Review – Doctor Who: The Bells of Saint John by Steven Moffat (Spoilers within)

Well, how am I going to top the cracking post by Mendy, Stella and Rosalie.  The answer is that I can’t.

However, what was topped this weekend was the opening episode of Season Seven, Part Two for “Doctor Who” by the news that David Tennant and Billie Piper, along with acting legend John Hurt, will be joining up with Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman in the forthcoming fiftieth anniversary special episode.  Whilst the news itself is exciting, the timing was unfortunate as it overshadowed a solid opening episode for the Doctor and the 21st century version of Clara/Oswin Oswald.

As with previous changes in the Doctor/companion, “The Bells of Saint John” has the feeling of a new chapter, but this one has used the series’s past as the foundation for looking forward.  I mean the title itself is referential to the series, and to my shame as a person who has watched “Doctor Who” for nearly forty years I didn’t spot the reference, with “Saint John” referring to the St. John’s Ambulance sticker on the TARDIS door (alongside the Doctor’s observation that the TARDIS’s phone shouldn’t be ringing as previously pointed out in the 2005 episode, “The Empty Child”).

The episode itself was billed as an “urban thriller” and, to some extent, it leaves up to this billing as the story takes place in contemporary London and uses the traditional plot theme of using an element of the ordinary and everyday as a threat.  I mean, wi-fi is as prevalent in society today as plastic tailors dummies were in 1970 when the Autons first burst on to our screens.  However, this story had a lightness in it, by terms of humour, to make it a true “urban thriller” in the mould of an episode such as “The Sound Of Drums” which really held a sense of fear within it.

But the feeling of the story isn’t the only area where the story references itself.

They have only been gone for two episodes, but the Ponds are still making their presence known – in this story through the book “Summer Falls” by Amelia Williams.  Whilst speaking to Mendy today, we discussed the book and the relevance of the picture.  There are already fan theories behind this, but I have taken this picture to be a reference to Amy and “her boys” (Rory and the Doctor).

Once the story really gets started from Clara’s perspective of trying to access her wi-fi, the viewer is drawn into THE big plot strand for this year… who is Clara and what is her relationship to the Doctor?  This mystery is pretty much set up with her being set up in contact with the Doctor through the “best helpline in the universe” by a woman in the shop.  Again, there are the theories bouncing around to who the woman is, but it will be interesting to see if she is going to be a major player in the Whoniverse, or one of Mr Moffat’s red herrings.

This initial encounter sets up a dynamic between the Doctor and Clara which has a feeling both of the classic Doctor/companion dynamic and the contemporary dynamic that has been the mainstay since 2005.

From the Doctor’s perspective, he behaves with a sense of responsibility for Clara’s welfare – whether it be because of the Ponds’ fate or the fact that he has seen two other versions of Clara/Oswin die, but he also shows a fascination with the mystery of who Clara is which runs from his first scene as a “Mad Monk” through to his embarking to find out whether Clara has agreed to his offer to travel with him.

From Clara’s perspective, she shows an equal fascination in who the Doctor is from the moment he enters her life.  However, her personality straddles the two previous Clara/Oswins when it comes to her interaction with the Doctor.  On the one hand, she is the contemporary version of Clara’s prim and proper Governess role, whilst she shows the flirtatious side of Clara’s barmaid role and the Oswin from “Asylum Of The Daleks” when she calls the TARDIS a “snogging booth” and warns him that “There’s such a thing as too keen”.

However, the pair also have a childlike innocence to them in their dynamic with the Doctor leaving Jammy Dodgers for Clara after her first encounter with the “Spoonheads”, whilst she still writes her age in her book, “101 Places To See”, which also highlights her adventurous nature.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out, especially as the initial interest on the Doctor’s part is the mystery behind Clara’s origins, something that is highlighted in the cafe scene where the Doctor calls Clara’s bluff about people always having plans by stating that he doesn’t, even though the Doctor has a plan right from the off to meet Clara.

The story itself also has many “kisses to the past” in it, which is rather appropriate given that this is the first story of the fiftieth anniversary year including:

1. The Twitter joke – the Doctor’s dislike of the social networking site came up in “The Power of Three”.

2. “Short hops are difficult” for the TARDIS – possibly a reference to Season 18 0f the classic era where the TARDIS was getting better at short journeys, in particular in Tom Baker’s final story, “Logopolis”.

3. The Doctor’s sense of direction (when looking for the TARDIS garage) – possibly a reference to the fifth Doctor, portrayed by Peter Davison, who played the same gag about the Doctor’s poor sense of direction several times.

4. The fact that U.N.I.T. are known to the Great Intelligence – especially as the organisation’s original commanding officer, Brigadier (or Colonel, as we known back in his first story) Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart encountered the Great Intelligence and its Yeti footsoldiers in “The Web of Fear”.

In fact, the Intelligence’s modus operandi is consistent with the previous stories in which it features – use a lonely or withdrawn person, in this case Miss Kizlet portrayed with a cold hearted villainy by Celia Imrie, as the hands-on organiser for the Intelligence whilst it seeks to harvest the people’s minds through the use of the worldwide web – see webs again.

However, it is also a story that isn’t afraid to use its contemporary setting to act as a social parable, in this case the fact that modern communication is part and parcel of our everyday lives and that we should be careful as to how much of ourselves we put online for open view – such as the scenes where the Doctor and Clara are constantly photgraphed in London and where Clara uses hacked webcams and social networking to identify Kizlet’s base of operations.

Whilst “The Bells of Saint John” isn’t as strong as some of the season openers we have been treated to (and I am treating this like a season opener as it sets the tone for what is to come by way of the direction for the show), it is a solid opening story for Matt and Jenna-Louise’s, along with the Doctor and Clara’s, era in the programme and serves as a foundation for the remainder of Season Seven, Part Two and leaves the viewer in anticipation as to what is going to happen between the members of this TARDIS team.

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Vlogging Hot Cute Girly Geek: The Bells of Saint John

Hi my hot cute girly geeks, and boy geeks of course.

Beware, the video below contains spoilers!!!

Last night was the premier episode of the second part of season 7 of doctor Who. And as a proper Whovian I invited over some friends. Unfortunately because of the Easter weekend, a lot had to cancel. So I ended up with my fellow whovian and SPN friend Stella and my all-time favourite fan babe Rosalie on Skype to watch the new Doctor Who episode ‘the bells of saint John’ together. And it was brilliant, or better yet, awesome. (Sorry about all the awesomes in the vid) (No I’m not).

We squealed, fangirled, damned and thanked Moffat, shouted, gasped, oh no-ed and almost OD’ed on sugar. And it was epic. The result you can see in this vid. I hope you like it. Be on the look-out for a proper review done by my good friend Theta and I hope that will be on my blog, later this day.

 

Enjoy the rest of your Easter weekend and until next time.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek Mendy.

PS: I forgot to include the Earl’s Court Police box picture in the vlog, so here you go:

TARDIS 04 - Earl's Court

 

Hot Cute Girly Geek goes London, March 2013!!!

Hi my hot cute girly and boy geeks of course. I’ve been neglecting you all big time these last couple of weeks. Hopefully April will be a bit quieter and more time for my blogging. I went to London last weekend and here is my review, sort of. And also, as a bonus, 2 vlogs!!!

Friday morning 4.45 AM. Woke up terrible late, overslept big time, so it was a rush to pack the last things in my bright pinks suitcase (sorry, it was a gift) and get in the car on time to leave for Rotterdam where the busses would be waiting. (It was organized from work and I played tour guide for the weekend) Because I was one of the ‘guides’ I needed to be there a bit DSC_0112earlier than the rest of my colleagues to make sure everything went well and pack stuff into the bus. Finally, around 07.00 AM we left for Calais where we would be boarded on the train (I hate those things, I’m claustrophobic) On the way, me and my fellow tour guide colleague where busy pouring coffee and tea, handing out sweats, joking with the bus driver and inside the train, playing cheezy bingo, with prizes nobody actually wants to have.

We made it to the UK and I send a message to a friend of mine, working at Harrods, if he would be working that afternoon. Boy was he surprised that I was coming toDSC_0041 London! (A good surprise). So we made our way to the hotel at Ealing Common (also known as, fuck that’s a long way from the rest of London) and after a quick check-in, some freshen up, the bus dropped us of at Harrods. And I got to see and hug Dani again! After chatting with him he had to get back to work and I went on a major shopping spree at Forbidden Planet. I bought such awesome goodies (check vlog part 1 for details). Feeling a bit peckish, boyfriend and I made our way to Sheppard’s Bush to eat an amazing burger at Byron’s. I knew the place from last year (Dani introduced me) and it was as good as I remembered.DSC_0047

 

And after dinner we made our way back to the hotel, because of the lovely weather (snow, cold, windy) and us waiting about 15 minutes on a deserted platform, it wasn’t that great.

DSC_0082Saturday morning, enjoying a lovely English breakfast (just toast scrambled eggs, bacon and a proper cup of tea) and quickly in the bus to go on a guided tour DSC_0035(not by me this time) trough London and its famous sites. It was boyfriend’s first time in London and I decided to tag along. The tour was funny and informative, only downside we didn’t get to take as much pictures as we wanted. We went to see Buckingham Palace (remember when the Titanic almost crashed it) 10 Downing street (remember the Slitheen) the Tower (I wonder if UNIT also works during the weekend) and much, much more.DSC_0071

DSC_0083Seeing as we wouldn’t be going to Covent Garden on Sunday morning, we decided to go after the tour. Some other colleagues wanted to come as well and I felt like a proper tour guide, since I knew how to get there. (Please, don’t forget to tip your guide). After I showed my colleagues how to get there I went on the hunt for the guy who sells the Doctor Who merchandise, only to find his regular spot empty. I asked one of the other vendors and he doesn’t sell on the weekends. We decided to buy tickets first for We Will Rock You on Leister square and then go to the shop, only a short ten minute walk from Leister square.

And I bought some awesome goodies as well form the stamp shop. I even got some free merchandise because I mentioned having a screening party when the new DSC_0077Doctor Who episode airs this Saturday. (See vid for the goodies I bought).

Next stop St. Barts. For the Sherlock lovers you know the hospital from the scene where Sherlock plummets to his death. Oh all the feels seeing that spot. There is a DSC_0129red telephone booth on the corner and Sherlock fans are leaving messages here such as ‘I Believe’ and ‘Moriarty was real’ only it seemed like they just cleaned DSC_0120it. Naturally I left my own message.DSC_0119

 

DSC_0138On our way to Baker Street we went past the American candy shop. Oh my, it was awesome, but I did manage to contain myself and only bought flipz. Those are chocolate covered pretzels and we used to have them in the Netherlands back in the ’90. I ate bags and bags of that stuff.

To keep in the spirit of Sherlock, we went to the Sherlock museum, which has a significant increase in visitors since the new Sherlock BBC series. We stood about an hour in the freezing wet cold before we could go inside. The museum is designed around the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories, but definitely worth DSC_0143a visit for just 8 pounds. And of course I had to buy some stuff as well. Amongst the things I bought was an awesome book, containing all the original stories. (See my vid as well). After that it was time to go back to Tottenham Court Road for We Will Rock You, with a quick pit stop at BK.

I saw the show for the 5th time. 3 times in the Netherlands and this was the second time in London, but it’s still one of my favourite up beat happy musicals. I even flirted with the Killer Queen during the show, how awesome is that!

And then it was time to go back to the hotel for some much needed shut-eye.

Sunday, after again a marvellous English breakfast it was time to leave the hotel and go to petty coat lane. This market is supposed to have more than 1000 stalls, but due to the weather it was decreased in size. It looked kinda sad really. But I did manage to buy myself a cheesy t-shirt and sweatshirt, as well as a t-shirt for a colleague of mine and some pashmina shawls. I adore those and have them in almost every colour.

A quick stop at Tesco’s to buy lunch (and some more Cadbury eggs, I even managed to get some more colleagues hooked on them) and we went back to the Netherlands. I don’t know why, but going back through the tunnel the second time was more awful then on the way to the UK. My claustrophobia kicked in pretty good, although luckily no panic attack. I managed to contain myself pretty well. We played some more cheesy bingo and eventually ended somewhere in Belgium for dinner.

It wasn’t the best of dinners (give me Byron’s any day) only the dessert was jummy, although I still don’t know what kind of pie I ate. All I know is that it tasted good. After dinner it was time for karaoke. I vetoed this! I hate karaoke, especially when my lovely colleagues try to sing, when they clearly can’t. At the end of the night my ears where ringing. I would have preferred to watch Sherlock, but some colleagues can be very persuasive, unfortunately.

And around 11 pm we were back in Rotterdam. Which left us just to say goodbye to everyone and go home, fix a proper cup of tea and cuddle James.

That was my weekend in London, and I loved every second of it!

Hope you enjoyed my vids and this post.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.

Baby (Species intervention #6609 #1) by J.K. Accini, a book review.

Hi my hot cute girly and boy geeks. A while back I participated in a book blitz for this particular book. And as a thank you I got the first three books in this series in paperback! I really love my job as a blogger. Naturally I had to read them and I finished the first book a couple of weeks  ago (as well as the second one). So here is my review. And beware as always for spoilers!

baby

About the book:

add-to-goodreads

 

 

Synopsis according to Goodreads:

A story deeper and darker than E.T. How could one planet evolve such complex and divergent examples of biodiversity?
The series “Species Intervention #6609” spans two hundred years, encompassing tender love between divergent species, political downfalls and violence of unspeakable order. It is an unfortunate tale of Armageddon and the remote possibility of redemption.
In Baby, Netty is a naive teenage farm girl given in marriage to an older brutal opportunist disguised as a successful citizen during the years of Prohibition in Sussex County, New Jersey. After years of enslavement, Netty flees into the night from her rapist husband, travelling back to the farm worked by her parents, where she rescues an unfamiliar damaged creature she finds in a cave in the woods of her childhood, falling in love with the enigmatic creature she names Baby. Together they find happiness and fulfilment despite the changes to Netty’s body wrought by the proximity of the unusual creature.
When a handsome Italian stranger comes into Netty’s life, complications ensue as she falls in love while trying to hide the bizarre and wondrous changes to her farm and her body. Netty, Baby and Wil strive to conquer obstacles thrown in their path by life, succeeding wildly until the heart-rending and astonishingly brutal climax to their story.

My thoughts:

When I participated in the book blitz (for more info here is the link to my earlier post: https://hotcutegirlygeek.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/j-k-accinni-book-blitz-baby/ ) I didn’t read the book, but with some excerpts and more info I was pretty excited. And not just because I was participating in this. I am always honest in my reviews and if I don’t like a book I will say so. Fortunately I really liked the first book in this series.  And I’m enjoying reading the second book as well. (Make sure to check back for a review!)

The book Baby begins really dark with the back story of Netty, and although it’s pretty awful (understatement) I do love it when she overcomes this and becomes the strong and independent woman later on in the book.

When she escapes her abusive and really deranged husband and flees back towards home, only to find it empty, she starts healing. Working trough every day, accepting what happened and moving on. But when she stumbles upon Baby, she can truly start her new life. Working hard on her farm, together with Baby, who helps her in every way he can.

But nothing comes without consequences and Baby’s help and healing leave their marks on her body. She is changing. And then she meets Wil, the handsome stranger that gradually finds his place in the lives of Netty and Baby. Will this finally be the happy ending Netty is hoping for?

Like I said before, I absolutely love this book. In some ways it reminded me a lot of the books by Jean M. Auel (Earth’s Children series). I love that the main character has to overcome the troubles in her past and I adore Baby. Thank god not another vampire / werewolf book (although I really enjoy those as well).

The book is really well written, fast, funny at some points, romantic at others and sometimes real tearjerkers. The feelings and the emotions of the main characters as they are described makes it feel all the more realistic.

My only complaint is that the book is so thin. I would have loved to read more about the adventures of Netty, Baby and Wil. And I sort of hoped the second book would pick up where the first book ended, but that’s a whole new awesome story. But once you start reading, you can’t seem to get enough of it, and the book is hard to put down.

Where do I get my copy (aka buttons):

buy-on-amazon.com buy-on-amazon.co.uk

 

My Rating:

Definitely 8 out of 10! Or 4 out of 5 stars, depending what you are rating on. But this book is a definite must read if you love story’s that stray away from the well know paths, a bit of paranormal, and a wise lesson for all of us.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

50 Years of The Madman In The Box

Hi to the lovely girl, and boy, geeks out in the Interweb.

Well, unless you’ve either been living under a rock or have been living on desert island, you’ll know that “Doctor Who” will be returning to our screens on 30th March with “The Bells of Saint John”, the first episode of “Season 7B” or “Season 7, Part 2”.  It is also the first episode of 2013, “Doctor Who”‘s fiftieth anniversary year.

As a primer for this half of the new season, I’ve decided to do a run down on “Doctor Who” stories that I have enjoyed, they’re either classics or overlooked gems.  The only rule, two stories for each of the Doctor (except for Paul McGann who only had one on screen adventure in the role).  So, take my hand whilst I take charge of this fandom version of the TARDIS and take you on my version of “The Trip Of A Lifetime”.

 

William Hartnell: “The Edge of Destruction” and “The Aztecs”

I’m probably going to have Whovians screaming, ‘What about “An Unearthly Child”, or “The Daleks”, or “The Tenth Planet”?’, but bear with me whilst I present my case.

Up to “The Edge of Destruction”, The Doctor is a very different kettle of fish to the adventurer and hero we have come to know and love.  The character was selfish, distrustful and secretive… and that’s not including the fact that he, in essence, kidnapped his first two companions, along with being a potential murderer of a caveman in “An Unearthly Child” and deliberately sabotaging the TARDIS in “The Daleks”.

The turning point as to how we perceive The Doctor comes at the end of the story which sees the TARDIS crew facing increasing paranoia and their collective destruction, the crew come together to make a family unit – The Doctor and Susan, both inexplicably clever and technologically advanced, Ian Chesterton, brave and straight talking whenever it was required, and Barbara, the heart of the first TARDIS crew whilst being intelligent and brave in her own way.  This coming together becomes the template for the majority of the groups of people who are nicknamed “Team TARDIS”.

 

My second choice for Hartnell’s run as The Doctor is “The Aztecs”, an early historical story in the programme’s history, but an important one that sets a major rule for the series that is referenced up to the present day.  The premise of the story is that Barbara has been accidentally mistaken as a reincarnation of an Aztec god, Yetaxa.  She seeks to use this to bring about the end of human sacrifice and maintain the Aztec civilisation.  The Doctor knows that tampering with major historical events is dangerous to the timelines and seeks to dissuade her from this course of action, in which he succeeds thanks to the nature of the Aztec civilisation.  In essence, “The Aztecs” sets up the theory that time has “fixed points”, and the destruction of the Aztec society is one of these “fixed points”… plus The Doctor gets unwittingly engaged thanks to a drink of chocolate.

 

Patrick Troughton – “The Tomb Of The Cybermen” and “The War Games”

I’m little restricted in my reference of the Troughton era and given that there are few fully existing stories in the BBC archives, there were a few up for consideration.

“The Tomb Of The Cybermen” went down in the folklore of early 1990’s “Doctor Who” fandom as being equivalent to finding The Holy Grail.  Here was a story that was completely missing from the BBC archive which was found in Hong Kong, but it’s not just a classic for that reason.  Troughton gives a carefully nuanced performance in this story – part clown and part grand master chess player.  He wrong foots Klieg’s band of merry Logicians, the Cybermen… and at times, the audience by seemingly bumbling into trouble and traps, but it was really The Doctor laying down traps against his varied opponents.

In addition to the main plot, this story is the official starting point of Deborah Watling’s time in the series as companion Victoria Waterfield (after being rescued in the previous story, “The Evil Of The Daleks”).  Within the story structure of “Tomb”, Watling builds a great partnership with fellow companion Fraser Hines (in the role of long-running companion Jamie McCrimmon) and Troughton, particularly in a scene where Victoria talks about her new life as an orphan and TARDIS traveller to The Doctor, whilst he lets her in on a little tidbit about his family.

 

“The War Games” is an overlong story in its ten episode, four hour duration, but it has a major revelation.  The third season story, “The Time Meddler” introduces us to a member of The Doctor’s own unnamed race in the character of The Meddling Monk.  No other members of The Doctor’s people were shown until “The War Games” which gives us The War Chief, another member of The Doctor’s unnamed race… but hang on, The Doctor can’t solve the problem of humans being kidnapped and being made to fight wars in different time zones all on his own. Cue Episodes 9 and 10 and *Fanfare* The Time Lords make their debut as an all-powerful race who solves the problem of the War Games… oh, and as thank you to The Doctor, they put him on trial for using his abilities to interfere in the affairs of other planets, change his face and exile him to 20th century Earth (except when there was a need to keep things interesting by giving The Doctor his ability to travel in time for the sake of plot) for the next three seasons.

 

Jon Pertwee – “Terror Of The Autons” and “The Three Doctors”

The Pertwee Era officially began in 1970, but it really became the era of “The U.N.I.T. Family” a year later with this sequel to Pertwee’s debut story, “Spearhead From Space”.  “Terror” takes the existing central cast members of the Third Doctor, Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and John Levene as Sergeant Benton and builds upon this framework by introducing Richard Franklin in the role of the Brigadier’s second-in-command, Captain Mike Yates, Katy Manning in the role of The Doctor’s assistant, Jo Grant, and last, and definitely by no means least, Roger Delgado in the role of Time Lord genius and general all-round supervillain, The Master.

Alongside the introductions, you get the return of the Nestene Intelligence along with their Auton foot soldiers and new methods of invading the Home Counties with suffocating daffodils, killer troll dolls which activate by heat and a sofa that swallows up people with a snap of the fingers.  No doubt it was chilling back in 1971 and still has it’s impact 42 years on.

 

“The Three Doctors” is a choice based mainly on sentimentality, but also on the significance of it being the first anniversary “special”.

My first remembrance of seeing “The Three Doctors” was back in 1981 (when I was nine years old) as part of “The Five Faces of Doctor Who” season in the run up to Peter Davison’s first season as the Doctor.  It was great to watch the first three Doctors on screen together (albeit with William Hartnell’s scenes pre-recorded) alongside Jo misquoting “I Am The Walrus”, Sergeant Benton basically down-to-earth about seeing the inside of the TARDIS for the first time and the Brigadier believing that the universe of anti-matter was Cromer, rather than the obligatory BBC quarry.

Yes, the Gel Guard soldiers are a bit rubbish in comparison to today’s standards and the main threat isn’t given real gravitas in comparison to his later return (I don’t want to give away spoilers), but really that isn’t the point of this four parter.  “The Three Doctors” is full of colour, noise and dizzying silliness – kinda like a kid’s birthday party.

 

 

Tom Baker – “Genesis Of The Daleks” and “City Of Death”

People think that the Time War which was engrained into the mythos of the Ninth and Tenth Doctor’s eras started just before Christopher Eccleston took up the mantle of Gallifrey’s favourite rebel.  Wronnnnng!!!

The first salvo in the Time War was fired back in 1975 when the Time Lords intercept the Doctor’s travels and send him, along with his companions Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan, literally to the genesis of the Daleks to avert their creation and, along with the birth of the metal terrors, introduced viewers to probably one of the more of the Doctor’s more challenging and chilling villains when it comes to ideology in the form of Davros.

The interrogation scene where the Doctor and Davros debate initially as scientists, only for it to change tack and become a scene where Davros justifies the use of biological warfare as a means to an end is chilling to the core, especially for a family television programme, and is sold by the performances of Tom Baker and Michael Wisher, the onscreen creator of Davros.

This story has great performances all round and if you want to look at a major piece of the Doctor Who mythos, both classic and NuWho, I would recommend that you give this story a real go.

 

“City of Death” is the opposite end of the spectrum to the super-serious “Genesis Of The Daleks” as the programme goes abroad for the first time, something that has become an increasing in regularity since the programme came back in 2005 with stories like “The Fires Of Pompeii”, “Planet Of The Dead”, “Vincent And The Doctor” and “The Angels Take Manhattan” all adding stamps to the Doctor’s passport.

Set, and partially filmed in the city of Paris, viewers are treated to a story filled with threat, in the form of Scaroth, last of the Jagaroth race, portrayed with elegant villainy by Julian Glover, who was previously in the Hartnell story “The Crusades” as Richard The Lionheart and who would go on to appear as General Veers in “The Empire Strikes Back” and Kristatos in “For Your Eyes Only” shortly after his appearance in “Doctor Who”, along with glamour in the form of Catherine Schell, former Bond woman and star of Space:1999, in the role of the Countess Scarlioni, and comedic heroism in the form of pugilistic detective, Duggan, portrayed by Tom Chadbon.

The script was credited on screen to “David Agnew”, an alias for initial scripter David Fisher, along with producer Graham Williams and script editor, and genius behind The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Douglas Adams.

Within the space of four episodes, you get a plot which deals with an alien being attempting to use time travel technology to avert the destruction of his people, along with starting life on earth, along with a plot to steal the Mona Lisa from the Louvre and a diversion to Florence at the time of Leonardo Da Vinci.  “City Of Death” is a demonstration that threat along with humour can work hand in hand.

 

Peter Davison – “The Visitation” and “The Caves Of Androzani”

“The Visitation” is a “pseudo historical” story from Peter Davison’s first season in the role and one of the stronger stories from Season 19.

The premise of an alien race attempting to deliberately interfere with, or in the case of “The Visitation” accelerate, the course of a specific piece of known human history had dated back to “The Time Meddler” in 1965.  “The Visitation” takes the idea of an alien race, The Tereleptils, using an engineered version of the Bubonic Plague to wipe out the human population as its key storyline.

Alongside this, you have mind controlled villagers, an android made up to resemble the traditional symbol of “Death” including, at one point, the android grabbing a scythe from a frightened villager, a gentleman highwayman and actor, Richard Mace, portrayed by “On The Buses” actor Michael Robbins, and a climax which works well with the historical setting of the plot.

 

“The Caves Of Androzani” is not only Peter Davison’s most celebrated story in his time in the role of The Doctor and has often been voted as the best story in the history of the programme.

For those who haven’t seen it, this particular story sees The Doctor and his companion, Peri, arrive in the middle of a war between Sharaz Jek, a man who has a stranglehold on the supply of a drug called Spectrox which has life extending properties and who has been deliberately left for dead in a boiling slide and as a consequence disfigured, and Morgus, a crooked industrialist who funds the Androzani war effort and the criminals in equal measure.

As the events of the story progress, both The Doctor and Peri are fatally infected with Spectrox Toxaemia and are engaged in a fight for survival on two fronts – from the infection and the war taking place around them.

The acting in this story is fantastic, Davison and Nicola Bryant, in the role of Peri, being matched against Christopher Gable in the formidable role of Sharaz Jek, John Normington in the role of the villainous politician and industrialist Morgus, Maurice Roeves delivering a strong and suitably nasty performance as hired thug Stotz, Martin Cochrane as military general Chellak, and Robert Glenister in the twin roles of Salateen and his android duplicate.

The plot moves rapidly thanks to a script written by former script editor Robert Holmes and has what must rank as two of  the best cliffhangers in the programme’s history (Parts One and Three).

As for the regeneration, given the time when this specific story was made with the Doctor and companion relationship being significantly more chaste than what we expect from “Doctor Who” nowadays, it’s as emotionally charged as the regenerations in “The Parting Of The Ways” and “The End Of Time”.

 

Colin Baker – “Vengeance On Varos” and “Revelation Of The Daleks”

Given the inconsistent quality of the stories afforded to Colin Baker in his on screen time as The Doctor, something that has been redressed in his audio stories with Big Finish.  However, there are two stories which his Doctor is given a real opportunity to shine.

“Vengeance On Varos” is a parable on the violence of television and the way that television can be seen as an influence on the masses.  Forget “Big Brother” or “The Hunger Games”, “Varos” shows a society where the people have become desensitised to the violence served up to them with executions being shown on screen and voting on the fate of the Governor being mandatory.

But, the biggest impact of “Varos” is the introduction of Sil, a wonderfully repellant performance by actor Nabil Shaban who, with his mashed up sentence structure and sibillant laugh, created a villain who is remembered fondly despite that he only had two stories in the programme’s history.

 

“Revelation Of The Daleks” follows the dark vein of Season 22 with a story set on a planet where funerals are the stock in trade.

Colin Baker gets his best opportunity to portray the complexity of the Sixth Doctor’s character with a story where Daleks are created from geniuses, as with the future version of Clara/Oswin in “Asylum Of The Daleks”, and people who are not worthy of being elevated to the level of a Dalek being turned into “concentrated protein” foodstuffs (as in the film “Soylent Green”).

There are colourful characters such as the pompous funerary director Jobel, portrayed by Clive Swift, and his assistant Tasambeker, portrayed by Jenny Tomasin, the nobel knight Orcini and his less than clean squire Bostock, portrayed by William Gaunt and John Ogwin, the ice queen industrialist Kara and her simpering sidekick Vogel, portrayed by Eleanor Bron and Hugh Walters, and Alexei Sayle giving a suitably comedic and dramatically balanced performance in the role of the DJ.

But, the most notable performance is that of Davros, this time portrayed by Terry Molloy, who is the most colourful of the cast.  He changes the direction of a character previously seen as a bit of a ranter into something more subtle with a dark humour befitting the story, one example being a scene where the Doctor questions the validity of people eating “their own relatives”, to which Davros replies that he didn’t tell people because it could create “consumer resistance”.

 

Sylvester McCoy – “Remembrance Of The Daleks” and “Survival”

In my mind, “Remembrance Of The Daleks” SHOULD have been the official story for the Twenty-Fifth anniversary season.  Instead, this honour was granted to “Silver Nemesis”.

“Remembrance” takes the programme back to its roots with The Doctor and his companion Ace, portrayed by Sophie Aldred, returning to the two main locations of the programme’s opening story – the Coal Hill School where Ian and Barbara were employed, and the totter’s yard where the First Doctor hid his TARDIS in the opening story.

Within the space of four episodes, the viewer is treated to a small Dalek war in one of London’s districts, the return to the mystery behind The Doctor’s background, and a storyline underpinned by the Daleks’ nature as a race that believed in racial purity – something that is mirrored by the racist tone of a group of humans employed by one of the Dalek factions.

In addition to the main plot, you also get one of Sylvester McCoy’s finest moments as The Doctor with his delivery of a monologue where the character doubts the validity of his interference in events and likening it to dropping a pebble or a boulder into a lake with the uncertainty of the resulting waves matching the uncertain results of his actions.

 

“Survival” will go down as the last of the classic Doctor Who stories and it’s a bit of a watershed in more ways than one.

As with “Rose”, “Survival” primarily revolves around the companion, rather than The Doctor, with Ace’s rebellious and proactive nature being likened to the survival instinct of the Cheetah People and the story’s main villain, The Master.

Another area where this story echoes that of “Rose” is that it returns Ace to her surroundings in Perivale with friends standing outside shops and accepting donations against hunting and even a return to her childhood roots.

By the end of this story, you will be left with the thought that on the one hand it was the right time for the programme to finish, whilst on the other you are left wondering what could have been achieved if the double act of McCoy and Aldred had been given their chance to complete their era.

 

Paul McGann – “The TV Movie”

1996… He was back and it was “about time”.  After seven years away, The Doctor returned to our screens, this time the programme was co-produced by the BBC and Universal Studios with filming taking place in Vancouver.

At first, The TV Movie was seen as the best thing since sliced bread with the return of The Master, a regenerated Doctor and a vibrant relationship with a one-off companion, only for the plot holes and an over-abundance of continuity strands from the classic series to be seen after repeated viewing.  One constant throughout though was the fantastic performance delivered by Paul McGann in the role of The Doctor. From the character’s rebirth through to his embarking on new adventures, McGann gave his interpretation of the role a sense of fun and humour which would have been a joy to see on screen.  However, this was not to be as the “backdoor” pilot wasn’t picked up to go into a series.  The Doctor’s future lay elsewhere in books, comics and audio adventures.

 

 

Christopher Eccleston – “The Unquiet Dead” and “Dalek”

2005… and The Doctor makes a successful return to television.  In Christopher Eccleston’s only series in the role, he has made quite a few episodes that have gone on to become classics in their own way.

“The Unquiet Dead” is one of those episodes that I enjoyed due to the fact that it drew on the classic traditions of a pseudo-historical story, whilst adding in a dash of horror in the dead coming back to life thanks to the Gelth, the first major reference of the effects of The Time War, and real moral dilemma in the relationship between The Doctor and Rose in that The Doctor believes in the Gelth using the bodies of the deceased as transport and Rose’s objections to the situation.

Alongside this, although we didn’t know this at the time, you have one of the starting points for the Cardiff branch of a little organisation called “Torchwood” and a time rift that will figure large in that programme.

 

“Dalek” was oh so nearly the “programme that wasn’t” due to rights issues.  However, thank goodness for the BBC and the estate of Terry Nation for facilitating the resurrection of “Doctor Who”‘s number one baddie, and to Robert Shearman for taking the script for his Big Finish audio story “Jubilee” and changing it into a cracking thriller where the eponymous Dalek becomes a really big threat.

I really want to solely focus on one scene of this story and that’s the scene where The Doctor first meets his arch enemy.  Christopher Eccleston REALLY sells the fear that The Doctor faces in the story and the Dalek changes from a thing of humour seen in adverts for products such as “Kit Kat” into a credible threat on The Doctor’s life.  Add to that, there’s another interesting switch in The Doctor’s moral character once he finds out about the Dalek’s inability to kill in that he switches from victim to soldier, albeit an unwilling one, and almost taking pleasure in the fact that the Dalek is well and truly in his “sights”.

 

David Tennant – “School Reunion” and “Human Nature”/”The Family Of Blood”

“School Reunion” will very much be a fan favourite.  When I found out that Elisabeth Sladen and John Leeson were returning as Sarah Jane Smith and K-9, I did “fanboy” a wee bit.  After all, Lis’s portrayal of Sarah Jane was very much engrained into my early childhood years, along with watching her on videos and DVDs in my adulthood.

This episode perfectly recaptured that sense of it being a “love letter” not only between the classic and NuWho eras, but between the Doctor and his former companion, and between the programme and its fans.

In addition to that, the story acts as the first step on the foreshadowing to the eventual fates that befell The Doctor and Rose in “Doomsday” with the scene where Rose challenges The Doctor on his treatment of previous incarnations.

 

“Human Nature”, along with the story’s second part, “The Family Blood” took one of the most beloved books in Virgin’s “Doctor Who New Adventures” series and builds what was, for me, the most romantic story in the programme’s history.

Through the plot device of The Doctor becoming human, you get to explore a side of the character in that The Doctor can fall in love, but he can’t allow himself that aspect of life because of his age and adventuring lifestyle.

This aspect comes in sharp focus near the end when “John Smith” has to make the painful choice of, in effect, having to be “executed” to allow The Doctor to live again.  David Tennant acts that scene out, not only through the words on the page but through his whole person and I defy anybody not to be moved by his performance.

Plus, the “Chameleon Arch” sets up the central premise of “The Master Trilogy” that rounds off Series 3 of the revived series.

 

Matt Smith – “Vincent And The Doctor” and “The Doctor’s Wife”

“Vincent” is the episode that the “Hot Cute Girly Geek” herself, Mendy, knows as being my personal favourite in the Matt Smith era so far.

The programme has tackled The Doctor meeting various noted historical figures, but none of these was as personal as his visit to meet noted artist Vincent Van Gogh.

Richard Curtis’s script sensitively tackles an issue that still needs addressing in society in depression and mental health in general.  This is allied with a fantastic performance not only by Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, but also by Tony Curran in the role of Vincent himself who uses his acting palette to paint a fully rounded character in his highs when he meets Amy and, in a sense falls for her, and the lows not realising how good he is as a painter.

But, the real highlight scene of this story was when The Doctor and Amy gives Vincent the gift of seeing how beloved his work eventually became.  The mixture of Curtis’s script, the emotive acting along with Bill Nighy’s monologue about how Professor Black sees Vincent’s work and the musical choice of “Chances” by Athlete all come together in one great scene… and I’ve never been able to listen to that song in the same light again.

 

“The Doctor’s Wife” is a story title that lives long in the programme’s history thanks to former producer John Nathan-Turner putting the story on a planning board as a red herring.  What Neil Gaiman gave us is a real love letter to near fifty years of the programme’s history by exploring the relationship between The Doctor and his one constant companion, the TARDIS herself.

Suranne Jones perfectly embodies the TARDIS’s “soul”  by vocalising her relationship with The Doctor and his various companions over the last fifty years.  The bickering between Jones and Matt Smith is akin to the relationship between a married couple and a mother and petulant son, but it’s that final goodbye scene that really wrenches at you as she manages to say the one thing that she has always wanted to say in a single word… “Hello”, whilst Matt Smith is reduced to a crying boy, something that will return approximately eighteen months later following the loss of his friends, The Ponds.

Speaking of The Ponds, they also get the chance to shine thanks to their treatment by the House entity, making the fact that Rory keeps dying in the series as a sick game whilst they are pursued by an Ood in a deadly game of hide and seek.

 

And there you have it, my faves leading up to eight more new stories next weekend and a fiftieth anniversary story in November.

I’ve loved the series since I started watching it due to its ability to tell diverse stories, and I’ll probably keep loving it whilst it remains in production.  Thank you, Doctor, for taking us on the Trip of a Lifetime.

 

 

YouTube Sunday!!!

Hi my hot cute girly and boy geeks of course, I’m back!!! Sort of, this month needs to seriously end and I will have more free time! But without going to deep into personal stuff, it’s been a very good week for us fangirls and boys.

I’ve been jumping up and down squeeing with all the awesome stuff that happened this week. A small recap:

  • The veronica mars movie raised enough money with kickstarters to be funded (hell yeah!!!)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch spilled the beans about signing on for season 4
  • Although 2 days later he revokes it, sort off.
  • Red nose day happened and a certain Doctor did something really cheeky!
  • Neverwhere started yesterday
  • There are some rumours online that David Tennant will be starring in the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.
  • There is a new teaser trailer released for season 7b of Doctor Who

Some of the videos are related to the stuff above, so you’re welcome. Oh and this post contains some spoiler vids, for Doctor Who and Sherlock, just a slight warning, Let’s just start.

This is a cute video about what would happen if you put a ballpit in the middle of the street and let strangers meet each other and getting to know each other with funny questions: http://youtu.be/HfHV4-N2LxQ

Game of Thrones season 3 is starting soon, are you guys excited? I am. Here is a video about Game of Thrones, highschool style: http://youtu.be/DY6dvlMfntw And another one, write like the wind, again, laughing like crazy about this one: http://youtu.be/j7lp3RhzfgI

I laughed so hard about the next video. What do sheep herders do when they are bored? See for yourself: http://youtu.be/D2FX9rviEhw

A little hobbit related stuff, Martin Freeman thanking facebook friends of the Hobbit: http://youtu.be/DAJe-y7rd_w

And now for the Benedict Cumberbatch spam video’s talking about winning awards, Star Trek, Sherlock, Moriarty, a kiss,  a new season and revoking it: http://youtu.be/F4-BNIHxv-Q  http://youtu.be/EIghE7GEaCk  http://youtu.be/-D_FtB6J2jM  http://youtu.be/LIhat1gSp5A  http://youtu.be/Xdv9B3okCMQ

Doctor Who spamming video’s now. Red Nose day, a kiss (or actually a snog), interview, and new trailers: http://youtu.be/E_HDzq_8nOU http://youtu.be/6FLcLWetBnw http://youtu.be/SRQu3MvRySA (and since I can’t find a YouTube for the American trailer, the link to one of the sites it’s posted on, this one is slightly different than the one from BBC: http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/03/16/doctor-who-trailer-matt-smith/ ) http://youtu.be/Xz9tK0ebsCM  http://youtu.be/FQkdWM1ma2o  http://youtu.be/gsGXSP5xrfU  http://youtu.be/AsiUvm111fQ

I watch a lot of fanvids, made by Whovians, Supernatural fans, Sherlock fans, you name it. I love how some people get so creative to edit the show and put great music to it. So sometimes I stumble upon music I didn’t know. And such a song just keeps playing in your mind over and over again. Like this one: http://youtu.be/ktvTqknDobU and the amazing fanvid, combining BBC Sherlock with the new Sherlock movies that made me look up the original music: http://youtu.be/lpxkgcIX9uw And the last two amazing fanvids with awesome music that just is so accurate to the series, it will blow your mind away: http://youtu.be/J4oQbrLtu7o  http://youtu.be/tderL0tZ2jo

What did I just watch? Martin Freeman as a mime player? All I can think off while watching this video is, John Watson really let himself go after Sherlock died: http://youtu.be/oxmXnucXlMQ

So what happened after the Disney stories end? What happened to the princesses, did they get their fairytale ending? Guess again: http://youtu.be/diU70KshcjA

And I’ll end this post with Neverwhere, first up, Benedict Cumberbatch singing as the angel of Islington http://youtu.be/y3cIU9qLLZk and for the people who missed it, the first episode of Neverwhere: http://youtu.be/rh-jp0wPK4I

And if you’re too lazy to click each separate link, here’s the link to the whole playlist, but remember, the vids are not in the same order as I posted them in this post. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkqAzbSKwpFCHeZvYdtMc6v2bD-d8HWv_

I’m off not spending my Sunday lazy, lot’s of cleaning up to do, and I need to change my precious euro’s into British pounds, because your own hot cute girly geeks go’s London again!!!

Lots of love, Mendy