Category Archives: Doctor Who

2015 – My review

2015 – My Review

Hello Dear Reader

Well 2015 has now passed and often people reflect on their year, a personal review you might say. I am no different than millions of others, so beware spoilers ahead. (Well for time travellers at least).

2015 has, just like many other years, been filled with ups and downs across the board. It is often thought that the downs tend to come to the fore at this point and yes there were a few scary moments. It has not been the best of times but things did pick up towards the close. One of the up’s was the pleasure of seeing Michael Palin live talking about his dairies and what he wrote about. It did make me think and yes write a blog about them. Maybe more people need to remember what a dairy is all about. Another odd good moment was a trip down memory lane to the Tower Ballroom at Blackpool and yes sitting watching a lot of people waltzing around the floor. Of course there were many other good moments most of which ended up in a blog or two. I also added to my list of achievements two presentations, one for the Keele Creative writing society which I was extremely proud. Add to this a very interesting trip to Buckingham Palace, one of the afternoon BBC Proms and an evening meal surrounded by most of the cast and writers of Sherlock. Now that was different.

Normally in the past I have reviewed a few good films, so why spoil a good format!

There have been a number of blockbusters yet again and surprisingly the best was saved for last (I am sure you can guess). Here are my top films (in no order whatsoever );

Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Man From U.N.C.L.E

Ant-Man

Jurassic World

Spectre

Minions

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Of course they are all action based adventure films and the ones I saw at the cinema. There were a few I missed, noticeably Steve Jobs, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Martian and a few more.  It seemed as if each movie, for me, kept on building towards one of the best kept secrets of 2015. In this day it was surprising to find that there was little real information about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The Man from UNCLE started a short series of spy movies this year, along with Bridge of Spies and Spectre. The latest James Bond movie, rounded what was a very well put together story and left at least one person with a dilemma. If you wish to read my review on this film here is the link; Spectre. The Man from UNCLE was good in the sense to tried to explain the origins of the lead characters. Will there be a squeal? Bridge of Spies was one of those films I missed which was a shame, but there is always rental.

In keeping with the past few years, hard to think there was a time before them, we had the latest two Marvel films. Ant-Man introduced us to the smallest of Marvel’s characters, while the Avengers (still no Steed) came back to battle their own demons. Both films gave us more to enjoy in this growing universe, well at least to the non-comic reading part. Again I enjoyed them for differing reasons; Ant-Man was more of a comic feel, the humour fitted well as did the story. It is always difficult to present a 60s or 70s comic version so taking the best from the whole comic range seems Marvels plan. Age of Ultron on the other hand showed that sometimes it is best not to mess about with alien technology. It will lead into a series of films that could tear the audience apart.

Minions, cute, yellow, strangely understandable at times and one of those hits that was not meant to be. Why? Well they were sort of supporting characters (even in animation) that just took off. There first movie and who knows what else will turn up, was funny predictable and ok. Also returning was the Park, Jurassic one, remember that? It was a major hit of the summer and well worth it. It combined the old with new, basically the Park opened as Hammond always wanted and of course someone decided to play God and well guess the rest. Another good escape.

So finally the film of the year. You can’t argue with facts and figures, not these. Even before the film had been shown it was breaking, cinema servers and records. I have not reviewed this film as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. However I did post just one word after I watched it … Emotional. It was all that everyone has said. It did take me back and yet did not reboot as many thought. It moved forward in a logical fanshion. The sets where real, the characters believable, the effects better, the story fine, yes there might be the odd plot hole but sometimes, just sometimes you have suspend everything. It was one of the few movies I could have just sat through a second time without moving. I did in fact see it twice already and plan to see it again given the chance. Many people tend to want to find problems with any film they see, I myself see plot mistakes – take IronMan 3. However, I don’t believe in just denocensing a film just because it does not explain where character A cane from.

So what else has happened that was memorable? A number of things really including having one of my poems published in the first Keele Creative Writing anthology. Completing my first book, which is due to be published in 2016, was a major achievement. That for me, is a goal I have slowly pushed for. It won’t be to everyone’s taste and I doubt it will gain me anything other than self pride. I will be able to say  not only have I written a book but it’s a published one.

Writing has been one of the more enjoyable outlets over the past few years. I have published more blogs in 2015 than before and branched out into posting photographs and a small video. I do plan on producing another short video in 2016.

To close then. 2015 another year to talk about.

Roll on 2016.

Tagline:’Are we there yet?’

 

Day of the Doctor – A Review

Day of the Doctor – A review

Hello Dear Reader
This was first posted back on my old site just after the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who.
I recovered it from my lost site, along with a few more old blogs which I might repost.
On November 23rd 1963 a television program began. 50 years later that same programme celebrated its anniversary. Doctor Who a British institution that started with an old man in a police box. Running away from authority, looking for peace and quiet when he is discovered and adventures begin.
The episode on November 23rd 2013, The Day of the Doctor, brought together a number of threads of past story lines. As with other anniversary shows, other incarnations of the Doctor appeared. The story itself was very cleverly woven with another. The Earth is in trouble, again, aliens are threatening and the Doctor gets called in by UNIT. It is baffling at first and very straight forward. The story moves from one incarnation of the Doctor to another through a painting, introducing us to a lot more of his hidden past. Moving back and forth in time and places creating its own paradox and presenting the Doctor with a chance to change his own time.
The aliens are just right, not under played and not over the top. The focus is on the Doctor and his actions. There is so much here that gives more than a nod to the past 50 years. Rumours went slightly wild around the various Whovian sites, groups, clubs you name it they wanted it.  It was mentioned that this person was back and this person wasn’t and so on. As the story opened, it was clear who was back. Surprises were in store but you had to wait.
The actors clearly worked well together here, you can tell as they interact. There are some delightful moments both comic and dramatic as the story progresses. The three main actors Matt Smith, David Tenant and John Hurt clearly enjoyed their roles. It has to be a difficult role to undertake, becoming a British icon keeping a little of the actor before and then creating the role as your own.
Along the way, there were good supporting roles ensuring the episode had a very good cast. They did not take anything away from the main four characters, you have to include Billie Piper as well as the Doctors in the four, the story just flowed around everyone. There is no point explaining the story here as I don’t wish to give spoilers. Enough trailers and of course the episode has been shown a few times. There will be many fans who will argue various points about Doctor Who but in truth there are only two points to consider. So here is my taken on how to settle all arguments.
In my view, to deal with many important points and arguments raised by this show, you have to realise two important things. Firstly, the person who created the show made the ground rules, Sydney Newman. He said who the Doctor was, a man travelling in time and space in an old box. Secondly a word that takes care of it all the rest. That word is, fiction. Fiction makes Doctor Who travel in time and space. Fiction makes the Tardis. Fiction will allow the BBC to have as many incarnations of the Doctor as it wishes. Fiction. That word cuts across all, since Doctor Who is science fiction. Each further producer, writer, director and actor takes their steer from what Newman started and the word fiction. So, for me, no matter what anyone else says there are answers and solutions.  If in doubt refer to rule one.
As for the Curator? Again simple. My view here is that each incarnation of the Doctor has a timeline, when they regenerate they start another incarnation and another timeline. The old incarnation continues in a sense, allowed to grow old properly and age maybe pass away, unlike the ‘living’ incarnation until they regenerate. Hence a well-known incarnation becoming a Curator. There were even a few roundels in the background. Was that the Tardis living out its life? Who knows.That in itself gives nothing much away of the story.
So, what did the Day of the Doctor mean to me. A brilliant story, a link to all I enjoyed. To see it with friends was very good it made it more of an experience. It was a 5 out of 5 or 10 out of 10 or whatever. Was there the possibility of adding more? Maybe they could have but would that have worked? Maybe not. I am sure some will not like it because of X. As it was the episode beat everything else except one other BBC show. 10 million viewers in the UK alone watched it. Over 70 countries showed it at the same time. According to figures, over 100 million world wide. Not many television shows can warrant that audience, not many need to reach some many in one go. That is the appeal of a 50 year old show. One Saturday, November 23rd 2013 at 7.50pm the world watched.
Tagline; ‘Doctor Who?’

Picture this

Hello Dear Reader

I struggled this week to think clearly what to write about, a number of events have happened. Sometimes, there is a desire to want to write everything, warts and all. A certain sense often kicks in, call it common or fear or whatever, it changes what you want to discuss.

Having been around the interweb long enough to know that the old saying ‘walls have ears’ is true, so I decided to concentrate on a couple of things. One, which has already generated interest, was the new Bond trailer for the fourth coming film ‘Spectre’. There is a dark foreboding element to this trailer, gone are in the light-hearted in jokes. These last two Bond movies are much more in keeping with the novels in my view. They may well be influenced by other spy thrillers and franchises, but Bond is always Bond. One noticeable element of the trailer was the use of old theme music. It just added to the atmosphere. Of course, we now wait for the song.

There is one never-ending issue with films that run for such a time. Bond is 50 in film years. If he was going now he would be approaching his 70s. At some point there will be a call for a new Bond but who? Here, I have an issue. According to the books, the author, the man who created the character, Bond is remarked to resemble the American singer-songwriter Hoagy Carmichael (below), except with a “cruel mouth” and a “coldness in the eyes”.  There are various descriptions of him in different books. Some people wish to see the character played by someone who is not what the author wrote. So who is right? For me, it is the author, set it in stone not to be changed. He can’t be female, he can’t be a 16 year old boy, he can’t be …

I don’t care what others say, it’s the author who made the character. The same goes for another beloved character, Doctor Who. Again this character has been set out 50 years or more as male. The Doctor or Professor as Ace often called him, is another icon who for me can’t be changed from male to female. Again, I don’t care what the current show runner wants or feels is right for him. He has no say in changing that fundamental element of the show. This is not about disliking female Timelords, it is about being true to what has already been created.

Some people just want change because they want to shake up the universe. Some shows can handle change and very well. I don’t often mention certain shows, however, soaps such as Eastenders and Coronation Street change their characters with ease. But they themselves never (and I don’t know this since I don’t watch them) change a man to woman or pick a new actor to play the same role. Now I know that is not always true as child characters do change but that is just growing up.

Why call this blog ‘Picture this’, because I want to make sure the right picture remains, for at least two well-known characters.

Tagline: “Bond is Bond, Who won’t change no matter what”

Day of the Doctor

Dear Reader

Day of the Doctor.IMG_0913

This may seem like a very old review of the 50th anniversary episode, no, it’s all about my visit to the BBC Doctor Who experience. I have been a fan of the program since I can remember. I have one memory which I hope never fades. One summer when I was 5, we visited Blackpool for a holiday. Nothing unusual there one might say. However, I was not expecting three surprises, first was to see my Granddad, second was to be given Thunderbird 5 and third was to visit the Tower Ballroom to see Doctor Who. Now, remember that at 5 years old, believing in fantasy was very easy. There came a point when the children could go on to the floor and just run around as you do. We had seen the start of the show, there was a barrier between us and the Daleks and all. Imagine the feeling when a Dalek, a full-sized moving Dalek, headed towards you to clear the floor. Trust me, it felt real and I managed some how to clear that barrier right into my Granddad’s arms.

So years roll by and yes I went to see various other exhibitions of Doctor Who. They had costumes, props and video clips. It was good but always short. Each one did very well. But Doctor Who needed something more. When the show came back 10 years ago (10 years already) there was a renewed spark. Somewhere in the BBC, the idea must have been discussed and in Cardiff a building started.

I read all about the exhibition and it looked very well put together. Finally, I decided I had to visit. Close to my birthday and heading to one of my favourite writing locations. St Ives (hence the new blog) I drove down to the big blue building. Was that planned for it to be blue in places? I don’t know.

The exhibition is also an experience and it is very good fun, well put together and yes you do get to be inside the Tardis. I won’t say what happens but its fun. What is amazing to see is the detail of the sets and costumes that are on display. The place is big. You get to see at least 4 Tardis control rooms, one original recreation from Hartnell’s days, moving through time to the episode Rose. There are a huge array of costumes, let alone the old enemy, the Daleks. I was half expecting one to move, just to remind me that they had not forgotten Blackpool.

The other good part of the exhibition was photos. You could take as many as you wanted and I did. A couple are here of course and many more elsewhere. Those are your own memories, how you want to take a little of Doctor Who home with you.

Many people will ask, ‘Is it worth it?’ and my answer is yes. If you are a Doctor Who fan, go. Don’t forget, there is also a shop. I enjoyed my visit and yes I would go again with friends to see how they would enjoy the experience. One last point, the staff who run the place are a credit. Very friendly, very pleasing to see people who enjoy where they work.

IMG_0912Tagline: “Who is in that blue box over there?”