Sunday, 28 May 2017

Unloved middle child

So Steven Moffat has delivered a three-parter by stealth, something he's apparently always wanted to do because it hasn't been done before (so did I imagine that that's exactly how they introduced the Derek Jacobi / John Simm Master at the end of Series 3?)

"The Pyramid at the End of the World" by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat, directed by Daniel Nettheim. Spoilers after the cut.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Doctor and the Medici

Back when we knew Doctor Who was getting relaunched in 2005 but we didn't really have any more details than that, people did speculate a bit over whether Russell T. Davies would keep it a family show as it had originally been, or if he was going to go for a "darker and edgier" reboot - the Battlestar Galactica model.

"Extremis" by Steven Moffat, directed by Daniel Nettheim. Spoilers after the cut.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Book review: Covering McKellen

I like to have a funny book saved onto my phone that I can dip into when I've got the odd minute to spare, and must admit that I didn't add Covering McKellen for the noblest of reasons. But then I imagine most people read David Weston's book for its car crash qualities, it has a reputation as being funny for the wrong reasons. Weston was Ian McKellen's understudy as King Lear on the 2007 world tour, and this is meant to be a journal of that tour and the behind the scenes gossip. Of which there is some, as, if Weston's to be believed, the whole production descended into chaos and mutual loathing, but mostly this is a cantankerous old man grumbling about not being more famous. He does tend to give behind-the-scenes stories about each specific performance so I managed to pinpoint exactly which one Vanessa and I saw ten years ago - there wasn't any particularly juicy gossip for that night except for the fact that most of the cast were sick and some of them were throwing up into buckets as soon as they got offstage.

Instead of Covering McKellen it should be called Hating Romola Garai, because although he resents most of the younger cast members he especially loathes Garai for reasons that are never particularly apparent. Maybe she didn't respond to his unique style of casual conversation - at one point he describes interrogating her about a historical inaccuracy in a film she was in (in a scene she wasn't in) and is disgusted when she doesn't reply to his satisfaction. He's no fan of Monica Dolan either, although he's torn on some of the others - he takes against Philip Winchester on principle because he's American, but then feels he has to give him the time of day when he finds out he's a clean-living Christian who doesn't believe in sex before marriage. On the other hand he takes an instant liking to Ben Addis because he's quiet, and then gets terribly confused when he hears a rumour that he's the company's resident vagina-hunter, and can never make up his mind about him for the rest of the book.

I pretty quickly started reading this in a mental voice that was a cross between Steven Toast, and Joss Ackland yelling "diplemetic immunety!" at the end of Lethal Weapon 2, and imagined him getting louder throughout each paragraph so that by the full stop he was screaming in fury. In short,

Monday, 15 May 2017


Capitalism in space.

"Oxygen" by Jamie Mathieson, directed by Charles Palmer. Spoilers after the cut.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Obsessive Compulsive Hoarders

On this week's episode of Obsessive Compulsive Hoarders we meet David, who's been hoarding dead people in the walls of his house for the last seventy years.

"Knock Knock" by Mike Bartlett, directed by Bill Anderson. Spoilers after the cut.