Daily Archives: Monday, 3rd Jan 2011

Doctor Who 2011 Series Trailer

This was shown after the Christmas special. It’s available to watch on the BBC Doctor Who site, which may or may not work for people outside the UK.

And here it is, subject to the usual YouTube “there until somebody complains” rule:

Looks like fun. Remember that it’s a split series this year, with seven episodes starting in the Spring, which will end with a humungous cliffhanger, then returning in the Autumn for six more. River Song is in it from the beginning, as far as I can currently tell, and we’re due to find out a lot more about her, and about The Silence, whatever that (or, as Mr Moffat suggested somewhere, they) might be.

Primeval – Series 4, Episode 2

Having made us wait eighteen months for the new series, ITV decided to be kind and only have one day between the first two episodes, so here we are with another one.

We start with a brief prologue, complete with a “Five years ago” caption. A woman is disturbed by noises in her kitchen one night. The source turns out to be an odd looking reptile, which in a move that would outrage the RSPCA, she flushes down the toilet, in much the same way that New Yorkers were rumoured to have flushed their pet alligators when they got a bit too big to be cute. And in much the same way that those alligators didn’t grow up to be quite large sewer-dwellers, the little beastie settled down to a happy life of eating rats. And growing…

Back up to the present, and err, hold on. There’s something I didn’t mention in my episode one post. I’ve been wondering why the anomaly that brought Abby and Connor home managed to arrange things so that much the same amount of time had elapsed for them as it had for everyone in the present. Now if it had been the same anomaly, that might have made some kind of sense, with some doubletalk about syncro-wotsits and matched displacements or something. But, unless my memory is worse than usual, they got to the Cretaceous via the future, taking two quite different anomalies to get there. So why did they arrive a year after they left rather than the Tuesday before they left, or in the middle of 1965, or at some other point? Other than dramatic wossnameness, I mean. Perhaps all will be explained. Or perhaps not.

Anyway, after that digression, back to the story. Amy and Connor are debriefed by Matt, then given the good news about the decision that military personnel are much more suited to investigating creature arrivals, despite the fact that (a) Amy’s better with animals and (b) Connor has more of a clue about anomalies and (c) it’s always the soldiers who get eaten first, in a Star Trek red shirt kind of way. Bashir Burton[1] reminds a reluctant Lester that they agreed about this, though Lester’s look suggests that this is the kind of “we agreed” that’s more like “I told you”. Lester manages to wangle a job for Amy in the “menagerie”, where she can keep an eye on the assorted creatures the ARC team have captured. Connor, however, is not required. Lester tells him that he’ll do what he can for him, and suggests that he keeps out of trouble, presumably knowing as well as we do that he won’t.

Jess lets Connor use her flat to do a bit of house-hunting for himself and Abby, what with them finally having sorted out that will they/won’t they thing while they were avoiding being eaten in the Cretaceous. While he gets on with that, Abby checks out the creature collection, where she meets an old friend – her flying lizard thingy[2] Rex.

Matt has another chat with Gideon, while we see that there’s something nasty, but unseen in an old warehouse being cleared by builders, presumably so they can not turn it into expensive apartments that nobody is going to buy before the next decade.

Connor soon gets bored with apartments (see?), and stars searching the internet for creature sightings, which leads him to find his old friend Duncan, who has hasn’t seen since that little problem a few years back, which left him a bit upset after their other friend Tom ended up a bit dead after being infected by a nasty parasite passed on by an enraged Dodo. Duncan’s a bit surprised to see Connor

I’m not listed anywhere – how did you find me?

I called your mum.

Duncan thinks there’s something nasty nearby, and he and Connor go and have a look in the warehouse, where they soon find what’s left of one of the builders. Connor calls Abby, who heads off to join him, closely followed by a curious Matt. Matt is followed soon after by Becker and the red shirts army guys.

Which then takes us to the traditional monster chase bit. The monster in question turns out to be a Kaprosuchus, a reptile that’s something like a long-legged agile, crocodile with big tusks. And remarkably similar to the thing that got flushed at the beginning of the episode.

Lots of fun follows including a chase around a container port, one soldier being eaten, and the creature ending up dead, poor little thing.

Back at the ARC, Matt tells Lester that he wants Abby and Connor on the team, regardless of what the rules say. Lester points out that as the rule came into effect while they were missing, and they were never formally removed from duty, technically speaking, they were never off the team. Bashir Burton looks a bit annoyed about this, but since he’s not supposed to be in charge anyway, he can’t actually do anything about it.

When Abby and Connor get back after taking Duncan home[3], Connor stands up to Lester (who obviously hasn’t bothered to tell him what’s just been decided, but merely comments on Connor’s ability to not stay out of trouble) and tells him that while Lester can fire him, he can’t stop him investigating and carrying on Nick Cutter’s work. Lester tells him that if he feels that strongly about it, he might as well stay then. However, he declines Connor’s request for a pay rise. And so, that bit of pointless dramatic tension created at the end of episode 1 is resolved.

Lots more fun to come, more creatures, more adventures, more anomalies, and probably a lot more of Matt having strange conversations with Gideon.

Yup, Primeval is thoroughly back, and just as much fun as it ever was. Near perfect early evening entertainment, and one of the best things on TV that isn’t actually Doctor Who.

[1] I’ll stop doing that soon. Probably. But if I do, I’ll only bring back another gag in its place
[2] I could look up what he’s meant to be, but I’ll pass
[3] Duncan repeatedly expresses surprise that Abby and Connor are now a couple, carrying on a theme from previous years. This would make more sense if Connor was played by someone a lot worse-looking…

Squirrel in the Rose Garden

Following yesterday’s failure, I was hoping to get at least one good squirrel picture today. They can be tricky to photograph, as they tend to run off at high speed in random directions, often in a way that looks like badly done stop-motion animation. I was sorry not to get the one yesterday who was hanging down the trunk of a tree in a very stretchy pose, but never mind.

When I got back to the Rose Garden[1], it seemed at first that the only occupants were pigeons, but then I spotted a squirrel bouncing over one of the benches before disappearing into the undergrowth. I approached the area slowly, and was rewarded by the appearance of this one, who stayed around long enough for me to get a couple of pictures I’m quite happy with. And here they are:

Sitting on the bench

Sitting on the bench


Looking down

Looking down

After that, he scampered off, and that was as close as I got to a squirrel today.

[1] Note: this is currently a rose-free area

Weight and Stuff Report – 3 January 2011

Humph. Weight up another wee bit today, which is two wee bits in a row, which makes more than a wee bit. More walking required, it seems.

And as it happens, that’s just what I’ve done, in a gentle, get things started sort of way[1]. I mentioned yesterday that I’d missed a squirrel-related photo opportunity, as I had the wrong lens with me for that sort of thing. So today, I went back to the park with my trusty 24-105mm lens on the 5D, which is an excellent general-purpose lens for wandering around with. Well, I saw lots of things in the park, and took a few pictures.

For instance, someone decided that giving the birds some bread would be a good idea. That led to this:

Avian Excitement

Avian Excitement

This must have been a bit too much for some of the park’s residents, as this charming couple had taken themselves off to a quieter corner:

Nice couple

Nice couple

Male and female Mallards, Saltwell Park

That’s a male and female Mallard.

Oh, and the squirrels? They’re coming up in another post all of their own.

Primeval – Series 4, Episode 1

A year has passed since Danny, Abby and Connor popped into the past to have a nice chat with Helen. Well, a year in fictionworld, somewhat longer here. Either way, it made sense for the new series to start with a quick catchup voice-over from Lester (still superbly played by Ben Miller, better known for his comedy work in Armstrong and Miller), who explains that what with all the trouble, and key members of staff not turning up for work, a new ARC[1] has been set up and a new team assembled. The core of the team, we soon learn, are Matt Anderson (Ciaran McMenamin), who’s doing the team leader, action hero stuff, and Jess Parker (Ruth Kearney), who’s chief geek in charge of all the anomaly monitoring, computer managing, team tracking and coordinating, which sounds like a fun job, with a slightly lower chance of being eaten than most positions at the ARC.

What we also learn is that this highly confidential, really sensitive and not generally to be revealed to the public, organisation is now being run under a Public-Private Partnership arrangement, with investment coming from an only slightly sinister billionaire genius who invented some MacGuffin[2] or other. He’s called Philip Burton, but looks suspiciously like an older, greyer and more bearded Doctor Bashir from Deep Space Nine[3], so I may have trouble getting his name right sometimes.

Passing quickly over a bit of fun in the ARC when Jess opens the wrong door and lets a cute little Dracorex loose (you might recall a chap with armour chasing the poor thing some time back), we head back to the deep past, where Abby and Connor are managing to survive. It’s clearly been a while, as they have longer hair, and Connor’s got more of a proper beard. Their clothes seem to be holding up quite well, though. After some fuss about feeling a little bit trapped, they have a run-in with a cute little dino who likes to collect shiny things for its nest. When Connor retrieves Abby’s reflective survival blanket, he also find’s Helen’s anomaly twiddling device, which has been lying around for a year, apparently. They manage to dodge a slightly hungry Spinosaurus (big predator, not at all friendly), and open an anomaly…

Meanwhile, err, no, that’s not quite right, is it? Anyway, in the present, there’s an entertaining demonstration of the ARC’s new monster zapping weapons, which are hyper-evolved relations of tasers, only without wires or any of that nonsense, they just fire bolts of energy. EMD is the name, knocking out bit things is the game. I think I’ll just have to refer to them as zap guns, on the grounds that they’re guns and they go ZAP.  :yes: The demo involves a sceptical Becker being shown the hard way that these new toys are quite effective, and just as useful as more conventional weapons.

While all that’s being sorted out, and Lester has a nice chat with Bashir Burton, an anomaly is detected, and the team is scrambled.

Having managed to avoid being eaten by Spiney, Abby and Connor come through the anomaly to be greeted by a bunch of big blokes with guns who don’t seem at all pleased to see them, but fortunately Becker arrives before they can be arrested, shot or zapped. Connor offers to close the currently sealed anomaly with Helen’s device, which obviously doesn’t work. Instead it opens the anomaly, and Spiney comes through, leading to the usual fun and games of a monster chase, which ends in an arena. This involves Spiney being disoriented by bright lights and the sound of S Club 7’s Don’t Stop Moving, at which point everyone who know’s what Hannah Spearritt’s  previous job was will have been having a good giggle, especially as it was Abby who put the music on.

Spiney is sent back home (or somewhere, anyway) when Connor, in an effort not to fall from a great height, is forced to drop the anomaly device. Spiney swallows it, and promptly disappears into the anomaly that opens around him.

Everyone goes back to the ARC, where Abby and Connor are warmly welcomed by everyone then told that there’s a new policy that only people with military experience are allowed on front-line missions, so maybe they’d like to take some time off and go away?[4]

And that would be a nice wrap-up for an opening episode. But it wouldn’t be Primeval without a bit of mystery, would it? So, we see Matt meeting a man, and apparently telling him all about what’s been going on, which I’m pretty sure he’s not supposed to do. The man, played by Anton Lesser with a slightly suspicious accent, is revealed by the credits to be called Gideon. He warns Matt to watch out because “it could be any of them”. No doubt more of that will be explained in due course…

So, it was a good return. Some new faces, enough of the old ones to make it familiar, good monster work, and above all, good fun. :bouncy:

[1] Anomaly Research Centre, which you may recall popped into existence when Helen messed around with history a bit
[2] Didn’t make a note of that on the grounds that it sounded silly
[3] Yes, it’s Alexander Siddig :smile:
[4] Now there’s a familiar dramatic device if I ever saw one