Friday, June 29, 2012
Government Porn Filter Collapses In Security Nightmare
This bloody stupid idea, cooked up like so many others ‘For the sake of the children’ by bullying social conservatives – it’s like the Labour Party were still in Government – is to automatically block porn through everyone’s ISPs and treat every adult as if they were a child, including the two-thirds of households that don’t have children in them.
What do they think the Internet is for, anyway?
I can’t help thinking that this is a sop from Mr Cameron to his raving right-wing backbenchers who weren’t happy with the last consultation, on same-sex marriage. ‘No, we’re still frothing conservatives who like sticking our grubby fingers into people’s bedrooms, honestly!’ is the message. ‘Let’s turn the PC clocks back to when everyone just had floppies!’ Never mind personal responsibility for parents; never mind that we’re having to put up with a lot of horrible things the Tories are doing because there’s much, much less than no money and we have to live with some cuts; there’s just no excuse for this. It’s illiberal, it’s bureaucratic, and it costs a lot more money. And, today, when the Government wants to get its jollies by costing a lot more money, it had better have a bloody good excuse.
Instead, this proposal is a proven car-crash less than a day into the consultation period – long before any law might come into force. Yes, shockingly, they launched the consultation just yesterday. And now they’ve had to suspend it because the online questionnaire has blown open the Data Protection Act by publishing people’s names, contact details and replies.
Why A Porn Filter Would Harm People (Kids Included)
Yes, astonishingly, this cock-up has already proved why having a Government register of porn users is a terrible idea (even if you’re stupid enough not to read that sentence and work it out from first principles). There are already so many, many reasons why getting ISPs to hold everyone’s “Porn filter” records on their databases is wrong, whether it’s forcing every Internet user – or, rather, bill-payer – in the land to opt in in order to view porn. Such filters are a grotesque state-run invasion of privacy, when whether you look at consenting adults’ porn or not is nobody else’s business. Such filters are well-known for blocking medical sites, or helplines – so, far from child protection, they do genuine and provable harm. And just imagine going into your local mobile phone emporium to sign a new contract:
‘Jan-ice! Pass me the porn register! This one looks like he’s not getting any…’But, as today’s security disaster has proven beyond doubt before the filter databases themselves are created, they are insecure. I can’t even say ‘An accident waiting to happen’ because, well, it’s just happened. They present a danger to people. A danger of being embarrassed for no good reason. A danger of being excluded from, say, your religious membership if they preach against pornography and – heavens! – your name is found to be on the list. A danger of being bombarded with unwanted ‘offers’ from the sex industry. Even the real physical danger of being targeted by extremist religious or other groups. These lists are by nature insecure and dangerous, whether the danger is simply of being forced into social conformity when in your own home for fear that your name will ‘get out’, or that people who want to market to you or do you harm will pay good money to get hold of such records.
At this very moment forty-three years ago, the Stonewall riots – that’s proper Stonewall, not the Labour-licking corporate lobbyists – were into their second day. They were the start of modern lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender radicalism, and I’ve been listening to the Tom Robinson Band’s excellent Long Hot Summer in celebration. I don’t think there’ll be riots if the Government starts fiddling with people’s porn, though I’d be tempted, but it would certainly harm LGBT people, from LGBT kids unable to look up helpful sites to leaked information being of help to queerbashers. These proposals are simply wrong.
Government – Get Your Hands Off Our… Hands!
I have previously suggested as our core message: “Liberal Democrats – The Party That Thinks Sex Is All Right”. We should very much leave micro-management of people’s lives to the Tories (who want to boss you about because you’re bad) and Labour (who want to boss you about because it’s good for you). And Lib Dem Ministers, you should tell the Tories how daft they’re being.
I have a simple, cost-saving alternative.
If the government wants a list of masturbators in the UK, one already exists: the census. It’s guaranteed to be a far more accurate list than any wildly expensive new self-‘incriminating’ infrastructure would be.
Whereas if they want a list of wankers, just look at the register of MPs supporting this new censorship idea.
*Except for every single time any UK Government ever puts confidential information into a new IT system. You’d think they’d have learned by now.
Labels: Coalition, Conservatives, Gay, Meddling In Things That Are Nobody's Business But Your Own, Sex, Stupid Ideas, Technology, What the Lib Dems Stand For
Thursday, June 21, 2012
What Doctor Who – The New Adventures Mean To Us: Alex
Doctor Who’s Lifeline
The first New Adventure was published on June 20th, 1991. A year and a half earlier, Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor and Sophie Aldred’s Ace had walked off into the sunset at the end of Survival, the last Doctor Who TV story of the original run. And then Virgin Publishing saw them walk back into the TARDIS for what turned out to be sixty-one New Adventures (fewer with Ace, more without the Doctor).
I was probably the perfect audience for the New Adventures; part of probably the second generation of Doctor Who fans, I’d always followed both the TV series and the Target novelisations – since I was three and five respectively, a decade and a half by then – and with both versions of Doctor Who equally important to me, with no new TV stories what could be more natural than to continue the Doctor’s travels on the page?
“When is a lightning bolt not a lightning bolt?”The first three books were all written by established novelisers for the Target range (which had itself by the end been taken over by Virgin, establishing a continuing thread from 1973 into the new books): John Peel, Nigel Robinson and, most importantly, Terrance Dicks. For the more conservative fans – and I started off more towards that direction – it was reassuring that the second novel was written by Terrance Dicks (then the grand middle-aged man of Who, writing for the seventh of seven Doctors), giving his blessing. It was also a help that Terrance’s Timewyrm: Exodus was clearly the best of the three, as well as notably experimental in its time-hopping. Within the next few books published, outstanding TV authors from the Sylvester McCoy era had joined the range – Marc Platt, Andrew Cartmel, Ben Aaronovitch (with a new book out today that’s set to be another bestseller) – to make it clear that this was taking up where the TV series had left off with the BBC’s official stamp, all three not just providing continuity but driving on with the books’ original tagline of “Full-length, original novels, too broad and too deep for the small screen”.
But what really kept these Doctor Who stories exciting and made them the most brilliant, influential and coherent continuation of Doctor Who between 1989 and 2005 was the extraordinary influx of eager new writers, most writing their first novels, full of ideas, determined to make an impression. Kate Orman, Andy Lane, Jim Mortimore – and people who have worked on the TV series since its return in 2005 like Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss, Gareth Roberts, Gary Russell and Simon Winstone. Even, towards the end, a book each from the two biggest creative forces behind the next two big waves of Doctor Who – Lawrence Miles and Russell T Davies.
“Everything is history, if you look at it from the right perspective.”Nothing dates like “New”, and it’s a bit startling to think that when they began I was a few months away from turning twenty, and now they’ve just turned twenty-one. I remember Paul Cornell at a signing about five years ago exclaiming with a shock that they’ve yellowed and started to smell like old books. But though it seems odd to look back from more than half my life ago at “New”, they still justify the title for always keeping the series going forward, rather than just dwelling comfortably on Doctor Who ‘as it used to be’ – because it never used to be just unoriginal, repetitive and comforting. The New Adventures opened up new vistas; I didn’t always like them, but I realised that when Doctor Who can go anywhere and do anything, it can’t sit still. Fans talked about Doctor Who’s own version of the Political Compass, with “Rads” vs “Trads”, “Frocks” vs “Guns”, and I found myself opening up with the NAs from Trad-Gun tastes to preferring Rad-Frocks. From the start, the New Adventures favoured story arcs before Babylon 5 made them fashionable, and as they increased in breadth and confidence they told cyberpunk future histories, turned the series inside-out with a new, old mythology and introduced the series’ defining companion, archaeologist Professor Bernice Summerfield, then later the Thirtieth Century police officers blond, heroic Chris Cwej and grumpy Xhosa aristocrat Roz Forrester, all with the Daleks seeming more powerful than ever by never appearing but always casting their shadow across the stories. And, yes, the books came to define their own clichés (Ace shooting and shagging, Benny drinking, Sylv’s angst and killer eyes, and lots of Kate Bush), yet they remain one of the series’ most creative ever periods. And traditionalists and radicals, Target-lovers and experimenters were all part of the same run, all playing in the same sandbox, and that made the series so much stronger striking out into the future.
Part of My Lifetime
The New Adventures are a far more evocative memory for me than any other non-TV Doctor Who line, in part because for me they were so much better than any other, and in part because of the time they spanned, a uniquely transitional few years in my life. From Tom through to Sylv on TV, the stories are powerful memories but the setting usually at my parents’ in Stockport; from Chris to Matt so far on TV, the stories are powerful memories but the setting almost without exception with Richard in our Isle of Dogs flat. But the NAs summon up memories of the bookshops where I bought them (Colchester where I studied, or didn’t, London for politics or partners, strangely often the WH Smiths at Liverpool Street Station as I travelled in between), of starting to mix with fans, and much more so of university, people or politics. And as I spent a lot of my time at uni hitch-hiking up and down the country to help out the Liberal Democrats at by-elections back when I still had the health to do it, many NAs for me crystallise into reading them late at night while crashing on people’s floors in between days of leafleting and canvassing in different campaigns.
“You mean I’m dead?”So amongst the most vivid memories for me – among many others – are Timewyrm: Revelation in Lancaster for a few days with a brief fling; being frightened by Doctor Who for the first time since 1977 by Nightshade in a very tall, very dark room at friends’ in Portsmouth; Deceit at the Newbury by-election; Lucifer Rising in my physical office and at the end of my term of office as a students’ union President, sometimes surreptitiously, under the desk, because I’d much rather be reading a brilliant Who book than organising a handover; White Darkness at the Christchurch by-election; Shadowmind in East London, as my then relationship was breaking up; Conundrum at a local by-election in rural St Neot’s; Theatre of War at the Eastleigh by-election; a god-awful hitch-hike to Bradford South with only All-Consuming Fire to keep me warm in long, lonely hours stuck outside service stations along the way; St Anthony’s Fire being a very disappointing book but still a vividly exciting memory of finding my way on bus round the Isle of Dogs as I started going out with Richard (or, as I’m sure he’d prefer me to remember, reading the far better The Also People in what was by then our flat); Christmas on a Rational Planet in a coach back from giving a speech in Utrecht, having forced myself to put it to one side and write the speech on the way there; Damaged Goods at the Wirral South by-election and around Merseyrail; The Dying Days in short breaks as I was being driven from place to place as the candidate myself, strangely appropriate as a finale, in Stevenage on General Election day, then late at night when I should have been getting a nap in before the count…
“…Oxygen starvation, brought about from finding yourself on the moon having believed the place to be Norfolk. I do believe that’s unique.”
My favourite eras of Doctor Who have long been Robert Holmes and Philip Hinchcliffe’s, my first and still the best, then discovering William Hartnell’s early days… And the New Adventures, most of all as they really get into their stride from about 1994-96. There’s much more Who that I love – 1978, 1980-81, 1989, 2005, 2007 all spring to mind; oh, really, the whole lot of it – but those are the benchmarks for quality I keep returning to. With the New Adventures in particular, I can simply think of more terrific books from that range than I can from all the other book ranges put together. Every set of books has its ups and downs, but the NAs were both unambiguously the Doctor’s continuing adventures and fortuitously had more consistent depth and inspiration than any other non-TV line of Who.
“‘In that case,’ said Bernice, ‘I’ll have an exaggerated sexual innuendo with a dash of patriot’s spirit and extra mushrooms. Roz?’A few years ago, I wrote a series of short pieces on Why Is Doctor Who Brilliant? Several New Adventures featured prominently. We hope to be reviewing the whole range in time – that’s the plan – but in lieu of you reading every NA to discover for yourself how brilliant they are (though you should), here are a few of the standouts, should you happen across them in your local second-hand bookshop:
“‘I’ll have the same,’ said Roz. ‘But with an umbrella in it.’
“‘Coming right up,’ said the table.”
- The cream of the crop for me are Andy Lane and Jim Mortimore’s Lucifer Rising, in which the TARDIS crew get a fair bit of character development, oodles of future history is explored, there are huge sci-fi ideas and it’s a murder mystery that’s sometimes very funny into the bargain;
- …And Ben Aaronovitch’s The Also People, for which I could write a similar précis – more confident character exploration than development, but with other huge sci-fi ideas, another murder mystery and much funnier – but which is a very different book, a small-scale film noir at heart amidst the epic setting and with arguably the most gorgeous prose in the series;
- The most influential novel was the fourth NA published, Paul Cornell’s Timewyrm: Revelation, which exploded the boundaries and showed that you could write something very different to the TV series; like the following book, Marc Platt’s equally brilliant Cat’s Cradle: Time’s Crucible, it’s a journey of sorts to the Doctor’s heart, one metaphysical, one technological, both in their own ways mythological. With the NAs’ penchant for pop culture references, I think of them as Blue Monday and West End Girls, the one that luckily came out first setting the standard for a new wave;
- Then there’s Andrew Cartmel’s intense ‘War’ trilogy, with its dystopian near future and übermanipulative Doctor;
- Paul Cornell’s Love and War, just as political and striking out boldly with the introduction of Professor Bernice Summerfield, who celebrates her -528th birthday tomorrow and is still going strong in her own series;
- Mark Gatiss’ scary Nightshade, where nostalgia kills;
- Gareth Roberts’ The Highest Science and Andy Lane’s Sherlock Holmes crossover All-Consuming Fire (he now writes his own bestselling Holmes series), both of which are enormous fun;
- Jim Mortimore’s Blood Heat and Kate Orman’s The Left-Handed Hummingbird, both of which put everyone through the wringer;
- Paul Cornell, again’s, Human Nature, which tells an intimate, compelling story that was successfully made part of the TV series over a decade later;
- Andy Lane’s Original Sin, introducing Adjudicators Roz and Chris;
- Lance Parkin’s Just War, with appalling real-world horrors but one pricelessly funny moment;
- Lawrence Miles’ Christmas on a Rational Planet, which overturns much of the NAs’ own mythology with an alternate look at the History of the universe;
- Russell T Davies’ urban, gripping Damaged Goods that finally makes the NAs as gay as their detractors complain;
- Ben Aaronovitch and Kate Orman’s So Vile a Sin, a big climax, followed by Matt Jones’ moving Bad Therapy;
- And the ultimate New Adventure, Marc Platt’s Lungbarrow, in which the seventh Doctor goes back home for his swansong and many questions are answered (with just as many new ones posed).
Loved or hated, the New Adventures were massively important; neither the BBC Books Doctor Who line that took over from them nor Big Finish’s Doctor Who audios would be around without them, and the TV series that returned, had it returned at all, would probably look very different. I loved these groundbreaking adventures that dragged Doctor Who into the ’90s and cast the Doctor as “Time’s Champion”, the books becoming his own champions striding into an exciting future.
“At the far end of the street, hostile armed men came to the party, and twenty minutes passed.”Richard and I were both in the middle of following and loving the New Adventures when we met and fell in love with each other, so the NAs have an even more special place in our hearts. We started re-reading them this time last year, starting each New Adventure all over again on its twentieth birthday; for the series’ twenty-first today, we’re starting this new blog to look at them all in turn.
This is cross-posted from Richard’s and my new blog, Time’s Champions, a day later – so, happy -528th birthday, Bernice Summerfield!
You can read Richard’s heartfelt paean to the New Adventures here.
Incidentally, the new blog’s still very much a work in progress as we decide what to make of it, so should anyone have a Blogger template that looks like the New Adventures front and back cover designs, could you get in touch?
Labels: Big Finish, Blogs, Books, Doctor Who, New Adventures, Personal, Professor Bernice Summerfield, Reviews, Richard, Sylvester McCoy, Why Is Doctor Who Brilliant?
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Equal Marriage Consultation – Supporting Equality Before the Law and Personal and Religious Freedom
You can respond to the consultation here until later today (either 5pm or midnight according to different sources, so better make it 5); here are the consultation paper and the impact assessment; if the Home Office website crashes, email your answers to email@example.com before the deadline. Here are mine.
Question 1: Do you agree or disagree with enabling all couples, regardless of their gender to have a civil marriage ceremony?
Question 2: Please explain the reasons for your answer. Please respond within 1,225 characters (approx 200 words).
In 21st Century Britain there’s simply no justification for the law discriminating against people – it should treat everyone the same. It’s wrong for the state to decide that some citizens are second class and must be forced to use separate facilities (no-one who talks about “separate but equal” in order to exclude people ever wants to be on the “separate” side). We wouldn’t countenance banning mixed-race marriages today; same-sex marriages are exactly the same case.
Marriage – and civil partnerships – should be based on the principle of equality before the law. That makes the law simpler as well as fairer, and stops such awful ‘anomalies’ as forcing transsexual people to divorce in order to be pushed into the right ‘category’, or UK law not recognising people married in other countries.
It should be up to any couple (same-sex, mixed-sex, same-race or mixed-race) to decide how to celebrate and protect their relationship, and the law simply to recognise that. Both marriage and civil partnerships should be open to all, on the same basis, and there should be simple legal procedures to convert either into the other.
Put simply, it’s no-one else’s business but a couple’s to decide if they get married.
Question 3: If you identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual would you wish to have a civil marriage ceremony?
Question 4: If you represent a group of individuals who identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual would those you represent wish to have a civil marriage ceremony?
This question doesn’t apply to me
Question 5: The Government does not propose to open up religious marriage to same-sex couples. Do you agree or disagree?
Disagree – religious marriage should be opened up to same-sex couples
Question 6: Do you agree or disagree with keeping the option of civil partnerships once civil marriage is available to same-sex couples?
Question 7: If you identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual and were considering making a legal commitment to your partner would you prefer to have a civil partnership or a civil marriage?
Question 8: The Government is not considering opening up civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples. Do you agree or disagree with this proposal?
Disagree – civil partnerships should be opened up to opposite-sex couples
Question 9: If you are in a civil partnership would you wish to take advantage of this policy and convert your civil partnership into a marriage?
This question doesn’t apply to me
Question 10. We would not propose introducing a time limit on the ability to convert a civil partnership into a marriage.
Agree – there shouldn't be a time limit
(This question and answer was contradictorily worded in the paper, but has been clarified on the site).
Question 11: Do you agree or disagree that there should be the choice to have a civil ceremony on conversion of a civil partnership into a marriage?
Yes, there should be an option
Question 12: If you are a married transsexual person, would you want to take advantage of this policy and remain in your marriage while obtaining a full Gender Recognition Certificate?
This question doesn’t apply to me
Question 13: If you are the spouse of a transsexual person, would you want to take advantage of this policy and remain in your marriage whilst your spouse obtained a full Gender Recognition Certificate?
This question doesn’t apply to me
Question 14: Do you have any comments on the assumptions or issues outlined in this chapter on consequential impacts? Please respond within 1,225 characters (approx 200 words).
Rules for pensions should be equalised between marriages and civil partnerships, men and women.
In particular, the law should recognise a continuing relationship for pensions and other benefits any civil partnership that converts to a marriage (or vice versa – both should be made simple), and provide recompense for the financial harm added to the emotional harm in forcing trans people to divorce because of the current discriminatory marriage laws.
Question 15: Are you aware of any costs or benefits that exist to either the public or private sector, or individuals that we have not accounted for? Please respond within 1,225 characters (approx 200 words).
Your own quoted research suggests that more LGBT people would wish to marry than currently take up civil partnerships; many civil-partnered couples would wish to change their status to a marriage; if civil partnership, too, was made gender-neutral, many mixed-sex couples who do not wish to marry might still want the legal security of a formal partnership. All of this implies a significant gain to the Exchequer and to the many industries which make money out of marriage ceremonies, particularly in the first few years after a change in the law.
I do not agree with setting a time limit on conversion from civil partnership to marriage (or vice versa) – how can the law set a clock on people’s changing feelings? – but there should be a major discount on registration fees for people currently in civil partnerships converting to marriage within, say, the first year, as they were previously denied the right to marry and paid for the only option legally available.
Question 16: Do you have any other comments on the proposals within this consultation? Please respond within 1,225 characters (approx 200 words).
The proposals do not go far enough, and are unnecessarily complicated – likely to lead to further changes in the law in future. Why not take the opportunity now to simply enact equality before the law?
Let every couple choose for themselves whether to enter a civil marriage or a civil partnership, without the state laying down extra gender-limited rules.
Further, the state should be neutral on religious marriage. Many large religious bodies wish to enshrine discrimination. Well, that’s their business for their own churches, but not for everyone’s. All churches should be given religious freedom to marry people or not on their own doctrines. The proposals would stop religious freedom for denominations (such as Quakers or Reform Judaism) who wish to recognise equal marriage, and allow bigger religious special interests to bully them. It’s religious discrimination by the law. That can’t be right.
Labels: Bigotry, British Politics, Coalition, Gay, Meddling In Things That Are Nobody's Business But Your Own, Religion
Saturday, June 02, 2012
Doctor Who – The Idiot’s Lantern
What a shame that William Shatner’s festive cover of God Save the Queen (as sung on Have I Got News For You a week ago) doesn’t seem to be available to buy, and so tragically won’t be the Number One it deserves to be this weekend. Never mind – I’ll just have to put on those jolly carousers the Sex Pistols instead.
The idea of DWM’s Time Team is that – starting right at the beginning of Doctor Who and more than a decade ago in real time – they get four regular reviewers to sit on the couch and watch every story (including, these days, the lovely Mr Will). And to one side, they feature comments sent in by readers. When I get round to sending in one-liners to Time Team, I watch the story to brainstorm a lot of quickie ideas so that, hopefully, that way at least one of them’ll be something no-one else has come up with. The latest issue’s the first for three Doctors that I’ve had comments in two consecutive issues, and a letter about Philip Madoc, too. Coo. A few years ago, I was encouraged to set up a blog printing all of these; well, all right, I need a bit of a prod to get that going, but it’s not going to happen tonight, so I thought I’d leap ahead and publish what I sent in last month (try and spot how much I’ve nicked from Richard’s review on Millennium Dome, Elephant). If you read my usual reviews, this is something very different… Shorter, punchier and – a consequence of trying to keep the word count down – much cattier. Or, at least, not dressing it up. Actually, when I watched this a month ago, I quite enjoyed it, and having not seen it for a few years, some of it seemed quite fresh. But not all of it…
The Idiot’s Lantern – Not the Time Team
The tone’s all over the place, it’s hardly original, and the Doctor’s lost the big picture… But Maureen Lipman’s scene-stealing fabulousness makes the most fun villain since the series came back. And showing her frock properly even justifies Doctor Who Confidential!
I’m no royalist, but “Are you suggesting that the Queen does the housework?” is a brilliant way to puncture ’50s sexism. And did you time this Time Team for the Jubilee specially?
It almost gets across the feel of 60 years ago, when TV was rare and the Royals aloof. Before it all just became meaningless, greedy, third-rate celebrities. And TV’s nearly as bad.
They should leave Billie out of half the story more often if it means she concentrates what she has into flashes of pure impishness – taking the mickey out of Eddie and vanishing like a sprite is the best she’s been all season.
Mr Gatiss likes his Autons, doesn’t he? Blank faces, Doctor’s lash-ups needing a quick fix, New Domestic Thing Turns Evil at Evil Signal from Transmitter of Evil… Filling in the rest with dashes of Quatermass and Sapphire and Steel. Still, it’s more original than Night Terrors.
The only bit that doesn’t feel nicked is the family, and that just because it’s not very good – it might name-check Corrie, but can’t do it. And as for Dad… Not as well-rounded and subtle a working-class character as Sam Seeley.
The Wire’s sheer fun but also a real threat – Mr Connolly should be scarier, if anything, a more immediate brutish bully, but his terrible ‘My old man’s a dustman’ schtick makes him just a prat.
Eddie’s fine to start with, deliberately overdoing it like a dad when he marvels that it’s like the TV people are in the room with you. Shame that that’s as underplayed as he gets.
It’s charming but not really threatening – too cosy, save that scene where the Doctor suddenly goes off the deep end. Usually he’s just all teeth and lack of curls, not psychotic.
Tommy seems much younger than he is – not just the actor, but after children in School Reunion and the Fireplace, suddenly this seems an oddly child-populated season. It doesn’t quite suit the horror.
It might be laid on with a trowel in Tommy’s soliloquy, but it’s good to have such an unambiguously Liberal message again – in the Wire and Eddie, the Doctor stands up to bullies, big or small.
In a story from a child’s perspective, I can see the arbitrariness of authority excusing Bishop flashing between violent fascist and trusty Dixon copper, but I still don’t believe it.
I know ‘Feed me’ has been done before, but how Paradise Towers is this? That line, the disembodied villain, the Doctor reversing the interrogation… Towers still seems much fresher and wittier, though I’d take Lipman over Briers any day.
Cosy and horrific; domestic and pomp and circumstance; perhaps the tone’s at its most uncertain when it tries ‘Lovely Fifties nostalgia’ and ‘Things shouldn’t live on beyond their time’ at once. The obvious love of TV while sending up ‘It rots your brain!’ is a fab juxtaposition, though.
Lipman does a great lip-smacking single megalomaniac villain, but there just aren’t enough characters or time to pull off a ‘Florizel Street’ soap – and it doesn’t help that each member of the family appears to be acting in a different series or, in the case of Dad, a school play.
Bizarre that a ‘smaller’ historical seems so much less believable than the more ‘important’ ones – is it because we don’t all know queens (well, not all), but we can all tell when a family isn’t convincing?
The Wire’s probably the most OTT villain since the series came back, while Eddie’s just like every brute who beat you up. He should be the real scary monster. But ‘arch’ beats ‘hammy’ hands down.
I don’t think much of the Doctor being blasé over the whole of London but psychotic losing Rose. Get over yourselves!
Oh, dear, the Doctor’s ‘armed’ and the sonic much too handy. But I forgive this for sending up the psychic with “The King of Belgium, apparently”. A scream!
So how exactly does everyone get their face back…? It’s just a bit too easy – ‘Don’t worry, once TV people leave, everything returns to normal’. A more modern take would say ‘TV people do you, move on, and you’re left in a right old mess’.
It’s quite an elaborate revenge on continuity announcers always talking over the credits, isn’t it? If only they were all that cool (and had such killer frocks).
Bizarre fact: this is the episode most likely to be repeated without the “Next Time…” at the end. So it lets the continuity announcers in quicker.
Isle of Dogs
And a few from Richard Flowers
I love the Doctor constructing a video recorder out of spares whilst on the run. A perfectly Doctor Who moment.
Is Tommy gay? I only ask because the script slaps you around the face with the obviousness of it and then pulls the punch.
In spite of the proprietor being vaporised by the Wire, Mr Magpie’s business is going to go from strength to strength, seen to still be in business aboard Starship UK in the Thirty-whatever-ish Century. I guess catering to those early Betamax adopters really paid off!
Tonight, Richard and I are watching and greatly enjoying the story that followed The Idiot’s Lantern, The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit. It’s the day before its sixth anniversary, for a story full of sixes; it’s time (slightly past time, probably) for the next Time Team… But, mainly, because we’ve just been to see Prometheus, which in no way recalled this story with its sensible black captain, industrial future chic, tepid comments about faith, giant carved face down in the darkness, Cthuliana and Alien feel. Completely different. I’d say what I thought of it, but I suspect someone else’ll be along shortly with something a lot more incisive and insightful than I’d be after one viewing…
Labels: Cthulhu, David Tennant, Doctor Who, Doctor Who Magazine, History, Republic, Reviews, Richard, The Idiot’s Lantern