Thursday, October 29, 2009


The More Things Change…

Are you watching The Sarah Jane Adventures right now? With Doctor Who himself guest-starring? Then get to it!

But meanwhile, did you see Andrew Marr’s The Making of Modern Britain last night? Not bad, but it didn’t half demonstrate his own political prejudices – and did you spot the three things the Liberals got right and one thing we weren’t terribly impressive on a century ago, and the very same today? Not that there was an awful lot on the Liberals, as our Edwardian landslide dominating last night’s ‘era’ didn’t fit into Mr Marr’s very old Labour narrative of history: Tories are wicked, the rise of Labour’s a great thing, and the Liberals are to be mentioned as little as possible.

Much of yesterday’s opening episode, which itself was opening the Twentieth Century, was a critique of the Tories and the upper class. I was right with him on our disgusting invention of concentration camps in the Boer War (though I notice he omitted Mr Campbell-Bannerman’s famous denunciation of the “methods of barbarism”), of a piece with the rise of eugenics in showing the seeds of what we now recognise as Nazism rising in Britain… But little was made of the socialists supporting eugenics, and – as Richard observed – while Britain offered ourselves the choice of fascism, we didn’t take that choice.

Similarly, attacking Mr Balfour because he wasn’t really up to being Prime Minister but, Bob’s your uncle, and he suddenly was – well, that’s all right. But delighting in constant repetition of what sounded very like homophobic jeers against him from a century ago? Not so much. And the same with his approving hail for the creation of the Daily Mail, not yet infamous as the paper that spits on much-loved dead people and refuses to apologise when he recorded his voiceover, but still a vile rag, his encomium considerably lacking in any alternative view to the wonderfulness of tabloids. I enjoyed his class-warrior proclamation that posh Mr Rolls having to visit engineer Mr Royce rather than the other way round was proof that power was shifting massively in Britain. For some reason, though, he omitted the photos of the Rolls-Royce cars standing outside every humble tenement that would have proved his case. Can’t think why.

Andrew Marr and the Invisible Liberals (Just Like Bedford All Over Again Before)

As for the Liberals – on the rare occasions he mentioned them, and there was considerably more about violence-inciting imperialist turncoat Joe Chamberlain (hiss) than of any Twentieth-Century Liberal, with Mr Marr seemingly rather admiring of his protectionism and landslide victor Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman not even getting the courtesy of a name-check, despite technically being Britain’s first Prime Minister – when we were mentioned, it was generally in passing, as an afterthought, with the big story of 1906 election not a Liberal landslide majority but half a dozen Labourites who were all lovely, apparently.

What I did notice, though, was that the Liberals were right – not that you’d notice from Mr Marr’s commentary – on: How things change, eh?

Why I’m Not Watching The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith (I Might Cry)

Sarah Jane Smith is right at this very moment, thrillingly, engaged in a whirlwind romance and at some point (I’m not looking) to be joined by the Doctor himself, David Tennant diving in for a guest appearance before he hangs up his coat at the end of the year – but I’m recording rather than watching The Sarah Jane Adventures on BBC1 and BBCHD, as Richard’s not home yet to watch her with me. If you’re not doing the same, catch it on iPlayer and umpteen CBBC repeats this week.

This first part of The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith and tomorrow’s concluding episode are both written by Gareth Roberts, one of Doctor Who’s most entertaining authors, and tomorrow’s will be the first Doctor Who broadcast on my birthday since I was five, when my favourite story of all time premiered: so, no pressure, then. And read Richard’s review of last week’s as a taster.

PS Ooh! And there’s the third series of Bleak Expectations starting on Radio 4 tonight at 6.30. Harrumble for Mr Gently Benevolent!

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As I've just tweeted I think Sarah Jane Adventures is on great form at the moment. I'd particularly single out the writing, direction and music for praise.

It's just a shame there seem to be so many spoilers from CBBC, The Radio Times and even the show itself. For example, last week's teasers gave away this week's villain, guest star and ending.
Sarah Jane was excellent. You're both in for a treat!
You forgot to mention the most important bit! She's marrying NIGEL HAVERS!!!!

* swoon *

I wonder if we'll see the tattoo Marcus made him get when he was on I've Never Seen Star Wars....

Mmmmmmmmmmmm Nigel Havers....
You're right Jennie, I forgot that spoiler. But I never quite recovered from that first shot of the back of his head in the cafe... I'm just hoping it was a stunt double...
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