Monthly Archives: March 2007

Doctor Who – Smith and Jones

One of the key factors that has enabled Doctor Who to survive since 1963[1] is the fact that the whole cast can change every few years and yet it still remains at heart the same show. Last year’s transition from Chris Eccleston to David Tennant showed that this is still as true now as it was in the 1970s, but I’m sure I wasn’t alone in wondering how Russell T Davies and co would deal with the introduction of a new companion. Billie Piper made such a huge contribution to the revived show’s success that any new actor would have to be really good.

In the Christmas episode, we saw the Doctor just after he’d been parted from Rose, which wouldn’t have been the best time for him to meet a new companion, but at least he learned that he could get along with someone else. It seems some time has passed, and the Doctor might just be on the lookout for someone to share his adventures. That someone who will stop him when he’s going too far. Someone human…

Martha Smith is a medical student who seems to be the peacemaker in her family. On her way to work, she takes calls from her sister, her mother, her brother and her father. Her mother doesn’t want her father bringing his young blonde girlfriend to her brother’s birthday party, and it seems Martha’s the one to sort it out. She’s so engrossed in the calls, that she hardly notices the strange man who steps in front of her and removes his tie…

When she sees the same man, who says his name is John Smith[3], in a bed in the hospital she’s working in, Martha is confused. She’s even more confused when her stethoscope appears to be telling her that he has two hearts.

But there’s hardly time for that. The senior doctor drags Martha and the other students off on their round. But something strange is going on – Martha’s sister calls her and tells her that there’s an isolated rain cloud over the hospital. And the rain is going up. Then the hospital is violently shaken. When the shaking stops, the hospital is standing on the Moon. Not surprisingly, most people in the hospital are a bit upset about that, and panic ensues. But Martha seems much calmer – she wants to know what’s going on, so it’s no surprise that the Doctor decides to drag her along with him. She’s clearly got her wits about her – she knows there’s no air on the moon, and wonders how long everyone will be able to breathe. The Doctor demonstrates that there’s some kind of force field surrounding the hospital, which is holding in the air. But it won’t last long…

At that point, three huge spaceships land and a horde of leather-clad figures march out. The Doctor identifies them as Judoon – brutal cops for hire. The Judoon enter the hospital and remove their helmets, revealing rhino-like heads. They start to scan everyone – they’re looking for a non-human, which isn’t good news for the Doctor.

Lots of the usual fun follows[4] – the inevitable running down corridors, insane technological technobabble, a barking mad murderous plasmavore (the alien the Judoon are really after), and some nice sonic screwdriver gags. More seriously, we learn that Martha had a cousin who died in Canary Wharf[5].

The Doctor and Martha manage to survive long enough to make sure the Judoon find their quarry and return the hospital to its normal location. Outside, as everyone tries to work out what happened, Martha sees the Doctor leave in the Tardis.

Later, there’s a row at the party. As her family argue around her, Martha sees the Doctor standing at the entrance to an alleyway. She follows and finds him standing by the Tardis. He proves that it can travel in time by popping back for that bit of fun with the tie, then offers to take Martha on “just one trip”, to thank her for saving his life, and for helping him. And off they go…

A nice start to the new series, and a good introduction to a new companion. RTD and co have carefully created a new companion who’s very different from Rose. She’s better educated and more logical compared to the more instinctive and compassionate Rose. She’s older. She’s black rather than blonde. But she shares that certain something – a fire within that all the Doctor’s best companions have had. It looks like things will be interesting for them both…

It seems that each series will have some kind of running theme, with clues or hints being dropped in. In 2005, it was the Bad Wolf references, and last year it was, of course, Torchwood. This year, I think we need to watch out for Mr Saxon. Whoever he might eventually turn out to be, he was mentioned in a radio interview, and there was a “Vote Saxon” poster in the alleyway…

And as someone pointed out in a forum somewhere[7] “Mister Saxon” is an interesting anagram. As it’s already been made quite clear that The Master is returning, I don’t think I’m giving anything away by spelling it out:

Mister Saxon = Master No. Six.

The Master has been played by five previous actors:

  1. Roger Delgado in the early 70s when Jon Pertwee was the Doctor
  2. Peter Pratt, who played a beautifully decaying Master in The Deadly Assassin when Tom Baker was the Doctor
  3. Geoffrey Beevers, who appeared in The Keeper of Traken, before stealing a body and becoming:
  4. Anthony Ainley, who appeared at intervals for the remainder of the classic series
  5. Eric Roberts, who appeared in the Paul McGann TV movie

(OK, if we’re being picky, Gordon Tipple also appeared for a second or two in the TV movie. In some cuts, anyway)

So it seems we’re in for a lot of thrills :bouncy: :bouncy: and a lot of fun :cheesy: :cheesy: . Excellent stuff.

[1] Forgetting for the moment that slight pause between 1989 and 2005[2]
[2] With that slight false dawn in 1996
[3] An alias that the Third Doctor sometimes used in the early 70s
[4] Look, if you want the whole story, you’ll have to watch it, OK?
[5] Which deals with any questions about the remarkable resemblance, etc, etc[6]
[6] Freema Agyeman was spotted as the ideal actor for Martha after her earlier appearance
[7] Can’t quite recall where…

Saturday Sloth

OK, that’s enough alliteration. But I have managed to catch up a bit on the things I’ve been meaning to post all week.

Today’s weight was down a bit more, but I’m sure it’s just random wossnames. I walked to Tesco’s this morning, and got the bus home in the usual way.

Still to come: Monday’s photos and today’s Doctor Who report. Less than an hour to go before the series starts!!

Life on Mars – Uh oh…

While we’re waiting for the new series of Doctor Who to start, it’s a good time to have a look at the most recent episode of the second-best time travel related programme on television.

This episode’s plot involved the then recently arrived Ugandan Asians[1], heroin appearing on the streets of Manchester, and Gene Hunt involving a local violent criminal known as “Toolbox” in his efforts to clean up…

As ever, there’s a nice line in misdirection and confusion and some great lines:

..as nervous as a very short nun at a penguin shoot

And when Sam confronts a racist thug who claims to be part of the “superior race”, he says

Superior? You? You’re not even superior to an amoeba with special needs!

But the real fun is what’s going on with Sam. He’s hearing the voices again – this time, it’s his girlfriend Maya, a fellow police officer we haven’t seen since the first episode last year. She’s trying to tell him something important, and it’s not easy…

And there’s a young woman involved in the case: there’s something about her that reminds Sam of Maya. When she eventually reveals her real name, Sam realises why she seems familiar: she’s Maya’s mother. And she’s pregnant – carrying a baby that will grow up to be Sam’s girlfriend. Only she doesn’t want to keep the baby…

After all the usual fun and games – Sam gets knocked on the head, and is saved from a very nasty fate by a power cut – everything gets sorted out as well as can be expected. Maya’s mum is looking forward to being a mother and tells Sam that if her child is a girl, she’ll call her Maya. Which once again raises the question of what the photon is really going on. If Sam is really in the past, then he appears to be creating his own future. All may be revealed by the end of the series. Or it may not.

But if Sam’s stay in 1973 isn’t real, then what does that say about the planned follow-up featuring Gene Hunt’s later career? :?: :?:

By the end of this episode, Maya manages to get her message through to Sam: she can’t bear to see the man she loves dying, and won’t be visiting him in hospital any more. She says goodbye. Sam appears to accept this a great deal more calmly than he would have at the start of the series.

Coming up in next week’s penultimate episode: Gene is accused of murder… :uhoh:

[1] Ugandan dictator Idi Amin expelled Asians with British passports

Sir Bono (well, not quite)

So, Bono has received his honorary knighthood. While I don’t really have much patience with silly titles and all that archaic nonsense, if we have to have the silly things, at least Bono is a moderately worthy recipient. He’s made enough of a nuisance of himself on the issue of third world debt that some of the people with the power to do something about it are obliged to pay attention. And he’s made some quite wonderful music with the rest of U2, too.

As he’s not a British citizen, the knighthood[1] is “honorary”, and we’re not supposed to call him “Sir”. But Bono has an answer to that:

You have permission to call me anything you want except Sir…Lord of lords, your demi-godness…

Yeah, one of those should do it. :rolleyes:

[1] He’s a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) now, apparently :eek2:

Doctor Who Series Three

With a little under two days to go, it’s time for a quick preview. Russell T Davies has provided a brief guide to what’s coming in the new series in Radio Times. So here’s my quick run down of what to expect:

  • A new companion!
  • Some big guys with rhino-like heads who look like somebody wanted Sontarans but couldn’t get them[1]
  • That Bill Shakespeare bloke
  • A return to New Earth[2] for another meeting with the Face of Boe
  • Daleks.
  • Daleks in New York.
  • Daleks in New York in the 1930s
  • Did I mention Daleks?
  • A running theme involving a trap being set…
  • An episode entitled 42. Doug Adams references, anyone? :smile:
  • Some scary stuff
  • Captain Jack!! Woo hoo!
  • Big trouble with the Doctor’s “greatest enemy yet”[3]
  • Did I mention Daleks? And Captain Jack?

Or to put it more simply, lots of fun!

And for digital TV viewers, each episode will be followed by the always excellent Doctor Who Confidential, with lots of behind the scenes details, in a new longer format.

Expect the traditional reports on each episode, filled with my usual restraint and calm comments.[4]

[1] That’s my theory, anyway :laugh:
[2] We’re promised gags about “going places you went with your ex”
[3] So all the rumours about The Master would appear to be true :bouncy: :bouncy: :yes:
[4] Or something like that, anyway :wave:

Talk about impatient…

I’ve been known to walk down the occasional escalator rather than standing still and let it carry me at its own pace. I suppose if I really, really, really needed to catch the next train, I might even walk quickly. I’ve even seen some people running, though I wouldn’t do that myself. Now the escalator at the Angel Tube station is a particularly long one – around 60m long and going down over 27m, so I suppose it might be just the place where people might be in a hurry. But this might just be taking things a bit too far:

It’s reported that Transport for London are not at all pleased about people skiing down their escalators, but I don’t recall ever seeing any “no skiing” signs at any Tube stations, so they can’t really make a fuss about it, can they? :lol: