthy. We are first introduced to the Drahvins, a race of beautiful women who are trying to escape from the planet on which they have crashed before it explodes. They claim to have been forced down by the Rills, a race of ugly monsters. However, it turns out that the Drahvins are the evil warmongers and the Rills are kind-hearted and generous, reversing the premise of the original Dalek story in which the Aryan Thals are oppressed by the nasty pepperpots.

Galaxy 4 an enjoyable enough story with amusing moments (the Drahvins’ explanation that they only have a few men on their world, with the attendant implications; the Doctor calling a Rill “young man”), although there is relatively little incident. It’s inoffensive but worth a listen for its thoughtful execution, and its moral that women are evil you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Backtracking on the Lord Mayor Jun 17

In my Boom Town review, I complained that:

Are we to assume half the politicians in Cardiff have been bumped off? And a Lord Mayor doesn’t run the council, they chair council meetings and cut ribbons. If Margaret is a directly-elected mayor, her achievement is all the greater.

While my other comments about Margaret Slitheen’s rapid promotion still hold, it is possible that she was both Lord Mayor and Leader of the Council. Until Labuor lost control of Cardiff last year, the Council Leader was the controversial Russell Goodway who for a time held both posts:

Councillor Goodway, who recently stepped down as the 95th Lord Mayor of Cardiff, was the first Lord Mayor in modern times to combine the role with that of Leader of the Council.